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Engineers urged to lead drive for sustainable development

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by Patricia Williams

Engineers need to become “leaders as well as doers” in the drive to achieve sustainable development, says Colorado consultant Bill Wallace, president of Wallace Futures Group.
Engineers urged to lead drive for sustainable development

Engineering

Issue ‘critical,’ says Bill Wallace

Engineers need to become “leaders as well as doers” in the drive to achieve sustainable development, says Colorado consultant Bill Wallace, president of Wallace Futures Group.

“This is not some flash-in-the pan concept,” says Wallace, who chairs the sustainable development committee of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) and helped draft FIDIC’s project sustainability management guidelines.

“This is the most critical issue of the 21st century.”

Wallace, who set up his firm five years ago after spending 21 years at engineering giant CH2M HILL, is moderating a panel discussion on environmental stewardship and sustainability at FIDIC’s upcoming annual conference in Quebec City.

While the engineering industry is “uniquely equipped” to address these issues, Wallace says there is resistance to change and a reluctance to step outside traditional comfort zones.

“There also is a reluctance to do things that might upset our clients.”

Wallace, whose “Becoming Part of the Solution: The Engineer’s Guide to Sustainable Development,” has been labelled a bestseller by the American Council of Engineering Companies, says engineers need to move up the project “food chain” and exert more influence with clients.

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