Weekly Now: How Groups Lobby For Change After Florida Building Collapse: Associations Now


By Ernie Smith / Jul 12, 2021
The Champlain South Towers, in the days following the partial collapse. (felixmizioznikov / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

A number of engineering associations are seeking regulatory solutions for building safety after the high-profile South Florida tragedy. Also: Tech-focused and aftermarket groups win right to redress advocacy.

The partial collapse of a condominium in Surfside, Florida highlighted structural issues beyond the building itself.

Among them: funding for maintenance needs, as well as regulatory loopholes that put the Champlain Sud towers in such a dire state that the building, located in an area that regularly experiences hurricanes and tropical storms, has become a major risk. for the safety. Engineering associations are focusing on the latter issue and speaking out to make sure nothing like this happens again.

“This tragedy reminds all of us of the absolute necessity of expert design, construction and maintenance of our building structures and bridges,” said Douglas S. Wood, president of the Florida Structural Engineers Association. , in comments to The central square.

The FSEA and three other state and national engineering groups – the Florida Engineering Society (FES), the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC-FL), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – have lobbied for stronger advocacy in new regulations for inspections and licensing. The state does not have an official law authorizing structural engineers, and a bill that would have required a license was vetoed in 2015.

Allen Douglas, executive director of FES and ACEC-FL, told the Miami Herald that groups reflect on their options and meet regularly to discuss potential advocacy solutions.

“What we have right now are more questions than answers,” said Douglas. “We want to do something, so let’s look at the things that can be discussed at this point. “

Other recent titles:

The associations are achieving big results with the executive decree on the right to reparation. The popular movement for the right to repair, which has garnered a lot of attention in recent years as gadgets and vehicles have become more computerized, achieved major success last week when the Biden administration announced its intention. require manufacturers to provide repair manuals and parts to aftermarket repairers. —A particular problem for cell phones, other electronic devices and heavy machinery such as tractors. Industry groups in the consumer and automotive fields applauded the move; in comments to Fortune, Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of The Repair Association, called on manufacturers to make devices more durable. “We need products that are more durable and repairable than just brighter and prettier,” she said.

A career exploration playbook. A pair of education groups targeting school-aged learners – the Association for Middle Level Education and American Student Assistance – have created an educator playbook to help students explore career options. AMLE CEO Stephanie Simpson said the partnership brings together key resources from both groups. “This project combines AMLE’s expertise in best practices for high school students with the in-depth work of ASA supporting and studying effective career exploration programs to create a roadmap that any school can follow to launch. its own initiatives, “she said in a press release. “We truly believe that every student deserves the tools and opportunities to explore their future, and this manual helps schools achieve that goal. “

The lost power of collective effervescence

Maybe you’ve noticed that something was missing in your interactions with others over the past year, beyond just being able to be in the same room. We missed an emotion that well-known organizational psychologist Adam Grant calls “the collective effervescence”: the joy of living for a moment as part of a group.

Grant, in a New York Times article, put it like this:

Collective effervescence occurs when the joy of life spreads in a group. Before Covid, research showed that more than three-quarters of people found collective effervescence at least once a week and almost a third experienced it at least once a day. They felt it when they sang in chorus and participated in races, and in quieter moments of connection in cafes and yoga classes.

But as closures and social distancing have become the norm, there have been fewer and fewer of those moments. I started watching comedy specials, hoping to sample the collective excitement while laughing with the people in the room. It was good, but it was not the same.

Instead, many of us found ourselves drawn into a dark cloud.


It’s hard to avoid hot topics, but with a good cultural foundation, your association’s workplace can build trust in discussions.

Speaking of discussion, Leaders often face communication challenges when working with employees and stakeholders on important topics, such as DCI. Mark Athitakis breaks down some changes that can help narrow this gap.

Associations organize many professional development events– but how do they know that these events have an impact? Jack Coursen, director of professional development at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, details his organization’s survey and measurement strategies.

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