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The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a professional body founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. It is the oldest national engineering society in the United Statesmarker. ASCE's vision is to have engineers positioned as global leaders who strive toward building a better quality of life. Its world headquarters is in Restonmarker, Virginiamarker.

History and Heritage

ASCE was founded in New York Citymarker on November 5, 1852 when twelve engineers met at the offices of the Croton Aqueduct and formed the American Society of Civil Engineers and Architects. ASCE was the first national engineering society created in the United States.

As part of understanding the history of civil engineering and promoting the civil engineering profession, a survey of the historic accomplishments of civil engineers is continually conducted by ASCE members. Such reviews of civil engineering accomplishments have produced various lists of the notable categories and projects of the profession.

Monuments of the Millennium

The society canvassed its members in 1999 to identify the 10 civil engineering achievements that had the greatest positive impact on life in the 20th century. They chose to recognize broad categories of achievements rather than individual projects:


ASCE's mission is to provide essential value to its members and their careers; to its partners and to the public. ASCE seeks to provide value by:
  • Developing leadership skills in its members and supporting civil engineer leaders;
  • Facilitating advancement of the technology utilized by the profession;
  • Encouraging and providing tools for lifelong learning within the profession;
  • Advocating infrastructure and environmental stewardship; and
  • Promoting professionalism and the civil engineering profession.


The 2009-2010 President is Blaine D. Leonard, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, the President-elect is Kathy J. Caldwell, P.E., M.ASCE and the Past President is D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE. The Executive Director is Patrick J. Natale, P.E., F.ASCE, the Deputy Executive Director is Phillip Lehn, P.E., G.E., F.ASCE and the Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel is Mr Andre Donell. The Society comprises a national board of direction; more than 400 local affiliates, which include 87 Sections, 158 Branches and 130 Younger Member Groups; 267 Student Chapters; and 11 International Student Groups.


ASCE is the world's largest publisher of civil engineering information — producing more than 55,000 pages of technical content each year. The ASCE Publications Division produces 31 professional journals (available both in print and online editions), conference proceedings, standards, manuals of practice, committee reports and monographs under the ASCE Press imprint. A 200,000-entry civil engineering database is available at their website, along with many other resources for practicing civil engineers including a complete publications catalog and the ASCE Online Research Library, providing access to more than 600,000 pages of journal articles and proceedings. ASCE also publishes Civil Engineering, the award-winning official magazine of the Society; ASCE News; and Geo-Strata.


ASCE's 31 peer-reviewed highly cited journals are the medium through which civil engineers exchange technical and professional knowledge. Information published in the journals forms an archival record of the technical advances of today's civil engineering profession. The complete volumes from 1990-2006 are available online.


ASCE publishes high quality, authoritative books that represent the best thinking in civil engineering research and practice. Prior to publication each title is peer-reviewed by groups of subject matter experts. The list includes more than 1,500 Standards, Manuals of Practice, Committee Reports, Proceedings, and ASCE Press titles.


Civil Engineering, ASCE's award-winning monthly magazine, contains articles about significant projects, events, and trends of interest to civil engineers. The mix of articles in each issue is designed to appeal to a broad range of readers, who represent the full spectrum of civil engineering disciplines. Other periodicals include ASCE News which reports on the activities of the Society and Geo-Strata, published on behalf of the Geo-Institute.

Conferences and Continuing Education

Each year ASCE hosts over 15 annual and specialty conference focusing on the specialty field of civil engineering or topics related to it. ASCE hosted the 139th Annual Civil Engineering Conference in Kansas City, Missouri on October 29-31, 2009. Each year, the Society holds more than 310 live, face-to-face continuing education seminars and more than 250 live Web seminars on a wide variety of technical and management topics. In addition, the Society has hundreds of distance learning programs available, including on-demand, online courses and courses on CD and DVD. More than 55,000 engineers participated in ASCE's continuing education programs in the previous year. ASCE offers Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for conferences, seminars and workshops, and most distance learning programs to help professional engineers meet mandatory continuing professional competency requirements in their states.

Educational Activities

ASCE plans, organizes and conducts activities supporting the formal education process of civil engineers. Initiatives include the ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education) Teaching Workshops that help develop college faculty into effective teachers and the Practitioner and Faculty Advisor Training Workshop that improves the leadership skills of student organization advisors. To provide middle and high school students with an opportunity to learn about civil engineering through realistic, hands-on design experience, ASCE is the primary sponsor of the annual West Point Bridge Design Contest.

