Give Thanks! 5 Reasons To Love the AEC

‘Tis the season for taking stock. Indeed, perhaps more than ever, this long Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect moment to step back and give thanks for the absorbing and engaging times in which we live and the wonderfully creative and evolving industry that puts food on all our tables.

So, as we gather now with our families all across America, still shaken by the most divisive U.S. election any of us have ever witnessed, let us reflect on five reasons we can all agree on for why the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) community is still the place to be at this truly historic moment. Akin to holding back the tide, the global momentum toward progress and innovation is such that it cannot be undone by any election in any corner of our increasingly interconnected, smarter planet.

As MLK famously said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” So, politics be damned. This is about the fate our planet and the momentum still driving the future of cities… of transportation… of energy… of building… of communication and collaboration, and so much more. At BuiltWorlds, we know there is no going back. So we are bullish not just on America, but on global prospects, as well.

In that spirit, here are five inspiring reasons for you to keep the faith, too:

1. Dream Big >> engaging tomorrow’s engineers


Hooray for Hollywood! The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) hired cinematic big guns to create Dream Big, a 3-D, 70-mm, giant-screen film that will hit IMAX theaters in February during National Engineers Week. Directed by Greg MacGillivray, the Oscar-nominated chair of MacGillivray Freeman Films, the feature-length movie so far has only been released to the public in teaser film shorts. It is funded by the ASCE Foundation, with a major gift from San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp. Above, the preview that is being shared with schools. To see what ASCE previewed for its membership, click here.

2. I build America >> promoting construction careers


Last year, Mike Rydin, founder and CEO of Sugarland TX-based software developer HCSS created the first national Construction Intern Awards and also launched I BUILD AMERICA, an unabashed video love letter to an under-appreciated industry. The high-powered national PR campaign aims to be “a place to share stories and ideas that show the value of, and pride in, construction… and that recognizes the value that the men and women in construction bring to our modern life,” the site reads. “Our ultimate goal is that young people will see construction as the wonderful career that it is, so more of them will want to be a part of it.” Much more to come in 2017. To see our coverage from earlier this year, click here.

3. I Look up >> aia’s designs on next-gen imagination


In December 2014, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) began encouraging us to: “‘Look Up’ and see what we can create together. Then, imagine what America could look like when you partner with an architect to co-create its future.” AIA has since challenged design lovers, both young and old, far and wide, to share inspiring photos and videos at a separate website, using the hashtag #ilookup. From tiny homes for the disadvantaged and summer camps for the disabled to awe-inspiring art and jaw-dropping towers and infrastructure, the ongoing response has showcased the depth and breadth of the profession. And it reminds us how our problem-solving industry so often draws on talents both logical and creative.

4. Smart Cities >> Columbus leads, but many still follow


In June, as we reported here, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) named Columbus OH as winner of its first Smart City Challenge. Columbus was awarded $40 million from USDOT, plus another $10 million from Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen to supplement the $90 million already raised from other private partners to carry out its plan. But the city was just one of seven finalists which included Austin TX; Denver CO; Kansas City MO; Pittsburgh PA; Portland OR; and San Francisco CA. They had emerged from an initial field of 78 competitors. Every one of those entries is now continuing to pursue smart city solutions to its transportation challenges. And that’s just in the U.S. That’s encouraging.

5. Tech tools >> Autodesk heralds era of connection


Autodesk, of course, is hardly the only software provider fueling AEC innovation and collaboration with new apps, devices, and partnerships aimed at elevating our industry on a global scale. But this month in Las Vegas, 10,000 attendees at Autodesk University buzzed with enough hope, ambition, energy, talent, and creativity to overwhelm even one of the strangest “pregnant moments” in U.S. history. That phrase is borrowed from Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, whose courageous post-election letter to his 9,000 employees, released exclusively to BuiltWorlds, was one of the 7 Big Bets from AU in Las Vegas we highlighted in this space last week. Others we singled out included DAQRI, HP, JE Dunn and Mortenson Construction.

BONUS >> FUNNY or die >> engineers as celebrities!


For National Engineers Week last February, the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, and the National Academy of Engineering partnered with the Funny or Die website founded by USC alum Will Ferrell. Together, they reimagined the E! network, “famous for its 24/7 coverage of the Kardashians, True Hollywood Stories and celebrity fashion disasters. What if E! became all about 24/7, non-stop, breathless coverage of the engineers and the technologies that change our world?”

Great question. Enjoy the comedic answer above, as well as the rest of this much-deserved respite.