Networking for Success – Top Professional Organizations for Engineers
Success in your career as a professional engineer goes well beyond completing your Engineer-in-Training, passing your PE, and earning your discipline registration. Putting in the months and years of work to become proficient, even expert, in your craft will take you a long way, but you will hit a professional wall. The best way to go over that wall is to get involved in a professional organization.
The challenge is this: there are dozens of organizations in the A/E/C industry. How can you know which of these will provide the networking and professional development that best suit your career path?
The common-sense place to start is with national organizations that include all industry disciplines. These groups offer the most comprehensive opportunities to move your career forward.
American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) – This is the premier national organization for engineers. ACEC advocates for the industry on a state and national level, and the extensive list of benefits include sample contracts, QBS support, and a robust job bank. There are many opportunities to get involved at the local, state and national level.
Local chapters offer excellent networking within each region. Monthly luncheon meetings provide insight into the market and are a great venue for forging and strengthening relationships. The entire spectrum of the industry is represented at ACEC meetings, making it the organization to join.
American Public Works Association (APWA) – Municipal public works departments are represented at the state and national level by the APWA. Membership is open to all industry-related firms; APWA is the best organization for professional engineers who focus on municipal projects.
While chapter meetings include topics of interest to city engineering staff, the information is often relevant to the private side of the industry. Committees at the chapter level enable engineers at private firms to get involved and forge stronger relationships with the public works leadership.
Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) is an international organization that focuses on regional, and state transportation agencies. Membership is open to the entire A/E/C industry. While the core principles of the organization are to advance women in the transportation industry, men are welcome and comprise a large percentage of the membership.
Local meetings cover such topics as transportation legislation, funding and upcoming projects. WTS is a great venue for engineers who design highways, heavy and commuter rail, transit and aviation facilities. As with the other organizations discussed here, the networking and committee opportunities are excellent. National leadership are often called upon to advocate for transportation funding or regulations in Washington, DC.
When you’ve conquered your wall and are ready for new opportunities, Webuild Staffing works with a large group of industry leaders who are interested in hiring quality engineers.
Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing www.webuildstaffing.com . To learn more about Michael or to follow his blog please visit www.michaeldesafey.com