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Prepping for the Engineering Industry’s Biggest Night

Jun 5, 2023
ACEC Awards

One of the most anticipated evenings within our industry is fast approaching. On June 13, representatives from thousands of the nation’s leading consulting firms will descend on Washington, D.C., for the 2023 edition of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) Gala.

ACEC is a national organization that represents more than 5,000 of the country’s engineering firms. The EEA Gala, or the “engineer’s prom” as many of us affectionately refer to it, is an annual celebration of some of the most innovative and transformative work in the design and construction industry. As a volunteer for ACEC’s national EEA committee for the past four years, this is one of my favorite nights of the year. And it will hold even more significance this year as STV’s construction management team’s support of Delta Air Lines’ Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, is one of eight finalists for the EEA’s grand prize, the vaunted Grand Conceptor Award.

But putting aside any personal rooting interests for Team STV and our partners, I have found my work for ACEC over the past decade at both the national level and at the state chapter level in Tennessee to be some of my most fulfilling and inspiring work.

I first joined ACEC Tennessee more than 10 years ago and immediately found value in the networking opportunities the organization presented me. My involvement exposed me to countless industry professionals who are among the field’s top technical experts and thought leaders and has created connections that support STV’s overall business goals, as well as many of my personal career goals.

I was asked to co-chair the Tennessee EEA committee in 2018 where I continue to serve in that role. A year later, I was asked to join the national EEA committee. For the national committee, I’m primarily responsible for identifying and vetting the 25-to-30 professionals who serve as judges every year. Starting in 2024, I will serve as the co-chair of the national EEA committee.

For the uninitiated, the EEA is an annual competition that celebrates our profession by highlighting various project types for their innovation, technical excellence, challenges overcome, community benefits and client satisfaction.

After supporting the EEA for several years, one of my biggest takeaways was just how humble engineers can be about their work. The EEA gives them an opportunity to brag a bit and really hone in on what makes their contributions to the built environment so special and impactful.

Judging weekend is an event unto itself. We traditionally get together on a Friday afternoon and don’t finish until mid-afternoon on a Sunday. During that time, judges are assigned specific project entries that they advocate for using only the submission materials that are provided by the entrants. That’s when you get to witness first-hand the passion so many have for our industry. Our judges speak on behalf of these projects like they are personally invested. After several rounds of reviews, we narrow the list down to eight Grand Award winners who are then in the running for the Grand Conceptor Award, which will be presented the night of the gala.

The gala brings together consultants and clients at a black-tie affair at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Consultants benefit from the event because their participation and success at the national level increase brand awareness and name recognition. Clients like the event because it promotes how their projects are making such a huge difference in the communities they serve.

I can’t wait to see who is named the Grand Conceptor for 2023. And I also look forward to seeing how the industry’s biggest event continues to grow and evolve alongside the clients and firms who contribute such inspiring work throughout the country.

Mauri Riesenberg

Mauri Riesenberg is STV’s client relationship manager in Franklin, TN. She is a committee member for ACEC’s National EEA, and will serve as co-chair of the committee starting in 2024. Additionally, she is co-chairwoman of ACEC Tennessee’s EEA, a committee member for the annual Franklin Mayor’s Cup event, and serves on the board as secretary for the Franklin-based non-profit, A Vintage Affair.