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In last week’s message, I shared a link to interviews with our incoming Executive Committee, in which the group shared their perspectives on their new roles. If you haven’t already viewed them, I would absolutely encourage you to do so. This is a group of leaders with a lot to say and even more to offer, and our meeting earlier in the month served as an excellent kickoff for what is already shaping up to be a momentous year for ACEC.

The entire Executive Committee recently met for its annual winter meeting. It is fitting that, on the eve of that meeting, ACEC achieved a hard-fought victory in the House on R&D. With the tax bill now with the Senate – and with the Senate now in recess until later this month – there are no new developments to report.

But what I do have on R&D is a reminder and a promise.

The reminder is for you to reach out to your Senators. The promise is that we are not going to ease up until this bill is signed. Because the fact is, our government has made a lot of promises on behalf of our industry: that we would innovate, create, design, and deliver the foundation on which our nation can thrive. We’ve kept our end of the bargain – and we’re going to hold Congress to their end.

Later this month, we’re headed west to showcase another powerful example of the essentiality of engineering when our Roadshow makes its next stop in Phoenix, spotlighting the Northwest Valley Infrastructure Project. This Project comes as the result of a provision of the CHIPS Act that sought to encourage semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) seized this opportunity and decided to bring state-of-the-art semiconductor technology to Phoenix, investing $12 billion to bring its manufacturing plant to the city. In turn, Phoenix committed to providing water and wastewater infrastructure that TSMC would need for its new plant. Engineering firms were tapped to generate the design for this massive undertaking, which had as a complicating factor an expedited completion date. The plant is expected to create thousands of high-quality jobs and drive economic growth in the region.

Projects like this drive home how critical it is for our industry to attract and retain well-qualified workers, which is part of the impetus behind the Roadshow, and the driving force behind our new Workforce Committee. Our new Director of Workforce Development Patrick Brady joined us at the beginning of the year and has hit the ground running, developing and executing our Workforce Summit, which is scheduled for the week of April 15 here in Washington. In partnership with ASCE and APWA, as well as other major engineering organizations, this Summit will explore the workforce challenge, what is being done to address it, and what more needs to be done to create sustainable solutions.

Finally, if we needed any more confirmation of how important both innovation and workforce are to our industry, judging for the 2024 Engineering Excellence Awards will be taking place this weekend in Chantilly, Virginia. More than 200 projects will be evaluated, with 24 top winners, featuring eight Grand Awards and 16 Honor Awards. One Grand Conceptor Award will be announced at the EEA Gala during our Annual Convention and Legislative Summit, scheduled to begin May 13. We have announced some fantastic keynote speakers for the Convention, and we are promising a program that is both informative and entertaining. Registration is now open!

This Sunday will mark the kickoff of Engineers Week, the theme of which is “Welcome to the Future.” This is a wonderful opportunity to spotlight the work of our industry – and to engage and inspire the next generation of engineers. We’d love to hear what our members are planning in celebration, so please pass along any eventsand/or photos so we can share and amplify on our own channels. You can find more information and resources for E-Week at DiscoverE.

Have a great week,

Linda Bauer Darr

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February 14, 2024



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