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9.11 TISP Member Reflections

Type:  News  
"Six months before the events of 9-11, ASCE issued its second report card on America's infrastructure, a wake-up call which gave an overall disappointing grade of D+ to our infrastructure systems - those systems in the built environment that help drive our economic engine as well as supporting our overall quality of life. Little did we know then that the horrific events of 9-11 would be another wake-up call, showing us that our infrastructure is not only in need of investment and repair, but that it and the people who use it are vulnerable to acts of terrorism.

The terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania touched each of us and changed our nation irrevocably. We will all remember the tragic events of 9-11 for the rest of our lives. In the ensuing year we have seen Americans come together to mourn, to cope, and to re-build as a united people. In the aftermath of 9-11, the ASCE Board of Direction created our Critical Infrastructure Response Initiative (CIRI). In CIRI, we are developing new methods of assessing infrastructure vulnerability, and using these tools to help prioritize infrastructure renovation as recommended in our report card. We are working with aligned organizations in TISP to improve infrastructure security, to develop new design and construction methods, and to identify research and development needs. We are also working to improve our overall readiness to respond to disasters, both natural and man-made.

Against the backdrop of 9-11, we remember that civil engineers built our nation's infrastructure, and this country's great cities and structures are monuments to their ingenuity. Great engineering feats often become symbolic of things much larger - for example, ASCE named the World Trade Center as the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement in 1971, and the newly re-built Pentagon continues an icon of our strength, freedom, and ideals. We remember, too, that no profession places a greater emphasis on the protection of the public safety and welfare than civil engineering. For 150 years, ASCE has strived to advance the science and profession of engineering to enhance the welfare of humanity - 9-11 has created new challenges to secure our infrastructure from terrorist attacks for the safety of its users."

Lawrence H. Roth, P.E., GE, F.ASCE
Deputy Executive Director and COO, American Society of Civil Engineers
1st Vice Chair, The Infrastructure Security Partnership

"Across the country, Americans are accepting the new realities created by the attack of 9-11, and are doing what Americans do best: rising to meet the requirements of a demanding situation. In fact, on September 11, America's defiant response was firmly established by legions of heroes; New York City's police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and numerous unsung heroes and volunteers who became national role models. These individuals set a high standard of spontaneous altruism and self-sacrifice for those involved in the follow-on stage: the design/construction workers and businesses that toiled at Ground Zero and the Pentagon spearheading the cleanup and rebuilding efforts.

These construction-related firms and workers demonstrated their heroism through their unselfish 24/7 labor in a hostile terra incognita-a work site replete with uncertainties stemming both from the physical destruction and from the legal precariousness of the situation. Workers were exposed to degraded air quality, exceptional psychological demands, non-air-borne toxins, as well as other hazards that could have long-term impacts -- and yet they met or exceeded in meeting demanding time schedules.

With the September 11 terrorist attacks also came the collapse of business-as-usual across America and the emergence of nebulous requirements to live in new ways in this era of uncertainty. We all must acquire new behaviors and new thinking, both in the world of business and in our personal lives, in order to preserve our enviable freedoms.

In the year since the events of 9-11, the design and construction community has led the way in clearing the debris of our nation's loss. More importantly, our community will play a paramount role in the rebirth and rebuilding that will arise from that debris."

Mark A. Casso, Esq.
President, Construction Industry Round Table

"The events of September 11, 2001, did not signify an increase of the threat of terrorism against our nation, but they did change how we as the planners, designers, constructors, and owners of its built environment perceive this threat. TISP is a key element of our response, and it is up to each one of us to help determine what it needs to become and then work together towards getting it there. By doing so successfully, we will ensure that the more than 3,000 people who lost their lives that day did not die in vain. We honor their memory by protecting their posterity."

Jon A. Schmidt, P.E., Representative to TISP
National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA)

"National Security is the Priority for all Engineers. We as Professional Engineers must continue to stand tall to protect our Country's Critical Infrastructure. NSPE is pleased and proud to pursue this crucial mission with our TISP partners, for there is no calling more important than the preservation of our safety and our liberty."

Howard N. Blitman, P.E., F.NSPE
President, National Society of Professional Engineers

"The tragic events of September 11 solidified us as a nation and united us towards a single goal, the eradication of terrorism. The rebuilding of the Pentagon, dubbed the Phoenix Project due to the symbolism of rebirth and immortality, is a physical example of that single-minded dedication. A work force of thousands, representing more than thirty countries, labored around the clock to rebuild our nation's military headquarters. They set an aggressive schedule of reoccupying the offices at the point of impact by the one-year anniversary. The Pentagon Renovation Program met its goal 28 days ahead of schedule when the United States Marine Corps reoccupied their offices on the fourth floor of the Pentagon. Team work, leadership and patriotic dedication will see us equally successful in the war on terrorism."

Michael R. Sullivan
Deputy Program Manager, Pentagon Renovation Program


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