Board Member A.J. Voth reflects on EIA and the 2020 Fast for Clean Water

Posted on: September 8, 2020

It’s usually a personal connection that brings people into the EIA family. An invitation, a conversation, or an appeal for help solving a problem…

That personal connection for A.J. was Rod Beadle, the former Executive Director of EIA.

Rod knew that A.J. was involved with another international engineering NGO and preparing to visit some projects in Central America when, “he asked me to take a look at EIA and give him an evaluation of how EIA could interface” with projects like the ones he was visiting.

And true to his word, he did.  At 2AM, “just prior to leaving on my trip!”

On A.J.’s arrival in Central America he discovered that each project he was visiting had experienced a significant degree of failure. Those failures were directly related to the team’s inability to communicate with, and provide consistent ongoing training for, each community. 

And that’s when he realized that the services that EIA provided would have been game-changers for both projects. 

Developing the capacity of indigenous engineers and professionals is a central part of the EIA model. Having staff members from the region who speak the languages and are part of the culture ensures that projects meet the most critical needs of a community and empower it to ensure its long-term viability.

“I believe that Engineers In Action has a unique development model among the NGO’s of the world.  The model is based on regional growth and maintaining ongoing communication between volunteer teams from the developed world and the local communities they serve.”

A. J. is trained as a Mechanical Engineer and has long been passionate about using his talents to help others. Says A.J. “I left the corporate world in 2005 determined to make a difference. That’s when my engineering education really began.”

The 10th Annual Fast for Clean Water is approaching, and A.J. has been an enthusiastic participant for 6 of those years. “While the fast is an EIA Fundraising Event, my primary reason for fasting is to introduce more people to Engineers In Action, who we are and what we do and why we are unique. I am committed to seeing the EIA model continue to grow regionally and also begin to spread around the world.”

A. J. is at home in  Saint Charles, IL  and in addition to his board duties, serves on the board’s Education, Fundraising, and Governance Committees.