November Monthly Update
Amy Spann, PE, President of ACEC of Tennessee
We often get busy in our day-to-day work activities, focused on projects and client deliverables, but ACEC’s involvement at both the State and National level doesn’t stop. I was privileged to attend the National ACEC conference in Colorado with hundreds of engineers and several representatives from Tennessee in October. At the conference, National President Dave Raymond highlighted current and emerging issues facing our industry from proposed threats to licensure to the ever-present transportation funding discussion to business management concerns with the recent Department of Labor overtime pay rule. We face these same issues in Tennessee and ACEC works on our behalf to provide technical resources and an understanding of the potential impacts by having a seat at the table with legislators and rule makers. This opportunity is there for a variety of reasons including the PAC. ACEC’s national PAC is close to one million dollars. What a testament to the power of the organization with a ranking in the top three percent of PACs. We have PAC goals for the state too and continue to encourage giving at any level to support the mission and vision of ACEC.
Knowing our mission and vision, as engineering firms and ACEC, were topics at the national meeting. Keynote speakers talked about trends in business, the economy, and the upcoming election. One trend, disruption, will always be present and with this election season and the uncertainty of results across legislators, congress, and even the presidential office, engineering and the business of engineering companies remains the same – focus on health, safety, and welfare of the public.
However, during these times, we also have a unique opportunity to not only be technical problem solvers when protecting the public, but we can be “social engineers” looking toward the future. One of the keynote speakers used this term and it struck me, as it’s a time that we can get more involved with communities and agencies to look for alternative solutions to funding, encourage partnerships, and new ways to help promote projects. It’s also a time to be able to provide proactive engineering solutions, especially in the realm of water resources. Opportunities are available for new technology and design considerations for water allocation, distribution and reuse for all parts of the U.S. dealing with excess water or water shortages. It will take a consolidated effort to help clients, legislators, and community leaders for future projects and ACEC support at national and state level.