July 1st marked the start of our 2020-2021 fiscal year and my term as President of ACEC Hawaii begins with us facing a truly unprecedented situation. The global COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of our families, our businesses, our communities, and our way of life. First and foremost, my heart goes out to anyone who has been impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly, and a special thanks to the selfless healthcare workers around the world who are on the front lines working tirelessly to care for people in need.
Locally, we have been working to address the “new normal” amid the COVID- 19 pandemic. In the next few months, we intend to hold our first ever virtual general membership meeting and we are looking to implement website improvements to help facilitate the flow of information between the Board of Directors and membership on our legislative activities and lobbying efforts, educational programs, calendar of events and other initiatives. In addition, we have been continuing to monitor legislative activities here in Hawaii to track bills that affect the engineering community, we are working to establish a new Wastewater Engineering and Construction (WEC) committee to foster dialogue between WEC and our member firms on various issues/challenges and we have been reaching out to our congressional delegation as part of a virtual lobbying campaign to engage our House and Senate members in support of a robust infrastructure-based economic recovery agenda.
On the National level, ACEC is continuing to lobby and support legislation that provides funding for surface transportation, airports, drinking water and wastewater systems, ports, inland waterways, broadband deployment, and other critical infrastructure programs to lay the ground work for a post COVID- 19 pandemic economic recovery as well as pursuing additional funding, modifications and clarifications to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act of 2020 to help engineering firms support their people and remain viable and operational as they weather this crisis. As Member Firms across the country are facing the challenge of returning to the workplace and job sites a new R3 “Rescue, Recover and Rebuild” initiative is providing resources, guides and webinars free of charge to help ACEC member firms navigate today’s uncharted waters and respond to this challenge safely while managing legal risk. The abovementioned resources, guides, webinars and information on advocacy efforts can be found on ACEC’s website, www.acec.org.
With the support of the Board of Directors, committees and staff, ACEC Hawaii will continue working to protect the business interests of our member firms, hosting member events with distinguished speakers, conducting professional development programs and sessions and providing special networking opportunities. The health and safety of our people remain our top priority so any planned gatherings would be virtual in nature or in strict accordance with “social distancing” requirements and other COVID-19 pandemic protocols. As we all deal with the “new normal”, we encourage all our member firms to take advantage of the resources, guides and webinars that I mentioned above. Please feel free to contact me or anyone on the Board if you would like to make suggestions, requests, or if you would like to be more involved in our organization and our committees. Also, you can visit our website at www.acechawaii.org for more information.