IIE Annual Conference blogging – Advocacy of the Profession

One of the most commonly asked questions about IIE membership is “What am I getting for my dues?” And if you’ve ever talked to an IIE staff member or a volunteer leader you’ve heard the standard spiel – professional networking, leadership development opportunities, job searches, education and training, licensure, etc. One thing that I have a passion for (and I may have written about it once or twice before) is something that occasionally gets overlooked: advocacy of the profession.

Think about these questions for a minute – why did you become an industrial engineer? Why should we be directing high school students to study IE in college? How do we build the STEM skills in K-12 so that those kids are prepared for any of the engineering disciplines? I’m only scratching the surface, but you get the idea about the issues we face on a daily basis to promote the profession of industrial engineering, despite making some career top 10 lists over the past few years. As you may have surmised from the title of this post, this is an area that IIE is working in.

IIE CEO Don Greene gave a quick status update to the RVP’s Friday morning (as a sneak preview to the State of IIE address on Tuesday). He shared some information on what IIE is doing to advance the profession.

  • ABET – IIE provides guidance on what ABET should be looking for when accrediting programs, as well has having members serve as trainers & reviewers (we have a chapter member doing this).
  • NCEES – Similar to ABET, IIE provides guidance on content on the FE and PE exams and licensure.
  • National Engineering week – IIE work with other associations, such as ASEE, to sponsor e-week.
  • Future City – IIE is a sponsor.
  • New Faces of Engineering – IIE selects the representative for IE to be highlighted in USA Today and elsewhere.
  • Public Policy Symposiums – As a 501(c) non-profit, IIE is not allowed to get involved in lobbying. However, we do work with the National Academy and 30+ engineering organizations sponsor & participate in these symposiums, educating Congress on key engineering issues.
  • Today in America with Terry Bradshaw – This is a new program that produces 5 minute featurettes on differing industries. They recently decided to do an episode on industrial engineering, and in their research they discovered IIE and reached out to the organization. They will be filming part of the episode during the annual conference. (Stay tuned for more information!)

On top of all these opportunities, my former “boss” on the Regional Operations Board is starting to expand IIE’s role in K-12 outreach, such as mentoring with BEST Robotics. Our chapter has also been presented with K-12 opportunities in the past few years, which I expect to continue based on the volunteering principle that people will get involved with things their children are involved with. That should allow us even greater opportunity to provide mentoring, leadership and education about industrial engineering.

If you have any questions about or want to get involved with the topics above feel free to reach out to me. If I don’t have an answer I have 2-3 contacts that I can put you in touch with. I think that my continued involvement with IIE on the national level (now that my RVP term is over) will drift in this general direction.