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October President's Message: The Flexibility to Evolve

by Christopher P. Caddell, PE CCP DRMP; AACE International President 2020-2021 | Nov 09, 2020
2016-Reg5From the October issue of Source magazine:

I hope all our members are staying healthy and taking appropriate measures to keep you and those you care about safe as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has challenged not only how we work and socialize but shown us how our actions impact those around us and what it means to be part of a community.

In the AACE community, we have been rising to the challenge, working to offer ways for our members to continue to network, discuss issues, learn, and develop. How we work in this industry certainly looks a lot different now than it did 20 years ago when I was first becoming involved with AACE. I have no doubt it will look quite different 20 years in the future from our current state. Whether it will be better or worse may be a matter of perspective, but it will be different. And I don’t think any of us have sufficient clarity to understand how it will change. But I feel confident that AACE will be there, providing members with the best technical products, recognition of expertise through certifications, educational support, a forum for exchanging ideas, and networking with our peers.

In my last message I discussed one of the Board’s top strategic objectives is to look at updating the organization structure and operating model to better position AACE to meet the future needs of the Association and all its members. We have started the detailed work to draft a new Constitution and Bylaws for the Association. Once complete, it will be presented to the members for a vote.

The goal on one hand is to streamline the documents to provide future leadership greater flexibility to evolve as the world around us changes and the Association needs to adapt. But on the other hand we need to ensure we protect what makes AACE so valuable to its members. If we look at AACE’s Mission and Vision statements, they define what is important to our members and what we need to continue to focus on:

     - We arm our members with the technical tools and expertise to support successful projects and programs.
      - To be the gathering place and source of thought leadership for professionals who drive successful project and program delivery

The Constitution and Bylaws contain the fundamental rules by which AACE governs itself and the current version supports these ideals. But there are elements that are based on a model that has been in place for decades and does not completely fit with current times. It also contains some detailed, operational elements that could be moved to our Organization Manual, which is another important AACE document containing our policies and procedures. This shift would make it easier to maintain and adjust guidelines, enabling consistent and logical decision-making as we move forward. We could redraft these documents to define exactly how we want to operate today, but that model will become outdated in years to come. The ideal goal is to draft our governing documents so that future leadership is able to make adjustments as we grow and evolve, but provides sufficient structure to ensure we continue to provide what our members value.

This will not be the work of a handful of individuals operating in secrecy. The effort to redraft these documents includes a large and diverse number of volunteers to ensure we are receiving opinions and input from a wide range of members, including the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Of course, there will be debate over various details, but the goal is to have a consensus document for members to review and vote on. While we have an ambitious timeline to get this done, our priority is to create a quality set of documents. We will take the time needed to get it right.

The other element of this effort is updating the Organization Manual. These policies and procedures need to be reviewed in tandem with the Constitution and Bylaws update. To increase transparency, the plan is to revise the manual and post it on the AACE website for all members to access. Members should be able to review our policies, procedures, and other operating documents. If we move elements of how we operate from the Constitution and Bylaws to the Organization Manual, it is more important than ever that these documents be accessible.

At the end of this endeavour, we hope to reinforce what makes AACE so valuable, provide flexibility to future leadership to adapt to the times, and provide accountability through transparency to all our members on how we operate.

If you would like to contact our current president with questions or comments about The President’s Message please address your e-mail to To engage in other discussions, check out AACE International’s online Communities.

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