Past Chairman Les Fafard (pictured on left) receives a plaque from Chairman Randy Van Natta (pictured on right) to recognize Les’s volunteer work.

Let’s Talk About Les: ACEC-WI Honors Him for His Years of Service

April 19, 2018

The American Council of Engineering Companies-Wisconsin Chapter (ACEC-WI) honored Highway Design Engineer Les Fafard for his service on the Board of Directors, and his dedication to the organization. Fafard is an avid volunteer with ACEC-WI.

Why involvement is important

ACEC allows to better understand the importance of communicating the role of engineering in making our world a better place for all of us.

“I encourage people to think about getting involved as it broadens your perspectives and provides networking opportunities,” says Les. “It’s a balancing act with various demands, but it’s rewarding when you can look back and realize that things are a little different and maybe a little better because of the role you played.”

Les believes his involvement with ACEC-WI is important because:

  • It helps to understand and communicate the bigger picture of a strategic long-term, well managed infrastructure programs with sustainable funding
  • It allows one to get involved and develop as a leader
  • It offers the opportunities to participate in changing and improving the business climate for our industry
  • It provides opportunities to meet and interact with various companies, meetings with agency leaders and elected leaders

Joining one committee at a time

Les’ involvement with ACEC-WI began in 2003 when he joined the Transportation Committee. Eventually, he joined the Transportation Steering Committee (TSC), landing the role of TSC Chair.

When an opening on the ACEC-WI Government Affairs Committee presented itself, Les jumped at the chance. Afterwards, he became a member of the Transportation Leadership Committee (TLC). The committee meets monthly with the WisDOT administrator’s office to discuss policy and business matters between the DOT and industry.

Fafard served on the Board for more than two years before transitioning into these leadership roles:

  • Wisconsin National Director in 2014
  • Chair-Elect from 2015-16
  • Chair from 2016-17
  • Past Chair 2017-18

Advice for those thinking about a career in engineering

“Networking and information are keys to growing and learning in their profession,” says Les. “Engineering is a wonderful field and working with people and groups allows one to move to the next level of setting direction and strategies.”

According to Les, serving on committees and boards are just a few opportunities that await young engineers of today. It’s important to ask yourself:

  • Do you like math and science and understanding why and how things work?
  • Do you like the opportunity to work with people, in the environment, solving problems, using technology, gathering data?
  • Do you like to design or construct things?
  • Do you like to travel the United States, or even the world?

Les is a long-time advocate for better transportation systems. His career spans more than 40 years with 13 of those with SEH.

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