The Department of Construction Management professor and Joseph Phelps Endowed Chair, Mehmet E. Ozbek, Ph.D., was invited to be a keynote speaker at the 14th International Congress on Advances in Civil Engineering (ACE) 2020-2021. The conference, originally planned to be in-person in Istanbul, Turkey, had to go to online delivery mode due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The congress aims to bring together state-of-the-art research and their applications in all fields of civil engineering. It provides a great opportunity for high-level researchers and professionals to present their most recent research and case studies, and get feedback from peers and colleagues who have similar interests.
To deliver his keynote address at 9:00 a.m. live, Ozbek had to come to his CSU office professionally dressed, at 11:00 p.m., MST. His session was well-attended, and he was able to address good questions posed by his audience.
A summary of Ozbek’s presentation follows:
“While overused, this remains a very true statement: We are living in unprecedented times. Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are two of the many real challenges faced by all, no matter where we live in the world. These are truly global crises. While we try to address these challenges the best we can, most of our efforts have been and continue to be, reactive.
In such an environment and era, we hold a special responsibility to think, plan, and act proactively. Even though we have enablers such as technology, big data, and intelligent systems, as well as advancements in computing power, materials, engineering, and construction processes – all of which can help us move into the ‘proactive space;’ what matters most is our willingness to get into the mindset of becoming and being proactive.
Additionally, we need to be collaborative and inclusive of different (and even conflicting) ideas in our planning efforts while promoting healthy discussions. This keynote address talks about how we have the responsibility and ability to imagine and create the future; it uses the American Society of Civil Engineers Future World Vision platform as an example to communicate what we should be thinking and planning now to create the future of the infrastructure and the built environment, even if that means 50 years from today.”