February 2021 – Region 9 Reports

Go Back


Communication is Key!
Kenneth H. Rosenfield, P.E., F. ASCE, ENV SP
ASCE Region 9 Director
Chair, Region 9 Board of Governors

Communication is key, but what does that mean? We must communicate clearly, consistently and sufficiently to provide the information needed to convey an idea, lesson or concept. This is true in everything we do and also true for all of our member advancement activities at ASCE. But, how really do you communicate? There is an art to getting your message across.

Early in my career, I worked for a public agency and they engaged the employees in a communications training class. The intent, of course, was to improve the public’s view of the quality of the agency’s customer services. The class emphasized the importance of being a good listener before responding to inquiries, complaints or general communications from the public. One of the simple concepts utilized to reinforce this recommendation was based upon the observation that since we have two ears and one mouth, it is incumbent upon us to be good listeners, confirm what you have heard, and only then offer a response. This concept follows the parable, “seek to understand before seeking to be understood.” This phrase is attributed to Stephen Covey from his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I have read that book and it provides great life and communications lessons. In my own life experience, I have found it to be most effective to be a good listener before offering an opinion or solution to an issue being raised. This is a personal choice approach to communicating and I find it works well for me at an interpersonal level.

Communicating with ASCE members, en masse, however, takes a different approach. We rely upon email for the most part and it is only as effective as you are willing to open and read the message. Many of you do open, read and respond to the messages and many of you do not. This is understandable as we are frequently overloaded with too many emails and social media posts which makes it difficult to identify the important messages and find time outside of work to sift through the daily communications from multiple sources. To the extent that we have similar experiences, I feel your pain. If I do not frequently monitor my emails, they pile up and up and up!

Separate from email messages, ASCE Region 9 provides each Section with monthly newsletter articles to supplement the local information. We trust you find these articles are informative and useful. And, ASCE, the Society, provides multiple communication platforms. Most recently, ASCE launched The Source. This is an information platform covering all news related to civil engineering. The Source is an artificial intelligence based news engine which allows you to customize the topics of interest and the frequency of contact with you, and, it is free to you as an ASCE member. Staying informed as to the industry happenings is a great way to be knowledgeable about innovations and advances in our profession. Another communication offering from ASCE, one which provides for an exchange of ideas, is Collaborate. As an ASCE member, you are able to access Collaborate here: https://collaborate.asce.org/home You are then able to identify areas of interest and begin conversations with other members. The conversations range from policy discussions to full on technical discussions. Contributions to Collaborate can come from anywhere in the world and is a great opportunity to exchange information and views. Additionally, as a part of the Region 9 communications, you will receive updates on the Board of Direction meetings held by the Society Board, of which I am a member, and, as well, we are keeping our Region 9 website up to date. I encourage you to access all of this information on ASCE happenings.

If you have a preferred method on how to best communicate with you, please let me know. Feel free to reach out to me for any needs at KennethRosenfield.ASCE@gmail.com.


Go Back