The Rice Global Forum for Engineering and Construction (the Forum) is an organization made up of members from engineering and construction (E&C) and supporting firms based at Rice University for the purpose of discussion and analysis of issues, problems and opportunities facing the contracting side of the global E&C industry. Rice University provides a neutral site for these activities and access to the academic and research facilities of Rice, primarily the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and the Jones Graduate School of Business.
The Forum offers value in the following general categories:
1. Information, Analysis and Insight
The Forum sponsors and carries out discussion and analysis on a wide range of issues, both short and long term, that impact the E&C industry globally. These provide information and insight from experts from both inside and outside the industry, including senior E&C personnel and their counterparts in client organizations, vendors and suppliers, clients, consultants and financial, legal, regulatory and other specialist organizations.
The primary vehicles for these discussions are the Annual Forum session meeting and the Monthly Roundtables. The Annual Forum is an inexpensive all-day session held on the Rice campus in November. It focuses on an important issue or opportunity facing the industry. Presentations and panel discussions by senior executives and issue experts discuss and analyze the issue from a variety of viewpoints. The Keynote Speaker is generally a CEO or Senior Executive from the E&C membership. Experts from Rice also are an important part of each program. The Forum’s website contains information on past Annual Forum sessions and speakers.
Except for November, the Monthly Roundtable is a lunch-time program held in the Rice Memorial Center, normally on the second Friday of each month. Each month an expert in a subject of interest to the E&C industry makes a presentation based on his/her area of expertise giving information and insight on trends, markets, problems, solutions, results etc. A lively Q&A session follows the presentation. These sessions are closed to the press allowing a more open internal industry discussion.
2. Mutual Cooperation with Rice University
The Forum is based at Rice University, one of the nation’s premier research universities, and acts as the E&C industry’s advocate at the university. The Forum is sponsored at Rice by the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the James A. Baker Institute III for Public Policy and the Jones Graduate School of Business. Each of these organizations gives the Forum access to world class academic and research faculty, subject matter experts and support.
The Forum interacts with Rice in a number of ways:
- Rice faculty support Forum activities with input, advice and guidance and participate in Forum activities.
- The Forum acts as an advocate for the E&C industry with Rice faculty, students and other Rice organizations. Rice faculty and students are invited to attend Forum events held on campus, at no charge, providing opportunities to learn about the E&C business and network with E&C industry personnel.
- The Forum provides scholarships annually to deserving Rice engineering students.
- The Forum provides financial support to Rice student organizations including the Rice Engineers Without Borders chapter and Civil Engineering students competing in national contests.
- The Forum sponsors an engineering competition open to all Rice students held during national Engineer’s Week. This competition challenges students to solve an engineering problem using common office products giving them “hands on” exposure to E&C type problems. The Forum gives cash prizes to the winners and sponsors a pizza dinner for all participants.
3. Networking Opportunities
Networking is a key aspect of all Forum events. Forum events are one of the premier networking opportunities for the engineering community in the greater Houston area. Attendees at Forum events include persons from all E&C disciplines, vendors, suppliers, and support firms. Client attendees are welcome. All Forum events include allotted time and opportunity for attendees to network with their peers in the industry and with Rice University students and faculty.
The Annual Forum is held on a Tuesday in November. The Monday evening before the Annual Forum the Forum sponsors the Annual Forum dinner. This dinner is held at the Hotel ZaZa near the Rice campus. All registered attendees for the Annual Forum are invited to attend as part of their admission fee. In addition the Forum also invites guests from among industry senior executives who may not be able to attend the all-day session. A dinner presentation is made by a senior executive from a client company. Presentations are also made by Rice student groups that have received support from the Forum over the year. Networking opportunities are a very important part of the Annual Forum dinner.
4. Award for Excellence
The Forum annually presents the Forum Award for Excellence to a company or individual that has made an important contribution to the E&C Industry. Nominations for the Award are taken from Forum members though the nominees do not have to be members of the Forum. Nominations are reviewed by a committee of the Forum Board of Directors and the winner is selected and approved by the Board.
Forum membership is divided into two categories. Contractor members are firms directly engaged in the E&C business. Associate Members come from vendors, suppliers, consultants and other firms which support the industry. Contractor members have one seat on the Forum Board of Directors and 3 free admissions to the Annual Forum and dinner; Associate members receive 1 free admission to the Annual Forum. Member representatives on the Board of Directors also serve on the various Forum committees which organize and administer Forum activities.
As can be seen from the list above, Forum membership presents an impressive array of global firms, both large and small, from all over the international E&C industry.