I recently had the opportunity to speak briefly on the role, importance and challenges facing the engineering community. I am passionate about the role of engineers and as a community it is vitally important we reflect on our achievements as well as acknowledging our aspirations for the future. While this speech is far from a manifesto it captures my views on the profession I admire and I hope it starts a conversation about the ongoing role and importance of the engineering community. The paraphrased speech follows below:
I have always been immensely proud to call myself an engineer and growing up it is the only thing I ever wanted to be. Engineers have a unique position within society. Not just the mandate to challenge the status quo and change society for the better but the skills and opportunity to do so. I believe strongly that it is our responsibility to understand and overcome the great challenges of our age and to leave the world a better place for our efforts and contributions. Ultimately, the true measure of the engineering profession is the ability to create ubiquity, making a contribution that becomes part of the very fabric of our society.
As engineers we have a proud tradition, yet we as a community we still have our challenges. My mother is an engineer, one of few in her class in the late 70’s and yet over 30 years later we are still struggling to increase the percentage of women in engineering. As engineers, our work is a reflection of the values we hold and the impact of our work will only be improved by increasing the diversity of those who practice it. I believe that over the years ahead we can and should work to build an engineering community that is truly reflective of the diversity within society, and undoubtedly the community and the profession will be stronger for it.
I believe that all engineers can and should be working to improve the standing of the engineering profession and to contribute to making the world a better place for us and for the generations that will follow.