The Wooten Company is pleased to announce that our Vice President, Gary Hartong, PE, is now the President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina(ACEC-NC)! ACEC is the only group in North Carolina that represents the business interests of engineering firms across the State so we couldn't be more excited to see how Gary's leadership continues to extend the influence of ACEC-NC's legislative advocacy and business services. We sat down to chat with Gary about what this honor means to him and what he hopes to accomplish during his time as President.
What does being President of ACEC-NC mean to you?
Serving as President of this organization means that I am afforded the opportunity to surround myself with some of the most-talented engineering leadership in the State and in the consulting engineering industry. Having top-notch leadership in place at the Board and Committee levels will ensure that our industry is not only protected from all sides but is advancing forward on multiple fronts. Administrative support from our organization’s staff will also make sure our organization’s objectives are seamlessly executed. Honestly, it’s an opportunity that I never expected would be obtainable when I became involved with this organization 8 years ago through its Future Leaders Program. I will undoubtedly grow both professionally and personally. Just like L.E. Wooten, Sr. was excited to serve as the first President of ACEC-NC in 1968-69, I am also eager to serve this organization as President during our upcoming 50th anniversary.
What do you feel is the biggest advantage that ACEC-NC offers to its members?
The mission of ACEC-NC is to promote the interests of engineering companies through legislative advocacy and business services. Our Board and Committee leadership advocates on National and State issues to make our firms more efficient, more profitable and more desirable places to work. To achieve this, our committees have worked hard to develop close working relationships with our State agencies, North Carolina General Assembly and U.S. Congress to promote sound business policies. Being an active, committed ACEC-NC member adds to our collective voice.
What has ACEC-NC done that you are most proud of?
In May 2017, ACEC-NC was the first ACEC state organization to establish an independent expenditure account - namely Engineering Companies for North Carolina (ECNC). ECNC is a non-profit mechanism to allow our member firms to make financial contributions to advocate for or against State or Federal initiatives that directly influence our businesses. While ECNC funds cannot be used to contribute to an individual election campaign, funds may be used for advertising, voter outreach or educational event hosting. ECNC complements our existing State Political Action Committee.
What is the number one thing on your to-do list while serving as President?
My number one goal during my tenure is to establish relationships with the NC Department of Environmental Quality and NC State Construction Office equivalent to the close relationship that we have developed with Secretary Trogdon and the NC Department of Transportation. Of course, this will not happen overnight, but ACEC-NC desires to be regarded as both a business partner and technical resource for these state departments that many of our member firms work with on a daily basis.