The Impulse to Soar
My sincere wish for engineers everywhere is that they constantly renew the desire to open doors and let their imaginations take flight. For ASME, the potential to achieve great things is within our grasp, in terms of both community expertise and the networking technology. We just have to reach out and do. Through creativity and innovative thinking by our many volunteers and staff, we have been successful in moving our strategies and our planning forward — taking those necessary steps into the future.
Although my presidential gavel has been passed to Marc Goldsmith, I have a few thoughts I'd like to share with all of you, as I did with those who attended the Annual Meeting, held earlier this month in Montreal. ASME had another good year — a year of energy, enthusiasm and growth. My year as president also had a few demographic milestones that give us a renewed view of the future, both opportunities and challenges. The world population hit the 7 billion mark. To engineers, this means there are 7 billion dreams for a better life, for a good job, and for a sustainable future. This milestone follows a second remarkable fact — that more than half the world now lives in urban areas. To engineers, this means there's an incredible opportunity to re-shape the world we live in through new designs and new developments in infrastructure.
ASME has spent much of this year talking about energy technologies and what changes must happen if we are to implement these new technologies. Foremost in our energy platform has been water, its use and reuse, as well as carbon management technology and approaches to sustainable communities. We continued to work with others throughout the world in addressing risk management of complex systems, in an ongoing response to crises and disasters.
ASME Standards and Certification continues to grow globally. We've held standards and energy workshops in Brazil, Japan, Korea, and Mexico. We have volunteers helping with translations in Latin America. We continue working in China on nuclear codes and advanced manufacturing. An all-India conclave is being organized to better align ASME with local industry.
Moving forward in innovative solutions for emerging regions, ASME's Engineering for Global Development is crafting a strategy roadmap that will position ASME to become a significant resource in these new and growing communities. The flagship initiative within Engineering for Global Development, Engineering for Change, recently surpassed 10,000 members, featuring projects throughout the world for individual and team participation and sharing of best practices.
On the education front, ASME recognizes that we have well-established systems of higher education in place with public and private support models — but we must improve engineering education beyond the classroom to fill the gaps throughout the workforce pipeline. I was pleased to see that ASME held a Leadership Summit on Mechanical and Multidisciplinary Engineering Education in Hong Kong in September and that we're working on engineering student development with student membership on the rise.
One major highlight of my year has been ASME co-chairing Engineers Week. The positive ripple-effect of these activities is incredibly powerful. This year, ASME led the first DiscoverE Summit and awarded the first DiscoverE Educator Awards. ASME expanded the Inspire Innovation Workshops, providing a model for increasing STEM education opportunities for teachers. Why do we do this? So that engineers can help create classrooms that reflect real-world challenges, spark student curiosity and ignite young imaginations.
Whether we work toward energy or workforce initiatives, achieving our goals will take more than ASME. We must draw on our ability to collaborate, partner and convene — we must establish necessary alliances and strengthen our existing partnerships. Most fascinating to me is our exploration of opportunities with UNESCO and the UN's Sustainable-Energy-for-All Initiative. This Sustainable Energy initiative aims at achieving three things by 2030: universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
Finally, I'd like to reinforce that your leadership matters. For engineering to have a vital and competent workforce, engineers must share their stories, mentor the next generation, and nurture an innovative engineering culture.
The ASME Board of Governors recently heard a Global Talent presentation by IBM, which showcased how mentoring brings value to mentors, mentees and business. Mentoring builds organizational intelligence, connects people, promotes diversity and drives innovation and productivity. Let's all do more of it!
I encourage you to speak up and speak out — especially on issues of change at a local level or in your own technical community. For example, speak out on the changing needs of power supply in your area, or affecting state policy decisions on maintaining the existing licensing requirements for engineers. It can be anything that expands your horizons and makes the world a better place.
These are dynamic times for ASME. The only thing that can hold us back is a lack of imagination, drive and focus. To paraphrase Helen Keller — We must not "consent to creep when we feel the impulse to soar."
It has been an awesome privilege to serve as president. I wish you and ASME the very best as together we soar into the future.
— Victoria A. Rockwell,
ASME President 2011 – 12