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National Engineering Forum Comes to San Diego

Movement focuses on engineering to secure America’s future

Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

The National Engineering Forum (NEF) was in San Diego this week to foster actionable discussions on sustaining America’s engineering enterprise. Partnering with NEF, the University of California, San Diego and Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla brought together executives from industry, academia, government and other sectors to celebrate the city’s engineering leadership and participate in an outcome-oriented NEF dialogue on the challenges facing American engineering.

“UC San Diego was proud to host this event and have a leadership role in this national discussion on how we can advance America’s interests through engineering,” said Khosla, an internationally renowned engineer. “Universities play an important role in addressing the National Engineering Forum’s 3C’s – the capacity, capability and competitiveness of our engineering workforce. UC San Diego is working to ensure our next-generation leaders have the knowledge, skills and visionary leadership to tackle complex global challenges and increase our competitiveness on the world stage.”

The San Diego event was part of NEF’s regional dialogue series, happening in cities across America with a prominent role in shaping the nation’s engineering heritage and its future.

“The competitiveness of the United States depends on a skilled workforce of engineers and innovators who are equipped to design solutions to our nation’s most critical needs,” said Dr. Ray O. Johnson, Lockheed Martin senior vice president and chief technology officer, a speaker at last night’s event. “San Diego is one of our country’s innovation incubators, and Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with this community to demonstrate how engineers can come together to solve our nation’s most difficult challenges.”

San Diego was chosen for its rich history in information and wireless technology and its innovations in clean technology, biotechnology and medical research. UC San Diego’s founder and former Scripps Institution of Oceanography director, Roger Revelle, was one of the first to bring global warming to the world’s attention more than 50 years ago. From UC San Diego’s information technology innovations and internationally renowned bioengineering and structural engineering departments, to the commercial successes of Qualcomm, Cricket Communications, and LG Electronics, and the research done by more than 500 biomedical companies, contract research organizations and nonprofits, America’s Finest City is an ideal location for discussion of the 3C’s.

Setting the tone for the dialogue, Irwin Jacobs, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of San Diego-based Qualcomm Incorporated and an influential member of UC San Diego's founding faculty, noted the role that engineers from UC San Diego have had in helping Qualcomm establish 6.7 billion mobile connections for voice and Internet access impacting people's lives worldwide.

Deborah Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness and a NEF co-founder, said, “We are truly in the midst of a national transition and transformation in terms of our engineering leadership and innovation capacity. The lessons we have learned from San Diego in this National Engineering Forum dialogue – as well as deep work across the region over the past decade to catalyze regional innovation – will help us to confront and solve a range of challenges, conundrums and choices facing the United States.“

Next week, the National Engineering Forum will be in Seattle for a regional dialogue hosted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington.

Lockheed Martin, the Council on Competitiveness, and the National Academy of Engineering launched NEF, which now has a growing roster of partners. The regional dialogue series will culminate in a national cornerstone event.


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