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Advocate of the Year Award

  • Outstanding Civil Engineer Advocate of the Year


    Applications for the 2019 Outstanding Civil Engineer Advocate of the Year are now being accepted.  The deadline for applying is December 14, 2018. Download the guidelines and individual and team applications to nominate someone today!

    Award Nomination

    Many ASCE Key Contacts are actively building relationships with and educating elected officials on issues important to the civil engineering profession and the public we serve. Because many of our initiatives depend on action by these legislative bodies, we want to recognize these efforts of outstanding ASCE advocates and teams who consistently promote ASCE issues to their elected officials.

  • The Outstanding Civil Engineer Advocate of the Year is given to both an individual ASCE member and also to an ASCE team (e.g. Section, Branch, Younger Member Group) that meet some or most of the criteria below. The criteria are identical for the individual and team awards.

  • Award Criteria

    The Outstanding Civil Engineer Advocate of the Year program will recognize an individual Key Contact as well as an ASCE Section or Branch who has made strides in engaging their member(s) of Congress and/or state legislators on ASCE's Priority Issues and actively promoted the Key Contact Program.

    While all nominations will receive consideration, favorable consideration will be given to those that advance our strategic legislative goals, specifically focusing on:

    1. Priority Legislators Who Serve on Committees of Jurisdiction: As you are aware, there are certain legislators who have a greater impact on the passage or defeat of our legislative priorities than others. Their leadership on civil engineering issues, as well as their influence among their colleagues, can affect our legislative outcomes more than other legislators. Therefore, engagement with these legislators has a bigger return on investment than with lawmakers who are not involved in civil engineering issues.

    Included in this group is any member of the House or Senate Leadership. You can find a list of House and Senate Leadership here:

    In the House, members of the following committees are especially important to our legislative goals:

    In the Senate, lawmakers who serve on the following committees that deal with infrastructure are especially important:

    For state legislators, check your state legislature's webpage to find lists of leaders for each chamber and committees that deal with issues similar to the federal committees listed above.

    Priority ASCE Issues: While our membership has diverse civil engineering interests, there are certain issues that affect a larger portion of our members than others, or that have cascading effects on the future of civil engineering and public safety.  ASCE members or teams who advocate on our priority issues will be given favorable consideration.  

    2018 Federal Priority Issues  

    • Civil engineering education (higher education)
    • Clean water, drinking water and wastewater issues
    • Natural hazards mitigation & infrastructure security
    • Qualifications based selection for engineering services
    • Research and Development Funding
    • Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education & support (K-12)
    • Sustainability
    • Transportation infrastructure

    2018 State Priority Issues

    • Licensing
    • Natural Hazards Impact Mitigation
    • Science, technology, engineering & math (STEM) education
    • State support for civil engineering higher education
    • Sustainability
    • Tort reform & indemnification for pro bono services
    • Transportation infrastructure financing

    3: Freshman Legislators: Many new legislators have little understanding of civil engineering issues. Therefore, our ability to provide credible information early in their careers increases the possibility of their support during critical legislative debates.

    4: High Engagement Activities: “High engagement” refers to those activities that require more time. They are usually characterized by offline, or face-to-face interaction with the legislator. We know that legislators place a higher degree of influence and importance on face-to-face contact opportunities, such as constituent meetings and town hall events in the district (Congressional Management Foundation, 2011). High engagement communications convey more sincerity, effort and intensity----all components of relationship building.

    Included in this category are high engagement activities that seek to educate external audiences about how legislation affects civil engineering, such as media interviews, speeches to local business organizations, presentations to opinion leaders, etc.

    5: Key Contact Program Promotion:  Mobilizing ASCE members quickly in support of or against legislation is critical to the Society’s ability to achieve its Strategic Priorities and Goals. The Key Contact Program is the foundation of that mobilization with its self-identified Key Contacts. Key Contacts are ASCE members who help influence public policy important to the Society and the stewardship of infrastructure and the environment by agreeing to receive and act-upon legislative action alerts.  Increasing the number of Key Contacts that take action and establish relationships with their elected officials increases ASCE’s political influence.

  • Recognition

    Winners will receive recognition at ASCE annual Legislative Fly-in on March 12 and 13, 2019.  They will also receive automatic acceptance to the next Legislative Fly-in.

    A presentation at the winner's local Section or Branch meeting can also be arranged, if desired. In addition, an award announcement will be sent to the media outlets of the winner's choice. Notification will also be sent to the winners' state and federal elected representatives.

    Email nominations to ASCE Government Relations

    Past Winners


    Individual: Tiffany Reed-Villareal, Texas
    Group: Texas Section Government Affairs Committee


    Individual: Tor Anderzen, Alaska
    Group: Alabama Section


    Individual: Jim Pajk, Ohio and Charlie Hetland, California


    Individual: Darren Benoit, New Hampshire
    Group: Louisiana Section

    Congratulations to our winners!

  • Deadline

    2018 Nomination forms are now available
    Submit by December 1, 2017.

    Questions? Contact ASCE Government Relations

  • Who Determines the Award Recipients?

    ASCE's State Government Relations & Grassroots Committee and two members of the Government Relations staff team review all nominations and select the winners. Winners are approved by the Public Policy Committee.