Logo: University of Southern California

USC Viterbi Hosts National Engineering Forum Regional Dialogue

Thought leaders from Southern California discuss challenges facing American engineering
BY: Megan Hazle and Melissa Mathews
June 12, 2013 —
Yannis C. Yortsos (Dean, USC Viterbi School of Engineering), Ernest Wilson (Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism), Jeff Wilcox (Vice President for Engineering, Lockheed Martin), and Chad Evans (Executive Vice President, Council on Competitiveness) (Photo: Steve Cohn)
Jeff Wilcox (Lockheed Martin), Meagan Campion (STEM Education Initiatives, Lockheed Martin), and Chad Evans (Council on Competitiveness) (Photo: Steve Cohn)

This week, the National Engineering Forum (NEF) acclaimed Los Angeles’s engineering, innovation, and technology leadership, while also fostering conversations on the future of American engineering. The University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering and Dean Yannis C. Yortsos hosted leaders from academia, industry, government, and other sectors at an outcome-oriented NEF dialogue on Wednesday, June 11, to discuss the challenges facing American engineering.

“As home to cutting-edge engineering in industries ranging from entertainment to aviation, it is only natural that Los Angeles served as host for our third NEF regional dialogue this year," said Jeff Wilcox, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for engineering. "We are proud to partner with the Viterbi School of Engineering as we advance this conversation around the 3C's – the engineering challenges of capacity, capability, and competitiveness – that must be addressed to ensure our nation’s continued security and prosperity."

NEF dialogues are happening nationwide in cities that have both shaped the history of American engineering and are creating its future. Los Angeles has played a pivotal role in the American engineering story, with a heritage that includes the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the development of the space shuttle and the Mars rovers, the creation of the catalytic converter and the birth of the Internet. That spirit of creativity is thriving today in Los Angeles, particularly in aerospace engineering, clean technology, biomedical engineering and technological advances in the entertainment industry.

“Southern California graduates the largest number of engineers and computer scientists among any of the U.S. geographic regions. It is time that this talent finds in Southern California the creative entrepreneurial ecosystem that it needs to deploy its potential,” Yortsos said. “With the important role that the cities of the world play in the innovation economy, Los Angeles is an ideal place to serve as a nucleus for the National Engineering Forum. We eagerly look to make the changes needed to advance this movement.”

“With more people now living in cities than ever before, we must foster the engineering excellence that will be at the heart of the creative and entrepreneurial solutions to the challenges posed by rapid urbanization,” said Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO, Council on Competitiveness. “There is no better place than Los Angeles to pose this question and to seek solutions to the engineering challenges facing America.”

Lockheed Martin, the Council on Competitiveness, and the National Academy of Engineering launched NEF, which now has a growing roster of partners such as USC Viterbi. The 2013 NEF dialogue series includes upcoming dates in San Diego, Houston, Seattle, Detroit, Columbus, Ohio, and more.