K. Keith Roe, PE, has been selected as the president-nominee of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for the 2016-2017 term of office. Roe, a fellow of ASME, has been an active member of the Society for more than 40 years.
Throughout his distinguished association with ASME, Roe has held a number of leadership positions including a three-year term as a member of the Board of Governors (2008-2011), founding chair (1987-96) and a current member of the ASME Industry Advisory Board, a member and chair of the ASME Foundation’s Board of Directors (1994-2007), where he currently serves as chair emeritus, and served as chair of the Board of Trustees (1998-2008). His committee work included tenures on the Committee on Governance, Committee on Investments, and the Committee on Planning and Organization among others.
Infra Doesn’t Get the Airtime it Deserves
We do have a whole generation that doesn’t understand that electricity doesn’t come out of a wall, it comes through some wires and some power plants somewhere. We haven’t educated people very well, despite the fact that I think there have been some important efforts…they’re not very exciting issues compared to some of the other stories of the day, and so they don’t get the national air time that they should.
Taking the Fight to Washington
One of the things ASME does, we have a very significant Washington office, and we do a lot of work on policy input. We, like many other professional engineering societies, also have a congressional fellows program where we help fund mid-to-upper-level senior managers, executives to spend a year on sabbatical from their company in Washington working on various energy committees—or other committees, or in the Office of Science and Technology Policy—to try to provide some better insight into some of these issues.
Doing More to Spread the Word
I think one of the biggest challenges in this area is getting people to understand what the issues are…It’s an important thing and it really is so important to our economy. We need to do a better job, all of us, at getting the message across. People need to understand that those roads, those bridges, the highways, the electrical infrastructure, the oil and gas infrastructure, our ports and harbors, these are all vital to our world commerce.
ASME’s Infrastructure Role
The issue of infrastructure is important to ASME members for a lot of reasons. First of all we should all be interested in it as citizens because it’s so important to our way of life, but it really goes beyond that in many, many ways. ASME’s mission is to use technology to make the world a better place, improve quality of life and so on…these days when engineering is starting to become multi-discipline, mechanical engineering is one of those fields that’s at the base of a lot of these areas. So there’s a real role for us to be heavily involved in many of the challenges that the nation faces.