Greetings to our ACEC Hawaii member firms. As we continue to navigate the disruptions and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude for how our community has been responding to the pandemic and acknowledge the sacrifices that we all are making for the greater good and to protect the most vulnerable among us. We are being asked to keep our distance from the people that we care about the most, our grandparents, our parents, our colleagues and our friends, to slow the spread of the virus and get us through these challenging times.
As we start the second quarter of our 2020-2021 fiscal year, I look forward to a return to “normalcy” and seeing all of you in person again, but until then the Board of Directors, the committees, and the staff is continuing our work to protect and promote your business interests. We held our first ever virtual general membership meeting in September on how to Rescue, Recover, Rebuild: Hawaii’s Economy from a Legislative Perspective. Representative Sylvia Luke, who currently Chairs the House Finance Committee, and Senator Dela Cruz, who currently Chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, participated as speakers, fielded questions from our member firms and provided all the attendees with some insight on our government’s view of our current and future economic and societal landscape, as well as, their individual personalities. More recently, we held a roundtable discussion so that the leaders of our member firms could share their experiences in dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the best practices that they have implemented in their respective workplaces to keep their employees safe. See the attached for a summary of the discussions.
Upcoming events include educational presentations on climate change adaption design principles, establishing/sustaining diverse workplaces and COVID-19 pandemic protocols, as well as, updates from developers and government representatives on their future projects and upcoming opportunities to partner and work with our member firms. Also, due to concerns over large gatherings related to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACEC Hawaii has decided to go with a virtual program for our 2021 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA). The 2021 EEA is currently scheduled for January 28th and it will also be paired with an on-line auction to help raise monies to support our Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraising goals.
In addition to our local events, ACEC is conducting the 2020 Fall Conference in a virtual format from October 28th to October 30th so everyone will have the opportunity to be part of the event from the comfort and safety of home. The Fall Conference offers numerous educational sessions including the following, which are focused on COVID-19 pandemic related issues: Maximizing Client Relationships from Behind the Desk or from a Physical Distance; Preparing for Your PPP Loan Audit; Financial Survival Post Pandemic: A Look at Overhead, Cash Flow, and Tax Ramifications. These educational sessions are available real time and on demand for up to 3 months after the event for registered attendees. Registration for the 2020 Fall Conference is still open so I encourage anyone who is interested to take advantage of this opportunity to access educational content, business resources, networking lounges, and a virtual Exhibit Hall.
To help our member firms keep their employees safe, while returning to the workplace during the pandemic, ACEC has developed the Coronavirus Resource Center, which is accessible at www.acec.org. This site contains a lot of useful information including the ACEC Guide for Returning to the Office and Job Site, as well as, articles, documents, and links to other relevant material. Also, the results of Wave 8 of the ACEC Research Institute COVID-19 Business Impact Survey, which was conducted between September 15th to 18th and includes responses from more than 400 member firms, is posted on our website at www.acechawaii.org. 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.