ACEC/MW President's Message - A New Year's Blog!

ACEC/MW President Rizwan Siddiqi looks back on what our association has accomplished during 2019 and previews what's ahead for 2020
January 2020
I would like to wish our members a very happy, safe, and prosperous New Year and hope this results in a memorable year for all of us! While we welcome a new year, it's a good time to evaluate how we did in 2019. I can confidently say that the past 6 months have been extremely busy with a lot of fun and productive activities. We could not have done it without your support! 
Some of the new things we did in last 6 months include:
  • Formed a new Past Presidents Committee to advise the Board on strategic planning and operational matters
  • Formed a new Maryland Municipal Committee to work with Montgomery and Prince George's counties 
  • Formed a new Virginia Municipal Committee to work with Northern Virginia counties 
  • Started a new Engineering Industry Award to recognize a public official from the engineering industry 
  • Started a new Legislator of the Year Award to recognize a legislator from DC, Maryland, or Virginia
  • Started a new Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to local engineering students
  • Started a new Holiday Party Event in December that combines the EEA Awards Gala and Toys for Tots drive 
  • Planned monthly luncheon programs based on your feedback, which resulted in higher attendance
Wow, this would not have been possible without our distinguished board members; Executive Director Mac Cannon; and Association Administrator Anna Seekins, a new addition to our team. I would like to recognize the entire team for accomplishing so many initiatives in such a short period; especially the EEA Awards Gala and Holiday Party, which was a huge success and well-attended. The silent auction provided an opportunity to raise seed money to fund a new scholarship program.  
Congrats to DDOT Chief Engineer, Dawit Muluneh, PE, for receiving ACEC/MW's first Engineering Industry Award. This was a well-deserved award for his leadership and public service. 
I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize and congratulate all the other Awards Gala winners and thank our judges for their time and devotion to selecting projects that demonstrate technical excellence. 
ACEC/MW is in the process of shortlisting and selecting a “Legislator of the Year” from Maryland, Virginia, or DC. The award will be presented during our annual business meeting in June 2020. Stay tuned for additional information and do not miss this great opportunity to receive valuable legislative updates.  
The newly formed Maryland and Virginia Municipal Committees will hold their first meetings in January 2020. Please join me in welcoming Erin Donovan as the Virginia Municipal Committee chair and Aaron Smith as the Maryland Municipal Committee chair. We have high expectations for these new stars and I have no doubt that they will deliver great value to our members. We are still adding new members to both of these committees. If you are interested in serving on one of these committees, please contact the committee chair for more details.
In July 2019, Arthur Jones-Dove became the Water Infrastructure Committee chair and it would be unjust if I did not mention the awesome work his committee is doing and how much energy he has added to the committee. Their first Water Luncheon was a sold-out event. Thank you, Arthur, for your leadership and devotion!
Similarly, Hanif Drzal, Programs Committee chair, is doing a terrific job and her efforts were visible during our 2019 EEA Awards Gala and Holiday Party. I am sure if you attended the gala, you witnessed firsthand how successful and enjoyable it was. Hats off to Hanif for all her efforts and we expect many more great events in 2020. 
Kyle Urda, Thomas Perry, and Michelle Cavucci became the chairs of Facilities, Legislative, and Transportation Committees, respectively, in July 2019 and all are doing a fabulous job steering these committees. Trust me, it is a lot of work to be a committee chair. Beth Bryan, Membership Committee chair is doing a great job to grow organization membership and her efforts have resulted in positive outcome.  
I'd like to thank all the committee chairs for their leadership and the awesome job they are doing. Our committees are the backbone of the organization and without them we can't deliver the value that is expected by our membership. 
Please consider joining one of the committees. You will gain direct access to clients and first-hand information about upcoming opportunities, as well as help make an impact by providing input on contractual, procurement, and other matters. If you are not on a committee, you are missing a big opportunity. Please give it a try! Details about each committee's mission and a link to join a committee can be found here:  
I am pleased to report that we are working very closely with the ACEC National team and its President and CEO, Linda Bauer Darr, on various matters. In addition, we have increased our collaboration with ACEC/MD and ACEC/VA and are working together to address common matters. This has resulted in added value for our member firms. 
Last, but not least, I recently attended the first meeting of the newly-formed Past Presidents' Committee. What a joy to get all the “brass” in one room and gain wisdom from past leaders. It was an extremely valuable opportunity to discuss how this Committee can advise our Board on strategic planning and operational matters. We agreed to continue our conversation and I look forward to their excellent advice.

I am sure you all had a chance to explore ACEC/MW's new website. Please check it out and let us know if it meets your expectations and if it provides you with a positive experience. If not, please take the time to let us know how we can make it better. We like receiving feedback from our members as to how we can bring more value. Please drop me a note at
The Super Bowl is just around the corner. It is a special treat to see the Baltimore Ravens make it to the playoffs and we hope that they will make it to the Super Bowl. Go Ravens! Hopefully, the Redskins will have a better season next year.

Thank you and be safe during the winter season!     

Rizwan A. Siddiqi, P.E.
President ACEC/MW


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