From the ASME President:
January 2013

Engineers Still Challenged by Energy Demands

Marc W. Goldsmith

Today, more than ever, our efforts are devoted to energy — making sure our use of it is smart, safe, and sustainable over the long-term. Energy continues to be a strategic focus for ASME and lies at the root of what we do as engineers because of its impact on life. The essential systems we depend on — food and water, heat and light, communications and transportation and even sewage treatment — are each highly engineered, complex systems that rely on energy to stay up and running.

My family's experience on Long Island during Hurricane Sandy this past fall continues to remind me just how important all of these systems are. When the lights dimmed, when the heaters failed, when hospitals were evacuated — when all our systems went down — that's when we all knew in our bones how vital engineered systems are to our very health and well-being. Transportation was disrupted, businesses shuttered, and all the innovative technology systems in existence came to a standstill without electrical power.

Helping engineers address energy-related challenges brings us back to our roots time and again. From the Society's founding days, engineers made technology more reliable and safer. While we strive to innovate and meet today's urgent need for more power, we have to understand the world and its people to make it work as it should. Engineers make use of both high and low technology, innovating on both ends of the spectrum.

This year we've gathered top practitioners to formulate a New Nuclear Construct in the wake of Fukushima. Through our joint initiative Engineering for Change, we've supported humanitarian engineers around the globe as they work to bring reliable energy infrastructure to those who've never had it. And we've joined U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's Sustainable Energy for All initiative, just to name a few examples.

Bearing events like Fukushima or Sandy in mind, I believe we should prepare for extraordinary, even undreamt-of events which could threaten vital systems and the energy supply they depend on. Such plans would simply be the next manifestation of our aim — to make life safer and better, as we first did all those years ago with the first Boiler Code. And as was true then, once again it is up to us, the engineers, to make it happen.

-Marc W. Goldsmith, ASME President