Thank you…
Thank you…
First, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the source of my strength.
 John C. Maxwell once said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
 I'd like to begin by acknowledging all the people who have led the way and shown me the way as I take on the honorable task as chair of the American Council of Engineering Companies Metropolitan Washington (ACEC/MW).
 I'd like to recognize Mugdha Tipnis, our past chair, who has done an amazing job, and to all the past chairs, board members, committee chairs and vice chairs, members and clients. Thank you for your contributions to ACEC/MW. Jim Hoffman, a former ACEC/MW past president and now the Mid-Atlantic, Vice Chair Liaison for ACEC National thank you, and I look forward to working with you.
 And thank you Mac and Lisha, for your tireless efforts and for all you do. You are truly the backbone of our organization.
 I would like to thank our ACEC national president and CEO, Linda Darr and Jay Wolverton, ACEC national outgoing board chair for their leadership and advocacy, and the entire ACEC national team, thank you for your spirit of excellence, and for showing me how great leader's lead. Over the past 6 years, every time I attended one of the national conferences or engaged with your team, I become smarter, wiser, and learned more about the business of engineering and expanded my strengths as a leader.
 To my AtkinsRéalis family, thank you for your support. Paul Demit, Senior Vice President and Business unit leader and Taylor Wright, Vice President, and Business Development Director for infrastructure solutions.  I thank both of you for being great sponsors throughout my AtkinsRéalis and ACEC/MW journey.
 I also want to give honorable mention to Jim Bach, retired president of Louis Berger international, for our consistent and timely conversations as he shows me the way.
 I would like to thank my wife, Lynette, my dentist who is the owner of the Toothspa in college park, Maryland, and amazing wife, who loves and supports me and helps me to maintain a healthy balance between work, being a father and a husband.  And to my children, Zipporah, Hannah and little, Arthur thanks for keeping me grounded and keeping me youthful.
Throughout my life, my parents and siblings have been a steady rock of love and support. Thank you! And to everyone who has supported me, advised me, advocated for me, pushed, pulled, and challenged me, I want to say thank you! I am not standing here without your support.
 Finally, I want to thank my late father, who was a transportation engineer. I saw the impact he had in his community; he is the reason I developed an obsession with the ideals, beauty, and possibilities of engineering at an early age.
 He is the reason I spend every waking hour thinking about engineering. He is the reason I want the world to learn more about it. And he is the reason I want to introduce the concepts of engineering to our youth at an early age – particularly our most disadvantaged youth. I want to build the next generation of engineers who will build the future.
 If my father were here today, he would certainly be proud. But he would also ask the question, “Arthur, what's next?”
And I believe this is the question all of us must answer: what is next?
During the ACEC Fall conference, I attended the planning committee meeting and learnt about the essentialism of engineering, and at the Legislative conference, I walked away keenly aware of our advocacy efforts, the impact of technology, the workforce challenge, the political landscape and the state of our industry. Even throughout our time today, I have learnt so much.
I left these sessions then and now with a clarion call to be proactive in addressing these looming challenges with the potential of disrupting our industry. I know that we all can make an impact to meet the needs of the future, but we all need to do a better job elevating our stories to grow and inspire the next generation of engineers.
Our children and neighbors and community need to know who we are and the cool problems we solve. Everybody needs the opportunity to be an engineer, but it starts early. As early as elementary school. We need to inspire young minds to explore engineering and keep encouraging and mentoring these young people through every step of their journeys. We can talk all day about the amazing things we get to do, but we also need to do a better job of shedding the “engineer stereotype.”
 This point was brought home recently and loudly. We were on a major pursuit, and as part of a team-building exercise, I asked each member to give a “fun fact” about themselves and to describe what life looked like after retirement; I wanted to learn something about the team members beyond their credentials. I was fascinated to find that inside this “Type A,” driven, ambitious hard-nosed, amazing, and brilliant team were people who cared about their communities, who wanted to travel, to support the youth, and go on missionary trips. Others wanted to be with their families or adventure to arenas across the world to enjoy sporting events without a worry in the world.
