Jan 23rd, 2020
Host: Welcome to another edition of Engineering Influence, a podcast by the American Council of Engineering Companies coming to you again from Washington, DC during ExCom orientation to kick off 2020. Very pleased to be joined by ACEC Chair Elect-Elect Robin Greenleaf who came down from Massachusetts down from Boston. Wish it was warmer down here than in the by the end of the week is supposed to be 70. But very, very pleased to have you on the program. And for those listeners who are not aware of your work with ACEC and, and, and what you do have, you know, take a moment to kind of introduce you to the audience.
Robin Greenleaf: Thanks. Happy to. So my firm is Architectural Engineers. We are a mechanical electrical design firm exclusively in the Boston area. We've been around for, I want to say 34 years at this point.
Robin Greenleaf: So we're, we're an older firm, a very well established in the Boston higher ed markets do a lot of public transportation. We're pretty firmly rooted in both the public and the private sectors. So I can bring some interesting perspectives to my time that I'm going to be serving as chair elect and then chair. The mix between private and public is going to be interesting because our current chair, Mitch simpler is about a hundred percent private and he made a big effort to really get into our minds the amount of work in the private sector that consulting engineers do. Because when we're here in Washington and we work in advocacy in policy, our minds are always what's the next infrastructure bill? What's the next word of bill? What are the next big public infrastructure pieces that are going to be put in place? And we need to not lose sight of the fact that there is a significant amount of private sector work.
Host: So your experience bridging that gap between private and public is going to be very beneficial because it blends those two worlds.
Robin Greenleaf: I think that we are at a great moment in ACEC history where we have had enough influence and enough momentum in both the private and public sectors that our membership across the board should benefit. And one of the things I'm very excited about in my time that I'll be serving in leadership is the ability to see a broad view of the world, look for opportunities to knit together the strengths from the public side and the strengths from the private side. We are launching our strategic plan. One of the things that Charlie G ahead of me and then my year as chair will be the implementation of that plan. There's very solid goals revolving around both the public and the private pieces of what we do. You know, one of my personal goals is to make sure that we're strengthening all of it as we go and just use that broad view of the world to benefit ACEC members.
Host: I think it's going to benefit not just ACEC members but also policy makers.
Robin Greenleaf: Yes.
New Speaker: Because they have tunnel vision from time to time. They can't see the bigger picture and being able to explain to them and demonstrate how the private and the public blends together and where there are nothing works in a vacuum. Nothing happens in a vacuum and things that can be put into policy can have impacts that are unforeseen. And being able to bring that perspective to say, this is, this is what the work that we do in the private, this is the work we do in the public sectors. And holistically this is, this is the benefit that we have to, the economy is going to be very important.
Robin Greenleaf: Yeah. We represent the entire cross section of the economy and we really need to leverage that. And that's always the challenge when you look at trying to communicate. Because when you sit back and you say, you know what, what do we do? I still told somebody, go outside, close your eyes, open your eyes. There you go. Yeah. Whatever you see in front of you, the engineering industry actually had a hand in.
Robin Greenleaf: Exactly.
Robin Greenleaf: And, and when you take that into totality, it's amazing. And, and, and it's a, it's a challenge at the same time, but I think we're going to be well suited to talk about it.
Robin Greenleaf: We actually talked about this at the FIDIC meeting in Mexico city. Every slide that was put up representing a project with something that could not have been built without engineer's.
Robin Greenleaf: And I think that ACC moving forward is really driving that message out.
Host: Yeah. And I think that strategic plan that we have that we're now in the process of developing the tactics, tools and implementation I think broadly that guiding strategic document is going to help us position ACEC in the best way possible to get that message across. And the, and to build that and then the raise the prominence of, of, of the industry as a whole looking, I guess, you know, beginning we're with the second week of January and looking into your crystal ball, you know, at the end of 2020 looking back, what do you want to be able to say? Yeah, I had a hand in making this happen for ACEC.
Robin Greenleaf: Sure. I think one of the things that, that I'm very interested in seeing is what happens during the conclusion of the election cycle that we're in right now and what kinds of things can we move ahead with no matter what's going on on Capitol Hill.
Robin Greenleaf: So one of the things that I became aware of in my current, you know, put the, the Chair of the Business Insurance Trust hat on is MOs are different across the country and I think there's an opportunity to spend some time really understanding what the differences are and then working to establish relationships with some of the MOs that may have been less involved over the last few years. Really see if we can't get everybody to show up at the conferences and be much more fully engaged than they are. I think that's, that's potentially something easy. It's not attached directly to political stuff or legislative stuff. It's really more of an internal focus that I'm very interested in moving forward with.
Host: That would be great.
Robin Greenleaf: And that really plays into the goals about diversity and inclusivity. And you know, one of the things I think would be great is what if we went to the fall conference and there were 3000 people there instead of 1200 or 1500 let's double the number by increasing the number of people who show up.
Robin Greenleaf: That'll be a very exciting moment.
Host: Absolutely. A well congratulations and travels back to Boston and hopefully not snow.
Robin Greenleaf: No, I think we're having the same warmup you are this weekend - looking forward to it.
Host: And I look forward to inviting you back on the show and working with you in the in the year to come.
Robin Greenleaf: Thanks, Jeff. It's a pleasure.
Host: Thank you, Robin.