Engineering Inc. - July/August 2008 - (Page 44)

ONE ON ONE Views on America’s Transportation Infrastructure Crisis, Sustainability, and Challenges in the Water Sector A. William Stout is chairman and CEO of Gannett Fleming. Q. A. As an industry leader in transportation systems, what message would you send to political candidates this year about the state of America’s infrastructure? Q. 44 My message is that we need real leadership at all levels of government to deal with what is becoming a transportation infrastructure crisis. By real leadership, I mean the willingness to inform the public that there is no free lunch. Bridges are collapsing, commute times are increasing and we are being far too timid in attacking these problems because we do not have the political will to do what is necessary. For too long, those in control of public infrastructure funding have been unwilling to tell the public that safety and improved mobility require substantial expenditures that should be funded by those that use the system. Q. Sustainability has affected the way we work and the work we do. We are recycling more and more of the materials that we previously consumed. Further, we are making increased use of recycled paper and other products and have installed a green roof at our corporate headquarters. We have a standing committee on sustainability that makes recommendations to management and educates our employees on sustainability practices in their lives at work and at home. We also look for opportunities to improve the sustainability of everything we design. Many of our professionals have obtained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation. Although this applies mostly to green commercial buildings, we recently received the first LEED certification for a water treatment plant. We bring sustainable elements to as many projects as possible, not just the ones where it is expected. need. However, we are having a difficult time hiring experienced professionals. It is our sense that civil engineering enrollments are down and that hiring entry-level civil engineers will become a problem in the near future, particularly if politicians take our earlier advice and infrastructure spending ramps up. The fix is multifaceted. First, we must start recruiting engineers when they are in middle school. We need to get our engineers into the classroom to explain the engineering profession to America’s youth. Second, we must improve our relationships with universities not only to develop bonds with professors and their students, but also to provide input on the curriculum being taught. Third, we must actively recruit college students for internships and for full-time employment upon graduation. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, we must increase the stature of the profession in the minds of the public so that they encourage their children to pursue engineering. Q. infrastructure, especially dams and levees. The health and safety of the public demand an improvement in the condition of these aging structures. Meaningful liability protections must be put in place for our industry to assist in addressing this need. We must also replace or repair the mains that are used to transport water to customers. Billions of gallons are wasted each year through leaking pipes. This wastes not only precious water resources, but the energy resources required to treat and pump the water as well. A. Has your participation in ACEC been personally and professionally rewarding? In what ways has the sustainability trend affected your operations? ENGINEERING INC. A. What is your view of the engineer shortage? Is it as severe as some say? What is the fix? Q. I believe we are on the brink of an engineer shortage. Currently, we are able to hire the entry-level engineers we A. As a top-10 firm in dams and reservoirs, what do you see as America’s principal challenge in the water sector? The principal challenge in the water sector is the replacement or repair of aging Yes, it has been my pleasure to participate in ACEC/ Pennsylvania’s Business Practices Committee, ACEC’s Institute for Business Management (IBM), the Design Professionals Coalition (DPC) and the Senior Executives Institute (SEI). The Pennsylvania committee and IBM deal with education—a special interest of mine—and enable me to inform each committee on the plans and activities of the other. Meeting and exchanging ideas and practices at both DPC and SEI have been invaluable. I have learned a great deal and formed many lasting friendships. n july / AuGust 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - July/August 2008

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2008
2009 EEA Call for Entries
Table of Contents
From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Market Watch
Legislative Action
Congressman Kendrick Meek
Going Global
2008 Professional Liability Insurance Survey
Institute for Business Management 2008 Fall Course Catalog
Bridging the Gap
2008 Convention Wrap Up
2008-2009 Executive Committee
2008 Fall Conference Primer
Business Insights
Members in the News
One on One

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2008