The annual Engineers Week Banquet and Expo was hosted by the University of Southern Maine on March 13th and 14th. The banquet with 150 attendees, including 81 students from the University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine was held at the DoubleTree Hilton, in South Portland.
Dean Dana Humphrey from the University of Maine, College of Engineering along with Dean Jay Graves from the University of Southern Maine's College of Science, Technology, and Health were in attendance along with university faculty and engineers from many of Maine's leading engineering and industrial firms. Guy Cote, President of Sevee & Maher Engineers spoke about the experiences his firm, among the first in the country, has had using a drone, to perform aerial survey work.
The banquet was followed on Saturday by the Annual Engineering Expo which had over 1300 visitors. The Expo provides engineering professionals and their firms a unique opportunity to increase public awareness of the positive contributions engineers make to their communities, to this nation and to the world.
Perhaps more importantly it targets middle schools students with many hands on activities that spurs their interest in science and math. The young students saw first-hand that science and math are fun subjects, and that they help us all understand how things work. The students are encouraged to take four years of math, science and English in high school so that upon their high school graduation that are fully prepared to pursue a university education in a STEM major, especially engineering.
These two events are coordinated by The Maine Engineering Promotional Council (MEPC) a registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization. The Board of directors of MEPC consists of a collaboration of practicing engineers and engineering educators. Collectively they partner with Maine's leading firms to raise approximately $ 40,000 each year to cover the cost of promotional materials, advertising and transportation bus grants for schools to transport students to this event. Sponsor funding also enables students to attend the banquet at a substantially reduced costs. In 2015 the sponsors included Time Warner Cable, General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works, IDEXX, Iberdrola (CMP), IDEXX, Kepware, Pratt & Whitney, Fairchild Semiconductor, Sevee & Maher, the Maine Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Maine State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers, Maine Maritime Academy, University of Maine, and University of Southern Maine.
The first engineer's week banquet took place at USM in 1990. The first Expo was held by USM, at Gorham High School in 1998. This annual event now alternates annually between USM and UMaine.