ASCE Advocacy and Public Policy Activities: Kansas City Section Government Public Relations (GPR) Committee Chairman, Kansas State Advocacy Captain, Key Contact Committee Member
1. How did you become interested in and get involved in advocacy as an ASCE Key Contact?
I became involved after participating in the Liquid Assets program. It was then that I realized that there were other parts of infrastructure and our profession that were little understood by the public.
2. Has your advocacy experience as a Key Contact helped you improve skills you utilize personally or professionally?
Professionally, my public speaking skills have improved. I've presented to legislators and staff our state and national report cards, spoken to students about the engineering profession and have informed other ASCE members about election issues. Personally, I feel more comfortable speaking to people on a variety of issues.
3. You are State Advocacy Captain and pretty active on social media. Can you talk a little more about that?
Our members are busy in their day-to-day work and one of the things our GPR Committee tries to do is to utilize social media to reach them. Our section and Younger Members Group has a Facebook page so we utilize those to reach our members. Sometimes it's sharing a post from Saving America’s Infrastructure or ASCE Government Relations page on Facebook. Other times it's posting links to news sources that talk about infrastructure or engineering-related topics. It is even as simple as letting members know when deadlines are coming up to register to vote and where to find information if they don't know where to register or look up a sample ballot.
4. What have you found rewarding about your Key Contact efforts? Is there a particular memorable experience you can share?
The biggest reward has been watching the public recognize and understand that the infrastructure our grandparents' generation created is reaching the end of its service, and that we need to reinvest in it to maintain the high quality of life that our nation enjoys today. Some of my most memorable experiences have been seeing bipartisan support for infrastructure at both the federal and state levels in these polarizing times. When elected officials talk about the importance of funding a water plan for the state or including in their newsletter to constituents their support for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorizations, it makes putting in the time worth it.
5. What advice would you give to someone interested in getting involved in advocacy at ASCE?
First, get involved. There are a lot of resources at www.asce.org/keycontacts/ to help educate you on the infrastructure issues and ASCE's public policy positions. Second, talk to other members about these issues and work on reaching out to the public to promote what we do. Lastly, understand that it takes a long time to make lasting change. There are a lot of other competing issues demanding attention from legislators so sometimes it’s tough to see bills get passed right away. Still that's all the more reason that we need to stay involved in the process --- who knows more about civil engineering and infrastructure and can tell its story better than us?
BECOME A KEY CONTACT!