UFFC-S President's Message - November 2021 - Paul Reynolds

2 years 2 months ago
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Dear UFFC-S Members,

Hello. Welcome to the last President’s message of 2021, and the last message of my term as UFFC-S President. It’s certainly been an interesting two years of challenges, and it has forced a fundamental rethinking of what being a professional engineering society is in this new world. Many of the changes have, unsurprisingly, focused on providing our services in an online-only environment.
All six of our flagship conferences in 2020 and 21, as well as our Latin America Ultrasonics Symposium, were entirely online yet still provided excellent technical content to record numbers of attendees and experimented with innovative panel sessions and other educational content. Next year will see the return of in-person content of our symposia, yet we are committed to serving the new audiences who could not previously join our community due to travel or cost restrictions and be sure that an environmentally responsible option is available. As a society, we are in a strong financial position despite the last two tumultuous years and are investing heavily in digital tools to support our General Chairs in running the symposia for the coming years. It will be challenging but I’m sure we’ll continue to adapt and innovate to grow with the times.
One of my goals throughout my Presidency has been the modernization of UFFC-S, not just in processes and technology, but changing the way we operate to encourage and bring forward volunteer leadership that more accurately represents the modern world. While we have never placed quotas for representation, in the last few years we’ve taken steps in better representing our membership in technical area, career stage, gender, ethnicity, employment type, and region. Much of this has been achieved through our open calls for positions, term limits, transparent selection processes, and our Volunteer Engagement committee’s great work. One of the biggest changes in our thinking has been driven by our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) committee which was initiated by former President Bassiri-Gharb less than four years ago, and now benefits every aspect of our society. It’s become so important that it quickly moved from a temporary AdHoc, through permanent Standing committee, and I’m pleased to say that in our latest governing body (AdCom) meeting the D&I Chair became one of the 24 voting members – the first new voting position in over a decade. I was particularly pleased to see that in the secret ballot vote AdCom voted unanimously that D&I should be a voting member. While there is still a long way to go for us, and we need to be constantly working towards this, I’m confident we’ve put in place the structures needed, but more importantly have the culture and volunteer leadership that understands the importance of D&I, and that incoming President Schafer will be a strong leader here.
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of leading UFFC-S has been the ability to help our students and early career members in realizing their potential and achieving their goals. The Networking & Mentorship committee has done an amazing job in the year since its founding, with a first cohort of 60 mentors and mentees, and an upcoming second cohort with over 200 applications, along with five online webinars. It’s been my belief throughout my career that the only way we can progress as a society (and I mean that in the global sense), is that we each teach the next generation our knowledge faster than we learned it ourselves. UFFC-S not only offers us the opportunity to impart knowledge and skills faster but to so many people at once. Our symposia are one example of this, but seeing the Special Topic Schools and how this is advancing our student’s understanding, makes me confident we are making a difference. To quote a Greek proverb:
A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.
There’s a responsibility on each of us to leave this world better than we found it, even if we never see the direct benefits of our actions.
UFFC-S gives a way to do that that is hard to find anywhere else, and I encourage each of you to volunteer and join us in making a better future for everyone. Contact us here, and be a part of that work.
Thank you for allowing me to be your President throughout 2020 and 2021, it’s been both an honor and a privilege.

Paul Reynolds
President, UFFC-S, 2020/21


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