From the President June 2015

Robert Sims

A Bright Future for ASME

When ASME’s first president, Professor Robert H. Thurston, gave closing remarks following his first year as president in 1881, he made a statement very similar to ASME’s present-day mission, which is to utilize engineering knowledge to improve the quality of life. In comparison, he used these words, “to ensure to everyone absolute freedom to learn and to labor in any department of industry,” with “fitting recompense for all the zeal, intelligence and good work” that we offer the world. It’s really astonishing how these words resonate throughout ASME’s 135 years of existence and, still, form the root of our present-day mission.

As I gave my final remarks as ASME president, on June 9 at the Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., I stated how our founders defined mechanical engineering as a profession while shaping the world —similar to how we are shaping the world today by unleashing technology’s potential. Although methods change, ASME is not reinventing the wheel — we are using available knowledge and innovation to reach toward a brighter future. 

Technological innovation has provided numerous opportunities for ASME to explore new market-focused strategies, particularly in the areas of energy and advanced manufacturing. Converging technologies of advanced sensors and the Internet of Things into smarter, well-integrated systems are giving us safer, better diagnostics and inspections. Also, 3D printing is broadening opportunities for creative solutions and learning processes.

One of the things that really excites me about our future is the effort we’ve made to engage students in the engineering process. Students are learning that while engineering is both inspiring and challenging, it can also be a lot fun. The collaboration between the ASME Foundation and NASA was particularly exciting as K-12 students participated in the inaugural 3D space challenge through Future Engineers. This program gave students the opportunity to actually design tools and other gadgets that astronauts can use onboard the International Space Station. 

ASME Standards & Certification continues to proactively address the issues that will enable ASME to face future needs and demands that ensure safety and reliability in technology. A new online pipeline standards compendium (PTB-9) is now available for users and for public understanding of federal pipeline safety regulations. Another project, in the works, has been developing ways to bring standards education into curricula, so that students are prepared to work as engineers from the start. 

It has been a great honor to serve as president of ASME this past year and an even greater privilege to do so with the leadership of our Board of Governors, our volunteers, ASME Executive Director Tom Loughlin and the ASME staff. Because of our collective efforts, our membership has grown worldwide and our outreach has multiplied into millions through our partnerships and extended networks. Our commitment in more mission-focused implementation of Pathway 2025 and activities under ONE ASME have put us on a course for growth and future success well into the 21st century.  

Please join me as an active participant in the Society’s programs and activities. Let’s all be a part of ASME’s bright future. 

J. Robert Sims
ASME President