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Active professional engineering societies in Utah form the Utah Engineers Council. Established in 1950, the organization has recognized excellence in engineering and has held an awards banquet annually since 1962 at the end of National Engineers Week.

Approximately 200 people from Utah attend the banquet every year. They include college engineering students, representatives from the engineering disciplines, university professionals, and other guests. This year’s banquet was held at the scenic Interform Club in the Rio Tinto Stadium. The event commenced with a social networking hour, and attendees were welcomed with the live music of Take Three, a smooth jazz quartet featuring saxophone, keyboards, bass and percussion. Dinner, and a program followed.

The program included:

  • The Utah Governor’s Proclamation of Engineering Week presented by Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • UEC scholarships awards for $1,500 each to 13 engineering undergraduates studying in accredited engineering programs from Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University, the University of Utah, Utah State University, and Weber State University
  • Recognition of the annual awards for the Fresh Face in Engineering, Engineer of the Year, and Outstanding Utah Educator
  • Recognition of the annual award to the MESA Teacher of the Year

The 2018 keynote speaker was Dr. Kerry Kelly, a chemical and environmental engineer who is an assistant professor at the University of Utah. Her work has focused on the links between air quality, energy, and health. She is an expert on the air-quality challenges along the Wasatch Front, and through her work, she has fostered collaboration between earth scientists, engineers, and health scientists as they research and work to solve local air quality issues. Her efforts have included leading a team from the University of Utah’s Engineering Arts and Entertainment Program as they developed BadAirDay: Play It Like “UCAIR” at BadAirDay.org. This is a video game about air quality that teaches how local air quality can be affected by public policy and the choices people make.

Dr. Kelly presented a compelling and informative overview of the evolution and causes of air pollution in Utah, relating our local situation with other national and global sites with air quality issues. She brought into context the various types of air pollution such as particulate and chemical air contaminants, their sources and their health effects. She then described ongoing work to characterize, quantify, and remedy the issue of air pollution, and addressed the questions:

  • Why are particles a problem?
  • How serious is air pollution in the U.S.?
  • Which countries have the biggest amounts of air pollution?
  • How can people reduce air pollution?

On the topic of how we in Utah can reduce air pollution, Dr. Kelly offered: One of the easiest is reducing driving time. This can be done by walking or biking instead of driving, carpooling or car sharing, using mass transit, and taking a lunch to eat at work instead of driving somewhere else to eat. Turning off the engine instead of idling, driving at lower speeds, and driving less aggressively are other effective strategies. Other ways include making your home more energy efficient, using eco-friendly products in your home and yard, planting trees, buying plants for your home that are particularly good at cleaning the air, maintaining wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, recycling and buying recycled products when possible, and buying sustainable products from companies that use sustainable manufacturing processes and that work to reduce pollution during those processes. If you smoke, quit; when voting, choose candidates who want to protect the environment, including the air.

The Utah Engineers Council would like to extend its thanks to our renowned speaker, Dr. Kerry Kelly, and our committees and members whose hard work and dedication to the industry helped make our 2018 Awards Banquet a success. Special thanks goes to: Charlie Vono, Jed Lyman, Brian Warner, David Cline, Chris Perry; Brad Welch, Jacob Browning, Susan Merrill, JuliAne Burton, the newsLINK Group, LLC and Roberta Schlicher for their extraordinary efforts toward the success of this event.

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