The 2018 Engineers Without Borders National Conference was held in San Francisco, CA from November 6-8th. It brought together over 500 professionals and students from across the United States to address the theme of ‘Engineers Unlock Potential’.
Attendance at the conference allowed chapters to build relationships with other chapters, potential mentors, regional boards and EWB-USA staff. Each can serve as an invaluable resource, for instance chapters working in the same country can exchange past experiences and local contacts to help prepare for an upcoming trip. NY Professionals’ presence at the conference helped build these connections and links with the umbrella organization, i.e. EWB-USA as well as showcase our projects in front of the EWB audience at large.
Our chapter members May ElKhattab, Patrick Brennan and Ethan Cotton presented at the conference about the implementation of a 12m x 12m x 8m maize storage facility in Rubaya, Rwanda. The presentation delved into specifics of construction management, design changes, material procurement and labor management. The members took on a retrospective approach and shared lessons learned along the way, something that the rest of the EWB community can benefit from as construction is a common link between all EWB projects whether it is a structural project like a storage facility or a water project like a distribution pipeline.
The conference agenda spanned over a myriad of topics ranging from remote implementation of projects using EWB in-country offices to developing master plans for EWB projects. To relay the breadth of topics covered, here are some session highlights from the conference:
● Using drones to conduct topographical surveys and land assessment
● Utilizing GIS tools to conduct fracture trace analysis for well location selection
● Sizing submersible pumps and solar panels for drinking water systems in remote areas
● Applying asset management principles to empower local in-country organizations for utility development
● Providing disaster response and recovery efforts in Dominica after 2017 hurricane
The full agenda for the conference can be accessed here and the presentations will be made available on Volunteer Village for anyone who wants to learn more about a specific topic.
Above all, the conference catered to the EWB spirit of changing the world for better; this resonated across the keynote address, breakout sessions and all formal plus informal discussions at the conference. The three days left members inspired and prepared with the right resources to take on the next curve ball that is thrown at them. We are already looking forward to next year’s conference with hopes that NY Professionals will have even more to share with the EWB community next year.