Message from the President

Monthly Update

President’s Message
Charlie Smith, PE, President of ACEC Tennessee

Why Spend Your Time with ACEC?

You’re busy. I get it, we’re all busy. So why should you care about ACEC, and what good is it to you? In the mix of priorities, these are central questions on my mind as I commit to another year of service with this outstanding group of people. Here are three of the answers:

  1. Access and Influence

Every year we are faced with many (typically a few hundred) bills in the TN legislature that can impact our businesses and the health, safety, and welfare of the people we serve. The 2017 legislative session was particularly energetic, due in large part to the unusual attention paid to the IMPROVE Act. But numerous other critical bills were debated and passed or defeated – and ACEC was involved. By involved I mean everything from continuously tracking and intentionally communicating our perspectives to literally being at the table with the legislators who were making the decisions and seeking our help in writing or re-writing legislation and strategizing passage or defeat. That access, representation and involvement are some of the key things your ACEC membership provides you, and they are some of the key services we as an organization of professionals provide to our state and across the nation.

If understanding and influencing legislative policy, contracting mechanisms and procurement, or working with agencies to improve regulation and interaction is interesting to you, you can join in with the ACEC TN Government Advocacy (, Business Practices, or Interpro ( committees.

  1. Networking, with Benefits

All organizations claim to provide networking opportunities, but that means something different in every situation. At ACEC it means you have the opportunity to meet, and more importantly – get to know, some of the smartest and most experienced professionals in the business. I assume you work at a good firm, and that you have mentors and peers with whom you enjoy working, learning, and pursuing meaningful work with good clients. Getting involved with ACEC will help you take all of that to a new level. What’s more is you will probably enjoy the effort, because there are so many dedicated engineers and professionals in our state who are also people you can appreciate spending time with. Involvement with ACEC committees also often comes with meaningful interaction with clients and key agency stakeholders – focused on the issues that are key to the business of engineering.

If building your professional and stakeholder network is one of your goals, you should get involved with the ACEC TN Public Relations (, Transportation Working Groups (, Environment & Energy (TBD), or Engineering Excellence Awards ( committees.

  1. Professional Development

It isn’t a stretch to say that just about everything ACEC TN does is directly related to professional development. It is also true that the more you get engaged, the more you will get out of it. The 10 years during which I have been increasingly involved with ACEC are the same years during which my career and leadership opportunities have grown the most. How are you doing in your own career growth?

In addition to the numerous development opportunities with committee and other involvements, ACEC TN offers the Leadership PE program (, which has been very successful and in high demand in the last number of years. Its specific purpose is to sharpen the skills of current mid-level and senior leaders and high-potential emerging leaders within our firms.

So, even though there are many demands on your valuable and limited time, getting involved with ACEC is one of the best ways you can serve your profession and your state, meet people worth meeting, grow your business, and further your own career. Our new year just began July 1st, all of the committees are just getting re-formed, the Board has laid out new goals, and now is exactly the right time for you to take advantage of the premier professional organization in Tennessee.