Outgoing President Rizwan Siddiqi's Association Address

Outgoing President Rizwan Siddiqi, P.E., of EBA Engineering gives his Association Address, as shared at the Federal Update & Annual Business Meeting on June 10, 2020.
June 10, 2020

Let me first thank my colleagues on ACEC/MW's Board of Directors who put up with me for a full 12 months without making noise. My gratitude to our Board Members who bring so much diversity and experience.  We would not have been able to achieve our progress without your support. Thank you all!
Very special thanks to all our Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs who keep our association moving. We have so much energy in our committees this year that, honestly, I have never seen before - and it is all due to our five-star Committee Chairs and their wonderful efforts.
I would also like to acknowledge my good friend Lou Robbins from Corman Construction who used to work for Dewberry - he “drafted” me to ACEC/MW back in 2011. He came to my office one day and offered to go for lunch, and, obviously, I could not say no to a free lunch! But boy, his driving was exactly like his lifestyle – 500 miles an hour - so I told him politely that next time I will drive!  However, he did talk me into joining as the Chair of the Water Infrastructure Committee. It was fun, and we did so much work in the committee that the president at that time requested I join the board – so I did. 
I guess I am still paying for that free lunch, but I always look at the glass as half full not half empty.  I have loved ACEC/MW; it has been a very rewarding and pleasant experience for me.  I am truly humbled and honored to serve as your President.  I encourage you all, and particularly our younger members, to get involved with ACEC, as there is so much to learn and many benefits.  Most importantly, we can give back to our profession and side-by-side get a kick out of it!  We get tremendous networking opportunities through our involvement with ACEC. 
Our committees are the backbone of our activities, and we can't operate without their great work. So please step up and join various committees and even become a Chair.  Join our Board of Directors and see how you can make a difference.
ACEC/MW is the voice of the engineering industry in the DC Metro area.  We as an organization are so fortunate to enjoy such a rich diversity of client organizations represented in the DC Metro area because we cover not only Washington DC, but also suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. We continue to capitalize on this diversity and the opportunity to bring timely topics to our monthly luncheon programs from transportation to water, facilities to federal opportunities throughout the year. 
So, the “State of the Association” can be summed up in two words: VERY STRONG!
I am glad to report that ACEC/MW is fiscally stronger than the last year and in a much more stable position to take on next year's challenges, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
A very important goal during my presidency was to improve the level of service to our member firms and provide them value added services worth much more than the cost of membership, and I think we were largely successful in delivering value and quality to our members with the help of our awesome team here at ACEC/MW that not only included our board of directors and committees but Mac and Anna – they went beyond their normal call of duty to meet very high expectations, thank you both!
Other than our great business luncheons and networking events spread throughout the year, a few highlights of the past year in the rearview mirror are worth mentioning today. This year we:
  • Launched a new website and member database - better information and resources for our members.
  • Added several new member firms to our list.
  • Had great attendance at all our events – even more than expected. 
  • Continued to work with our partner agencies to help them with contractual matters through our partnering meetings; those result in understanding each other's issues and points of view to resolve matters of mutual interest.
  • Significantly increased interaction with partner agencies and held very successful meetings with agencies like WSSC Water, DC Water, Fairfax Water, GSA, Architect of the Capitol, Corps of Engineers, MDOT, VDOT, DDOT, and more.
  • Were very active in state and local legislative processes and in reaching out to municipalities regarding Procurement and Billing concerns - great outcomes for the industry and our member firms.
  • Significantly improved our coordination and working relationship with our neighboring member organizations, ACEC/MD and VA. We met with ACEC/MD President Allan Straus and ACEC/VA President Donald Booth and their Executive Committees, and now we meet twice a year. I honestly think we reinforce and support each other, and we can get much more done working together than alone. I hope we can continue this spirit in the years to come and would like to thank Alan and Donald for their leadership! 
  • Expanded our social media presence – thanks to Anna, our Association Administrator.
  • Started the practice of an Annual Holiday Party in December combined with our Awards Gala that was a huge success last year with over 215+ attendees and a host of sponsors and wonderful projects. Due to the COVID situation it may be different this year.
  • Started a Past Presidents Committee to provide advice to the board on strategic planning and operational matters.
  • Started a new Maryland Municipal Committee to work with Montgomery and Prince George's Counties with Aaron Smith as the Chair.
  • Started a new Virginia Municipal Committee to work with Northern Virginia localities with Erin Donovan as the Chair.
  • Started a new “Engineering Industry Award,” and the first award was presented to DDOT's Chief Engineer, Dawit Muluneh, during our Awards Gala.
  • Started a new “Legislator of the Year Award,” and we were hoping to present first award at our Annual Business Meeting in June.  But, due to COVID-19, we decided to delay until things get a little better this fall or next spring.
  • Started an Engineering Student Scholarship Program and seed money was raised during our Awards Gala. This will be a great tradition to help give back to our engineering industry, particularly to benefit our youth.
I can go on and on, but these were a few highlights.  We could not have accomplished these without having an awesome team!
I love this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
Lastly, I would like to thank our President Elect Pedro for his support and partnership last year to make these changes possible.  I wish him good luck for next year and look forward to working with him toward his and the association's success. It won't be easy next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, and will be a totally different experience for him, but I am sure he will take this organization to a different level.  Good Luck Pedro!  You have all my support!!! 


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