July 29, 2019

Fellow Board Certified Water Resources Engineers, I opened this message with a new greeting to reflect a shift by AAWRE and our parent organization, Civil Engineering Certification Inc. (CEC), to emphasize the certification aspect of AAWRE. As an organization and a credential, AAWRE and the other post-licensure academies under CEC continue to struggle with recognition and demonstrating the meaning of being a Diplomate. We have come to realize the term Diplomate is not well understood and receiving a certificate by AAWRE as a Water Resources Engineer is misunderstood by many as honorific rather than recognition of achievement. As such, use of the phrase “Board Certified” is being used more commonly since this may convey the appropriate concept of achievement. More about this to follow.

I extend my congratulations to the 2019 recipients of the AAWRE annual awards. The inaugural "Outstanding Research & Innovation Award” was presented to Ralph Wurbs, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.D.WRE, F.ASCE; “Outstanding Practitioner in Water Resources Engineering Award” was presented to Ray Walton, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE; and the “Service to the Academy Award” was presented to Kay Whitlock, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE during the AAWRE Diplomate & Awards Ceremony at the EWRI Congress this past May. Of particular note, I also recognize the outstanding achievement by a member of the AAWRE Board of Trustees, Pascale Champagne, Ph.D.,P.Eng, D.WRE, F.EWRI, F.ASCE, Director of the Beaty Water Research Centre, Queen’s University in Ontario who was recently selected as a member of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Each of these individuals has and continues to demonstrate the attributes, qualities, and accomplishments expected of a person who is Board Certified as a Water Resources Engineer. I hope you will join me in extending them congratulations on their accomplishments.

Your Board of Trustees have been busy over the past six months with the business of managing your Academy. The Bylaws Committee led by Roger Kilgore and including Paul Boulos, Findlay Edwards, Ashok Bathulla, and Frank Kim (ASCE staff) have completed updates to the AAWRE Bylaws that should avoid future confusion in new applications and recertification processes. In addition, an extensive review of the Diplomates roster was conducted and inactive Diplomates were removed from the roster and online directory. This review, which will now be conducted annually, reduced the AAWRE number of Diplomates from just over 750 to 636 as of 8 July 2019 with 155 still delinquent in paying 2019 recertification fees. The changes to the bylaws address delinquent recertifications and establishes late fees and a routine process for removal of Diplomates from the AAWRE roster if an annual recertification is not completed.

Perhaps the most interesting news related to AAWRE is the initiative by the former ASCE Raise-the-Bar effort. As some of you may know, the ASCE Board created a Task Committee on Credentialing to Raise the Bar (TCCRTB) to determine a new direction for the “former” RTB effort. The TCCRTB has worked over the past year and met with CEC on several occasions. They delivered their interim report to the ASCE Board in July 2019, which included recommendations that the Board accepted FOR FURTHER STUDY.

The premise of the TCCRTB effort is the P.E. no longer appropriately represents adequate preparation for entry into the profession of civil engineering. The TCCRTB suggests this “gap” can be addressed by completing the requirements for a post-licensure certification that to demonstrate competency in achieving the civil engineering body of knowledge. Consequently, the TCCRTB recommended to the ASCE Board that market research be conducted to determine the feasibility of a certificate for civil engineers who earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree (or equivalent), PE license, an appropriate minimum number of years of experience, and who complete a rigorous application and reference process that assesses mentored experience and self-development. A standardized examination would also be required to ensure objective assessment of candidates. The standard for the certification would be COMPETENCY to a body of knowledge, presumably the new Civil Engineering BoK3. Currently, AAWRE requires MASTERY of the water resources body of knowledge, which can be found on the AAWRE website.

The effort would be expanded beyond the current CEC’s Academies that offer certification in the areas of coastal, geotechnical, navigation, ocean, ports, and water resources engineering to include all areas that could be reasonably certified within the civil engineering sub-disciplines. Finally, to manage the program, the current academies of AAWRE, ACOPNE, and AGP would be disbanded in their current form and become committees or councils operating under a single academy that administers the entire certification effort. This is clearly an ambitious program and does have merits if you are a person who considers the RTB concept one of merit. I want to emphasis this initiative is in a study phase, but I hope with this information, you will become part of the discussion.

In conclusion, I apologize for the long note, but thank you for your continued service to our profession and participation in AAWRE. Your display of D.WRE sends a message that we are members of a learned profession, and your efforts inspire others to continue their studies, aspire to achieve higher standards, and solve the most difficult problems. I am very proud to be a member of this profession and to serve as your AAWRE President.

Best regards,
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Joe Manous, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.EWRI, F.ASCE
AAWRE President