TECHNICAL COMMITTEE NEWS

Engineering and Technology Committee: A resource for your engineering, technological and educational needs

Alan W. Garcia, P.E.
Director, Environmental Engineering Division
Broward County Office of Environmental Services
Pompano Beach, Florida
Chair, APWA Engineering and Technology Committee

One of the missions of the Engineering and Technology Committee is "to encourage application of modern technologies that will assist public works agencies to better fulfill their missions." A very important aspect of this mission is the emerging technologies and methods of value-based delivery systems and qualifications-based selection of consultants. The committee has continued to work with the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) as well as the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) to provide information to the APWA membership on state-of-the-art, value-based delivery systems. Committee members have completed a review of APWA's Selection and Use of Engineers, Architects and Professional Consultants: Guidelines for Public Agencies, and are coordinating review and comments from ACEC and AGC with the final goal to update and revise these guidelines. The committee has presented several technical sessions at the annual Congress and continues to plan future technical sessions addressing new technologies in value-based delivery systems.

The committee has also been approached by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) to provide input and comments to DBIA's Legislative Task Force Committee as well as to provide a liaison to DBIA. The Engineering and Technology Committee looks to continue to strengthen relationships with AGC, ACEC and DBIA during the coming year so that state-of-the-art construction and consultant procurement methods can be presented to the APWA membership.

Another mission of the committee is "to identify and develop skills and competencies necessary for effective practices and principles to public works applications." Following up on last year's ASCE Policy 465 survey, the committee was contacted by the chair of ASCE's Task Committee on Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice and the Body of Knowledge Subcommittee and has continued to monitor and correspond with the committee chair.

On February 25, 2004, the full "Body of Knowledge" report was released and is currently being reviewed by the Engineering and Technology Committee. The committee will look to prepare a position statement, if warranted, on the findings of ASCE's Body of Knowledge Subcommittee. The Engineering and Technology Committee feels that ASCE's work regarding the prerequisites for professional practice will most certainly forge the future of the practice of professional engineering, which has a potential impact on many future public works leaders. The committee welcomes your feedback on the Body of Knowledge report.

The committee is also looking to pursue new and strengthened relationships with the academic community to enhance educational and training opportunities. The focus of this goal is to provide training opportunities in the campus setting and possibly partner with higher educational institutions to provide public works-related training at the academic level. This outreach to the academic institutions will be an attempt to groom the future public works leaders and introduce students to the roles of the public works professionals. The Engineering and Technology Committee is very excited about the potential to build further relationships with the academic community and to provide training which will help to recruit our future public works leaders, thus strengthening the role of public works professionals.

The Engineering and Technology Committee has proposed the "Professional Manager of the Year - Engineering and Technology Award." The Professional Manager of the Year Award in the Engineering and Technology category seeks to inspire excellence and dedication in the private and public sectors by recognizing the outstanding career service achievements of engineering and technology professionals. The primary focus of this award is recognition of exceptional leadership and management in the area of engineering and technology. The role of engineering and technology is vital to the success of public works agencies in fulfilling their missions, and the committee looks forward to the opportunity to acknowledge and recognize individuals who inspire excellence in the field of public works engineering and technology.

For the future, the committee acknowledges that public works management and city engineering are in a state of flux. Technology is exploding and our workforce is changing. A central question for the committee is: What are the issues and options for APWA to serve its members and accomplish its mission in the areas of engineering and technology? A few relevant questions are:

  • Are engineers becoming public works managers at the same rate as before?
  • How are the functions of the engineering office in public works changing?
  • How is technology changing the practice of city engineering?
  • What are the main technologies to track?
  • Is the preparation of the engineer adequate?
  • How can engineers in public works practice do better in their careers?
  • How do we relate to other associations and band together on engineering education and other shared interests?

The Engineering and Technology Committee looks forward to addressing these questions through our future business plans and, as always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.

Members of this year's committee include: Alan Garcia, Chair, Pompano Beach, FL; John German, At-Large Director; and members Paul Cooley, Encinitas, CA; Kurt Corey, Eugene, OR; Gordon Daring, Middletown, CT; Neil Grigg, Fort Collins, CO; and Robert Wagner, Yuma, AZ. The APWA Staff Liaison is Carol Estes.

To reach Alan Garcia, please call (519) 831-0903 or send e-mail to agarcia@broward.org.