American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Stephen Rea recalls his participation in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers at NC State and chairing the most active chapter in the Southeast.

Interview on 2015-01-26


00:00:00.000 The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the chapter there at State, was very, very well-supported by the faculty in the university.
00:00:09.194 They took great pride in that chapter. We belonged to the Southeast Region and there were other engineering schools, like Duke University, South Carolina, Clemson,
00:00:22.824 Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC-Charlotte, [NC]-A&T; they all had engineering programs and there was a little competitiveness involved,
00:00:37.382 again to be the best that you can be. The measuring stick for that was the activity of your section and how many ASME students you have involved with your section and how many were participating in leadership.
00:01:01.948 Those were really the three main criteria.
00:01:06.359 For a couple years I was just a student and I helped out but my senior year I was asked to chair the section, and those were our goals.
00:01:20.612 We wanted to focus on-. We didn't want an organization - which so often happens, out in the real world - where you get two or three or five people and they do everything.
00:01:31.665 We really worked hard to reach out and because of this I got to know a lot of people - there were a lot of students in the mechanical engineering department -
00:01:43.042 and tap into their gifts. Somebody may be real good about organizing a social. Somebody may be good about putting on a paper.
00:01:54.535 Somebody may be very interested in organizing a tour of a facility. I mean everybody has a little talent, so we tried to recognize that and tap into it and get them involved.
00:02:07.074 That year we had very high membership and we had very high participation, and this goes back to my discussion about Dr. Bill Reiter because he was the faculty advisor to ASME.
00:02:24.604 I truly liked his leadership because it wasn't about him. He did not micromanage. He would sit back there in his chair and I'd come in to see him and he'd say, "Steve, what are you thinking about this?
00:02:39.859 Do you think this is a possibility? Could this invigoratestudents? Could this get them excited?" He never answered the question.
00:02:48.612 He just let me go off and try to figure it out with my colleagues. At the end of that year we were recognized as the most active chapter in the Southeast.