We engineers are nothing if not adaptable. Give us an obstacle and we’ll find a way around, over, or through it.

These past few months have provided plenty of obstacles, but none has diminished our impact. Quite the contrary. Schools closed due to the pandemic? See below how our INSPIRE program for middle schoolers pivoted from classroom-based to learn-at-home. Large gatherings canceled on college campuses? E-Fest successfully shifted to 100% digital, as did our three 2020 ISHOWs in India, Kenya, and the U.S.

The Foundation's emphasis on attracting and empowering a diverse next generation of engineers gets another boost with the development of a new digital platform to help young engineers map out meaningful and rewarding careers, and connect to customized leadership, learning, and volunteer opportunities. Read about this exciting new initiative under Careers That Matter below.

In this issue, we also report on recent enhancements to our philanthropy infrastructure, including two new faces on the ASME Philanthropy Committee and a wonderful addition to our ASME Foundation staff. Read on to meet Keith Miles, our new Director, Major Gifts.

We also recognize a lead donor whose multiyear commitment to one of our signature programs ensures that ASME can continue to help improve quality of life in underserved communities around the world.

There's lots of exciting news to share. But before we dive in, a sincere thank you to all who have donated to the ASME Foundation, and to those who intend to. We know that current economic conditions may affect some members’ ability to give; we’re so grateful to everyone who is supporting our impactful philanthropic initiatives at this critical time. Visit the Our Impact page at www.asmefoundation.org for a glimpse of all the good your donations make possible.

Happy summer, and stay safe, everyone!

K. Keith Roe, P.E.
Chair, ASME Philanthropy Committee
Chair, Campaign for Next Generation Engineers
Welcome, Keith Miles, Director, Major Gifts

Interested in making a substantial gift to the ASME Foundation but unsure how to go about it? Talk to Keith Miles, our new Director, Major Gifts, and an expert in charitable giving strategies. He works to secure significant contributions from donors both within and beyond the ASME family, helping individuals plan and structure their charitable gifts.

Prior to joining ASME, Keith spent the last 22 years in roles spanning student affairs, legal affairs, and fundraising at Howard University. For the last six years, he held leadership roles in major giving and annual giving, managing an extensive portfolio of donors, building a broad base of support among the University’s many constituents, and consistently meeting or exceeding his significant annual fundraising targets. Before joining Howard’s fundraising team, he began his professional tenure there as manager for litigation in the general counsel’s office, and later served as chief of staff and senior advisor in the office of student affairs.

Earlier in his career, Keith worked as a law clerk at the Chemical Manufacturers Association in Washington, D.C. He holds a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University, and speaks French, Spanish and Mandarin.

Keith is based in ASME’s office in Washington, D.C. You can reach him at milesk@asme.org.

Two Longtime ASME Leaders Join Philanthropy Committee

The ASME Philanthropy Committee welcomes two new members, Ken Balkey and Lester Su, both professional engineers who are longtime leaders in the ASME community.

Ken Balkey recently marked his 50th year as an ASME member, having served as senior vice president for Standards and Certification, and most recently as a member of the ASME Foundation Board of Directors. He’s also a lecturer at the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and serves as a consulting engineer at Westinghouse Electric Company. When he is not spending time volunteering with ASME, Ken is an avid runner who just clocked a cumulative lifetime total of 77,000 miles!

Lester Su is the former Chair of the ASME Committee on Government Relations and a former ASME Congressional Fellow who, from 2000 to 2001, served in the office of the Honorable Vernon Ehlers, a Republican from Michigan, who was the first research physicist to be elected to Congress. In his day job, Lester is a Consulting Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University.

In three separate sessions in May, volunteer members of the Philanthropy Committee and the ASME Foundation Board of Directors, along with Foundation staff, participated in nine hours of training, sharing best practices and honing their fundraising skills. Consider this fair warning for the phone call you may be receiving from a friendly--and well trained--ASME volunteer leader as the upcoming Capital Campaign gets underway.



The work of inspiring the next generation of engineers doesn't stop just because schools closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. By making our award-winning INSPIRE STEM Readiness program available online for use at home, ASME made it possible for K-12 students to continue to discover the limitless potential of an engineering career.

In fact, pandemic or no, INSPIRE enjoyed one of its best school years ever, with more than 1,250 schools across all 50 states and D.C. using the program, engaging 90,830 students (73% of whom are in middle school). The 1,582 teachers who deployed INSPIRE in their classrooms gave the program a 70% year-over-year school retention rate - a truly impressive number in an education segment characterized by frequent changes in curriculum.

Remarkably, in April and May of this year, during the peak of the school closures, INSPIRE use actually increased by 15% as many parents looked to the program for its student-guided lessons. Since it was launched in 2014, more than 364,000 K-12 students have participated in the program.

E-Fest Goes 100% Digital

A robust 1,775 unique registrants (largely college engineering students) representing more than 300 universities in 47 countries logged into ASME's first-ever all-digital E-Fest, and the E-Fest YouTube channel registered over 10,000 views during the event, and thousands more since then.

"The overwhelming success of the virtual E-Fest is convincing evidence that future versions of this signature event will incorporate more online participation,” said Anand Sethupathy, the ASME Managing Director in charge of philanthropic programs. “What began as a response to the coronavirus pandemic actually expanded opportunity for students around the world to participate, many of whom would not have been able to attend an in-person event."

