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Letter to the editor: Thank an engineer

To the editor:

Feb. 14-20 is National Engineers Week. Every year during this week, engineers take time to celebrate the collective accomplishments of our profession.

Over the past 150 years, the engineers in this country have played a significant role in such accomplishments as construction of the transcontinental railroad, manned space flight, cellular phones and personal computers. Engineers are doers who turn ideas into reality.

Engineers are changing the world all the time. The manmade environment and the quality of life we enjoy in this country were made possible by engineers.

By the time we reach the middle of this decade, the demand for engineers in this country will be unprecedented. By an American Society of Civil Engineers estimate, billions of dollars in engineering and construction will be required to renovate and upgrade our existing infrastructure.

Engineering expertise will be required for development of new medical diagnostic equipment to building more energy-efficient cars and trucks to creating new means of constructing buildings and bridges to resist the ravages of an earthquake to cleaning up the environment. The challenges that lie ahead are daunting, and continued leadership in engineering and technology are critical to the future of this country.

Engineering has been called an invisible profession, but everything that we use has been touched by an engineer in some way. We take great pride in this fact. So, if you woke up this morning in a warm house, drank a clean glass of water, talked to a friend on a cell phone, drove your car on a paved road over a safe bridge or turned on your personal computer and checked for e-mail messages, thank an engineer.

Eric W. Bahner
chief engineer,
Edward E. Gillen Co., Milwaukee
on behalf of the ASCE Wisconsin Southeast Branch Board

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