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Engineers' Club of Philadelphia

President's Message

E. Mitchell Swann

Welcome to the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia,

I am assuming that you've found our website with some level of "intention" and you were not surfing for Electro-Cardiogram Paper or some other variation on "ECP" and just stumbled upon us. If you have, well...make yourself comfortable.

The Engineers' Club of Philadelphia was initiated in 1877 by Mr. Charles Billin, an engineer in the Powelton Village section of West Philadelphia. It came as an outgrowth of the collective effort and celebration of engineering that went into the United States Centennial held in Philadelphia in 1876. The Fairmount Park Commission led the design and construction of what is now called Memorial Hall - a Beaux-Arts design and construction masterpiece located in West Philadelphia. Memorial Hall was the centerpiece of the 1876 Centennial, an event which highlighted the technological advances that engineering and science had made in the country's first 100 years.

Fast forward to 2013, some 137 years later and engineering and science has continued to propel our nation and the world forward. To make possible things that were considered fantasy less than 100 years ago and to solve problems and make life better for countless billions of people the world over. But along the path and too often along with that progress, we've made some mistakes, taken some ill-advised shortcuts and have discovered in hindsight that there are sometimes unforeseen costs to decisions made hastily. So today, engineers continue to do what they have always done - adapt to changing circumstances, turn fantasy into reality and find innovative solutions to challenges. Once again, engineers are at the forefront of global issues such as energy, the environment, medical technologies, information systems, security, transportation, infrastructure.... and even gaming consoles, just to name a few items. You might think that this disparate list of issues, industries and technologies are unrelated, but as with most things in the world, there are many facets to the issues and while the engineering profession can be highly specialized, the solutions are a team effort where many skills are brought to bear to create a solution.

The Engineers' Club serves its diverse membership by acting as an umbrella under which the many facets of engineering can more readily communicate across disciplines; improve, enhance and expand their technical and professional skills, and actively engage with society at large utilizing the special training and expertise provided by academics and honed by the practice. The Engineers' Club has always strived to provide for and prepare the best trained professionals in the Delaware Valley. But frankly, the engineering profession has had a history of keeping too low a profile - we've not been the best at helping people truly understand what we do. We have now set out to address that on several fronts.

The Club has done some new things and made changes in some old things that have made an impact on time honored programs. The biggest plus is that the Club has definitely raised its profile in the city and engaged with organizations and entities we've never dealt with before - this is both at the professional level and at the outreach and educational level. The whole nation and much of the world has been abuzz with talk of the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and the need for innovation to drive our economy. The Engineers' Club throws its shoulder to the plow along with the resurgent Philadelphia Engineering Foundation in the development of the Discover Engineering in Greater Philadelphia website. The web portal serves as an information conduit and entry gateway into engineering for aspiring and inquisitive students and lets them know where more resources are available.

We've got some great events and activities planned for the 2013 - 2014 year including a number of professional development programs. We are hoping to expand our relationship with groups like Engineers without Borders; take a leadership role in promoting and informing students, parents and educators regarding STEM activities and programs in the region; and helping our members who want to make the giant step into entrepreneurship.

But to keep the Engineers' Club strong and to build on our 137 year history takes effort, energy, brain power and heart. It takes people. We need our members to step in and engage with the Club's programming and initiatives as well as give us feedback and input to help us keep the Club on an upward trajectory.

So there are a lot of opportunities for you to engage the Club, expand your network, enhance your skills and give back to the profession and the community at large.

We look forward to serving you - our members as we help them achieve their professional goals; and you - the larger community especially aspiring engineers.

E. Mitchell Swann PE, C. Eng, LEED AP