How do we make the Awards Banquet an *Event*?


From the March PSEC meeting we of course discussed the annual Awards Banquet. We had around 100 people show this year which is pretty average. Sam said he talked to a past PSEC President from back in the 80’s who told him the Banquet used to draw 800 people (!) I can’t even imagine that!

What would it take to get the Banquet attendance to increase. Is that even possible? Desirable?

Assuming it is, what can we do with the website to help? The current structure emphasizes the award recipients. They each get their own page with a photo and biography. That reflects their status. They are recipients for a whole year so they get a static page. The Banquet is a one time event. A single day. It is only relevant for most people for the few weeks or months prior and somewhat lesser so as a historical record afterwards.

What do you think of the current Banquet presentation on the site? How could it be improved?


I can’t remember who was talking about this at the meeting but he was saying that back in the 80s and before, being in an engineering society was a much bigger deal. I think this might have been true because there were fewer social outlets back in those days. This was before the Internet and email were widely used so it was much more difficult to find a community of like-minded people outside of work.

That’s not so true anymore. We can easily find groups to hang out online if we so desire. But I think this makes things like the PSEC site potentially more important. Our site (or one of our social media groups) could be one of those virtual gathering places. Is this something we want?


Portland has a huge event which was also sponsored by Boeing this year. You can see the website for the event at

They used to combine their awards presentations with an engineer-student banquet. The day starts off with tours at various companies and engineering projects. The banquet itself is held at the Red Lion across the street from Macy’s at Lloyd Center. There are exhibits in portions of the event area. These are usually run by engineering programs at the universities, professional recruiters, the engineering societies, software companies, calculator companies, etc. One or more keynote talks are given by engineers of national or international importance.

I attended the event 3 times while I was a high school student. Each year, one of my math or science teachers would approach me and would ask me if I wanted to attend the event. The local equivalent of PSEC would match students up with engineers from the right discipline in the same neighborhood. I was sponsored one year my an engineer at CH2M HIll, another year by an engineer at the Crown Zellerbach paper mill in Camas, and another year by the Army Corps of Engineers. Some of the officers at the Corps of Engineers helped me to be admitted to the U.S. Military Academy, the first engineering school in the country.

This event in Portland was the responsible for my becoming an engineer. The engineering profession showed an interest in me as a person, and the engineers mentored me at a very personal level. I will never forget! The talks and tours were great, too. We heard about the space shuttle long before the first launch. Another talk was about using hydro power generated during off-peak hours to pump water back up the Columbia River to allow more power to be generated during peak demand periods. They also talked about advances in power transmission to reduce line losses. It was great stuff. Eventually, I pursued an education in Wood Science & Technology at Oregon State University–largely as a result of talking with the engineers at Crown Zellerbach.

I strongly believe that holding a similar event in Seattle would be the greatest thing that local engineers could do for students at the point of deciding on a career and university. It would also be the best thing that we could do for the profession. They have been amazing events, and they have been holding them for around 50 years or more.

The Portland E-Week Event discussion

It sounds really cool @mpowers123. It’s not clear from the website. Is this run by the “Oregon PSEC?” It almost looks like it is run by the city.

I’d love to talk with one of the organizers of this thing to maybe get some tips. Does everyone think this is something we should do?


The collaborative effort of bringing together participation of the PSEC member societies, local companies, and academia would require strong leadership and participation within PSEC to garner support not only from the local societies but also support from their respective national and international larger organizations. Coming together to plan a “big” annual event where the awards banquet is one component may be the catalyst that PSEC needs to attract more participation from leadership within the engineering community. These type of events are a win-win for the entire community - your story @mpowers123 is a great example of this. Please bring this up at again at the next PSEC meeting as well as at next years PSEC kick-off meeting of the 2016/2017 year to start planting this idea. I would love to help support this vision.