A nationwide shortage of engineers is one of the drivers for a new hire at a state-level engineering trade group.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan announced Tuesday, Jan. 31, it hired Mark McRobie as deputy director, who will focus on workforce development.
McRobie will also help ACEC/Michigan achieve goals on other initiatives, including water/wastewater issues, government affairs and qualifications-based selection.
“Our members do important work, whether it be providing clean water, safe roads and bridges, or sustainable building designs,” McRobie said. “I’m looking forward to working in my capacity to help members meet their goals and provide quality services on behalf of their clients.”
Trades have struggled for years in workforce development, so McRobie will focus on programs to attract K-12 and college students to the architecture and engineering industry. He will also assist member companies to provide professional development for future leaders.
The push for future engineering talent is not solely a Michigan issue. As the Washington Post wrote in October, “economic future of U.S. depends on making engineering cool.” The crux of the article was a need for at least 50,000 new semiconductor engineers in the next five years and U.S. engineer unemployment rates nearing all-time lows.
Consulting firm McKinsey & Company reported last year there will be a shortage of up to 40,000 engineers and related technical services in the next few years, which could “retail plans to upgrade U.S. infrastructure.” The report said in April 2022 there were 440,000 construction industry job openings, with a bleak outlook moving forward.
Adding to the ACEC/Michigan staff to focus on these types of initiatives has been a goal of the organization’s board of directors, according to ACEC/Michigan Executive Director Ron Brenke.
Brenke said the addition will help bring additional benefits to the member firms across the state, which includes more than 100 engineering companies employing more than 8,000 people.
McRobie comes to ACEC from Lansing firm RS&H, where he was most recently the national business development and marketing leader for construction management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Seton Hill University and a master’s in business administration from Charleston South University.