American Society of Naval Engineers
Annual Business Meeting held on 20 July 2022
“State of the Society”
Delivered by ASNE President, Mark Hugel (RADM, USN Ret.)
Fellow ASNE Members,
I am pleased to report to you on the state of our Society and our ambitions for the coming year.
Let me begin by celebrating our history. As the 7th oldest, continuously operating, chartered technical society in the United States, ASNE serves to not only set the standard for naval engineering in the 21st century, but has done so now for 134 years. Our efforts this past year have focused on returning to “normal” – the world we live in has been forever impacted by the COVID pandemic, but we are gradually restoring operations that feel pre-pandemic. Importantly, we are proceeding to meet again in-person, albeit with precautions learned over the past two years. Our Symposia have been face-to-face and in-person attendance has climbed throughout the year toward pre-pandemic numbers.
Our symposia schedule was once again executed with excellence. The keynote speakers and symposia panel members offered valuable insights into the naval engineering challenges of the day, and the benefit of face-to-face sharing of ideas returned with lively participation of members and non-members alike.
By year’s end we had executed the list of symposia below:
Multi-Agency Craft Conference — 21-22 July 2021
MegaRust East – 21-22 Sep 2021
Fleet Maintenance & Modernization Symposium West – 17-19 Oct 2021
Combined Technology, Systems & Ships / Combat Systems Symposium – 31 January-3 February 2022
MegaRust West – 1-3 June 2022
My thanks to the planning committees of these symposia – much of the work to assemble the programs, lineup keynote and panel speakers, schedule exhibitors and sponsors is accomplished by our member volunteers who serve on these planning committees. My thanks also to our headquarters staff led by Executive Director Captain Dale “Kid” Lumme, USN (retired) for the work they put in behind the scenes to assure the success of our symposia. We are applying our virtual symposia lessons learned from 2020-2021 and executing hybrid symposia – allowing those who cannot participate in-person to participate virtually in symposia keynotes and panel discussions real-time via live streaming.
The Society’s financial health continues to hinge on the financial performance of our symposia. As I described a year ago in the July 2021 “State of the Society”, to ensure we could meet in-person and reap the associate financial benefits, the MegaRust East and FMMS West symposia schedules were shifted from FY21 into FY22. The FY22 budget was a conservative plan – we expected there would be pent up demand for in-person symposia participation, but we assumed more modest participation for budgeting purposes. Due to continued COVID variant concerns, we witnessed a slow ramping up of in-person attendance at our symposia, and, as a result, our actual budget net will be below the FY-22 budget. We are still in a tenuous position regarding cash flow because symposia planning expenses hit the books before symposia revenue, so the National Council continues to closely monitor the financial picture and the Ways & Means Committee has continued meeting monthly to ensure we have a tight grip on Society finances. I especially want to thank our CFO, Nancy Lackey, for her tireless work in keeping us all on top of the Society financial picture.
As ASNE’s Fiscal Year 2022 concluded, it was a busy time for the volunteer leaders of your Society. We recently held our national election and I want to congratulate RADM Ron Rabago, USCG (retired) upon his selection to National Vice President and CDR Renee Reedy, USN (retired), Ms. Makala Holt, CDR Charlie Pfeifer, USN (retired), RADM Mark Whitney, USN (retired), Mr. Glen Grogan, P.E. and Midshipman Matthew Richardson, USN who were elected to represent us on National Council. I also want to thank CAPT Bruce Woodruff, USN (retired) whose term on National Council ended on June 30th. Bruce has served us well on National Council and continues to serve the Society in numerous ways. Thank you, Bruce. I also want to thank the National Nominating Committee, led by RADM Dale Gabel, USCG (retired) and staffed by committee members from seven ASNE sections - you provided us a slate of very capable and diverse candidates from whom to pick.
CAPT Paul Roden, USCG (retired) and his National Awards Committee recently completed their work for this year, and we will be recognizing national award winners at events upcoming. Once again, the competition for national ASNE recognition was intense – we have so many members contributing in innovative and significant ways to both our society and to the naval engineering profession that the awards committee is challenged every year to pick the best of the best. Well done to our award winners and stay tuned for the announcements of opportunities to formally recognize them.
