A New Years Message from our New Executive Director

The National Team of ESW, after a month of deliberation, has selected longtime NT member Alexander Dale to take on the role of Executive Director, working full time starting this summer. Mr. Dale possesses the combination of passion, vision, and leadership skills, as well as experience with the organization, that will be necessary to strengthen and grow ESW going forward. We are pleased to offer him this position and pleased that he has accepted. His official announcement to the community is below.

Happy New Year!

As we finish another calendar year, I have the honor of accepting the leadership of ESW. Having worked with ESW for almost four years now, I’ve watched us move from a crisis response in 2009 to the stable and forward-looking organization we have today. I like to think that I’ve helped with some of that transition, but only as a part of the four sets of exceptional volunteers that have made up our National Teams since 2009. That’s a structure that’s served us well - distributed, dedicated people connected through digital infrastructure - and it’s one that I plan to continue. Similarly, we've done some great nation-wide events in the last few years, and our chapters at Purdue, Buffalo, and UCSD have hosted three amazing conferences.

So where do we go from here? As of the end of 2012, we have 32 student chapters and 1100 members. That’s not enough - not to build strong regional connections, not to derive benefits from more minds thinking about shared problems, and, frankly, not enough to make us a powerful voice in the engineering or sustainability communities. We need to increase our community and we need you to do it. The most important thing you can do is to be an active voice for ESW - make sure your membership is up-to-date, get your friends to register, and, if you work or live somewhere without a chapter, work with us to start one. That includes professional members - our first two professional chapters are forming in San Diego, CA and Troy, NY, and I want to see more of them.

Beyond increasing our membership, I want to see a robust and active community sharing what we know. That’s hard - websites aren’t automatically used - but also essential for an organization based around actually implementing change. Social media is part of an active community, but Facebook can’t replace full and complicated discussion on the various problems we tackle as chapters, or store our projects so that the next set of leaders can learn from them. I plan to help more chapters do more projects and educational activities, but I also want to make sure that we store what we know, and discuss what we don’t. I’d love to discuss books with all of you, and to have every chapter submit all their projects to our projects library. We can build tools, but it takes you to use them.

One of my main tasks will be to better connect ESW to the world - to companies, other NGOs, individuals, and more colleges and universities. Expect to see us regularly at conferences such as AASHE and ASEE, and keep up to date with our events and other appearances. We’re already launching some new projects and events with some new partners from the last few months, such as the LCA+U challenge with Sustainable Minds and an upcoming webinar featuring Focus the Nation. Look for announcements about these projects and more in the next two weeks. If you’d like to see your company or organization work with ESW, let me know. The more partners we have, the more innovative projects we can do, the more educational programs we can create, and the more we can be a part of creating a sustainable world.

What you need to know about me is that I am intensely passionate about finding pragmatic and scientifically sufficient responses to our sustainability problems, and that, even with the many organizations that exist, I truly believe that ESW is a key piece of implementing those responses. We cannot solve all the problems that our communities face, but no one organization can. However, with a growing network, active community, and external partners, we can give current and future engineers skills and experience in implementing sustainability, and enable them to be a key member of larger projects in their own organizations. Along with the rest of the National Team, and with you, our members and stakeholders, I look forward to tackling the challenges along the road to making ESW as strong as it can be.

Alexander Dale
Executive Director
ESW National