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To the ACEC Community,

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with our colleagues at ACEC New York, where I spoke at their board meeting, met with a group of their emerging leaders, and attended their Engineering Excellence Awards gala. Congratulations to General Engineering Consultant (GEC)/ Tri-Venture Partners: WSP USA Inc.; STV, Inc.; and Parsons Corporation for the East Side Access project, which extends the Long Island Rail Road from Queens to a new terminal, Grand Central Madison, below the existing Grand Central Terminal.  Their project was named the winner of the New York’s Empire Award! A well-deserved congratulations to John Evers, President/CEO ACEC NY, his Chair Art Alzamora, P.E., and their team for organizing a great series of events.

While I was in town, I also attended my first Engineering News Record Award of Excellence event where the magazine announces its newsmakers of the year and honors the year’s best projects – many of which were previous national EEA winners or will be honored at our awards gala next month in Washington, DC.

I was inspired by the winner of the 2024 ENR Award of Excellence, Kit Miyamoto, CEO, and humanitarian coordinator of Miyamoto International, a disaster recovery and structural engineering firm in California. Kit has traveled the world to respond to failures in buildings and infrastructure in the wake of earthquakes and climate disasters, helping countries and communities rebuild and supplementing their technical engineering knowledge to prevent future tragedies. Currently, Kit is doing important work evaluating how housing structures in Gaza can be rebuilt quickly to ease the displacement of people due to the ongoing conflict. Watch his presentation.

Kit’s work embodies the nobility inherent in the profession of engineering. Each of our firms is committed to making the world a safer, more sustainable, and resilient place to live, work and grow. It is what sets our member firms apart from other forms of engineering. It is undeniable that engineers at Apple and Google are reshaping our world, but ACEC member firms are reshaping lives.

That commitment to improving the world was on full display as I met with a group of emerging leaders in New York.  I want to compliment the group, and their leader, Alexandra Gore from WSP, for being so engaged and thoughtful about workforce issues. Our industry’s rising stars really are

a great resource for insights into how our member firms can best position themselves to attract and retain the best and the brightest. The workforce of today – and certainly the workforce of tomorrow – want their work to have meaning. But even more than that, they want their employer to see them as whole individuals, with lives beyond the cubicles and conference rooms. To this generation of workers, there is intrinsic value in being valued.

I was asked by the group what ACEC really stands for as an organization.  This is an important question that we really need to think about, especially when we consider the next generation of employees. In my response, I reaffirmed that ACEC is dedicated to advocating for our industry to create a clear path where our member firms can do their best work – work that is not only essential to society, but to our overall quality of life.

We have a packed week ahead of us. Not only are we gearing up for our Spring Convention and Legislative Summit and EEA awards, but this week, we will hold our first ever Workforce Summit at our Washington, DC headquarters. We will convene leaders across the built environment – engineering firms, association leaders, and academia to tackle the engineering workforce challenge. I look forward to reporting out what we learn in next week’s letter. And later this month, on the 25th, we will hold our latest stop of the Engineering and Public Works Roadshow in Charleston, SC where we will spotlight a critical coastal resilience project, the Low Battery Restoration Project.

Finally, a quick update on R&D. Congress returned last week from Easter recess with HR 7024 – the House-passed legislation that would repeal the R&D amortization mandate – still awaiting a vote. We had a huge win in the House, but getting through the Senate is much more complicated, with language surrounding child tax credits a continued sticking point. We’ve seen some movement in recent weeks, but we can’t let up. If you haven’t already called your Senators, please do so. And if you have – call them again! We’ve all worked too hard rolling this boulder to the top of the hill to have it roll back over us, and your voices could make all the difference.

Have a great week,

Linda Bauer Darr

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April 17, 2024



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