CDR Rich Celloto, USN (retired) and the National Scholarship Committee recently completed this year’s work and have made their selections for national scholarship recognition. The scholarship program is merit-based; however, financial need may also be considered. Like the National Awards Committee, the National Scholarship Committee looked at many qualified candidates and chose the best of the best. Congratulations to our National Scholarship winners!
Ms. Jessica Galassie has been doing extraordinary work as our National Membership Chairperson – she and her committee have taken the reins to grow our membership and have completed or are working on several projects:
1. The committee has defined a Life Membership for fully retired individuals as well as developing a multi-year membership.
2. The Central Gulf Coast section has initiated outreach via phone calls to lapsed members.
3. The Tidewater section has sent a membership survey to their members.
4. The Northern New England section conducted their first virtual event which had US and international attendees.
5. The committee is encouraging all sections to continue sending their upcoming event dates to headquarters to be included on the Society’s website national calendar.
6. The committee has concluded work with the Way & Means Committee to restructure all membership dues to ensure our dues are affordable and in-line with the membership dues of other, similar professional societies. Those membership dues changes were adopted during our June 2022 National Council meeting and went into effect on July 1st.
Finally, the National Ways & Means Committee, led by CDR Charlie Pfeifer, USN (retired) has been collaborating with the National Sections Committee, led by CAPT Dave Herbein, USN (retired) to rewrite the ASNE Sections Manual Finances Chapter (chapter 5). The goals of this effort have been three-fold:
1. To budget for section stipends each year as part of the Society budgeting process to assure the sections receive dependable financial resources from the Society to fund section activities. The level of stipend funding will be tied to section membership and determined annually as part of the Society budget process.
2. To budget for symposia section splits, so that the sections are compensated from symposia net revenues based on a percentage share that is built into the Society budget. An affordable symposia section split percentage share will be determined during the annual Society budget process and, as symposia deliver net revenues consistent with the budget, the symposia-participating sections will receive their budgeted share of net revenues. This will hopefully alleviate an issue that has festered over the past six years - the suspension of symposia section split payments. Those monies weren’t budgeted for and therefore the Society couldn’t afford to pay the sections their share of net revenue for symposia they volunteered to lead.
3. To plan for and, as funds become available, repay unpaid symposia section splits that were suspended from payment between FY2016 until now.
As a result of this collaboration, the process was used while building the Society’s FY23 budget to include payment of section stipends, payment of symposia section splits for FY23 symposia and a plan to repay unpaid section splits on a prorated basis to the sections who are owed symposia splits from FY16-FY22 symposia. I thank Dave, Charlie and their committee members for working through these issues and arriving at a fair process that focuses on pushing revenues back to the sections once Society operations are paid for each year.
An important benefit of membership is our Naval Engineer’s Journal and this past year was another banner year for the NEJ. The Editorial Board, led by Dr. Leigh McCue-Well continues to assure that the quality of content in the NEJ is consistently high caliber. The Journal is also a forum to share ideas from our diverse community. Ever since we published the special NEJ issue that featured the stories of thirty women of STEM, we have used that as a springboard to convene “women in engineering” mentor sessions at nearly every symposium. And every one of those mentor sessions has been well-attended and highly engaging. The celebration of our diversity began with that special NEJ edition and we are looking at additional special NEJ issues in our future.
Wrapping things up, I want to address membership once again – it has been and continues to be my number one focus for the Society. As we have returned to in-person events nationally and locally, there will be many potential new members in attendance. With new, lower membership dues, we have a better opportunity than ever to bring them into membership. I have found at many ASNE events I’ve attended over the years, that often it’s simply a matter of inviting – “would you like to join me as a member of ASNE?” The key, I believe, is at the local level – personally inviting non-members to join us at those events will help us see membership numbers grow.
ASNE continues to succeed because the national leadership, local leadership and so many members who volunteer their time work together so well. I thank you all and look forward to the coming year – it will be another busy one for ASNE.
Submitted with respect to the ASNE membership,
Mark Hugel, RADM, USN (retired)