November 30, 2018

Fellow Diplomates and members of the water resources community,

It is an honor to have been nominated and elected to serve as president of your AAWRE Board of Trustees. My first order of business is to recognize and thank immediate Past-President Roger Kilgore and previous Past-President Debbie Lee for the excellent work they did in evolving your Academy.

You may not be aware, but they successfully led in establishment of the AAWRE newsletter, the ASCE Diplomates Online Directory, and most significantly changes to the Academy bylaws and operating procedures that not only simplified the processes for Diplomate’ applications and reviews but improved the transparency of and communications from the Academy. These improvements are important and long overdue.

These changes were also quite timely as their completion coincided with the ASCE review of the “Raise-the-Bar” initiative. Many, if not most of you are aware of this 20+ year effort by ASCE to encourage state licensure boards to adopt a model law that incorporates an ABET accredited bachelor’s degree plus 30-additional credits as one of the criteria for licensure. The effort by ASCE to actively change licensure laws has since been modified by the ASCE Board of Direction and alternative courses of action to ensure qualifications by civil engineers are adequately achieved are being investigated.

Presentations by the Civil Engineering Certification (CEC), parent organization of AAWRE and all ASCE post-licensure Academies, have been made to both the ASCE Board of Direction and the reinvented raise-the-bar committee. Interestingly, most of the members of both groups were not familiar with the Academies and those that were believed the Academies were honorific organizations, not post-licensure credentialing bodies.

As a Diplomate, I frequently encounter the question of whether being a Diplomate is a honorific recognition based on who a person knows or whether it is based on an individual’s accomplishments. Most are surprised when I inform them there is an examination and that not every applicant is deemed worthy by the Admissions Committee to sit for the examination. This truly is a communications issue and your assistance as a Diplomate in communicating the requirements to become a Diplomate is important.

Another key point is AAWRE is not a membership organization. Unlike ASCE, where you pay an annual membership, your annual board certification renewal to AAWRE is akin to paying a state engineer licensure registration. So technically none of us are “members” of AAWRE, but Board Certified Diplomates of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. This terminology has proven confusing even amongst Diplomates, so I am suggesting that we consider a change as to how we represent ourselves.

Instead of referring to ourselves as “Diplomates”, which is not common in the American lexicon, I suggest using “Board Certified” in the future. CEC has already adopted this terminology on their website and publications, and AAWRE explains being a Diplomate as being Board Certified. The next step would be to adopt “Board Certified in Water Resources Engineering” or similar to indicate Board Certified Diplomate status in a signature block or use on your business card.

In summary, the state of your Academy is good though the number of board certified water resources engineers (aka Diplomates ) has remained static at ~ 725 for about 5- years. That said, the applicants in recent years have represented younger and increasingly talented water resources engineers, which is encouraging.

Your Board of Trustees is committed to not only sustaining, but enhancing the image of AAWRE and those it certifies by its high standards.

Thank you for all you do for our profession and in support of AAWRE.

Best regards,

        Joe Signature.jpg
Joe D. Manous, Jr., P.E., Ph.D., D.WRE, F.EWRI, F.ASCE
American Academy of Water Resources Engineers