ASCE names new executive director

Reston, Va. — Thomas W. Smith III, M.ASCE, CAE, was selected as the executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), effective January 1, 2015. A dedicated member of ASCE for more than 25 years and a civil engineer by training, Smith has served as the association’s deputy executive director since 2010 and general counsel since 1997. 

During his tenure at ASCE, he has provided leadership, direction and management oversight across a wide spectrum of ASCE’s programs, operations and strategic initiatives, working closely with ASCE geographic and technical organizations and affiliates worldwide. As general counsel, Smith has provided legal consultation in multiple areas vital to ASCE and also oversees ASCE’s professional conduct and construction contract documents committees.

“Under the leadership of current Executive Director Pat Natale, ASCE has truly become a leader in the association community, with a voice that gets national attention and highly dedicated volunteers and staff," said ASCE Past President Greg DiLoreto, P.E., P.LS, F.ASCE, chair of the executive director search committee. "In our search for a successor, we were looking for that rare combination of a highly accomplished executive and leader who intimately understands both the civil engineering profession and the association business. In Tom Smith, we have found that person.”

“Over the many years that I have worked with Tom, I know him to be a true blend of vision, leadership, intellect, and integrity,” said ASCE President Randall (Randy) S. Over, P.E., F.ASCE. “With his background, Tom is the perfect fit to take over the reins of ASCE and lead us to ever higher levels of success. He is a model professional with strong values and a longtime dedication to ASCE.

“Let me also express my profound gratitude to the search committee, chaired by Past President DiLoreto. Under Greg’s leadership, the committee carried out its exhaustive search with great efficiency and professionalism. The board’s ultimate choice will make all of us at ASCE very proud.”

“It has been my privilege to work side-by-side with such a talented visionary who truly has an innate understanding of the needs of our members along with the acumen to advance the civil engineering profession and goals of ASCE,” added Natale. “Tom is unquestionably the right leader at the right time to take over from me at the end of the year.” 

Prior to joining ASCE, Smith practiced law in Northern Virginia from 1990 to 1997 with the firm of Hazel & Thomas, P.C., now combined with Reed Smith, LLP. While in this position, Smith focused on commercial, construction and land use litigation in federal and state courts, and land use applications for commercial, industrial and residential development.

In addition to his master’s degree in structural engineering and B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Virginia, Smith holds a law degree from Washington & Lee University. He is admitted to the bar in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and an Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV-SP).

Outside of ASCE, Smith serves as a member of the board of directors of the National Institute for Engineering Ethics; is past chair of the Legal Section Council of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE); and is a member of Chi Epsilon, Order of the Engineer, and the Association of Corporate Counsel.

In 2011, Smith received the William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award, which recognizes ASCE members for their continuing efforts to promote appreciation for the history, tradition, developments and technical and professional activities of the Society.

Actively involved in his community, Smith serves on the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals, and previously chaired bar association committees providing legal services to local homeless shelters as well as coordinating national moot court competitions.

Smith has published articles on engineering ethics and legal issues and is a frequent speaker on these subjects. In 2012, he penned the book Infantry Rifleman, WWII Reflections of Thomas W. Smith, a tribute to his father.    

Smith will succeed Natale, who will retire from ASCE Dec. 31, 2014, after leading the organization for more than 12 years.


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