Engineering Programs and Institutes

More than 6,200 civil engineers and allied professionals serve on numerous technical committees and provide other services that benefit the Society and the profession. The Society's Technical Activities Committee (TAC) has 12 Divisions and Councils, some of which are further divide into committees. The 12 Divisions and Councils include the following:

ASCE also has eight full-service institutes created to serve working professionals working within specialized fields of civil engineering:
  • the Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI)
  • the Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI)
  • the Construction Institute (CI)
  • the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI)
  • the Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI)
  • the Geo-Institute (G-I)
  • the Transportation and Development Institute (T&DI)
  • the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI))

ASCE is an ANSI accredited standards development organization that produces consensus standards under direction of the Codes and Standards Activities Committee. Civil Engineering Certification Inc. (CEC), affiliated with ASCE, has been established to support specialty certification academies for civil engineering specialties. The Committee on Critical Infrastructure (CCI) provides vision and guidance on ASCE activities related to critical infrastructure resilience, including planning, design, construction, O&M, and event mitigation, response and recovery. ASCE also serves as Secretariat for The Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP), a public-private partnership focused on improving the nation's criti, affiliated with ASCE, provides a multi-discipline security rating system for buildings and a certified professional building security credential for individuals.

Peer Reviews

ASCE provides peer reviews of public agencies and projects, at their request. Peer reviews are "a means to improve the management and quality of [public agency] services and thus better protect the public health and safety with which they are entrusted." But in 2007, several complaints arose about its participation in the investigation of the failure of floodwalls and levees in New Orleans after Katrina. In response, ASCE announced the appointment of retired U.S. Rep Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., to lead an independent task force of outside experts to review how the professional organization participates in engineering studies of national significance. ASCE President David Mongan said the review is aimed at addressing criticisms of the organization's role in assisting the Army Corps of Engineers-sponsored investigation of Katrina failures. The results, released on September 12, 2008 recommended that the society should immediately take steps to remove the potential for conflict of interest in its participation in post-disaster engineering studies.

Controversy in New Orleans Levee Investigation

In October 2005, after the failures of the federally designed and built levees in Greater New Orleans, Lt Gen Carl Strock P.E.,M.ASCE, commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers requested that ASCE create an expert review panel (ERP) to peer review the Corps-sponsored Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET), the body commissioned by the Corps to assess the performance of the hurricane protection system in metro New Orleans. Lawrence Roth P.E.,F.ASCE, Deputy Executive Director of the ASCE led the ERP development, served as the panel's Chief of Staff and facilitated the panel's interaction with IPET. The role of the ERP - composed of 14 specialists who possess a range of technical expertise - was to provide an independent technical review of the IPET's activities and findings. Roth stated at a National Research Council meeting in New Orleans, that "an independent review panel" such as the ERP "ensure[s] that the outcome is a robust, credible and defensible performance evaluation." All members of the ERP panel received Outstanding Civilian Service Medals from Lt. Gen Strock on February 12, 2007. The ERP's findings were released three months later on June 1, 2007 in a report entitled The New Orleans Hurricane Protection System: What Went Wrong and Why.

Shortly after the release of the ERP's findings, ASCE administration was criticized by The Times-Picayune for an apparent attempt to minimize and understate the role of the Army Corps in the flooding. The Times-Picayune editorial called attention to a press release issued by ASCE which accompanied the ERP report that contained information not present in the report and information that conflicted with the report.

On November 5, 2007, New Orleans-based grassroots group Levees.Org released an online Public Service Announcement criticizing the ASCE's close relationship with the United States Army Corps of Engineers . On November 12, 2007 the ASCE asked Levees.Org to take the video off of the internet, threatening the organization with legal action. On November 13, the Times-Picayune reposted the controversial video on their website.

On November 14, 2007, following the controversial video affair, the ASCE confirmed the launch of an internal ethics probe of its staff and members based on complaints by University of California-Berkeley professor Dr. Raymond B. Seed, who served on a separate independent panel investigating levee failures. President David Mongan, in a letter to the Times Picayune, assured the citizens of metro New Orleans that ASCE takes "this matter very seriously and that appropriate actions are being taken."

On December 14, 2007, Levees.Org reposted the controversial video to the internet citing Louisiana's Anti-SLAPP statute which allows courts to weed out lawsuits designed to chill public participation on matters of public significance..

