Engaging with Government to improve our profession
I’m writing this blog on a flight en route to Washington DC. As part of my work with the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), I am meeting with the Corps of Engineers about policies affecting contract awards. This is a prime example of Industry-Government-Engagement (IGE). IGE is not about selling government access; it is about sharing knowledge and best practices and collaborating on issues to solve problems and reach consensus. In this way, we bring together key players from government and industry to solve problems.
I strongly believe that engineer professionals need to engage in professional organizations and have written in the past on this. I chair the Federal Agencies Procurement Advocacy Committee (FAPA) at ACEC, and additionally am active in the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), where I am a Regional Vice President.
I’m also a strong advocate for collaboration between government and industry. Both sectors bring something vital to the table. In many ways, government construction projects set industry standards, whether it’s a large dam modification, the New Orleans flood protection system, or a gigantic data center. However, private industry often develops innovative and cost-effective solutions for infrastructure projects.
Working together, we can get the best of both worlds to deliver the best possible results for our country and its citizens. Through collaboration, we can address and solve issues, share best practices, and conduct joint training. That is why I’m especially thrilled to see SAME’s 2025 Strategic Plan identify Industry-Government-Collaboration as its number one goal. SAME included a short article I’d written about IGE in the Strategic Plan.
This collaboration between government and industry not only improves project delivery, it improves our profession. It helps both sides understand each other’s processes, procedures and cultures. It helps us work together better and improves our organizations in the process. It also encourages the movement of engineers, planners and scientists from government employment to the private sector and vice versa. This in turn brings new ideas and new perspectives to both government and industry. Ultimately, both sides benefit, and the true winners are the American people.
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