Michael R. Cunningham, PE, Senior Principal Engineer, Kleinfelder
Season’s Greetings BSCES Members! The special theme of this issue is Geotechnical Practices and Scott Jacobs, PE, from our Society Sponsor, Keller, has a great article perfectly aligned with this theme for you to read. Thank you to Scott and Keller! The Geo-Institute Boston Chapter Chair Scott Kibby, PE, from Mott MacDonald provided a summary article about his institute chapter. Lastly, we have a legislative update article from Bruce Jacobs, PhD, PE, our Legislative Fellow, and an Annual Awards announcement from BSCES Vice President and Awards Committee Chair, Anuja Kamat, PhD.
We are already halfway through our 2024 fiscal year, which is hard to believe, but it’s a good time to reflect on accomplishments from the past six months and goals for the first half of 2024. There are many accomplishments to be merry about this year! First of all, thanks to all of our members that continue to be a part of BSCES. This is a great organization that offers so many benefits to our members. Thanks also to our annual sponsors that enable us to hold events, award scholarships, and give out grants. This year, we have three society sponsors and 28 program sponsors.
Over the past four months, we have held ten programs including a 12-session PE exam preparatory course, the half-day Bertram Berger Seminar, two site visits/technical presentations, a project management webinar, two social/networking events, two community service activities, and a student chapter officers’ caucus. This fall, we solicited grant applications from our local ASCE student chapters and received five applications, which we are reviewing and hope to aid the chapters’ planned activities with modest grants! We are wrapping up our annual STEM Outreach Program Sponsorship drive to help support our upcoming student competitions and recently initiated an end of year appeal for donations from our past and current leaders. During this seasons of giving, please consider a donation in support of BSCES, which you can make here. Our Government Affairs and Professional Practice Committee has started planning for the development of the first ever Massachusetts Infrastructure Report Card. The Newsletter Editorial Board has been actively soliciting and reviewing articles for this newsletter and we hope to publish the next issue of our Civil Engineering Practice journal soon.
There are also many things that are sure to make 2024 a happy new year. We have judging for our annual New England Regional Future City Competition and Model Bridge Competition on Saturday, January 20 and February 3, respectively. We continue to plan for awarding student scholarships in 2024, including the first ever Professor S. Eagleson Memorial Scholarship. Shortly, we will be soliciting and reviewing award nominations for our 175th Annual Awards Dinner and our institute chapters, technical groups, and committees are busy planning exciting events for the coming months. These activities and many others will keep our BSCES volunteers busy and provide opportunities for learning and networking to our members.
My time as a member and volunteer with BSCES has been quite enjoyable and rewarding, but I am concerned for the future. Our membership numbers have been trending down over the past five years or so and we have less volunteers nowadays, particularly since the start of the pandemic. This has made it harder for BSCES to hold events. We are also seeing lower than expected turnout at our events, both in-person and virtual. These issues result in less income generation, which is needed to sustain the organization and ensure continued activities. BSCES leaders have made changes over the past 18 months to how we organize, plan, and hold events. While these changes have made event planning and promotion processes simpler, they have not resulted in more events. The Executive Committee feels that we have reached a critical point where we need to reverse this trend now or potentially face impacts that will be difficult to reverse. Please consider actively volunteering with one of our nine institute chapters and technical groups or our many operational committees. We need energetic volunteers that are interested in being involved and actively planning events or contributing to other activities to keep us providing great professional development opportunities for our members and the rest of the local profession. This has been the BSCES tradition since 1848! Another helpful contribution is to encourage your colleagues to become members, attend events, and/or volunteer. Or encourage your employer to support BSCES by covering the cost of membership and event registration or becoming a sponsor organization. I can say that after 25 years in this profession, continuing education and in-person networking is vital to our growth and success! Thank you for your consideration and I know that we can eventually get back to the level of engagement BSCES boasted in the recent past.
Please look to this newsletter for an article and announcement on how to submit nominations for the 2024 BSCES Section and Employer Recognition Awards. Also included is a solicitation for the 2024 BSCES Sustainability in Civil Engineering Awards. These award recipients will be recognized at the 175th BSCES Annual Awards Dinner in June. Please consider submitting a nomination!
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