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Honoring SPE’s Heritage and Fellow SPE Members Through AIME, UEF, and AAES Awards

An overview of honors and awards SPE members are eligible for from SPE’s founder society American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), United Engineering Foundation, and American Association of Engineering Societies.

You may have heard or recall that SPE was originally part of what is now the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME). In 1985, SPE and the other three AIME member societies, the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME); The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS); and the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST), became separately incorporated from AIME.

AIME, founded in 1871, was one of the first national engineering societies established in the United States. In 1904, AIME and two other engineering societies—the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers—formed what is now called the United Engineering Foundation (UEF) to advance the engineering arts and sciences for the welfare of humanity. UEF received a gift of $1 million from Andrew Carnegie to build a common headquarters building in New York City and house their joint and several libraries. By 1958, two other engineering societies had joined UEF: the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). 

SPE is the largest engineering society among the AIME member societies, but by no means as large as some of the UEF founder societies. For example, the successor organization to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), is the world’s largest technical professional association with roughly 450,000 members.

Both AIME and UEF founder societies have awards for which SPE members are eligible. Some of these are exclusive to SPE and administered by SPE award committees. They are familiar names: the DeGolyer and Lucas awards, and Honorary Membership. Others are available to SPE members as well as those belonging to one of the four AIME member societies. These include the

  • Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal, honoring distinguished achievement in mining administration, including metallurgy and petroleum
  • Robert Earll McConnell Award, which recognizes beneficial service to mankind by engineers through significant contributions that advance a nation’s standard of living or replenishes its natural resources 
  • Rossiter W. Raymond Memorial Award, given for the best paper written by a member under age 35

Each of AIME’s member societies administers its own process for making these awards. Each member society can confer a Rand and a McConnell award every year, but the Raymond award is given rotationally among the four member societies. It will be given next at SPE’s 2019 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition banquet. Rossiter Raymond edited the Engineering and Mining Journal from 1867–1890. More than 100 years later, it is still a leading trade journal for the mining business. 

You can find details of eligibility and how to nominate your colleagues for all the above named awards on SPE’s website at: www.spe.org/awards/ 

Through AIME, SPE members are also eligible for selected awards administered by UEF founder societies beyond the AIME member society family. AIME is pleased to endorse nominations put forward by SPE for such awards and to assist in preparing an awards submission package. These awards include the

  • Hoover Medal—recognizing outstanding extra-career services by engineers to humanity (award administered by ASME, see www.asme.org/about-asme/get-involved/honors-awards/unit-awards/hoover-awards/apply-now). The award is named for Herbert Clark Hoover, who retired as a successful mining engineer in 1912, served as AIME President in 1920, then was later elected the 31st President of the United States 
  • Washington Award—for professional attainments that have pre-eminently advanced the welfare of humankind (award administered by the Western Society of Engineers, see www.thewashingtonaward.com/nomination/). This award, established by hydraulic and sanitary engineer John Watson Alvord in 1917 was first conferred on Herbert C. Hoover in 1919. It was allegedly named the Washington Award as a reminder that the first president of the United States was, in many respects, an engineer.

In addition, AIME automatically submits the Raymond Award recipient for the Alfred E. Noble Prize—for a technical paper of exceptional merit by a lead author under the age of 35 (award administered by ASCE, see www.asce.org/­templates/award-detail.aspx?id=1497). Noble was an American civil engineer famous for his work on canals, particularly the Panama Canal and the Soo Locks between the Great Lakes of Huron and Superior. 

AIME is also a member of the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES). This group includes all of the UEF members plus 12 other engineering associations. Here again, AIME is pleased to endorse nominations put forward by SPE, and to assist in preparing an awards submission package. These awards include the

  • AAES Chair’s Award—recognizing an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the welfare of the United States 
  • National Engineering Award—presented for inspirational leadership and tireless devotion to the improvement of engineering education and to the advancement of the engineering profession, as well as to the development of sound public policies as an engineer-statesman 
  • Kenneth Andrew Roe Award—presented on behalf of the engineering community to recognize an engineer who has been effective in promoting unity among the engineering societies. Roe was instrumental in founding AAES, served as its first president, and had previously been president of ASME. 
  • Norm Augustine Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Communications—presented annually to an engineer who has demonstrated the capacity for communicating the excitement and wonder of engineering. The award is to be conferred on those rare individuals who can speak with passion about engineering, its promise as well as its responsibility, so that the public may have a better understanding of engineering and a better appreciation for how engineers improve our quality of life. 
  • John Fritz Medal—presented each year for scientific or industrial achievement in any field of pure or applied science. It was established in 1902 to honor the “Father of the US Iron and Steel industry” whose name it bears and who was its first recipient. 
  • AAES Engineering Journalism Award—recognizes outstanding reporting of an event or issue that furthers public understanding of engineering 
  • Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal—established by the National Audubon Society in 1977 for recognizing an individual who encourages cooperation between engineering professionals and environmentalists to create innovative solutions to environmental problems. 

Details of eligibility and how to nominate your colleagues for all the above AAES awards are available at www.aaes.org/awards. AIME also has information on its website at aimehq.org/programs-/honors-awards about all of the awards mentioned above as well as others within the larger engineering and scientific community for which SPE members may be eligible.