Hot off the press from The Onion –
The Institute of Transportation Engineers announced today it is merging with the American Society of Civil Engineers. ASCE Executive Director, Patrick Natale, was pleased to announce the merger saying, “ASCE and ITE both have long traditions of serving our members and improving society. Our corporate cultures are similar and we expect a smooth transition. ITE members will see immediate benefits with lower dues and expanded services. Many employers support both ITE and ASCE – they will see significant cost savings as well as increased marketing opportunities. This is really a situation where we expect 1 plus 1 will equal 3.”
ASCE has been expanding their Transportation and Development Institute in recent years. The core mission of that ASCE subgroup is to “Unite the disciplines of planning, design, construction, operations, maintenance, and research in support of sustainable transportation and development.” This mission is very similar to the mission of ITE. Mr. Natale also mentioned significant operational synergies are expected with the merger.
ITE Executive Director, Thomas Brahms expressed his gratitude to the members of ITE and ITE’s exceptional staff. He said the timing was right for this merger – ITE’s top three staff members are ready to retire and membership levels have been decreasing since the Great Recession. He added, “ASCE is a natural fit for ITE’s 17,000+ members. ASCE already has an active transportation institute, 85% of ITE’s members are civil engineers (Engineers is right in ITE’s name), and 90% of our members are within the United States.”
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 145,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. For more information, visit www.asce.org.
This is of course a fictional press release. Crazy idea? Probably.
Who knows if ITE or ASCE leadership would even consider a merger. But I challenge you to look through www.ite.org and www.asce.org and ask yourself if ITE should be charging $235 a year while ASCE charges $225 (plus the dues are significantly cheaper for young ASCE members right out of college vs. the ITE discounts).
Many engineering consulting firms come to the conclusion a merger makes sense when faced with a transition similar to the one ITE faces. Stantec, URS, AECOM, Parsons, etc. got to be the size they are through mergers – many acquiring venerable firms with long and storied histories. They’ve proven mergers aren’t a totally crazy idea.
As the ITE Board examines the results of the member survey and plans for the retirement of key staff in the near future, maybe the board should be asking if we should work hard to significantly modernize ITE or should we just merge into ASCE who has already undertaken that modernization.
What’s actually best for the members?