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June 12, 2020

President’s Monthly Update–June 12, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

Our Rescue, Recover, Rebuild (R3) virtual advocacy campaign has exceeded our expectations. Member firms and Member Organizations, with the able assistance of our Advocacy team, have overcome the challenges of a pandemic and new technology to take to Congress our call for an infrastructure-based economic recovery.

To date, 2,100 grassroots advocates have sent 1,631 letters and 4,700 emails to Congress and hundreds of social media messages have been sent with the hashtag #RescueRecoverRebuild, stressing the need for long-term investments in America’s critical infrastructure to address years of deferred maintenance while modernizing our transportation networks to lay the groundwork for a post-COVID-19 economic recovery. In addition, members and MOs have held or scheduled 119 face-to-face virtual meetings with U.S. Representatives and Senators. We will continue to advocate throughout the summer for robust infrastructure investment, and I urge you to keep the pressure on Congress to act. Visit the R3 website to get fact sheets, sample letters to Congress, and social media resources to make your voice heard.

In May, more than 2,500 members participated in our complimentary R3 Education Series to help firms deal with the business challenges of COVID-19. Our Business Resources and Education team offered 14 free online classes and five roundtables during the month, including our first Private/Vertical-Markets virtual roundtable.

Our Meetings team is cautiously planning several small in-person events in the Fall, starting with the combined HR, IT, and Finance Forums meeting in San Antonio, September 13-15. For the Fall Conference, we will soon survey past attendees to assess the ability and willingness of members to support an in-person event. We continue to evaluate virtual options.

On June 18 at 1:30 pm ET, the ACEC Research Institute will host the first of its The Future of Engineering Roundtable Series: The Impact of Technology on Engineering. Already, 304 members have registered to listen in and participate. I invite all of you to join me for what I’m sure will be a fascinating and meaningful discussion.


Linda Bauer Darr

June 12, 2020


  • In a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee leaders, ACEC recommended aggressive steps to address the nation’s pressing water infrastructure needs ahead of the passage of major water legislation.
  • Informed Labor Secretary Scalia of the workplace reopening concerns of the engineering industry.
  • Urged Congress to provide a liability safe harbor for employers that follow COVID-related workplace and employee safety guidance.
  • Supported the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020 (H.R. 7010) in a letter to Congress that also raised concerns about the impact of loan forgiveness on overhead rates.
  • With a coalition of business organizations, ACEC wrote to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) asking for legislative action to overturn the IRS decision that business expenses covered by PPP loan forgiveness are not tax-deductible.
  • In a letter to Senators Murkowski and Manchin, ACEC supported the American Energy Innovation Act.
  • Forty members attended the Water, Energy, and Environment Committee’s virtual Spring Convention meeting on May 13.
  • Updated ACEC Ohio on water, energy, and environment issues and initiatives on May 12.
  • In response to concerns that the Dept. of Defense was requiring firms to credit their federal clients if they receive PPP loan forgiveness, ACEC led more than a dozen design and construction-related associations in seeking intervention by the Office of Management and Budget. See our letter here
  • At its Spring Convention meeting, the International Committee created four new subcommittees, focusing on FIDIC, International Financial Institutions, U.S. Development Agencies, and US Commercial Services. These new subcommittees will provide more avenues for firms to take advantage of international opportunities.
  • ACEC Arkansas reached its 2020 PAC fundraising goal.
  • ACEC/PAC hosted the Spring Sweepstakes Virtual Drawing
  • Hosted monthly calls with the Florida and California PAC teams
  • Monitored and reported on various primary elections, and spoke with various congressional candidates, including Randy Feenstra (Iowa); Beth Van Duyne (Texas); Matt Rosendale (Montana); Claire Chase (New Mexico).
  • Helped to organize ACEC Florida’s Zoom call with Senator Marco Rubio.
  • Drafted Virtual Fundraising Plan and shared with MOs and PAC Champions.

Business Resources and Education

Communications & Marketing

  • ACEC’s Engineering Influence podcast surpassed 12,600 downloads.  Listen to the most recent interview with Dodge Data & Analytics Chief Economist Richard Branch.
  • Promoted the ACEC Research Institute’s release of its Business Impact Surveys with a podcast and press coverage in six trade publications, including Contractor Magazine, Construction Equipment, Informed Infrastructure, Engineered Systems, and Pumps and Systems.
  • ACEC appeared in ENR magazine multiple times (Hereherehere, and here.) during May on both the PPP program and the congressional action on COVID-19 response.  
  • Supported the Rescue Recover Rebuild virtual advocacy campaign with social media messages, messaging support, and website development.
  • The team continued to provide weekly COVID-19 resources to MOs.
  • Politico’s Morning Defense highlighted ACEC for its work on the Department of Defense acquisition issues.
  • Updated and maintained the ACEC Coronavirus Resource Center.

ACEC Research Institute

The Research Institute scheduled three virtual expert roundtables over the coming two months exploring the post-COVID-19 engineering industry and the challenges and opportunities for engineering firms. Click here for more information and to register.

Membership & MO Services

  • ACEC National and NAECE created a $2,000 scholarship to be awarded to a Maine engineering student in honor of ACEC Maine’s Executive Director Rick McCarthy. The scholarship recognizes Rick’s leadership in advocating for the engineering industry and ACEC Maine member firms.
  • Hosted a webinar on the CARES Act Payroll Tax Credit presented by Chris Moran of Venable.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.


June 12, 2020



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