January 22


ITE Announces Merger with ASCE

By Mike Spack

January 22, 2014

Institute of Transportation Engineers, ITE

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?

  • I have been a member of ASCE for 30 years and a member of ITE for 20 years. I get practicable information from ITE and mostly theoretical information fro ASCE. ITE has a lot more specific traffic engineering and transportation planning resources than ASCE. I like ASCE’s Civil Engineering magazine but one needs a PhD to understand most of their journal articles.

  • A beautiful piece of satire. The best satire is the most plausible. The story with its rationale is well written. Your attributing it to an Onion like source brought a smile on this snowy day. Of my memberships, ASCE frequently gives me the best publications, national feedback and side perks while ITE gives me the best local members direct feedback and makes me wonder about where my dues go. Traffic & transportation engineers are wonderful people. Keep up the good writing.

  • Very creative post! Although I was involved in ASCE early in my career, as my focus became completely Transportation-oriented, so did my professional society involvement and continuing education (naturally). Personally, I prefer membership in ITE which is completely relevant to what I do, have done, and would like to do with my career. I am happy to pay the “higher” ITE dues knowing that it all goes to support my field and the people involved in it. Eighty-five percent of ITE members are Civil Engineers – but how many ASCE members are in Transportation? I am familiar with their current organization – my husband is a Structural Engineer and a member of ASCE. However, much of his interaction is with their Structures Committee which is (again) most relevant to his career. Seems to me the better question may be whether instead of working to expand their Transportation and Development Institute, ASCE should endeavor to support the mission of ITE.

  • There is no need to merge with anyone Mike.

    The ITE Board and Staff will continue to bring world class products and services to our members and profession far into the future – as we have for the past 83 years. With any organization, there are always areas for improvement. We appreciate constructive feedback from our members as to how we can further improve an already outstanding organization.

    Shawn Leight
    Midwest District Director

  • I was actually excited when I saw the headline, then disappointed when I saw it wasn’t true! I’m a member of neither…mainly because of the cost for both. I’m a member of NSPE and APWA but the budget really doesn’t allow for another! I was ready to join the merged organization! Great work…maybe this will spark something!

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    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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