With Spring upon us, (well, maybe not weather-wise), I am pleased to say that there are many events to recap and announce, as well as several current, ongoing initiatives to discuss.
One of ASCE National’s key initiatives is government relations and advocacy. To do our part to raise awareness of infrastructure and funding issues affecting our industry to our federal legislature, several Section members attended ASCE’s annual “Fly-In” on Capitol Hill on March 15th. To keep abreast of the status of the federal issues, visit ASCE’s Government Relations website and Facebook page, or follow along on Twitter (#ASCE2DC). On the State level, our Section’s Report Card Committee is ramping up outreach to various public agencies throughout the state to gather updated information for the release of the Maryland Infrastructure Report Card later this year.
The Section Board appreciates the efforts of our Scholarship Committee for once again organizing a successful indoor putt-putt event to raise funds for endowments to our chartered universities. New this year was the cornhole tournament, which seemed to be a big hit with those I talked with. Congrats to Jason Wheatley and Kris Shea, both from Century Engr., for winning the first annual tourney prize! And as always, a big ‘thank you’ goes out to those firms and individuals who sponsored golf holes, and to the annual sponsors whose business cards are displayed throughout the newsletter.
ASCE National’s Dream Big IMAX movie premiere on February 17th at the Maryland Science Center was quite the event. The sell-out crowd of over 400 (including a large percentage of pre-college students) witnessed the high-end production that was in the development stages for nearly 10 years. Our Pre-College Outreach Committee is building off the momentum of the film by organizing a late Spring showing for middle and high school STEM students from Baltimore City and surrounding counties.
April is shaping up to be an exciting and busy month:
Committee reports: We encourage Section members to get involved with our various committees, depending on your disciplines and interests. The Structural Engineers Institute (SEI) has an upcoming meeting on April 4th at ESB with MDTA’s Director of Project Management, Will Pines, P.E. The Geo-Institute has a couple upcoming events, including an April 5th presentation on the recent 26th Street retaining wall collapse, and a May 3rd presentation on protecting critical infrastructure in our nation’s capital. The Younger Members Group has a ‘Stream Clean’ scheduled for May 6th at the Fort McHenry wetlands site. The Chesapeake Bay Environmental and Water Resources Institute (CBEWRI) recently held a meeting at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant to discuss the rehab of underground channels within Baltimore City. See the Maryland Section’s website for additional information about committee and general membership events.
Be on the lookout for the announcement of the date and location for our annual Awards night/banquet to be held in mid-June. In the meantime, think about deserving nominations for the “Civil Engineer of the Year”, “Young Engineer of the Year”, “Meritorious Service to the Civil Engineering Profession”, “Outstanding Engineering Educator”, and “Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement” awards.
The nomination forms are due by April 28th and are up on our website.Speaking of awards……congratulations are in order for Dr. Daniel P. Sheer, Ph.D., P.E., a Maryland Section member, for being selected to receive ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute’s 2017 Julian Hines Award, recognizing an individual for exemplifying outstanding leadership and vision to water management in the U.S. and internationally.
We have also started program planning for the FY17-18 year, and welcome feedback through our Section’s online survey, which is still posted on our website. Things to consider are thoughts on off-site meetings, like the Carroll Lecture at JHU this year, as well as potential joint-meetings with the National Capitol Section. Feel free to reach out and email me with any other thoughts or ideas at email@example.com.
Michael A. Perrotta, P.E., AICP
Tis the season…as we wind down what was an eventful 2016 full of events and activities, new Section leaders, and influx of new members and several improvements to our website and overall outreach efforts. This applies to our affiliate Branches (Catoctin and Eastern Shore), as well as our Institutes and Committees. As has been stated before, we are a member-run group comprised of enthusiastic volunteers who all strive to improve the overall wellbeing of our civil engineering profession here in our beloved State. However, we want to make sure that all members have the opportunity to get the most out of their ASCE-MD involvement, therefore we have developed a survey that can be easily filled out on-line at http://s.ascemd.org, thanks to the efforts from our webmaster, Charlie Mitchell.
A big ‘thank you’ goes out to our Section sponsors, whose business cards are displayed throughout the newsletter and are also listed on our website: http://www.ascemd.org/about/sponsors. We wouldn’t be able to fully fund our committees, various activities and continue to provide costing discounts at our monthly dinner meetings without the generosity of these sponsor firms.
Two Section committees that had been dormant were awoken and brought back to life within the past month. The Pre-College Outreach Committee was spurned by ASCE National’s Dream Big initiative (see the separate article within this newsletter for more information). The History and Heritage Committee is now also active and looking for additional members to promote preservation projects in collaboration with organizations like Preservation Maryland, etc. More information will be forthcoming.
The Younger Members Group has been busy with their usual fun events, including the sponsoring of the Friday bowling night as part of the ASCE Region 2 Assembly held on November 14th at Morgan State University. Thanks to those members who participated in both events. The Structural Engineers Institute (SEI) has held meetings each month, including an Ethics presentation in December. The Geo-Institute held a November 2nd Chapter meeting, with several more planning in the new year. The Chesapeake Bay Environmental and Water Resources Institute (CBEWRI) sponsored a successful Engineering Green event in early November with over 130 attendees.
