Engineers Week 2020: GAI PEs Share Top “Pioneers of Progress”

Celebrating Pioneers of Progress

The Engineers Week 2020 theme ‘Pioneers of Progress’ highlights those unique individuals whose vision, talent, and ambition have made major and lasting impacts on the way we live today and our possibilities for tomorrow. Be they engineers, inventors, artists, barrier-breakers, or entrepreneurs, the Pioneers of Progress blaze trails that advance the world in significant ways and open paths toward future advances.

GAI PEs Talk About Standout Pioneer of Progress

For Engineers Week 2020, we heard what a selection of GAI Professional Engineers had to say about some of their most admired Pioneers of Progress.

George Westinghouse George Westinghouse “When thinking about people who truly helped pioneer the way we live, George Westinghouse Jr. instantly comes to my mind. Among his many groundbreaking achievements, he invented the air brake system that revolutionized railway transportation—and he took on Thomas Edison in championing the alternating current (AC) system that to this day continues to deliver the electricity that powers our world.” – GAI President Anthony Morrocco, PE, PLA, MBA Elon Musk Elon Musk “I consider Elon Musk to be a modern-day ‘Pioneer of Progress.’ At a time when advancements and breakthroughs have become incremental as opposed to monumental, you have to be willing to go against the status quo and push the boundaries of innovation in order to grow and succeed. Elon hasn’t been afraid to dream big and pursue lofty goals. The ideas and projects that he is working on have forced change and adaption in several markets that may have otherwise stagnated. One of my favorite Elon Musk quotes is, ‘When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.’ I believe that desire to push forward—knowing the odds are against you—is what truly makes for a pioneer in today’s industry.” – Dan Nickols, PE Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi “Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi – formerly Latinized as Algorithmi – is the first person who comes to my mind when I think about Pioneers of Progress. My interest in mathematics lead me to learn about this Persian scholar when I was still in grade school. Often called ‘the father of algebra,’ he is one of the early pioneers of arithmetic, astronomy, trigonometry, geography, and cartography. It’s hard for me to imagine many modern scientific innovations without al-Khwarizmi’s revolutionary work as a foundation.” – Abeera Batool, PE, PhD Andrew Carnegie Andrew Carnegie “I grew up in the Pittsburgh region, and I’ve been inspired by Andrew Carnegie since I was very young. Carnegie was poor as a child, and followed his mother’s example of hard work and dedication to quickly move up in his career to the rank of Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Carnegie’s success enabled him to fund a number of investments and business pursuits, culminating in his Carnegie Steel Company, which deployed the Bessemer process to make mass production of steel more cost-effective. His company bolstered our nation’s infrastructure and made Carnegie one of the richest Americans in history. Believing that, ‘Wealth is not to feed our egos but to feed the hungry and to help people help themselves,’ Carnegie channeled 90% of his fortune to philanthropy to better the lives of others.” – Rich Krajcovic, PE, PTOE, MBA Nora Stanton Blatch Barney Nora Stanton Blatch Barney “When I think of Pioneers of Progress, Nora Stanton Blatch Barney comes to mind. As the first female engineering graduate of Cornell University and first woman admitted to the American Society of Civil Engineers, she is one of the women who helped to lay the groundwork for more women to enter the engineering field. Her passion for engineering and perseverance inspires me to share how engineers can help solve complex problems to recruit the next generation engineers.” – Shannon Killion, PE, ENV SP Nikola Tesla Nikola Tesla “My admiration for Nikola Tesla is not so much for his genius in creating hundreds of inventions, or because he was an immigrant to the U.S. like me, or because today we drive cars that bear his name and use his technology. It is because of his altruistic approach to employing his genius, to the extent that his drive for innovation was energized by the goal of improving society rather than seeking personal wealth and recognition. While faced with alternating currents of success and disappointment over his 86 years, Tesla maintained that, ‘Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter.’ I believe this blend of brilliance and humility places Tesla in an elite class among the ranks of pioneers of progress.” – Enrique Bazan-Arias, PE, EMBA Ford, Boeing, Jobs, Berners-Lee Ford, Boeing, Jobs, Berners-Lee “To me, the greatest advances of modern times are the automobile, the airplane, and the computer/internet. I would point to pioneers like Henry Ford and William Boeing, whose innovations helped advance society by facilitating the transport of people and materials all over the world Moving into the digital age, pioneers like Steve Jobs and Tim Berners-Lee revolutionized the way we transmit information, allowing us to communicate and share ideas with people across the world in an instant. In just one century, the way most people live has changed and improved to an amazing degree due to the contributions of these men and many others working in these fields.” – Bingjie Zhao, PE, PhD

Learn More About Engineers Week 2020

For more information on Engineers Week 2020, visit the DiscoverE website. Programs planned in association with Engineers Week 2020 include Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (Feb. 20), the 2020 Global Marathon (five live online broadcasts, March 11 through April 8), and more.

eWeek 2020Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in 1951, Engineers Week is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. That means inspiring young people to pursue an engineering path through a series exciting programs, stimulating activities, and by sharing the inspiring achievements of the engineers at work today.

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