American Society Of Civil Engineers
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
American Society of Civil Engineers logo 2009-present.jpg
Motto Civil engineers are global leaders building a better quality of life.
Formation November 5, 1852 (1852-11-05)
Type Engineering Society
Headquarters Reston, Virginia
Official language
Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI, M.COPRI

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a tax-exempt professional body founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, it is the oldest national engineering society in the United States.


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) was founded in New York City on November 5, 1852, when twelve engineers and architects, amongst them Julius W. Adams, Alfred W. Craven, Thomas A. Emmet, Edward Gardiner, George S. Greene and James Laurie, met at the offices of the Croton Aqueduct and formed the American Society of Civil Engineers and Architects.[] It was the first national engineering society created in the United States.[1] Its constitution was based on the older Boston Society of Civil Engineers from 1848.[2] In 1869 the "Architects" was dropped from the name, as the architects had formed their own society in 1857, the American Institute of Architects.[3]

The American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 177 countries. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation's oldest engineering society. Through the expertise of its active membership, ASCE is a leading provider of technical and professional conferences and continuing education, the world's largest publisher of civil engineering content, and an authoritative source for codes and standards that protect the public.[4]

The 20th century

U.S. stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ASCE in 1952

In 1999, the ASCE elected the top-ten "civil engineering achievements that had the greatest positive impact on life in the 20th century" in "broad categories". Monuments of the Millennium were a "combination of technical engineering achievement, courage and inspiration, and a dramatic influence on the development of [their] communities".[5] The achievements and monuments that best exemplified them included:


ASCE is the world's largest publisher of civil engineering information with publications being the largest revenue-producer for ASCE.[] It produces 36 peer-reviewed journals, amongst them the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering, the Journal of Environmental Engineering, the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, the Journal of Structural Engineering, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. It also publishes conference proceedings, standards, manuals of practice, technical reports, and monographs. The ASCE corporate website hosts the society's bookstore, the online access to all journal articles published since 1983, all conference proceedings since 2000, and over 300 e-books.

ASCE publishes Civil Engineering, the Society's monthly magazine, as well as the weekly enewsletter, ASCENews, also as a digital edition, Geo-Strata, a bi-monthly magazine, on behalf of its Geo-Institute.

Conferences and education

Each year, more than 55,000 engineers earn continuing education units (CEUs) and/or professional development hours (PDHs) by participating in ASCE's continuing education programs. ASCE hosts more than 15 annual and specialty conferences, over 200 continuing education seminars and more than 300 live Web seminars. In addition, ASCE offers customized on-site training, hundreds of online programs, including webinars on-demand and in-depth online courses, as well as live and on-demand P.E. exam review courses on the Web.[]


ASCE also has nine full-service institutes created to serve working professionals working within specialized fields of civil engineering:[6]

  • Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI)
  • Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI)
  • Construction Institute (CI)
  • Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI)
  • Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI)
  • Geo-Institute (G-I)
  • Transportation and Development Institute (T&DI)
  • Structural Engineering Institute (SEI)
  • Utility Engineering & Surveying Institute (UESI)

Controversies in New Orleans levee investigations

Press release of expert review panel 2007

ASCE provides peer reviews at the request of public agencies and projects as a "means to improve the management and quality of [public agency] services and thus better protect the public health and safety with which they are entrusted".[7][8] After the 2005 levee failures in Greater New Orleans, the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Lt Gen Carl Strock P.E., M.ASCE) requested that ASCE create an expert review panel to peer review the Corps-sponsored Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force, the body commissioned by the Corps to assess the performance of the hurricane protection system in metro New Orleans. Lawrence Roth, Deputy Executive Director of the ASCE led the ERP development, served as the panel's chief of staff and facilitated its interaction with IPET.[9] The expert panel´s role was to provide an independent technical review of the IPET's activities and findings, as stated at a National Research Council meeting in New Orleans: "an independent review panel ensure[s] that the outcome is a robust, credible and defensible performance evaluation".[10] On February 12, 2007 Lt. Gen Strock gave all expert review panel members an Outstanding Civilian Service Medals.[9]

