Chicago — In 1964, a small group of plumbing engineers in Southern California formed the first national organization dedicated exclusively to the needs of the plumbing engineering community: the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE). This year, ASPE will honor their accomplishment, the accomplishments of all those who have served in leadership roles since the founding of ASPE, and the achievements of the Society in advancing plumbing engineering during the past 50 years via a year-long anniversary celebration.
“It is a special honor to be President of this great Society for this milestone event,” says ASPE President William Hughes Jr., CPD, LEED AP, FASPE. “During the past 50 years, ASPE has grown to become the voice of plumbing engineers and designers at both the national and international levels, the leading provider of education, training, and technical publications for plumbing professionals, and a key partner with other organizations serving the plumbing industry.”
In the United States in the mid-1900s, plumbing engineering was an indistinct branch of the overall mechanical engineering industry. The reason for this was the lack of a national, unified voice for the plumbing engineering profession. To rectify this, a group of approximately 35 plumbing engineers and designers from the Los Angeles area met on April 8, 1964, and a committee was formed to investigate options for establishing a national association dedicated exclusively to plumbing engineering. Several months later, on September 18, 1964, the group reconvened to approve the draft bylaws and elect a board of directors, and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers was incorporated. The first official local chapter (Los Angeles) was formed two years later, and the Society held its first national convention in Los Angeles in 1968.
Since then, ASPE has grown into an international association of more than 6,000 members and 60 chapters. The Society is engaged in codes, standards, and public health initiatives globally via partnerships with other industry organizations such as the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials, International Code Council, Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating, Plumbing Manufacturers International, Asian Saving Water Council, and the World Plumbing Council. ASPE helps meet the career needs of plumbing engineers and designers by offering numerous professional development opportunities both online and in-person, technical publications, American National Standards, and local and national networking.
“The first 50 years were not without growing pains, but ASPE survived and is running full speed ahead,” Hughes says. “The Society is continually growing globally to strengthen our position within the industry. Opening doors, seeking new opportunities, and partnering with other organizations only reinforces our position within the worldwide plumbing community. I am truly excited about the future of ASPE and am looking forward to working with our members to help set the course for the next 50 years.”
ASPE will celebrate the accomplishments of the plumbing engineering industry all year long with local chapter events, a 50th Anniversary website (aspe.org/50), news releases, and special features at the Society’s biennial Convention & Exposition this fall. ASPE invites all industry representatives to join us in celebrating 50 years of advancing plumbing engineering during the 2014 ASPE Convention & Exposition, which will be held in Chicago on September 20–24. Registration for the event will open on May 1 at aspe.org.