July 2018 Region 5 Update
I recently read an article that was talking about the fact that parents only have 18 summers with their children. It seems obvious, because after 18 summers, every human being becomes an adult, in physical age at least, but it is an often overlooked obvious fact. We all have the tendency to get busy and push things back – “next summer we’ll get to the cabin, I promise” and other similar statements have been told by parents in modern times for far too long.
Fortunately, for those of us in the South, summers aren’t the only time that the weather is nice, so we often take advantage of this time to “beat the heat” and slow down a little. We aren’t scrambling in the 6 months of the year that the ground isn’t frozen to install that pipeline and we don’t have 17 hours of sunlight to finish those bridge plans. We’d rather head to the beach and take a load off.
That being said, it is also the time for a number of Sections to have their summer meetings and while we’re relaxing at the beach with family, there is a whole lot of planning going on at the student chapter, younger member group, Branch, Section and, of course, Region level.
At the Society level, we are really taking a look in the mirror. The Society has still not returned to the pre-recession membership and profit levels, despite the economy being hot. For the last couple years, we’ve had great profits on our investment portfolio, but we’ve used those profits to cover holes in the operating budget to balance our annual budget. The Board knows that this isn’t sustainable. The Board also knows that every project and program that ASCE executes on is very important to some (or all) of our membership. We were asked the fundamental question, why are you an ASCE Member? I, in turn ask you to think about that same question.
The Board knows it needs to take bold action. We are exploring as many options as ideas that originate from the membership. We’ve even created a “bold idea” thread in our Board Collaborate Group to share with senior staff to explore idea viability. If you have a big idea, no matter how off the wall, feel free to send it my way, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Board Meeting Recap
The ASCE Board of Direction met July 12-13, 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina. This was a normal business meeting for the Board with several valuable topics discussed in the remainder of the report. The concept behind this meeting was to focus on the topic of “Deliver and Increase Member Value”, so a number of the sessions related to this topic and the theme permeated all discussions.
The first day of the Board meeting included a presentation by Jim Newsome III, the President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. His presentation welcomed us to Charleston and continued on the theme of thinking differently. We also heard from Sarah Sladek, the author of the book, “The End of Membership as We Know It”, who purports that people no longer join professional organizations out of the same obligation they once did – they do it for a membership value proposition. This led to a number of great conversations, eventually in the challenge I mentioned above.
The last business item was a panel discussion on Member Value from three committees (Diversity and Inclusion, Member Communities and Public Policy) as well and the Construction Institute. In each case, the groups discussed the important work that they do and its place in ASCE and in the greater world.
After the business items, the Board was invited on a tour of the Boeing Facility in Charleston. It is the location of the manufacturing of the aft section and the assembly of the final product for the 787 Dreamliner. Here’s a fun fact, Charleston is one of only three locations in the world where wide bodies (more than one aisle) aircraft are assembled! The tour was fascinating of course, but the bigger message was the idea of partnerships – between Boeing and the State of South Carolina for sure – but in a larger sense, from engineering to raw materials to manufacturing to assembly, these are truly global products requiring great communication and understanding. What a fantastic message! After we returned, the Charleston Branch and South Carolina Section hosted a reception for us. I’ll summarize by saying that it may be warm in July, but Charleston is one cool town!
The second day of the Board Meeting was all business including a discussion on Member Value from a Regional Standpoint and a working session on finalizing the Key Process Indicators for the draft Strategic Plan. We received the final report from the Task Committee on Raise the Bar Rebranding and voted to empower the RTB committee with a marketing budget to assist their efforts. We received an update on publications before the lunch break that prepared us for the real work of the day – passing the annual budget. After a number of amendments came up and failed, we approved the budget recommended by the Program and Finance Committee (with the exception of the aforementioned marketing budget), with the recognition that we needed bold action.
The afternoon concluded more quietly, with a review of Policy Statements from the Public Policy Statements, a recap of President Swallow’s Presidential visit to South America and some additional spirited discussion during open session. As always, the meetings are interesting, grueling, informative and fun all in one. I look forward to the next meeting in Colorado in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.
- August 3-5, Younger Member Leadership Symposium – Reston, VA
- September 22-23, President’s and Governors Forum – Reston, VA
- September 26-27, 28th Annual Civil Engineering Conference - Kenner, Louisiana
- October 11-15, Society Convention and Board of Direction Meeting – Denver, CO
- January 25-26, 2019 MRLC Regions 1, 2, 4, & 5 – Orlando, FL
Director, Region 5
* Remember, the R5BoG is made up of seven Governors who are willing and able to help:
Jeff Earhart (FL): email@example.com
Steven Goldstein (FL): firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine Gurd (GA): email@example.com
Barbara Lehman (AL): blehman@Geo-Solutions.net
Ali Mustapha (LA): firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawren Pratt (AL): Lawren.Pratt@kbr.com
Shelly Watson (MS): email@example.com
- ASCE Region 5 Director Letter 2018 - 3rd Quarter
- ASCE Region 5 Director Letter 2018 - 2nd Quarter
- ASCE Region 5 Director Letter 2018 - 1st Quarter