Colorado Public Works Journal, Fall/Winter 2021

56 Colorado Public Works Journal ACEC ENGINEERING FORWARD Heidi Gordon ACEC Colorado Releases New Fact Sheet About Consulting Engineers in Transportation According to the national ACEC Research Institute 2020 Engineering Industry Contribution Report, published earlier this year, engineering and architectural-initiated annual taxes are sufficient to pay for the maintenance of nearly 100,000 miles of highway per year (i.e., the total road inventory of the states of New Jersey and Delaware combined), and the engineering and architectural industry contributes enough annual taxes to pay for the repair of 172,000 of America’s 231,000 structurally deficient bridges. Beyond being a vital part of the U.S. infrastructure, though, consulting engineering firms also serve as an important resource at the state and local levels for both clients and the public. Considering this ACEC Colorado recently undertook development of a series of fact sheets to better communicate these valuable roles to legislators, stakeholder, decisionmakers and the public. The first fact sheet was released in October 2021 and focuses on the role of consulting engineers in the transportation sector. As the purpose statement reads, “The private sector transportation industry in Colorado strives to be a partner with federal, state and local governments; the business community; and the public in delivering a transportation system that serves the multi-modal mobility and safety needs of the State of Colorado now and into the future.” The fact sheet then outlines five areas with key points: Who We Are • Professional engineers designing multimodal transportation systems • Transportation planners envisioning the future for local communities • Traffic data analysts optimizing our transportation facilities • Environmental specialists assuring good stewardship of limited resources • Technical experts charting a path to integrate future technologies • Communication professionals engaging owners, the public and stakeholders The Value We Bring • Help Colorado define and realize future land use and transportation goals • Build collaborative project teams leveraging a diverse and inclusive workforce • Integrate with clients’ workforces to deliver transportation projects through a blended team approach • Bring national experience to solve local challenges • Able to mobilize a workforce and resources to deliver on major transportation investments or mitigate natural disasters The Benefit to Colorado • Employ nearly 50,000 people in Colorado with professional salaries that helps fuel the local economy • Design multi-modal transportation projects that contribute to a more sustainable, efficient, and reliable transportation network • Assist in identifying transportation investment needs and support the pursuit of funding to meet those needs. • Develop the workforce of the future to help our communities realize a 21st century transportation system. • Operate in an industry highly regulated by both state and federal governments. Why We Are Needed • Are integral to federal, state and local governments’ ability to deliver transportation infrastructure projects. • Help local governments as they transition to new, smarter technologies for transportation infrastructure. • Support project delivery that is compliant with federal and state regulations and engage local communities in mitigation strategies. • Develop innovative transportation solutions that maximize the benefit to Colorado while minimizing inefficiencies. What Are Our Risks • Commodity-based selection of professional services instead of qualifications-based selection. • Level of risk is out of balance with financial reward. • Legislation can create a financial burden when it is not business friendly or balanced. • Competitive labor market with in-state recruitment and retention challenges ACEC Colorado encourages readers to download and use this fact sheet from The author Heidi Gordon, CAE is Deputy Director/COO of ACEC and can be contacted at