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George Bugliarello: Reflections on His Global Impact through the National Academy of Engineering

Ruth David

Analytic Services, Inc.

George made many contributions not only to NYU Polytechnic but also to the National Academies and the nation. Although I am here largely to represent the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), I also got to know George on a more personal level when I joined Analytic Services in 1998.

George was on our board of trustees and I first met him after I had been on the job only about three weeks. I instinctively recognized several very endearing attributes. George was a kind man, he was a colleague, he was a mentor, and he was an intellect without the ego that often goes with it. He had a way of listening and pulling the best from people. I saw him work with analysts of every age: he was an active listener, he would probe for details of the analysis, but he cared more about the impact of the work, and he instilled the sense of passion and commitment in others that he brought to everything he touched. So I treasured his service on my board.

As an aside, we have a corporate bylaw that says when you turn 74 we declare instant senility and you can no longer serve on our board. Over my 14 years with the company I have had a number of trustees hit that age limit and rotate off and I periodically thought maybe we should lower the age. George was the opposite: 74 was far too young to lose him as a member of my board of trustees because he was still actively engaged in the professional community worldwide and was an active contributor. So it was with great sadness that I bid George farewell from my board. I was delighted then to



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George Bugliarello: Reflections on His Global Impact through the National Academy of Engineering Ruth David Analytic Services, Inc. George made many contributions not only to NYU Polytechnic but also to the National Academies and the nation. Although I am here largely to repre- sent the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), I also got to know George on a more personal level when I joined Analytic Services in 1998. George was on our board of trustees and I first met him after I had been on the job only about three weeks. I instinctively recognized several very endearing attributes. George was a kind man, he was a colleague, he was a mentor, and he was an intellect without the ego that often goes with it. He had a way of listening and pulling the best from people. I saw him work with analysts of every age: he was an active listener, he would probe for details of the analysis, but he cared more about the impact of the work, and he instilled the sense of passion and commitment in others that he brought to everything he touched. So I treasured his service on my board. As an aside, we have a corporate bylaw that says when you turn 74 we declare instant senility and you can no longer serve on our board. Over my 14 years with the company I have had a number of trustees hit that age limit and rotate off and I periodically thought maybe we should lower the age. George was the opposite: 74 was far too young to lose him as a member of my board of trustees because he was still actively engaged in the professional community worldwide and was an active contributor. So it was with great sadness that I bid George farewell from my board. I was delighted then to 23

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24 LIVABLE CITIES OF THE FUTURE have the opportunity a few years later to reconnect when I joined the NAE Council and found him serving as foreign secretary. I observed three dimensions of George while working with him for a few years in his capacity as NAE foreign secretary. He understood and valued the connection, the engagement, worldwide. He knew that the National Acad- emies and the nation would benefit from forging a stronger international collaborative network. He was passionate about this. So in addition to being a kind man, mentor, colleague, and educator, George was an activist, never content with the status quo. The first dimension I want to touch on very briefly was his role with the foreign associates of the National Academy of Engineering. Just as the US membership is elected, these individuals also are elected members of the NAE but they are not US citizens. Some live in the United States and are contributing locally, others live in their home countries. This is a cadre of individuals who are extremely talented and accomplished engineers, and George saw the need to bring their voices to the products of the National Academies. He understood not only that talent existed in lots of parts of the world but that we would benefit from hearing those voices. He not only wanted them elected, he wanted them engaged in the activities of both the NAE and the National Academies. More broadly, during his tenure George took a number of steps not only to grow the cadre of foreign associates but also to diversify the spectrum of countries represented. Until then many of the foreign associates were from Western Europe and other countries with which we had long-standing col- laborative relationships. George recognized immediately the need to reach out and identify rising talent in Asia—China, India, Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia, among others. He also reached out to South America, recog- nizing the growing talent base in countries such as Brazil. So he worked very hard at bringing a more diverse set of voices into the foreign associates cadre of the National Academy of Engineering. Then he worked tirelessly against some fairly significant institutional impediments, asking how can we better use these voices? How can we engage them in participating in the studies and report activities of the National Academies? This was hard because of the challenges of time and distance, travel money, and language, but he made progress. The second area I want to describe, again just very briefly, was one of George’s passions, the Frontiers of Engineering symposia series, which had a US component as well as an international component, largely started with bilateral symposia. These by-invitation events are opportunities to bring

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LEGACY OF GEORGE BUGLIARELLO 25 together young researchers to exchange ideas on very important topics. The program started largely with our long-standing partners Germany and Japan, but George worked hard to extend it to other nations. George had an art of picking topics that were important to the world but also of keen importance to the nations represented in a particular symposium. So he brought together researchers around themes that were high-impact problem areas. He fostered a spirit of exchange of ideas and cooperation in those settings that was very important. It is hard to estimate the lingering value of the networks established because it is very difficult to measure that over time. But George was very passionate about these venues as ways to motivate the exchange of ideas and to build collaborations early in the careers of people who themselves will go on to have huge impact both in their own countries and for the world more broadly. Finally, George was actively engaged in the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS). He helped drive agendas that were meaningful. Many international bodies have a tendency not to implement active agendas, but here again George saw an opportunity to make a difference. So he worked hard to build collaborative agendas on issues like sustainability and others that were of global interest. He also saw the need to reach out to countries without established acad- emies for engineering and science and to help them understand what science and engineering could do for them. So he worked toward building relation- ships in Africa and other parts of the developing world where the tech base may not be as well established. He understood well what engineering could do for them as they build their own societies and nations. George Bugliarello was all of the things I have described. He was a kind man, he was a colleague, he was a mentor, he was an educator, he was a humanist, and he was an activist. With George it was never about personal credit, it was about impact, it was about making a difference, and it was about showing the world a vision of something better and then helping drive action in support of realizing that vision.