American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

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ASABE Reconfiguration

Technical Communities are the New Divisions

If you voted in the latest Society election or attended a recent Annual International Meeting (AIM), you have probably heard the buzz about reconfiguring the Society’s technical committees and updating our “look and feel” for marketing and outreach. If you haven’t heard yet, then here’s a brief overview: the previous system of technical divisions has been reconfigured into a new system of technical communities (see the accompanying diagram).

As part of this reconfiguration, committee members are carefully restructuring ASABE’s many technical committees to better reflect biological and agricultural engineers’ engagement within the Society. Some existing committees will remain the same, and some will move to a technical community that is more closely aligned with their work. A few committees have determined that they will disband or combine with another committee of similar scope and membership.

To help guide this process, ASABE staff has created a one-to-one mapping document that lists every committee and where it could land. If you would like a copy of this document, download it here. And keep in mind that this is no “one and done” exercise. It’s intended to be a dynamic process. If you don’t see your home in the new structure, then let ASABE staff  know, and we can develop one together.

As we move forward with the reconfiguration, look for these upcoming milestones:
  • All ASABE members should have received a postcard that illustrates the overall structure of the technical communities.
  • Committee leaders have received communications from headquarters about the specific impact of the reconfiguration on their committees.
  • All committee members will receive a communication from headquarters with final details of where their committees will fit in the new structure.
  • The 2014 AIM will be conducted under the old structure, both for committee meetings and for technical session sponsorships. This will help ease the transition to the new structure.
  • The 2015 AIM and Call for Papers will reflect the new structure. A huge benefit of this will be a significant reduction in overlapping sessions with similar themes.
A question that has come up recently is, “Why did biological engineering go away?” The answer is, “It didn’t.” The Society has embraced the fact that biological engineering is a significant part of all the technical communities. The BE committees have been placed into the technical communities that best match their scope and purpose. Other divisional committees have been similarly placed. For example, the FPE committees that deal mostly with processing for energy are now in the Energy Systems technical community.

ASABE staff and leadership believe that the reconfiguration will better reflect what ASABE members actually do, and it will help the Society grow and continue to thrive. As I mentioned above, the new structure is dynamic, and it will be adjusted as areas of duplication and missing needs are identified. It’s not done yet, but so far we’re off to a very good start.

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