A New Year's Reflection: Goals Accomplished, But More Work to Do!

Board of Directors Jim Hoffman looks back on goals achieved in 2021 and previews the association's path forward for 2022.
Happy New Year! I hope that everyone was able to enjoy time with family members and recharge over the holidays. The pandemic has reminded us to cherish our relationships. Many of us were able to reconnect more fully this holiday season as compared to last holiday season. 
In June, I shared our goal of being the “go-to” resource for member firms, our clients, and elected officials for issues that impact our industry, and conveyed our desire that they seek counsel and guidance from us. A fantastic example of this is our engagement with DC Water for their upcoming Lead Free DC Program. DC Water actively initiated engagement with our association, and we have provided feedback and recommendations. We had numerous industry meetings, smaller ACEC work group meetings, and one-on-one conversations with DC Water to support this effort. DC Water is a great example of the many relationships our organization has with client agencies. Being a go-to resource remains an important focus as we move into the New Year.
We are implementing the goals of our Strategic Plan: Educate, Engage and Advocate. Here in an update on four key initiatives tied to our strategic plan.

  • Emerging Leaders: The inaugural cohort of our Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI) has 20 bright, diverse, enthusiastic and gifted individuals representing 18 member firms. The program has met twice in addition to attending a Board of Directors meeting and our Engineering Excellence Awards Gala. The Executive Committee of our Board had the pleasure of meeting the ELI group at their first session, which included dinner and etiquette training. Our future is bright.
  • Small Business Committee: Our small business committee started this fall and is led by Committee Chair Arpan Patel (Somat Engineering), and Vice Chair Tandrumn Reid (T3 Design). The committee hosted the December 14th Small Business and Diversity Virtual Event with leaders from DC Water, DDOT, VDOT and WMATA and a total of 80 attendees. We are still adding new members to this committee. 
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Task Force: The purpose of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Task Force is to work to ensure that ACEC/MW is a welcoming organization where all members are included, involved, and have the opportunity to pursue key roles in the life of the Council. The task force has held initial meetings to inform the task force and our association's activities and efforts. We are looking forward to programming our first DEIB program in the spring. 
  • Increase our Advocacy: We had a leadership retreat focused on advocacy and attend by the Board of Directors and our Committee Chairs.
District of Columbia Advocacy: We are looking to schedule a DC Legislative Breakfast in the first quarter. This effort is being led by Kathleen Linehan (Alpha Corporation), Jacqi Glover (Delon Hampton) and our Legislative Committee. We have formalized the creation of a DC Political Action Committee (DC PAC) to further our advocacy efforts within the District.  We appointed the following trustees to the DC PAC: Chair Pedro Capestany (AECOM), Treasurer Gregg Spagnolo (North Arrow), Tina Boyd (TB&A, LLC); Jacqi Glover (Delon Hampton), Kathleen Linehan (Alpha Corporation), Thomas Perry (HDR), Rizwan Siddiqi (EBA Engineering, Inc.). The DC PAC is establishing its operating procedures and looks forward to advocacy efforts on behalf of our membership.  
Virginia and Maryland Advocacy: In Virginia, Mac Cannon, our President, and member representatives met with Delegates David Bulova, Rip Sullivan, Eileen Filler-Corn, Charniele Herring and Senator George Barker in the fall. Mac represents ACEC/MW on the Joint Legislative Committee (JLC).  This is an effective group which is comprised of ACEC Virginia, ACEC/MW and AIA Virginia.  As the Virginia General Assembly begins in 2022, the JLC will be busy working through all the bills affecting our industry and will monitor and engage.  In Maryland, we enjoy a solid relationship with the members of the ACEC/MD Legislative Committee and their efforts in Annapolis on behalf of our firms in Maryland.  We are supporting ACEC/MD's Legislative Action Day in Annapolis on January 18.  
Our ACEC/MW Legislative committee keeps apprised of the issues across these three jurisdictions and will look to keep you updated.  If you are interested in joining this committee, it is open to members – please join! 
We continue to solidify our activities. 
  • Deliver value and expand membership: Our vibrant committees and programs continue. We welcomed CES Consulting, our 100th member firm, in December. We have a net increase of 5 member firms and our 100 firms have over 4,600 employees.
  • Collaborate: We continue to collatorate with our sister organizations ACEC/MD and ACEC/VA. We have had two quarterly calls with leadership, and our committees are sharing information. 
  • Committees: We are evaluating a new Dry Utilities and Energy Committee, and just received the survey results from membership. Our committees are strong and active. I note that we get out of associations what we put into them. I encourage everyone to be active participants in our committees to get the most value out of our association. If you are interested in serving on the committees, please contact the ACEC/MW office for more details.
  • Programs: We have had and will have in-person, virtual and hybrid events. The Program Committee is led by Jenny Bowers (EXP U.S. Services, Inc.), and they are doing excellent work. The committee has a robust slate of events scheduled for spring. I would like to highlight our Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) Gala, celebrated in person on December 8, 2021. What an event! 200 attendees celebrated 30 innovative engineering projects.  Congratulations to Parsons Transportation Group with VDOT for winning the Grand Pinnacle Award for the Route 7 and Battlefield Parkway Interchange! A special thanks to our EEA judges – Matt Doyle (Fairfax DPWES), Nick Gardner (WMATA), Rudy Gonzalez (DC Water), Thom Lipinski (Loudoun Water), Dawit Muluneh (DDOT), Roger Natsuhara (MWAA), Eric Rehwoldt (Seismic Surveys, Inc.), Susan Wong (NPS), and Leeann Sherman (ACEC/PA) – for volunteering their time.  
  • Scholarships: We awarded three scholarships in the spring of 2021 to Roshan George (Virginia Tech), Leah Jamison (University of Maryland), and Abigail Wolfgram, P.E. (George Mason University). We are increasing the number and value of scholarships for 2022. We are able increase our awards thanks to the generosity of those that attended and sponsored our 2021 Spring and Fall Scholarship Golf Tournaments, which generated a combined $27,700 for our scholarship fund.  Scholarship applications are due January 28, 2022 – help us spread the word to engineering students that you know. 
Other Highlights from 2021
Congratulations to Rudy Gonzales, CPSM, Director of Procurement, Capital Programs for DC Water for receiving ACEC/MW's Engineering Industry Leadership Award. Mr. Gonzalez was nominated by our membership, and he was selected by our Board of Directors as a clear choice to receive this award.  He has proven to be a solid partner with the engineering industry and a great communicator, continuously engaging with ACEC/MW and our membership.  We were honored to recognize him with this is well-deserved award at our Engineering Excellence Awards Gala.  
We are excited about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The combined strength of the ACEC National effort, regional ACEC efforts, and advocacy by your firms has resulted in a great opportunity for our industry to create and build the infrastructure of the future.  We will be busy, and there will be much work to do, but the passage and implementation of this legislation is a very big deal.  ACEC/MW will continue to work with the National office, as well as our Federal, State and Local agency representatives on how and where this funding will be implemented.  This will be an ongoing process, and ACEC/MW will be right there in the middle updating the industry throughout.
Mac Cannon is our President (and executive director) this year. The change in title has already yielded benefits in increased access and responsiveness. And a special thanks to Anna Seekins, our Association Administrator. Mac and Anna are vital to the work we are able to accomplish.

I'm really excited and looking forward to 2022!

Our association is strong, and our Board of Directors and Committee Chairs are working hard for our members and to support our industry. Thank you to our Board of Directors and Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for all of your work. Happy New Years, and Cheers to 2022!


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