Welcome back from the holidays! I hope you were able to take some time with your loved ones to recharge and enjoy the season.
January 2024 is legislative month, and FES, in collaboration with ACEC Florida, will be engaged with Professional Engineers Legislative Days on January 9-10, 2024. We are tracking several House and Senate bills on which we have taken some positions to protect our profession and industry.
As we begin the new year, I want to reflect on ways we can prepare for the future while looking at goal #3 for my term.
3 – Preparing for the Future
- Develop and Launch a New STEM Initiative to align with K-16
- Frame our Messages to make Engineering “COOL THING” to gauge more interest from our Youth
- Develop a “Community Outreach Award” for Chapters that visit the most Community Public Schools. (Board to Establish Criteria)
- Practice Areas Alignment with ACEC Florida
This past December, I had the opportunity to attend a Trade Mission to Japan led by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. The trip to Tokyo and Kyoto focused on exploring innovations, sharing strategies, and establishing business connections in Trade, Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Waste Management, Sustainability and Resilience, Urban Density/Workforce Housing Mobility, and Tourism.
A view of Mount Fuji from a car on Japan’s famous transportation system, the bullet train, on a trip from Kyoto to Tokyo.
During the expedition, I developed a great deal of appreciation for Japan’s intermodal and multimodal transportation network effectiveness within their high urban density and how continuous innovation, such as digital solutions, helps address their current and future challenges. Japan is the #3 global economy. According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida is now the 14th largest economy in the world.
After my trip, I could not stop thinking about two things:
- What we could learn from Japan and implement here in Florida to bring our economy from 14th on the global stage to 10th before 2030 in alignment with the Chamber’s Florida 2030 Blueprint.
- How our engineers and technicians would need to adapt to contribute to that change.
Japan’s overall Intermodal and Multimodal Transportation network supports the efficient movement of goods and people, facilitates international trade and travel, and contributes to the country’s overall economic growth and prosperity. As an observation, Tokyo’s intermodal facilities are well integrated with commercial and retail spaces, creating vibrant hubs of economic activity. This integration of transportation and commercial spaces enhances the city’s overall economic vitality and enables the workforce to access employment opportunities easily.
What can we implement from Tokyo’s intermodal and multimodal transportation system in Florida’s major metropolitan areas to support Florida’s Economic Growth? Here are a few key points to consider for Florida’s unique characteristics, challenges, and opportunities.
- Study Local Needs
- Adapt Infrastructure Development
- Integrate Existing Systems
- Collaborate with Local Stakeholders
- Customize Solutions
- Promote Public Awareness and Adoption
- Embrace Technology
- Learn from Best Practices
How do our future engineers and technicians adapt to the challenge and bring Florida’s economy from 14th on the global stage to 10th before 2030?
Japanese technology and innovation are constantly evolving to prepare Japan for the future. Perhaps we can consider including the development of technologies in education and practice of engineering. There are several key areas where Japan is making significant advancements.
- Robotics and automation
- Sustainable and eco-friendly technologies
- Reliable public transportation systems
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics
- Development of advanced Construction materials and nanotechnology
By considering best practices in the U.S. and other countries when enhancing STEM programs in collaboration with our education system, our stakeholders, partners, and other organizations, we can better prepare future engineers and develop a robust workforce that will contribute to Florida’s economy, hopefully working towards our goal of raising our rank on the global stage.
I invite you all to consider what we can learn from other places around the world so that we can develop the best practices for our own state.
Wishing you the very best for 2024,