Colorado Public Works Journal, Winter 2019

58 • Colorado Public Works Journal ACEC ENGINEERING FORWARD Craig Watts The author is Craig Watts, PE, LEED AP, Principal/Project Executive, MKK now IMEG, and President of ACEC Colorado Board of Directors and can be reached at Leaders of Change in the Engineering Profession As we look ahead into 2019 and begin executing our strate- gic plans for the year, it is customary for both engineering firms and the individuals that comprise those firms to pose questions such as “What is the future of our profession?” , “How will we continue to be stewards of public health, safety and welfare?” and “What is coming, and how will we conduct our businesses in the future?” The Engineering Change Lab-USA (ECL-USA) Summit #4, held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science during the last quarter of 2018, provided an opportune moment to discuss these questions amongst nearly 50 engineering colleagues from both the U.S. and Canada. The following themes emerged from the general conversa- tions led by three provocateurs. 1. Innovation - Brad Hardin, Chief Technology Officer, Black and Veatch Brad posed the challenge that 70-80% of engineering services as we know it today will soon become automated. “Those that innovate will succeed and those who do not will be left behind” 2. Complacency - Paul Johnson, President, Colorado School of Mines Believing that we can remain within the status quo will not be a viable strategy for future success. 3. Public Policy - George Sparks, President/CEO, Denver Museum of Nature and Science George discussed the museum’s efforts related to increasing the influence of science in public policy. The main goal is to create common values and expand minds with respect to scientific knowledge. After each provocateur’s message, the group of engineering professionals broke into focus group to examine the following initiatives. • Technology - The exploration of leading technologies that will impact the engineering community, challenges and opportunities • Education - Resolution of how we can infuse engineering and science into the daily curriculum of our P-20 students • Public Policy - How can engineers positively impact public policy and teach a new generation of students/engineers the importance of impactful public policy and their role in forming that policy • Future of Consulting Engineering - Some of the topics included blockchain technology, increasing competition from outside the industry, and possible partnerships with technology companies • Engineering Licensure - How can we provide greater con- sistency across all licensing jurisdictions and the portability of licenses The Summit further revealed the importance of decisive communication strategies in order to be the leaders of change in the engineering profession. My message to our industry is “Who better to lead this change than us, the engineering community?” Instead of running away, we need to embrace it head on, and we just might see that letting go of our old ways might free us up to be even better stewards!