On June 1, 2007, the ASCE issued its expert review panel report,[11] and an accompanying press release.[12] The press release was considered controversial because it contained information not present in the report, conflicting with the report, and minimized the Army Corps' involvement in the catastrophe: "Even without breaching, Hurricane Katrina's rainfall and surge overtopping would have caused extensive and severe flooding--and the worst loss of life and property loss ever experienced in New Orleans." The report stated that had levees and pump stations not failed, "far less property loss would have occurred and nearly two-thirds of deaths could have been avoided."[11]:39 The ASCE administration was criticized by the Times-Picayune for an attempt to minimize and understate the role of the Army Corps in the flooding.[13]

Ethics complaint

In October 2007, Raymond Seed, a University of California-Berkeley civil engineering professor and ASCE member submitted a 42-page ethics complaint to the ASCE alleging that the Corps of Engineers with ASCE´s help sought to minimize the Corps' mistakes in the flooding, intimidate anyone who tried to intervene, and delay the final results until the public's attention had turned elsewhere.[14] The Corps acknowledged receiving a copy of the letter and refused to comment until the ASCE's Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC) had commented on the complaint.[15] It took over a year for the ASCE to announce the results of the CPC.[16] The ASCE self-study panel did not file charges of ethical misconduct and blamed errors on "staff" and not review panel members having created the June press release."[17]

Review panels to examine alleged ethics breaches

On November 14, 2007, ASCE announced that U.S. Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y. (ret), would lead an independent task force of outside experts to review how ASCE participated in engineering studies of national significance.[18] ASCE President David Mongan said the review was to address criticism of ASCE´s role in assisting the Army Corps of Engineers-sponsored investigation of Katrina failures. Mongan assured citizens of metro New Orleans in a letter to the Times Picayune, that ASCE took "this matter very seriously and that appropriate actions are being taken".[19]

The panel recommended in results released on September 12, 2008, that ASCE should immediately take steps to remove the potential for conflict of interest in its participation in post-disaster engineering studies.[20] The most important recommendations were that peer review funds over $1 million should come from a separate source, like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), that ASCE should facilitate but not control the assessment teams, and that information to the public and press should be disseminated not under the extremely tight controls that Ray Seed and his team experienced. It concluded that ASCE should draw up an ethics policy to eliminate questions of possible conflicts of interest.[20]

On April 6, 2009, an internal probe with the ASCE issued a report that ordered a retraction of the ASCE's June 1, 2007 press release.[17] The panel determined that the press release had "inadvertently conveyed a misleading impression regarding the role of engineering failures in the devastation of New Orleans", that it incorrectly said that surge levels along Mississippi's coastline were higher than water levels caused by a tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, and that it had incorrectly repeated estimates of deaths and property damage in New Orleans that might have occurred if levees and floodwalls hadn't been breached.

Grassroots group spoof of ASCE - USACE relationship

On November 5, 2007, New Orleans-based grassroots group led by Sandy Rosenthal criticized the ASCE's close relationship with the United States Army Corps of Engineers in a spoof online public service announcement.[21] On November 12, 2007, the ASCE asked to remove the video from the internet, threatening the organization with legal action if it did not comply.[22] On November 13, the Times-Picayune posted the video on its website.[23] Flanked by lawyers with Adams and Reese in the presence of extensive media coverage, the group ignored the threat and posted the video to YouTube citing Louisiana's Anti-SLAPP statute, a "strategic lawsuit against public participation", which allows courts to weed out lawsuits designed to chill public participation on matters of public significance.[24] In a response for comment, ASCE President Mongan replied, "Since the video has already been widely reposted by other organizations, moving forward, we feel our time and expertise are best utilized working to help protect the residents of New Orleans from future storms and flooding."[24]

USACE grant money for disinformation, 2008

In March 2008, announced that records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that as early October 2005, the Army Corps of Engineers had directed and later paid the ASCE more than $1.1 million for its peer review (Grant Number: W912HZ-06-1-0001). the grant also paid for a series of misleading ASCE presentations attempting to shift blame away from the corps and onto local levee officials.[25] Members of the ASCE are forbidden from making false or exaggerated statements and also from making statements for an interested party unless this is disclosed. claimed the records showed how the external peer review would be done in four phases: Phase 1 was research and analysis on the performance of the levees, floodwalls and other important structures. Phase 2 was provision of information on the current system to prevent future flooding. Phase 3 was provision of information to evaluate alternative approaches to flood protection. Phase 4 was transfer information and knowledge gained to a broader audience within Corps and its consultancy community to communicate lessons learned. The group claimed that these records[26] were proof that ASCE´s routine powerpoint presentation from 2007 and 2008 were a public relations campaign to repair the corps' reputation.[27] ASCE officials responded that ASCE paid for the powerpoint presentations itself and had not used USACE grant money for that purpose.


