Wooten President Inducted into ACEC National College of Fellows

Gary Hartong, PE was elected to coordinate outreach that motivates and recruits the next generation of talent to become engineers.

Chris Bushnell
October 18, 2023
image for Wooten President Inducted into ACEC National College of Fellows

Long-needed federal investment to modernize the nation's infrastructure is projected to generate more than 82,000 new jobs in engineering, public works, and design services through 2026. But with unemployment in the architecture and engineering sector dwelling beneath 50-year lows in the broader economy, there is a consequential gap between supply and demand for engineers.

Wooten President Gary Hartong, PE was inducted on October 17, 2023 to the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) College of Fellows to help bridge that divide for the future. Earlier this year, Hartong completed a two-year term as a Vice Chair of ACEC, which helped push for the successful passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. In March, ACEC members voted him into the organization's College of Fellows to promote careers in engineering.

"I am grateful to my colleagues for this recognition and responsibility," said Hartong, who earned undergraduate and master's degrees in engineering from N.C. State's Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. "I pledge my continued and unwavering commitment to elevate the reputation and appeal of our field and to do my part to inspire the next generation of innovators."

Candidates for the College of Fellows are nominated through ACEC and its state member organizations based on demonstrated personal commitment, service, leadership, and enhancing the public image of the consulting engineering profession. Each year, a limited number of engineers nationwide are elected to the career advocacy body.

"I have known Gary Hartong since moving to Raleigh and becoming ACEC/NC Executive Director in 2013," said Jim Smith. "It was a pleasure to work with Gary as a Board Member, Officer, and President of ACEC/NC. He was always professional and dedicated to improving the business climate for engineering firms and creating value for our members. This helped raise the perception of the engineering industry and placed ACEC/NC as a thought leader in the public arena."

Fellows are challenged to coordinate outreach that motivates and recruits future engineers. ACEC encourages members to volunteer as spokespersons for the engineering profession at civic events, high schools, universities, and other venues that would provide opportunities to persuade people to pursue the profession.

"Right now, there is a shortage of engineers to fill all the open positions in the industry and going forward we are going to need even more," said Linda Baur Darr, President and CEO of ACEC. "I love showing students how a career in engineering is about more than just designing buildings - it's about impacting their community. Our careers are stable, pay well, and let engineers live their values through their work."

According to the ACEC Research Institute, the U.S. engineering and architectural industry impacts the state of the economy significantly:

• $386B in Industry Sales:
This includes sales to all end-markets including construction, oil and gas, mining, utilities, manufacturing, government, and exports.

1.5M in Direct Annual Full & Part-Time Jobs: Combined with 3 million indirect jobs, that constitutes 3% of all U.S. jobs.

$44.7B in Direct Federal, State & Local Tax Collections: Engineering and Architectural Services contributes more total taxes per company and per employee than many other U.S. sectors.

$88,000 in Average Annual Wages: This well exceeds the average national salary of $60,300.

$229B in Direct Economic Impact (Value Added): This measure strips out double counting and assesses the engineering and architectural services' incremental contribution to overall U.S. GDP.

As a multi-disciplinary firm, The Wooten Company provides professional engineering and architectural services to public entities, educational institutions, and private industry in the Southeast. Founded in 1936 and headquartered in Raleigh, the firm also has regional offices in Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Greenville, Hickory, and Columbia.

Chris Bushnell

Chris Bushnell joined Wooten in fall 2020 as the marketing communications specialist.

Chris Bushnell joined Wooten in fall 2020 as the marketing communications specialist.