In March 2008, Levees.Org announced that records obtained in a request under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that as early October 2005, the US Army Corps of Engineers directed the ASCE and later paid the group more than $1.1 million for their peer review and for giving presentations which the non-profit claimed contained at least 10 falsehoods, 4 significant omissions and numerous misrepresentations. Members of the ASCE are forbidden from making false or exaggerated statements and also from making statements for an interested party unless this is disclosed.

Government Relations

ASCE encourages its affiliates to support state and local public and governmental affairs activities, especially through efforts by its grassroots Key Contact program. The Society's federal priority issues for the 110th Congress are clean water, drinking water and wastewater, math and science education, natural hazards mitigation and infrastructure security, Qualifications Based Selection for engineering services, smart growth/sustainable development and transportation infrastructure. The state priority issues are infrastructure issues, licensing, math and science education, procurement of professional services, smart growth, and transportation infrastructure.

International Activities

The wide variety of ASCE activities in the international arena support the Society's vision of positioning engineers as "global leaders building a better quality of life." ASCE works to share and grow the engineering body of knowledge among civil engineers worldwide and proactively informs engineers of the opportunities and challenges that global developments have on the practice of engineering. The Society serves approximately 14,000 international members, and provides networking opportunities through ASCE International Sections and Groups, an international program at the Annual Meeting, and other events. ASCE has Agreements of Cooperation with 72 engineering organizations in 59 countries, supports 12 International Sections and 19 International Groups, and participates in a variety of international engineering organizations. International activities span numerous ASCE program areas, including the Institutes and technical committees, who hold international conferences and technical sessions. About half the contributions to ASCE journals come from overseas authors, and half of publication sales are to engineers living abroad.

Professional and Diversity Activities

ASCE addresses a wide variety of issues affecting the professional practice of civil engineering including licensure, ethics, employment of civil engineers, business practices, global principles for professional conduct, career development, community service, leadership and management. The Journal of Management in Engineering, Leadership and Management in Engineering Journal, Leader Education and Development (LEAD) program, annual community service event, online seminars, brochures, How to Work Effectively with Consulting Engineers (Manual of Practice No. 45), Guide to Hiring and Retaining Great Civil Engineers (Manual of Practice No. 103), Section/Branch Mentoring program and the Peer Review for Public Agencies program are some of the resources available to transfer knowledge to the profession and the public. ASCE is a link of the Order of the Engineer. ASCE also recognizes members through awards for their commitment to and accomplishments in public service, leadership and management, and ethics. ASCE supports the proactive inclusion of talented civil engineers from diverse backgrounds and values their unique contributions, skill sets and broad professional experiences. In 2000, ASCE commissioned the Committee on Diversity and Women in Civil Engineering (CDWCE) to provide the Society with leadership in matters of diversity within the civil engineering community. Diversity-related factors to be considered are identified, but not limited to, the Society's Public Policy 417, Achieving Diversity and Equity, which includes race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation and nationality. Under the leadership of the CDWCE, ASCE has developed a series of diversity awareness and outreach programs to better serve industry globalization and the Society's growing diversity, spearheaded strategic partnerships with diverse engineering organizations, and built and broadened a solid network among talented civil engineering professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge

In 1998, the ASCE board passed Policy Statement 465 to initiate changes in the education and licensure process for civil engineers. The first version called for the Master's degree to be the first professional degree for the civil engineering profession. The current version, spelled out in the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century, outlines an educational process that would effectively require a Bachelor's degree plus an additional thirty credit hours of post-baccalaureate education for specialization.

Public Relations

Through programs such as the Report Card for America's Infrastructure and national sponsorship of PBS series, such as Design Squad and Great Projects: The Building of America, ASCE enhances the image of civil engineers and builds public support for better investment in America's infrastructure. ASCE is engaging the next generation of civil engineers by showcasing young engineering talent through New Faces in Engineering and by conducting public outreach activities such as Family Festivals. Stories featuring ASCE and civil engineers as experts have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Business Week, the Los Angeles Times, Engineering News-Record, and on National Public Radio, the Today Show and the CBS Evening News.

ASCE was a founding member of the National Engineers Week coalition, and will serve as the lead society of Engineers Week 2010.


ASCE is a 501 tax-exempt organization with assets of more than $65 million and net assets of more than $42 million. It earns its revenue from member dues, sale of publications, continuing education courses, conferences, royalties, contributions and investments. The fiscal 2010 consolidated budget for ASCE and its affiliates totals $54 million.

