Thanks 2020, Hello 2021: A Reflection & Look Forward

ACEC/MW President Pedro Capestany reviews 2020 and previews plans for the new year.
Happy New Year to all our members, clients and agency partners! I hope and trust that everyone was able to have a safe, happy and joyous holiday season. It's amazing to think that we have just passed one year that we were first notified about the virus we now know as COVID-19. A lot has happened during this past year as we all became much better acquainted with our computer skills as we learned how to use Zoom and Teams and set up our home offices to work remotely.

ACEC Metropolitan Washington has adjusted and adapted during this past year, and we have been able to successfully navigate the COVID related restrictions and continue to support our engineering community and be successful in doing so. The steps we took to prepare for the unknown impacts proved to be successful. We established a budget that anticipated a 10% reduction in revenue and cut most significant spending. As we pass the half-way mark on this member year, we have seen increases in revenue and, with the reductions in expenses, we are financially strong.

We moved from our normal in-person meetings to virtual meetings. These too have been successful as we have been able to provide new topics and new speakers that we would not have otherwise been able to offer. So far, all our virtual meetings have exceeded our planned participation and have contributed to our financial strength. We also established a monthly virtual happy hour meeting to allow members to “unWine” and get back to a bit of the networking we so miss from our in-person meetings. We are looking to establish technical training sessions to complement our monthly virtual meetings, so keep checking our website and event calendar.

We initiated two key operational tasks, the revision and updates to our association Bylaws, and the development of a new 5-Year Strategic Plan. I'm happy to report that we have made significant progress on both and we will have newly approved Bylaws and a Strategic Plan by this Spring.

Another significant achievement was the development of our scholarship fund and our 1st Scholarship Golf Outing. The golf outing was set up to start the funding for our scholarship account and will be an annual fall event for the association. We had a great day in October with over 70 golfers and we were able to raise $14,000 for the scholarship fund. Our scholarship subcommittee has sent out applications to our local colleges and universities and we will be awarding our first scholarships this year during our Annual Member meeting.

Next week, on January 14th, we will be hosting our Engineering Excellence Awards Gala (EEA) virtually. We will be recognizing the excellent engineering work that our member firms have done over the past year. I want to congratulate all our winners. Great Job!

With the election of a new administration in the White House, the association is looking forward to working with our federal, state and local elected officials to move the economy forward in 2021. Infrastructure investment will again be how we get our economy moving and we will be here to advocate for the engineering community, our clients and partner agencies. This legislative session will no doubt be interesting, and we will continue to provide our members with updates on the bills that are being written, debated and voted on, and we will call our members to be active participants to get the infrastructure funding we need. 

We are finalizing our programs for the 2nd half of our member year and we will continue to have strong, relevant topics. We are also looking at the potential to host a conference as part of our Annual Meeting. I'm excited about what we will be able to offer our members.

Lastly, we have begun the process to plan for how we will operate in the post pandemic “lockdown.” While we are all looking forward to in-person meetings, online virtual events will remain part of programs.

I'm really excited and looking forward to 2021. Our association is strong, and our Board of Directors and Committee Chairs are working hard for our members and to support our industry. Happy New Years and Cheers to 2021! 

Pedro Capestany is a Vice President and Operations Director for AECOM in the East Region, focusing on the Southeast, for the Program and Project Management Business Line. Mr. Capestany has over 29 years of experience in civil engineering, program management, construction management and public administration, in the fields of transportation, building and heavy civil construction. He has managed programs, individual projects, and multiple task order contracts for local, state, and federal owners on projects with a total construction value of over $15 Billion. He has been involved in the development and management of some of the largest design-build and P3 transportation projects in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Prior to AECOM, Mr. Capestany started ATCS Capital Infrastructure as an affiliate company of ATCS, PLC as a District of Columbia Certified Business Enterprise (CBE). Mr. Capestany has worked on several key local P3 projects providing technical advisory support to the owner. Those projects included the I-495 Express Lanes, I-95 Express Lanes, Dulles Corridor Metrorail Phase 1, I-66 Corridor Improvement, and the DDOT Managed Lanes Feasibility Study. Mr. Capestany started his career working for the Virginia Department of Transportation in the Northern Virginia District. He left VDOT to begin working in the consulting world, working for MBP and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Mr. Capestany is on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Engineering Companies, Metropolitan Washington, (ACEC/MW) where he serves as President and Alternate National Director. He is also involved in many of the association's committees. Mr. Capestany also served on the National Board of Directors of the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland.


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