Extraordinary challenges. Extraordinary progress.
I became Exponent's CEO in May 2018. My tenure has included times of extraordinary challenge for individuals, companies, countries, and our world.
A pandemic. Worldwide protests and civil unrest against racism, misogyny, and other forms of injustice. Extreme weather events. And untold suffering across war zones and climate-impacted areas. We've faced crises of trust and confidence at every turn: trust and confidence in our public health establishment, our social fabric, our global order, and our national institutions.
But as a scientist who has dedicated her entire professional career to data, evidence, and facts, I remain incredibly optimistic and excited about our shared future.
We are living in an unprecedented time for science and engineering. In just the past few years, biomedical science and advanced manufacturing have worked at record speed to meet the existential threat of Covid-19. We're decarbonizing the auto industry as well as construction, shipping, agriculture, and the global economy. Genomic technologies have brought us to the precipice of life-changing treatments for cancer, Alzheimer's, and heart disease. This is truly remarkable innovation, discovery, and progress.
As I started to write this letter, I sat down with great hope about our work to help solve society's most pressing issues in health, safety, and sustainability.
At Exponent alone in the past few years, our projects have created safer building design and construction methods that reduce seismic risk for individuals and cities. We've helped protect the species and communities of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by creating trustworthy data and real-time insights that improve practices for stormwater management. And, after the Covid-19 pandemic exposed risks to our most vulnerable populations, we began collaborating with educational and nonprofit partners to improve eldercare through a national data initiative in long-term-care settings.
Normally, CEOs write annual letters to shareholders or open letters to employees, and at Exponent we have both. But in today's world, companies have responsibilities — and responsibilities to communicate — that go beyond shareholders, employees, and clients. We have responsibilities to people, societies, and the planet.
We — and by that, I mean every science and engineering professional — must continue to improve how we communicate, not just with each other, but with the communities we serve.
We need to better recognize that our teams, our labs, and our companies are not divorced from or immune to the important conversations and changes taking place in society. Rather, we are important voices and participants in shaping this work, the workplace, and the world of tomorrow. And, perhaps most importantly, we need to do the critical work of strengthening the communication pathways and habits that will help build society's trust in our work, and our work's goals.
Scientists and engineers have always talked with each other. We do it in academic settings, in technical journals, and across private networks. We've learned that better communication leads to better science and engineering. We know that communicating across disciplines drives innovation.
But if the fundamental purpose of our work is to address societal issues — we need to better engage society in the conversation.
Exponent has always valued and prioritized good communication with our staff and our clients. But in the past few years, we've significantly increased our efforts and investment in communicating clearly and openly with broader audiences.
Since 2022, one of our key executive initiatives and investments has been to reorient our communications to face outward, and to focus on the critical impact of our endeavors. We are committed to making our work and our language more accessible and understandable to a wider range of audiences, which you hopefully see reflected in our new website and this letter you're reading. By sharing the positive impacts of our work with our community, we hope to foster a more informed and effective dialogue about how Exponent is helping solve the most challenging issues of our time with the support of scientific data, evidence, and facts.
In an era of ever-more-complex challenges and rapid change, this public engagement is central to an evolving partnership between science and society, aimed at discovering truths and developing solutions for the health and well-being of people and the planet.
Catherine F. Corrigan, Ph.D.
President & Chief Executive Officer, Exponent