Sustaining Our Member Firms through Scholarship

Eric Rehwoldt, Chair of the ACEC/MW Scholarship Subcommittee of the Past Presidents Committee, shares details about the brand new ACEC/MW Student Scholarship Program.
‘Lead, Advocate, and Educate.'  These principles have been the core focus of ACEC Metropolitan Washington to benefit its Member Firms' since inception.  Through strong leadership, ACEC/MW has done an amazing job through the years to stay true to these principles and provide a safe haven for consulting engineering firms to build our businesses and compete in a more favorable industry marketplace.
However, maybe it's time to add another action word to the ACEC/MW tag line that captures the longer view of our industry and business survival….'Sustain'!  Shouldn't we start paying more attention to where the new talent will come from to bring fresh ideas and innovation into our businesses and replenish our ranks?  As any parent knows, college is ridiculously expensive.  Return on investment is key!  How do we inspire, support, and steer those young and talented minds to seek a career in the consulting engineering fields, and with our Member Firms, when there are so many competing industries also offering a strong return on their educational investment?  We need more influencers in our industry to help the ‘sustainability' of our Member Firms through education!
To that end, the ACEC/MW Past Presidents' Committee established a Scholarship Subcommittee this past summer.  The first of its kind for ACEC/MW!  In this inaugural year, the Scholarship program will model the National ACEC scholarship application and judging criteria.  We will award three scholarships worth $3,000 each. The scholarships will be awarded to qualifying engineering students pursuing Bachelor's or Master's degrees from ABET-accredited University programs located in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  Applications are available on the ACEC/MW website, and will be due on January 29, 2021. Scholarship candidate selection will be made by March 1, 2021.  The top two-ranked scholarship awardees will then be eligible to move on to the National ACEC scholarship competition. 
Our funding is off to a great start already with our very successful Golf Tournament in October netting $15,000 toward the ACEC/MW Scholarship Fund. Through additional funding efforts we look forward to expanding the scope of the program in succeeding years to benefit the development of ‘Rising Stars' in our Member Firms through ACEC leadership development training, adding additional scholarship awards for deserving college students, and encouraging mentorship outreach to area High Schools to encourage pursuit of careers in Engineering.  
I am very proud to serve this Scholarship Subcommittee along with our other volunteer ACEC/MW Past President Subcommittee members, Debby Orsak (Cagley & Associates), Stephen Walter (Parsons Transportation), and Rizwan Siddiqi (EBA Engineering).  We are excited to give back to the ACEC/MW organization as Past Presidents with this effort to help ‘Sustain' Member Firms and theconsulting engineering community.

Eric B. Rehwoldt, PE, PG is a Past President and member of the College of Fellows of ACEC/MW.  Eric has been active in the ACEC/MW organization since 1998 through Committees and the Board of Directors.  He is registered as a Professional Engineer (Civil) and Geologist in multiple states, and currently manages the Germantown, Maryland office of Terracon Consultants, Inc.  Eric has enjoyed partnering with many colleagues of ACEC/MW Member Firms on numerous projects in the Metro Washington area, throughout the US, and internationally.


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