More than 6,000 civil engineers and allied professionals serve on numerous technical committees and provide other services.[] The Society's Committee on Technical Advancement has 10 divisions.[28] which include: Aerospace Division, Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate, Cold Regions Engineering Division, Computing Division, Energy Division, Forensic Engineering Division, Geomatics Division, Infrastructure Resilience Division, Pipelines Division and Wind Engineering Division.[]

Engineering programs

Each year, more than 6,000 civil engineering professionals contribute volunteer technical expertise through participation on ASCE technical committees.[] These committees are housed in the divisions of the Committee on Technical Activities (CTA) or in the Society's institutes.

The efforts of these volunteers advance the profession in many ways including the numerous conferences held each year, manuals of practice, journals and standards. As an ANSI-accredited standards development organization, ASCE committees use an established and audited process to produce consensus standards under a program supervised by the Society's Codes and Standards Committee.

Civil Engineering Certification Inc. (CEC), affiliated with ASCE, has been established to support specialty certification academies for civil engineering specialties and is accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB). CEC also handles safety certification for state, municipal, and federal buildings, formerly the province of the now-defunct Building Security Council. The Committee on Critical Infrastructure (CCI) provides vision and guidance on ASCE activities related to critical infrastructure resilience, including planning, design, construction, O&M, and event mitigation, response and recovery.

Certification is the recognition of attaining advanced knowledge and skills in a specialty area of civil engineering. ASCE offers certifications for engineers who demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills in their area of engineering.

  • American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE)
  • Academy of Geo-Professionals (AGP)
  • Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port & Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE)

Awards and designations

ASCE Historical Marker at Philadelphia City Hall.

ASCE honors civil engineers through more than 90 Society Awards.[] Honors and awards include the Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) awards in the categories of construction, design, education, government and management,[29] the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) for projects, the Henry L. Michel Award for Industry Advancement of Research and the Charles Pankow Award for innovation, 12 scholarships and fellowships for student members. Created in 1968 by ASCE's Sanitary Engineering Division, the Wesley W. Horner award is named after former ASCE President Wesley W. Horner, and given to a recently peer reviewed published paper in the fields of hydrology, urban drainage, or sewerage. Special consideration is given to private practice engineering work that is recognized as a valuable contribution to the field of environmental engineering.[30] The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented annually since 1999 and recognizes five different individual leaders. One award is present in each category of design, construction, government, education, and management.[31] ASCE designates national and international Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.{{cn}

World wonders of the Modern World

In an effort to recognize a contemporary equivalent to the heralded ancient Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the ASCE has designated the following Seven Wonders of the Modern World:[32]

Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize

In July 1946, the Board of Direction authorized annual awards on recommendation by the Society's Committee on Research to stimulate research in civil engineering. In October 1964, Mrs. Alberta Reed Huber endowed these prizes in honor of her husband, Walter L. Huber, Past President, ASCE.[33] The Huber Prize is considered the highest level mid-career research prize in civil engineering and is awarded for outstanding achievements and contributions in research with respect to all disciplines of civil engineering.

