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President's Message - November 15, 2013

11/15/13
IT'S COMING!!!

What's coming?

Well for the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia and the region, there is a whole lot of shakin' goin' on. Not in the Chicken Little sense – the sky is not falling, well not all of it anyway. In the near term (temporal) realm, ECP’s annual Multi-Society meeting will be held on Monday, December 9th at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel at Broad and Locust Streets in sunny downtown Philadelphia. And we knew that it is always sunny in Philadelphia! The program for the evening is a behind the scenes look at the recently completed US Open held this past summer at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA. (just west of Philadelphia). And while golf is often perceived as a pastoral pastime that gives you a chance to exercise and commune with nature in quiet contemplation, the process of executing such an event is a lot more complicated than getting a bunch of guys to take a walk in the woods carrying skinny sticks and wearing colorful clothes. So if you ever wanted to know ‘how do they do that’, this is your chance. More details about the event including the reservation info can be found in today’s E-News message.

The other big happening is even more immediate – the arrival of Greenbuild 2013 to Philadelphia.

What is Greenbuild? Greenbuild is the signature annual conference of the US Green Building Council, developers of the LEED System of “Sustainability Ratings” for new construction, large scale (neighborhood) development projects, existing building operations and more. Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. Greenbuild brings together industry leaders, experts and design and construction professionals engaged in the practice of planning, developing, designing, building and operating sustainable building projects in their practice and operations. The Expo and Conference expect to draw over 30,000 attendees from 90 countries and will feature some 1000 exhibitors and sponsors; over 100 educational sessions, events and building/project tours including programs spearheaded by members of ECP’s “friends and family” like ASHRAE, the AIA and GBCA.

But Greenbuild brings to mind the subject of “sustainability” and that brings to mind the incredible tragedy that is Typhoon Haiyan and its devastating impact on the Philippines and its neighbors. Discussions abound as to whether or not this event (along with Hurricane Sandy last year) is a harbinger of weather to come and if they are a result of climate change. The issue is large and looms larger – and shows no signs of shirking or standing down anytime soon. Did any of you notice the warm and balmy weather that accompanied the recent Halloween week? The high temp on November 1st was 71 F; on November 9th it was 52 F; on November 10th it was 62 F and the high temp on November 13th was 41 F. Graph that in your head and what do you get? A wee bit… “unsettled”? The predicted high temp for Saturday, November 16th is 58 F.

But is the genie already out of the bottle on this? Can we stop it? Put it back? Or do we just have to find a way to endure or adapt to a more tumultuous environment? (Bigger closets to keep both sweaters and shorts on hand?) There is more discussion about resiliency, recovery and adaptation with regard to our infrastructure and the built environment than ever before.

The Engineers’ Club is looking to add to that discussion and hopes to provide some well thought out light (and maybe some well-placed heat) to the topic of Infrastructure and resiliency in a March 14, 2014 one day conference on the subject. Any of you who have experienced extended utility outages after a powerful storm or have had flooding and other disruptions above the “norm” will want to join us for this event. Also, if you are interested in working on the project committee, feel free to contract the Club and let us know where you’d like to pitch in and elevate the discussion.

We also have tours coming up of Drexel’s new LeBow Business School (January 2014) and UPenn’s new Singh Nanotechnology Center (April 2014) along with Delaware Valley Engineers Week festivities including accolades for our newly elected Engineer of the Year, Ms. Suzette M. Schultz, Senior Operations Project Manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. A hearty congratulations to Suzette!

E. Mitchell Swann, PE, LEED AP
President