ASCE Foundation

Established in 1994, the ASCE Foundation's mission is to generate resources for the civil engineering profession. In its 13-year history, the Foundation has raised more than $23 million for ASCE and its affiliates. The Foundation's active fundraising programs include: annual appeal, sponsorships, major gifts, capital campaigns and planned giving. In addition, the Foundation owns and operates the property in Reston, Va. which houses ASCE's World Headquarters. As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, all gifts to the Foundation are used to support civil engineering and are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Civil Engineering Forum for Innovation

Established in January 2006, the Civil Engineering Forum for Innovation (CEFI) engages senior leaders from industry, academia and government in strategic actions for the civil engineering profession and works to advance ASCE's mission. CEFI's mission is to strengthen engineering and construction industry productivity, performance and quality by promoting the rapid application of project innovation, collaboration and advances in technology.


ASCE's World Headquarters is located at 1801 Alexander Bell Dr., Reston, Va. 20191-4400; toll free: 800-548-ASCE (2723); international: 703-295-6000; fax: 703-295-6222. The Society's Government Relations office is located at 101 Constitution Ave., NW, Suite 375 East, Washington, D.C. 20001 and can be reached by phone at 202-789-7850, by fax at 202-789-7859 or by email at

ASCE Designations

ASCE designates national and international Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.

World Wonders

Similarly, in an effort to recognize a contemporary equivalent to the heralded ancient Seven Wonders of the World, the ASCE has designated the following Seven Wonders of the Modern World:


ASCE sponsors numerous awards for outstanding work in various areas of civil engineering, some of which are based on papers submitted to its many journals.

Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Awards

ASCE holds an annual black-tie event to present the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Awards. Four different awards are presented there: the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award, the Lifetime Achievement Awards, the Henry L. Michel Award for Industry Advancement of Research, and the Charles Pankow Award for Innovation.

The Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OCEA) has been presented annually since 1960. It "honors the project that best illustrates superior civil engineering skills and represents a significant contribution to civil engineering progress and society." As a project award, it recognizes the team effort of all the engineers involved in completion of the project.

The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented annually since 1999. It recognizes a lifetime of achievements and accomplishments to five different individual leaders. One award is present in each category of design, construction, government, education, and management.

Wesley W. Horner Award

Initially created in 1968 by ASCE's Sanitary Engineering Division, the award is named after former ASCE President Wesley W. Horner. The award is given to a recently peer reviewed published paper in the fields of hydrology, urban drainage, or sewerage. Special consideration is given to private practice engineering work that is recognized as a valuable contribution to the field of environmental engineering.


ASCE also sponsors competitions for student chapters. Each regional conference determines the events. Two major national competitions include:


  1. ASCE Founders' Plaque ASCE Metropolitan Section. Accessed 3 January 2009.
  2. Monuments of the Millennium ASCE. Accessed 10 October 2007.
  3. ASCE Profile ASCE. Accessed 13 October 2007.
  4. Strategic Planning ASCE. Accessed 13 October 2007.
  5. Technical Committees, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  6. Peer Review for Public Agencies ASCE. Accessed 17 November 2007.
  7. Peer Review ASCE. Accessed 17 November 2007.
  8. Task force will review engineers' studies-
  9. ASCE panel cites conflict of interest,September 13, 2008, By Mark Schleifstein -
  10. (March 2007) Strock Honors ERP Members with Outstanding Civilian Service Medal ASCE News. Accessed 10 October 2007.
  11. Roth, Lawrence "Larry", on behalf of ASCE External Review Panel. (20 March 2007) National Research Council Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects, Meeting 2. New Orleans, LA. Accessed 13 October 2007.
  12. News Release. (1 June 2007) Move Beyond Sound-bites and “Armchair” Theories to Make the Nation Safer From Disaster, Engineers Say ASCE. Accessed 12 October 2007.
  13. ERP Report Now Available Accessed 11 October 2007.
  14. (19 June 2007) EDITORIAL: Sound bites and spin jobs The Times-Picayune. Accessed 10 October 2007.
  15. Levees.Org » Watch our new Public Service Announcement!
  16. Engineer group not amused by online spoof of levee review-
  17. Controversial video - New Orleans Video - Times-Picayune -
  18. Microsoft Word - W F Marcuson III_a_.doc
  19. ASCE is investigating-
  20. reposts controversial video - New Orleans News -
  21. founder accuses Corps of spinning blame | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Top Stories | News for New Orleans, Louisiana |
  22. Seven Wonders of the Modern World ASCE. Accessed 10 October 2007.
  23. Wesley W. Horner Award ASCE. Accessed 10 October 2007.

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