Groups collaborate: Younger members, demand for engineers among concerns

Research Triangle Park, NC--  ISA recently hosted the first Scientific and Engineering Inter-Society Benchmarking Summit. ISA’s "Building and Preserving Association Relevancy into<br/> the Future" summit recently welcomed senior leaders from more than a dozen<br/> organizations, representing more than 750,000 members.


Research Triangle Park, NC --


recently hosted the first Scientific and Engineering Inter-Society Benchmarking Summit. ISA’s "Building and Preserving Association Relevancy into
the Future" summit recently welcomed senior leaders from more than a dozen
organizations, representing more than 750,000 members. The group attended the inter-society benchmarking meeting for the engineering and scientific community to discuss common challenges, best practices, and future collaborations. Key challenges include the following.

ISA said major challenges faced by the societies include:
-Attracting and retaining members under age 40 and in under-represented groups;
-Becoming a global organization;
-Achieving a fully integrated business;
-Cultivating leaders from within the volunteer ranks;
-Future of individual membership organizations; and the
-Future demand for engineers and scientists from industry and the government.

Several organizations, including the Society of Women Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Project
Management Institute, the American Industrial Hygiene Institute, and the Society of American Military Engineers, gave detailed presentations to introduce each of the issues.

The gathering broke into small working groups with a goal of elaborating on proposed solutions or beta programs for each challenge. The long-term goal is to identify one or more owners for each of the beta programs, and to solidify collaborations to help each organization succeed with its program.

"Every organization brings something unique to the table, and some organizations are better poised to implement one program over another," said ISA executive director and CEO Patrick Gouhin. "We want to work together as a community to solve the challenges we face. This summit was a crucial first step in that process."

All organizations expressed commitment to follow-up activities and continued collaboration. Gouhin plans a report of the summit at a mid-winter meeting of more than 100 scientific and engineering organizations. ISA will create an electronic report summarizing topical themes and discussion on best practices and proposed solutions.

Additional participants included the American Nuclear Society, the Association of Facilities Engineering, the Society for Biomolecular Sciences, Sigma Xi, the Air and Waste Management Association, the Estuarine Research Federation, the American Phytopathological Society, the American Society of Agronomy, the American Concrete Institute, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, ASM International, and the Automation Federation.

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