Mike McMeekin & Kyle Davy
To unlock its full potential and fulfill its obligation to serve society at the highest levels, the engineering community needs to step boldly into the public policy arena. It is in this arena where critical policies related to the engineering challenges of the 21st century are established and where funding levels and priorities are set. The public policy arena is where problems are defined that the engineering community is then asked to solve. The technical knowledge and experience of the engineering community are critical to effective public policy. To have a greater impact in the public policy arena, we will need to move from a sense of disempowerment to empowerment; from believing that we only implement the policies and ideas of others to active engagement in defining the right problems in the right way. We will need to apply this empowerment in new ways, with great respect and empathy for the impacts of public policy and our work on people, on communities, and on the environment.
An example of the need for high level contributions from the engineering community are the policies associated with addressing climate change – from strategies to achieving net zero emissions, to maintaining reliability and affordability as the transition is made to renewable energy sources, to standards for resilience and adaptation, to energy codes. Another example can be found in policies associated with standards and funding for all modes of transportation. This need is also acute with respect to policies and regulations associated with emerging technologies. There are many other examples. The common thread is that they all require active engagement from the engineering community in a diverse array of roles (advisors, advocates, collaborators, and leaders) and at all levels of government (local, state, and federal).
Journey into this realm of engineering and public policy leadership at the next Engineering Change Lab -USA (ECL) virtual summit on June 20, 2023. The summit will provide an interactive learning experience in which participants can think differently and imagine new possibilities for themselves, their organizations, and the engineering community.
- George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, will kick-off the summit and offer an example of good work being done by engineering leaders and experts who are shaping the future of policymaking at the intersection of technology, nature, and society.
- Deanna Matthews, Associate Dept. Head Undergraduate Affairs for Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University and Jimmy Hague, Senior Water Policy Advisor for The Nature Conservancy, will offer their thoughts on how engineering and public policy programs at colleges and universities and non-profit organizations are building and fostering the capacity of others to engage successfully in public policy initiatives.
- Mike Molnar, Director Advanced Manufacturing at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will lead a panel discussion of NIST Fellows who will describe their personal decisions to answer the “call to service” in public policy.
The learning experience planned for the summit will provide benefit for all sectors of the engineering community that are engaged with complex, adaptive challenges and with addressing wicked problems on behalf of clients, communities, and society.
- Public policy is at the core of the work for most engineering businesses. What skills do your staff need to be better communicators to policy makers?
- Engineering Educators. What are the basics of public policy that engineering students should learn? What learning is necessary for those who wish to pursue a career in public policy?
- Engineering Organizations. Can the advisory skills of your members be further developed to produce greater success?
Join us for this summit and be inspired to “cross the threshold” into the civic realm and serve society by taking on significant public policy roles and responsibilities.
You can register for the summit here.