Inclusion and Diversity

Jane Penny (above), the first woman president of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), recently closed out her term and handed the reins to Mike Blount. Both AECOM executives, Jane and Mike discuss their SAME experiences.

Jane Penny

I was so honored and excited to have served as the national president for SAME over the last 12 months.  I visited several of our posts, and we exchanged thoughtful and heartfelt dialogue and celebrated the many ways in which SAME promoted science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities, supported veterans, and assisted with the professional development needs of the society’s membership. Over the past year, we accomplished the roll-out of a five-year strategic plan that will take the society to 2020 and its 100th birthday celebration. We stood up a new STEM committee and launched a new website. The most exciting accomplishment for the year was laying the groundwork for the SAME Foundation! With the help of many with this heavy lift, SAME will really make a difference and provide living legacies to some of America’s greatest military engineering leaders!

One of SAME’s greatest strengths is our succession planning and mentoring for our leadership. I am a living example of that, having joined in 1983 and begun as the treasurer of the Illini Post. As the national president of SAME and knowing that AECOM was a corporate sponsor for International Women’s Day (IWD), I arranged a SAME event to celebrate IWD, a first for the society. We set up a breakfast panel that included three high-ranking female military leaders, the CEOs of two small women-owned companies (an architect and a constructor), and our own Stuart Harrison, whose daughter just graduated from West Point (below). During the Q&A from the audience there were a lot of tough questions. It was a great session and was a huge success! My take-away from this event and the past year is how important professional and technical societies are for companies like AECOM. These organizations are all volunteers that donate their time and effort; however, the more you give, the more you will receive in benefits and blessings.


Mike Blount

A great thanks to Jane for not only a fantastic year as president of SAME, but for being a mentor for me. This journey to relieve Jane as President of SAME started 10 years ago with no other than…Jane Penny. She first brought me into the national leadership by “volun-telling” me to relieve her as regional vice president for the Southeast Region, and it has continued to today to include this position and my day job at AECOM. Basically, Jane knows what’s best for all of us; just follow and say yes.

I am thrilled to assume the presidency of such a strong and almost 100-year-old organization. SAME is a society of vibrant posts, and the future is bright.


During my tenure, I hope to continue Jane’s great achievements and focus on the following areas:

  • Develop a robust program of education and outreach to enhance members’ knowledge of infrastructure independence and resiliency;
  • Continue supporting strong STEM programs;
  • Continue supporting veteran programs, including Wounded Warriors and Veteran Transition;
  • Increase efforts in mentoring younger members.

SAME is a society of professionals, and every professional needs to be registered, licensed or certified in their field. A professional also should belong to a society or association that supports their chosen field. SAME is the professional society for architects, engineers, constructors, scientists, marketers, and many others who work to identify and develop solutions to national security infrastructure-related challenges. There is no other! I look forward to serving SAME this year!


Jane PennyJane C. Penny, PE, is group chief executive for Customer Relations Management in AECOM’s Enterprise Growth Solutions group. She has worked at AECOM for over 22 years. She married her high school sweetheart, Michael, after graduating from the University of Illinois in engineering. She has two sons, a daughter and her first grandson Benjamin Clark Penny. Twitter: @JanePenny3. LinkedIn: Jane (Clark) Penny.


Mike Blount Michael Blount, PE, LEED AP BD&C, Assoc. DBIA, FSAME, is vice president, Navy Programs, for AECOM. Mike retired from the Navy as a captain after 27 years of service and then spent seven years with a national construction company prior to joining AECOM. He lives in Neptune Beach, Florida with his wife, Anne. They have three daughters who are out earning a living in the Southeast! Twitter: @gatormlb. LinkedIn: Mike Blount.


Originally published Jun 15, 2016

Author: Jane Penny and Mike Blount