Share link

An Overview of ACEC

What is ACEC? An Overview on Advocacy, Action, & Education.

Krystal Paisley

June 16, 2017

The American Council of Engineering Companies, otherwise known as ACEC, is the voice of the engineering industry throughout the nation.


You may have heard of the Engineering Excellence Awards. Known industry-wide as the “Academy Awards” of the engineering industry, ACEC award the best of the best across the country and the world. Projects like the John R. Doutt Upground Reservoir (pictured above) are recognized each year at the annual gala.


That’s just the tip of the iceberg!


The 112-year-old organization includes 52 state and regional councils. ACEC represents 600,000+ engineers, architects, land surveyors, and other specialists across the country.


ACEC’s primary mission is to strengthen the business environment for member firms. The organization accomplishes this through advocacy, political action, and education. Here’s an overview of those core initiatives.


A major function of ACEC is advocacy. ACEC promotes the interests of its members through education and engagement. The organization focuses on legislatures, executive agencies, courts, and the media. Initiatives include:


  • Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS)
  • The “Thomas Amendment” in the Water Resources and Development Act
  • Acquisition regulations
  • Infrastructure investment, including transportation, water, aviation, and energy
  • Risk management
  • Providing expertise to officials regarding policies affecting the design, construction, and maintenance of public infrastructure


Find information on current key issues, including fact sheets and updates, on the ACEC Advocacy Center page.


ACEC’s Political Action Committee (ACEC/PAC) is the engineering industry’s primary tool for political engagement at the national level. The purpose of ACEC/PAC is to elect candidates to the U.S. Congress who support policies favorable to the engineering industry. ACEC/PAC’s priorities and initiatives support advocacy efforts, benefiting members firms throughout the nation.


ACEC doesn’t just promote education through its advocacy efforts, it also provides educational resources. Educational resources include more than 100 online classes yearly on business management and engineering topics, seminars throughout the year, and flexible on-demand online classes.


The ACEC Senior Executives Institute (SEI) calls itself “leadership that inspires.” And it does just that! The SEI is an opportunity for further education for firm leaders. Training includes advanced management, leadership, and public policy.

Get Involved

Now that you have an overview of ACEC, how do you get involved? We have tips to get you started.

  • Become a member. Most importantly, join ACEC! Membership is available through one of the Member Organizations (MO). MOs provide additional benefits in addition to the national organization.
  • Join an ACEC Committee. There are a variety of open and appointed committees in ACEC, from transportation to environments to public relations. Open committees are broader and market-related, while appointed committees are more specialized. There’s sure to be a committee for your interests!
  • Network with peers in ACEC Councils and Forums. Councils and forums are an opportunity to network with peers in your field. These special sections include Architect Council, CFO Council, Information Technology Forum, and more.
  • Start at the state-level. A great start is to get involved in your local or regional ACEC organization. Click the link to find your state’s chapter.
  • Read up. Check out Engineering Inc., a bi-monthly print and online magazine covering the latest issues and topics.