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OT: ASCE Election

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With more than 137,000 members and 152 years of history, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is truly the granddaddy of all professional engineering organizations.  Historically, the governance has been provided by individuals advancing through ASCE’s geographic branches, sections, districts, and zones.  Last year, however, the membership approved a constitutional amendment to significantly restructure the governance.  The 16 districts and 4 zones are being replaced with 10 regions.  More significantly, the board of direction is being reduced from 28 to 17 members.  It will now be comprised of a president, a past-president, a president-elect, 10 regional directors, 2 at-large directors, and 2 institute directors.  To facilitate the latter, ASCE’s 7 technical institutes will now comprise a virtual entity known as the "technical region."  All of these changes will occur over a 5-year transition period, beginning with the election of the first technical region director this year.

Each technical institute was asked to nominate a candidate for this position in October 2004.  The Architectural Engineering Institute repeatedly asked me if I would accept their nomination.  Without realizing what would be involved, I eventually agreed.  Subsequently, all candidates were required to write a series of time-consuming documents and were summoned to appear in person for interviews with the technical region nominating committee in Tampa.  Upon my arrival for the interviews in January 2005, I quickly discovered that the assembled slate of candidates was formidable.  All of the others had Ph.D. degrees and were nationally and internationally recognized experts in their respective disciplines, and one was an honorary member of ASCE.  Nevertheless, for lack of an alternative, I proceeded through the interview process.

To become the sole official nominee of the technical region, a candidate was required to muster 75% of the votes of the 14-person nominating committee.  After several rounds of secret balloting, two candidates remained but neither had achieved the 75% threshold.  Accordingly, two individuals were selected as official nominees.  I was one of them and suddenly found myself in a contested national election.  This odyssey included 7 months of intermittent campaigning and 2 months of voting.  Ballots were sent to all ASCE members last June.  I was relieved when the voting finally ended this past Monday.  Yesterday, I received a phone call with the news that I had received 53.5% of the vote.  This was quite a surprise, as I did not expect to win and was concerned that I might end up on the wrong end of an embarrassing landslide.

I take exception to Bill's characterization of me as a bureaucrat.  My campaign was based on a platform of perspective and vision regarding what ASCE is today and what it should be tomorrow.  For those of you with nothing better to do, or for those seeking a bit of entertainment, my two-page candidate statement should still be available online at either of the two links below.  For the next three years, SEAINT Listserv participants will now have a direct way to voice their thoughts on ASCE.  I promise to listen to (almost) all of you.


Stan R. Caldwell, P.E., F.ASCE, F.AEI
Dallas, Texas