Hello FES Members,
As we traveled home from Professional Engineers Days, a friend and I reminisced about former FES President Mark Mongeau’s memorable mantra, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” We were much younger when we first heard the call for engineers to take action, and that message has stayed with us for almost two decades.
Where would society be without engineers? Need to cross the river? Let us help. Need water miles from the stream? We can make that happen, even uphill. Not enough daylight to get your work done? We can fix that too. Thanks to engineers, running water, sewer service, electricity, heat/air conditioning, and even WIFI are now basic expectations in most American communities. To quote Vanilla Ice, “if there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.” (That’s an outdated reference, I know – google it.) Society would have a tough time functioning without us.
We shouldn’t limit utilizing our skills to areas of infrastructure and technology. What if we used our “superpower” on challenges like education, poverty, crime, and healthcare? Engineers need to get out of our comfort zones and take the lead on solutions to more societal challenges. Get involved with non-technical committees and boards, and yes, that may mean running for public office. Are we really surprised rooms full of elected officials, many of whom are members of the Florida Bar, are not arriving at solutions? It’s time for us to mix it up.
If you aren’t quite ready to throw your hat into the ring, how about supporting those in training as our future leaders? The current Florida Engineering Leadership Institute (FELI) class has taken on not one – but five projects.
- Constructing a Hurricane Ian Remembrance and Children’s Engineering Garden at Lakes Park in Lee County;
- Teaming with Florida Gulf Coast University students to build a house through Habitat for Humanity;
- Feeding the Community – FELI raised and donated $6,000 to Operation BBQ Relief during the holidays to provide food for first responders and communities affected by Hurricane Ian;
- Donating to the Dean’s fund at Florida Gulf Coast University to financially assist students impacted by the storm; and
- Financially supporting government employees to attend FELI in the future.
Donations to support the FELI 2023 projects can be made here. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available. Contact your favorite FELI 2023 student for more information. If you don’t have a favorite student, Erik Alcantara will be happy to help you.
Quite a bit has changed over the past twenty years. Two female professional engineers – speaking at separate public hearings at the state Capitol on the same day and serving as FES Presidents – would never have happened twenty years ago. We are making progress, but some things remain unchanged. Earlier this week, over 130 engineers attended Professional Engineers Days and met with our state legislators. How many of those legislators were engineers? None. How many legislators listened to what we had to say? Most. We need more engineers to speak up and get involved.
If you want to read Mark’s President’s message, which Angelina Fairchild and I found so inspirational, click here. We miss you, Mark.
And yes, I am making more time to relax and chill with family and friends. I’ve watched several sunrises while enjoying my coffee, and I am also working on being home in time to see sunsets.
Until next time,
Kelly Cranford, PE, ENV SP, FES Fellow
Culpepper and Terpening, Inc. | Principal Project Manager
(772) 485-1334 – email@example.com