 The point is, when we move past the stereotype of “engineers,” we are, each of us, as relatable as our neighbors. We just have cooler jobs! But people also need to know that we have other interests, that we are relatable: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters. That we want to give back to our communities, to care for our elderly. That we love to play, compete, and have fun. They need to see that there is room in our lives for other pursuits.
There is a quote from president Herbert Hoover that I believe embodies the importance of this question, what's next, as we face our nation's most pressing challenges ahead and how we will make our communities cleaner, safer, and more sustainable.  
 He said and I quote: “The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers.”
 President. Hoover's words effectively capture the burden we carry as engineers. But we carry this burden with confidence, power, and optimism.
Looking ahead, how will we address the challenges facing our profession.  Every facet of our country's infrastructure, largely built within the last century to support the needs of post-war growth and development, is aging beyond its ability to be simply repaired.
According to American Society of Civil Engineer's 2021 report card, our infrastructure has a grade of C-, and I quote:
“There is a water main break every two minutes and an estimated 6 billion gallons of treated water lost each day in the U.S., enough to fill over 9,000 swimming pools.
Growing wear and tear on our nation's roads have left 43% of our public roadways in poor or mediocre condition, a number that has remained stagnant over the past several years.”
 Also, another important statistic be aware of, according to the 2023 ACEC research institute report, the engineering and design services industry's combined economic impact in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia for 2022, resulted in our industry supporting over 328,000 total jobs, resulting in $25.4 billion wages, and a total industry gross domestic product of $41.3 billion. 
 Our work and influence are significant!  As engineers, we get an opportunity in our profession that so many others simply don't have: to engineer—literally create and design--a better future for our planet and its people. How exciting is that? This is a golden moment for us to showcase our endeavors to the broader world and attract attention and interest to our profession.
As an organization, how will we enhance our skills and give birth to broad and bold ideas that help us identify efficiencies, and make better-informed decisions?
 In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins outlines a model for turning a good organization into a great one. He describes 3 key aspects of a great organization: disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action.
Disciplined People get the right people on the bus in the right seats and then figure out where to drive it.
 Disciplined Thought means we must have faith that we will prevail despite difficult challenges that we will confront.
And Disciplined Action will force us to create a culture of discipline which will lead to our best thinking, superior performance, and sustained results.
 My vision for this ACEC/MW member year to take advantage of this moment are: 
  1. In alignment with ACEC national, initiate a workforce task force.  This task force will establish the framework to increase our impact on STEM in the region for our new and future workforce, retaining and developing the current workforce and addressing legislative and regulatory/policy workforce issues.
  2. Good to great program alignment initiatives to include, but not limited to tactical strategies such as initiating a membership survey, strategic plan refresh, and enhancing our program committee.  These initiatives will increase our overall collaboration across our committees, help us to increase our outreach within our community, elevate our stories, and our thought leadership across the industry.
  3. Establish 1 or 2 collaborative delivery workshops to educate and foster increased collaboration between our clients, contractors, and the engineering community to improve project and program delivery.
 My ask of all of you is to think of ways you can make ACEC/MW great and identify ways you can participate in supporting these initiatives and elevating our engineering story. We need your talents, time, and ideas. We need your energy, resources, and networks.
I want to revisit my father's question and pose that question to you, What's next for us? Representation is important, how can you help us make our organization and our profession better tomorrow than it is today? What can you do right now to lay the foundation for the next generation of engineers and leaders? What can you do to open the doors for youth who have been overlooked or underrepresented in our profession? What's next for you?
 In closing, I am excited about the future of our organization and profession. I am confident that, together, we will become a great organization. 
 Someone once said, “heroism is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” 
 We are an organization full of heroes and sheroes, who everyday will continue to serve our profession, our communities, and show the courage to fight for the dreams of the next generation of engineers. Let's go and engineer a better future for our planet and its people!  Thank you!


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