By Greg Holbrook, P.E.
A few years ago The Structural Engineering Institute created a “Vision for the Future”, which is the institute's long term strategy to ensure a vibrant and dynamic future for the structural engineering profession. The SEI envisions a future where, as stewards of the built environment, structural engineers will make key contributions to the advancement of society on a global scale. The vision is also for structural engineers to be leaders and innovators that play a critical role in improving the safety and well-being of the global population. To achieve these goals the SEI has established the following key initiatives:
- Reform structural engineering education. Adopt new educational models to equip students with the broad technical, communications, and critical thinking skills they will need to compete in the global economy.
- Improve mentoring and continuing education. Develop a national, standardized framework to launch the careers of young professionals, and create a meaningful platform for lifelong learning and constant professional growth.
- Create a new SEI global activities division. Expand the influence of SEI and our standards overseas, address the needs of a worldwide membership, and position our members as global leaders in structural engineering research and practice.
- Promote performance based codes and standards. Give structural engineers new tools to liberate them from the limitations of prescriptive code-checking, encourage innovation in their designs, and increase the value of their services.
- Lead multi-disciplinary summits on technical matters of broad interest. Think outside of the traditional boundaries of structural engineering to identify and apply the most advanced new technologies and science to the practice.
- Promote the structural engineer as a leader and innovator. Support and encourage the expansion of members’ roles to recognized positions of leadership in society by equipping them with the tools they need to succeed and be recognized by the public.
- Advocate for structural engineering licensure. In partnership with our peer associations, advance the implementation of the SE license as a post-PE credential to ensure public safety and recognize the unique qualifications of structural engineers.
The Structural Engineering Institute also has the SEI Futures Fund, which helps to advance the art, science, and practice of structural engineering. The SEI undertakes a broad range of activities that build a brighter future for our profession, and since some of these activities fall outside the SEI annual budget the Futures Fund was established to provide philanthropic support for these activities from individuals and organizations. The following strategic initiatives were created by the SEI Futures Fund Board:
- Promote student interest in Structural Engineering
- Support younger-member involvement in the SEI
- Provide opportunity for professional development
- Invest in the future of the Structural Engineering Profession
The 2017 Fundraising effort helped to support SEI’s new Global Activities initiatives to grow SEI global presence through resource workshops, an international practice guide, and increasing international sessions at Structures Congress. The fundraiser also created a new SEI Student Competition and provided scholarships for young professionals to attend Structures Congress. Proposals are currently being accepted for new initiatives.
As a fundraiser for the SEI Futures Fund, CSI (Computers and Structures, Inc.) has hosted a gala event for the past two years at the SEI Structures Congress. This year, the event was at the Denver Art Museum and had hor d'oeuvres, cocktails, live music and door prizes. The event is sponsored in full by CSI and all proceeds for the event go directly to the Futures Fund. The founder and CEO of CSI, Ashraf Habibullah, attended the event and is a proud supporter of the Futures Fund, and big promoter of the structural engineering profession.
I strongly encourage you to consider a donation to the SEI Futures Fund, as it provides the opportunity for our profession to continue to grow and expand to build a vibrant community of structural engineers. You can find out more about the Futures Fund and all of its initiatives at the SEI Futures Fund Website.