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ACEC News / President’s Monthly Update

June 12, 2019

President’s Monthly Update–June, 2019

Dear Colleagues –

Great to see so many of you at our Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., where we were thrilled to welcome over 1,600 attendees!  Donna Brazile and Dana Perino were big hits with the Convention audience, as were the other speakers and panelists.  The Engineering Excellence Awards Gala was attended by almost 800 people and we awarded the Grand Conceptor Award to WSP for their Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program in Seattle and celebrated a record-setting sum total of 196 projects.  We recognized outgoing chair Manish Kothari and his executive committee members for their impressive service to the Council, and welcomed new chair Mitch Simpler and his ExCom members for 2019-20.  Thank you to all who participated in the Capitol Hill visits to help advocate for a robust infrastructure agenda and other pressing issues for engineering.  As you know, lawmakers hearing from you firsthand is a critical part of our overall advocacy program.


June 1, 2019


  • ACEC’s new national leadership took office with Mitch Simpler succeeding Manish Kothari as Chair; Charlie Gozdziewski became Chair-elect; and John Carrato and Kenny Smith joined Jay Wolverton, Stephanie Hachem, Art Barrett, Keith Jackson, Keith London, and Michael Smith on the 2019-20 Executive Committee. 
  • The 52nd Engineering Excellence Awards Gala recognized the finest engineering achievements of the year, including Grand Conceptor Award winner WSP USA for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program in Seattle.
  • In our pursuit of raising the prominence of ACEC and the engineering industry, ACEC garnered several important external media appearances in May:
    • Linda Bauer Darr wrote a letter to the editor that was published on May 28 in the Wall Street Journal on the importance of pre-disaster mitigation.
    • Darr was also quoted in the Associated Press in an article previewing the White House meeting on infrastructure.
    • Darr was interviewed by WCCI-FM in the Quad Cities and WCSR-FM in Hillsdale, MI; Steve Hall was interviewed by KORE-FM in Northwestern Washington State.
    • Steve Hall was quoted in an ENR story on the aftermath of the White House infrastructure meeting.
    • ACEC/NY’s Jay Simson was quoted in an ENR article on a developing issue between the MTA and design firm contracts.
  • ACEC recently launched its new podcast series, “Engineering Influence,” which can be found on iTunes and on the Podbean podcasting network; 12 episodes are available and have already been downloaded 214 times over the past 30 days; suggestions for guests to appear on the show should be directed to Jeff Urbanchuk at
  • Conducted two successful, interactive education sessions during Convention for NAECE which included discussions on overcoming objections of prospective members to joining ACEC, and increasing non-dues revenue.
  • ACEC has created a new value proposition document to share the benefits of membership specifically for firms that have a strong architecture focus; the document is available for Member Organizations to use in their recruitment efforts.
  • ACEC will host a training session for MO staff August 5-6 at the national headquarters in Washington DC; details coming soon. 
  • Jensen Hughes, #73 on the ENR 500, joined ACEC in May; several other ENR500 firms are currently in membership discussions as well.


Advocacy and External Affairs

  • Former Chair Manish Kothari, President Linda Bauer Darr and ACEC staff discussed the Council’s infrastructure priorities for 2019 with senior White House officials; Kothari and Darr also met with the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Ambassador Mark Green, to discuss industry collaboration with the agency as part of an interview for Engineering Inc. magazine. 
  • Organized a successful advocacy program and “Hill Day” connected to the Annual Convention featuring advocacy for a robust infrastructure agenda, extension of key energy tax incentives for vertical projects and renewable energy, and solutions to address the engineering shortage.
  • Hosted a reception at the Convention for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who discussed the infrastructure agenda in Congress and other current issues.
  • ACEC/PAC hosted an “Irish Pub Night” which was well received, but ACEC/PAC truly raises a glass to the membership for contributing more than $270,000.  Cheers!
  • Joined business and labor groups and other stakeholders in a letter calling on the President and congressional leaders to return to the negotiating table and advance robust infrastructure investment legislation.
  • Endorsed a bill introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to increase federal gas and diesel taxes by five cents per year for five years, indexed to inflation.
  • Urged Congress to repeal the $7.6 billion rescission in Federal-aid highway contract authority scheduled to take place in July 2020 in a joint letter with AASHTO and 29 other transportation associations.
  • Submitted comments in support of the Department of Labor’s moderate approach to revising the overtime pay salary threshold under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • By invitation, participated in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stakeholder meeting on Corps efforts to improve its civil works program, and delivered ACEC priorities on the levee safety program, WIFIA implementation and initiatives to foster collaboration, such as firm internships for Corps personnel, more reviews of the design through the use of numerous over-the-shoulder reviews and consider placing USACE District personnel in A/E offices during critical design phases.
  • Joined with other stakeholder organizations in submitting comments opposing a Department of Defense proposal that would vastly expand the Pentagon’s authority and access to sensitive data from firms under the guise of cybersecurity prevention.

Business Resources

  • The March/April issue of Engineering Inc. includes our new Private Side column, highlighting Opportunity Zones; focusing on timely issues relevant to the private sector, each column focuses on markets such as commercial and residential real estate, energy and utilities, health care and science and technology, as well as public-private partnerships.
  • With more than 28 participants, May’s most popular online class, Acquisitions – How and What to Look for During Due Diligence, helped member firms become more familiar with the due diligence process, including what general areas to focus on and how to organize and go about performing this critical function.
  • At May’s seminar “Essential Training: Learn the Fundamentals of Effective A/E Operations Management”, twenty managers from member firms spent two days learning how to juggle operational responsibilities including winning new work, turning a profit, managing cash flow, mitigating risk, and developing and communicating with staff.
  • Over the course of a nine-week seminar, Laying the Foundation for Superior Project Managers: Practices, Principles, and Fundamentals took twenty participants through the finer points of project management and helped them develop into confident, forward-thinking PMs.
  • Coalition best sellers for May included CASE’s Guideline Addressing Coordination and Completeness of Structural Construction Documents and Land Development’s Project Kick-Off Meeting Sample Agenda

June online programs will feature: Strategic Thinking — Think Like a Leader Should; What’s the Secret to Achieving Your 2019 Strategic Goals & Beyond? (Hint: Your Team); Buy-Sell Agreements – Don’t Sell Your Firm Short; How to Boost Your Culture Through Marketing; Your Proposal is not your Plan – Why Successful Project Execution Needs a Plan; Succession Planning: Rewarding Senior Owners & Opportunities for Younger Employees; and 5 Disruptive Technologies that Will Change Engineering Forever Click here for complete schedule.

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

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June 12, 2019



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