See also


  1. ^ "ASCE Founders' Plaque". Metropolitan Section, American Society of Civil Engineers. Retrieved 2016. 
  2. ^ Perspectives in Civil Engineering: Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Society of Civil Engineers Jeffrey S. Russell; ASCE Publications, Jan 1, 2003; 392 pages, page 129 "They used the constitution of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, founded four uears earlier, as a framework."
  3. ^ Beard, Jeffrey L.; et al. (2001). Design-build: planning through development. McGraw-Hill Professional. para. 2.4. ISBN 0-07-006311-7. Retrieved 2011. 
  4. ^ "Amit Kanvinde Receives 2016 Huber Research Prize - College of Engineering UC Davis". College of Engineering UC Davis. 2016-04-15. Retrieved . 
  5. ^ a b c "Top 10 Achievements & Millennium Monuments" (PDF). People and Projects > Projects. American Society of Civil Engineers. Retrieved 2012. 
  6. ^ "Institutes". Retrieved 2016. 
  7. ^ Peer Review for Public Agencies American Society of Civil Engineers. Not dated, Retrieved November 17, 2007.
  8. ^ ASCE Policy Statement on Peer Review American Society of Civil Engineers, March 17, 2016, retrieved November 13, 2015.
  9. ^ a b (March 2007) Members Honored with Outstanding Civil Services Medal American Society of Civil Engineers. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  10. ^ Roth, Lawrence "Larry", on behalf of ASCE External Review Panel. (March 20, 2007) Meeting 2, New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects, Meeting 2, New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects. New Orleans, LA. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Charles F. Anderson, Jurjen A. Battjes; et al. (2007). "The New Orleans Hurricane Protection System: What Went Wrong and Why" (PDF). American Society of Civil Engineers. p. 80. Retrieved . 
  12. ^ Joan Buhrman (2007). "Move Beyond Sound-bites and "Armchair" Theories to Make the Nation Safer From Disaster, Engineers Say" (PDF). American Society of Civil Engineers. Retrieved . 
  13. ^ (June 19, 2007) EDITORIAL: Sound bites and spin jobs The Times-Picayune. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  14. ^ Raymond B. Seed (2007). "New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, and the Soul of the Profession" (PDF). New Orleans Times Picayue. Retrieved . 
  15. ^ Charpentier, Colley (November 19, 2007). "Critic: Corps tried to thwart inquirty". Times Picayune. Retrieved . 
  16. ^ "Levee group slams ASCE investigation" (PDF). 6 August 2008. Retrieved 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Schleifstein, Mark (April 6, 2009). "American Society of Civil Engineers finds no ethical violations in its own Katrina levee review". Times Picayune. Retrieved . 
  18. ^ Task force will review engineers' studies The Times Picayune, December 8, 2007
  19. ^ ASCE is investigating The Times Picayune, December 2, 2007
  20. ^ a b Sherwood L. Boehlert, Joseph Bordogna (12 September 2008). "Report on Engineering Reviews: Recommendations to the American Society of Civil Engineers" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved . 
  21. ^ Levees.Org (November 5, 2007). New Orleans Levee Spin 101 (Youtube Video). New Orleans, LA: 
  22. ^ Baquet, Terry (November 13, 2007). "Engineer group not amused by online spoof of levee review". Times Picayune. Retrieved . 
  23. ^ Shea, Dan (November 14, 2007). "Controversial video". Times Picayune. Retrieved . 
  24. ^ a b Betz, Jonathan (December 4, 2007). "Corps/". WWL. Retrieved . 
  25. ^ Sandy Rosenthal (August 22, 2011). Elite Engineering Group Does PR Show to Protect Corps of Engineers' Reputation (Youtube Video). New Orleans, LA: 
  26. ^ U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (2006). "Research and Analysis of the Performance of Hurricane and Flood Protection Projects in Southeast Louisiana" (PDF). Department of the Army. Retrieved . 
  27. ^ "Katrina Study Findings Presentations". American Society of Civil Engineers. September 2006. Retrieved . 
  28. ^ Technical Areas of the American Society of Civil Engineers., American Society of Civil Engineers. Retrieved November 13, 2015
  29. ^ American Society of Civil Engineers. "ASCE Honors and Awards - Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement". Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved . 
  30. ^ Wesley W. Horner Award ASCE. Accessed October 10, 2007.
  31. ^ American Society of Civil Engineers. "ASCE Honors and Awards - Lifetime Achievement Award". Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved . 
  32. ^ Seven Wonders of the Modern World Archived August 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. ASCE. Accessed June 14, 2011.
  33. ^ "Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prizes | ASCE". Retrieved . 

External links

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