ASCE Advocacy and Public Policy Activities: Fly-In, Public Policy Committee, Section report card reviewer/advocate, Regional governor, Section legislative drive-In, State advocacy
1. How did you become interested in and get involved in advocacy as an ASCE Key Contact?
My dad was involved with politics as councilman and mayor of my hometown and a party leader. He instilled in me a belief that we should all try to make a difference in this world, and being aware of issues that affect us is the first step to making that difference. ASCE's key contact program provides an opportunity to be aware and then, by taking action, to make a difference.
2. Has your advocacy experience as a Key Contact helped you improve skills you utilize personally or professionally?
As a key contact, I have become better at talking about issues that are important to our members as well as our local, state and federal representatives and their staffs. Getting the notices through the program allows me to make timely contact and share the thoughts of a civil engineer on their actions.
3. We’ve heard that you always have your iPad with you so you can sign up members to be key contacts. How has that strategy worked for you?
Using the iPad as a way to connect with the ASCE website is a good idea. The biggest downside is that members need to know their ASCE ID number and most don't carry their card around. Handing out the key contact business card serves as a reminder for potential new contacts to sign up when they have their number handy.
4. What have you found rewarding about your Key Contact efforts? Is there a particular memorable experience you can share?
It is rewarding to take the information you get through the key contact program and get a legislator or staff person to "see the light." Recently, North Carolina held a referendum on bonds to improve infrastructure in our state parks, STEM education facilities and several other much-needed areas. Opponents of the bond tried to use our ASCE section report card against the bond by taking certain isolated points, such as we should be spending funds on roads and bridges, and saying that this bond didn't take care of that. I was contacted by ASCE and asked to interview with a national publication in order to set the record straight. It was very rewarding to do the interview and get the word out that the proposed bonds were a step forward in education and infrastructure needs for our state. The bond passed strongly.
5. What advice would you give to someone interested in getting involved in advocacy at ASCE?
Get involved. Civil engineers are problem solvers and the key contact program is a way to know where the problems are in our policies and legislation. Make a difference.
BECOME A KEY CONTACT!