Communications Committee Leads First Public Outreach Challenge
The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations’ (NCSEA) Communications Committee challenged their Member Organizations (the state SEAs) to inform and educate other industries, professions, and the general public about Structural Engineering through the publication of news articles, videos, blogs and other creative content.
The SEAs were asked to submit a portfolio of content generated over the past two years, which the judging panel would score based on both quantity and potential audience. The Member Organizations that participated in the inaugural challenge submitted over 300 individual pieces of content. Three MOs were recognized as finalists at the NCSEA Structural Engineering Summit in Anaheim, California in November. Finalists each received a shake table for use in their public outreach efforts. From these finalists, a winner was selected and named the Voice of the Profession.
Third Place: Structural Engineers Association of Oregon (SEAO)
SEAO members contributed to several print articles in publications from college alumni magazines and firm blogs to regional and local business journals. Members also discussed structural engineering at a high school engineering contest and as a member of a community disaster preparedness panel.
Published in a prominent regional business newspaper, this article, authored by a SEAO Structural Engineer, took advantage of a recent seismic event in the area to capture the general public’s attention and address key concerns of nearby residents, while highlighting the impact of structural engineering in a way the public can understand.
Second Place: Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI)
SEAOI generated a wealth of technical articles for industry publications, assisted with numerous articles for both local and major newspapers, and expanded to electronic media with podcasts, YouTube videos, and a healthy social media presence.
Published in a prominent mainstream newspaper, this article uses the public’s existing interest in a new Chicago skyscraper to explain how seemingly aesthetic-only features are also intentional, engineered characteristics, and teach the general public structural engineering basics through easy-to-understand graphics.
First Place & Voice of the Profession: Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC)
SEAOC submitted a comprehensive database of over 60 individual links to articles and initiatives undertaken by its members, demonstrating a significant impact on public education about the structural engineering profession. Submissions ranged from social media posts, self-published MO newsletters, and podcast contributions to participation in press conferences, a steady stream of SE-related articles in local and major newspapers, and leadership within a regional Safer Cities program.
The Safer Cities Advisory Program provides communities an avenue to engage structural engineers in the development and implementation of regulations and programs to mitigate seismic risk. MO members have built an impressive network of relationships with public policy makers and the general public through this program, improving their community’s safety, as well as the local perception and understanding of structural engineers.
Honorable Mentions: Structural Engineers Association of Hawaii (SEAOH), Structural Engineers Association of Montana (SEAMT), Structural Engineers Association of Wisconsin (SEAWI), and Structural Engineers Association of Central California (SEAOCC)» 2019 Public Outreach Press Release (PDF)