Working with Companies

Where do you get started in taking a landmark from a glimmer of an idea through the nomination process? Many ASME members have had to make presentations to company presidents, just to introduce the idea of possible ASME landmarks in their midst. When contacting a prospective landmark owner, the History folder with a roster is an ideal handout that provides a general program description and a list of current landmarks. Beyond that, the oft-asked question is "Why Landmark?"

  • Verification of historical significance by an unbiased authority.
  • Employee recognition / Morale.
  • Visibility within the local community and industry wide. Alias, publicity.
  • Interaction with a professional organization with broader benefits to employees.

Though having a landmark has no legal ramifications, some companies are concerned that if changes or demolition becomes necessary, what hindrance will ASME pose? Activism in the preservation field exists, but most mechanical engineers support positive industry-professional society relations. MEs become ASME members to further their careers, improve their work on the job, network among other engineers within a technical environment, and be part of advancements in engineering technology. They only achieve these goals by working with local industry in a cooperative spirit.

ASME members will always care about the condition of landmarks, and the intention of the H&H program is to have these landmarks available to the public. Destruction is always a threat with non-operating equipment, but at least items are not destroyed through ignorance of their significance. The designation also can help owners find outside support for relocating artifacts to museums or other industry sites if the need arises. When the landmarks are gone, ASME hopes to keep the record alive through plaques and documentation.

What does ASME expect from landmark owners in return?

  • Preserve the artifact as best possible. House it, clean it, etc.
  • Mount and maintain the plaque, or return it to ASME.
  • Make the artifact and plaque accessible to the public, even if only by appointment. Allow ASME to list a contact for appointments, if not readily available through publicized tours.
  • Offer some hospitality in ceremony arrangements and brochure preparation. This can be quite simple but entails hosting a group of ASME members for the plaque presentation.

Sections or Divisions hosting a ceremony often raise funds from local sponsors to defray costs of refreshments, entertainment, transportation, and printing of brochures, invitations, and programs. Part of the process presumes the owner will help however possible. Larger companies have donated the services of their public relations departments, for example. Sometimes local businesses will donate refreshments if the owner is a nonprofit museum or school.

Ceremony planners aim to create special events that everyone can celebrate comfortably. The presentation of the plaque is one of the most memorable moments an ASME group and landmark owner can experience. Preserving mechanical engineering artifacts through a recognition program depends entirely upon maintaining good industry relations with owners and other supporters of the program.

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