Jennifer Howe Elected as ACEC President

Jennifer Howe Elected as ACEC President

SMMA’s Jennifer Howe, Director of Site Design and Director of Federal Government, recently took over as the newest President of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Massachusetts. According to its websiteACEC National represents more than 600,000 engineers, architects, land surveyors, and professionals across 52 states. ACEC’s mission is to strengthen the business environments of its members and affiliated firms through government advocacy, political action, and business education.

SMMA has a long-standing history with ACEC; former CEO Mike Powers was also once President and current Executive Vice President Brian Lawlor was an ACEC Board Member. Howe herself has been involved with the organization for over 10 years, having also served their Board and completed both their Emerging Leaders and Odyssey leadership programs. She continues to participate in the annual Emerging Leaders management-to-leadership discussion, a panel she has contributed to for eight years, engaging with younger engineers and architects in the industry. Collectively, these experiences have taught her everything from strategic planning to Government Affairs and have grown her appreciation for different learning styles and motivating factors.

“It’s been great to engage leaders from all different types of organizations in the AE industry,” Howe explains. “A lot of the people are CEOs and presidents of companies, so you really get their perspective on opportunities, challenges, and what it takes to run an engineering business.”

Howe found herself particularly drawn to the Government Affairs side of ACEC — in the last few years she has attended Engineers and Land Surveyors Day at the State House in Boston, MA and organized the visits with the Massachusetts Delegation as part of the ACEC Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. in 2019. “I think learning how ACEC is respected by government officials and how we can help our representatives and senators make smart choices on some of Washington’s decisions is pretty interesting,” she states. “They really value what engineers and architects can bring to the table on topics like infrastructure, transportation, and even the more key items like energy and public building financing. It’s all part of a really amazing process.”

ACEC’s annual goals include continuing with its STEM Outreach Initiative with member firms to help engage the next generation of engineers. The organization is also focusing on developing new programs to address current problems seen in firms, such as climate change and diversity, equity, and inclusion.