Digital E-Fest videos posted to YouTube garnered nearly 11,000 views in just three days in April, with many more views since then. In a survey after the online event, fully 94% of participants said that Digital E-Fest met or surpassed their expectations, and the same percentage said they are likely to participate in a future E-Fest.


New ASME Career Engagement Center

A new initiative, the Career Engagement Center (CEC), is a digital platform for primarily early-career engineers to explore professional pathways; define and track goals; connect to employment, volunteer and mentoring opportunities; and gain forward-looking insights into industry.

Rising engineers contend with a vast array of career, volunteer, and post-graduate training alternatives, often with no clear sense of the best next step or how to land that all-important first job. From ASME’s standpoint, the CEC taps into the Society’s human capital, a powerful combination of geographic reach and technical insights, coupled with existing data and algorithms to meet the needs of early-career engineers.

Here's what volunteer leaders engaged in the project are saying:

"The magnitude of the possible impact is what gets me excited about this project. It's a great platform that will offer unique insights about the job market and career paths for thousands of engineers worldwide, helping them advance their careers and have a clearer vision on how to get to their goals."
- Omar Kheir,
Product & Business Intelligence Manager at EPCOM®

“The CEC presents a unique opportunity to fully explore the white space in engineering career development. Coming from the startup world, I get very excited and drawn when I see a meaningful project with growth and scale potential. The impact of the platform will be tremendous, and the CEC can help thousands of engineers like me find our place in the new era.”
- Simon Pun,
Materials Engineering Leader, Divergent Technologies

“I envision CEC as a tool that will help Early Career Engineers navigate the realm of engineering career options, and facilitate informed judgements on the unique training and skills required for each as well as global recruitment trends and future demand in the market.”
- Khosro Shirvani, PhD
Assistant Professor, Farmingdale State College;
Member-at-Large, ECEPC

The CEC development process is well underway, with content maps and initial wireframes in process. Meanwhile, the ASME Foundation is pursuing sustainable funding for this new initiative. With its potential to spur a future-ready, multidisciplinary workforce, the CEC is attracting interest from prospective industry funders.


The ISHOW Must Go On(line)

Three life-changing inventions took top honors at the U.S. version of the ASME ISHOW 2020, held entirely online from June 23-25.

Eight socially minded teams of inventors from Canada, Chile, and the U.S. presented their design prototypes in a virtual event. Three inventors emerged as regional winners who will share $30,000 in seed grants and receive technical support to help bring their design innovations to market.

The 2020 ASME ISHOW USA winners are:

  • Corridor Water Technologies (Toronto, Canada) for its "Passive Irrigation Controller" - a solution focused on controlling agricultural water use for farmers in developing countries with limited water resources.
  • Reeddi Inc. (Toronto, Canada) for its "Reeddi Capsules" - a proprietary patent-pending energy generation and distribution technology system that integrates smart data harvesting and analytics technology.
  • Re-Nuble (New York, NY, U.S.) for its "Nutrient Delivery System" - a patent-pending nutrient delivery system producing fertilizers that are two times more cost-effective than the dominant soilless fertilizers and enables soilless farms to produce certified-organic food.

"We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” said ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world."

ASME is grateful to The Lemelson Foundation for its continued support of the ISHOW as the Impact Inventing sponsor, and to ISHOW implementation partners around the globe.

All of the ISHOW USA finalists’ product pitches can be viewed on the ASME ISHOW website. ISHOW Kenya was held in May; ISHOW India took place in April.

The Lemelson Foundation Backs ISHOW with Multiyear Support

The Lemelson Foundation, the "Impact Inventing" sponsor of the ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) since its inception five years ago, recently announced that it is increasing its support of this signature ASME initiative and, importantly, committing to a three-year strategic investment in the program. The grant provides for $120,000 per year, an increase of more than 22% over its previous support.

Founded in 1992 by Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson, The Lemelson Foundation celebrates and cultivates inventors and inventions that improve lives. ISHOW, with its focus on helping social entrepreneurs accelerate the development of new products from the prototype stage to the global marketplace, perfectly aligns with The Lemelson Foundation’s mission.

"The whole idea behind ISHOW is to nurture hardware innovations that measurably improve quality of life," said Tom Costabile, Executive Director/CEO of ASME. "We are profoundly grateful to The Lemelson Foundation for recognizing the impact of this signature ASME initiative and sustaining a program that directly addresses our mission to advance engineering for the benefit of humanity."

"Physical products are critical to addressing our most pressing global challenges," said Rob Schneider, Senior Director of Strategy at The Lemelson Foundation. "But the needs of hardware entrepreneurs are often neglected in efforts to support regional startup communities. ASME is a compelling partner because their membership includes engineers and designers all over the world. ISHOW has the potential to increase the visibility and impact potential for hardware enterprises by connecting them with this network of technical talent and expertise."

Get Involved
The "Our Impact" page on the ASME Foundation website presents several inspiring examples of the impact our philanthropic programs have on the lives of future and working engineers. Please have a look to see firsthand all of the good your donations make possible.

Watch this brief video to hear why ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile is so passionate about empowering the next generation of engineers who will build the future.

Donate to support ASME Philanthropy and the Campaign For Next Generation Engineers
Follow ASME on Twitter   Like ASME on Facebook   Join ASME on LinkedIn
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers ®
( ASME® )
20805 - 071520