The year culminated with our annual Holiday Event held on December 14th, where our Board proudly recognized our Section’s newly appointed ASCE Life Members during the event. To be a Life Member, an individual needs to be at least 65 years old, have paid dues in any professional membership grade for 35 years, and have had ten years of continuous membership immediately preceding the attainment of Life Member. Four of these award recipients were in attendance along with their guests, to be presented with their Life Member Certificate and label pin. The attendees were:
Nine other recipients were unable to attend, and will be recognized at the ASCE Awards night next June. Thanks to those attendees who donated gifts for the Toys for Tots campaign, and special thanks goes to our Programs Chair, Kristopher Shea, for coordinating the event, and to the Streibs’ and DFI for providing the always scrumptious bevy of deserts.
Looking towards 2017, we have a full calendar of events planned thus far, with more being discussed:
Let me close by making everyone aware of some of ASCE-National’s critical Society initiatives, issues and topics; as presented to the Section Presidents, and described in detail on asce.org. I’m proud to say that our Section is already out in front of several of these initiatives, including:
The Section Board and I look forward to this upcoming year and hope to continue seeing large and interactive crowds at all of our future events.
Michael A. Perrotta, P.E., AICP
It is exciting to begin this Presidency knowing that my predecessors have set a high standard and laid a strong base on which to continue expanding initiatives, membership, and overall visibility to the greater community. It is also refreshing to be part of a Board and Section with a renewed influx of young leaders, through our various committees and associate groups. I’d like to especially thank Carrie Nicholson, P.E. for her contributions as Past President and extensive knowledge base from which to lean upon.
As we reflect on this past fiscal year, there were a select few members and organizations that were recognized at our annual June Awards Banquet for accomplishments within our field:\
Starting last May, Carrie and I met with the Section Board and vetted the idea of testing various formats for our monthly general membership meetings, in hopes of providing more variety of presentations, meeting times, and the opportunity for attendees to receive additional PDHs. Please offer your feedback to myself or any of the Board members as we strive to make our meetings more convenient, interesting, and beneficial for our wide range of Section members.
Hopefully by now you have also had the opportunity to check out the rest of our Section’s revamped website (a special thanks goes to Charlie Mitchell, P.E. for his contributions). If you haven’t, please do, and you will notice a simpler platform for maneuvering between subject matter, as well as updated meeting registration choices offering a means to RSVP and pay via PayPal at the same time.
Regarding Section initiatives and action items - I will be tasking the Board, Committee Chairs and you (the general membership) to embark on a “17 for 17” campaign. This will essentially be to advance 17 focused Section initiatives during the 2017 calendar year. You will hear more about the specific initiatives and how to get involved in the months approaching the new year. A few hints are revealed below:
Our scheduled programs for the upcoming year are taking shape, not only for our monthly general membership meetings, but also within our affiliated technical institutes (Geo, Environmental and Water Resources, and Structural Engineering), our Younger Members Group, and other events associated with Engineers Week, Future Cities, and the WoodBridge Challenge. All information is available on our Section website, with highlights contained in the following paragraphs.
We hope to see large crowds at our upcoming October 12th general membership meeting at ESB, where Lt. Col. Peter Feng will speak on how military engineers have used life cycle management principles to successfully construct Engineers Without Borders projects. This meeting will also feature our annual Fall career fair, where sponsor firms have the opportunity to meet prospective graduates from our affiliated student chapters. You must REGISTER via our website by THIS FRIDAY. Speaking of sponsorships……it is still not too late to become a Section Sponsor for the current fiscal year (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017). Besides having the opportunity to participate in the career fair and advertise within our quarterly newsletters, sponsor firms may now post job openings to our Section website though a dedicated page (http://www.ascemd.org/jobs). Please contact any of our Board members if your firm is interested in sponsoring.
Please mark November 9th on your calendar as we are excited to have Theresa McClure speak on harnessing the power of community engagement as part of civil engineering projects. Also, note that December 14th will be our annual Holiday Gathering at ESB, with good food, drink, holiday music, exceptional desserts, and great networking opportunities.
I look forward to this upcoming year and hope to see large and interactive crowds at all of our future events.
Michael A. Perrotta, P.E., AICP
Hello Maryland Section ASCE members! Welcome to spring!
Spring is upon us and we continue to focus on the themes set forth at the start of the 2015-2016 session for the Section – celebrate our industry, advocate for our industry, and plan for the future of our industry.
Celebrate our industry
Congratulations to the Maryland Section members who have been recognized by the Engineers Society and by ASCE and its institutes for their technical and service excellence. Art Barrett and Fred Mirmiran, 2014-2015 Maryland Section award recipients, were recognized as part of the 2015 Engineers Club Honors as Engineer of the Year and for Meritorious Service, respectively. See below for the details of other honors recently bestowed on Maryland civil engineers.
Mark your calendars to join fellow Maryland Section members and their guests for the annual spring member appreciation event and awards night, Thursday, 9 June. Anticipate a fun celebration of the Section’s members and our industry. The event will be hosted at the newly renovated Baltimore Visitor Center on the Inner Harbor. Details are coming together and will be communicated in a timely manner.
The Section’s spring member appreciation and awards event is one opportunity to recognize and celebrate Maryland Section members. Remember to regularly recognize and celebrate your peers for their terrific and important work. Remember that what we do as civil engineers – as planners, designers, constructors, and operators of the built environment – is not only cool, but also significant.
Advocate for our industry
Celebration is one avenue to keep our industry in the limelight. Other intentional advocacy is through discussion and government-relations activities. Consider signing up for ASCE’s Key Contact program and receiving and reading its regular “Week in Washington” correspondence. Learn more about the program and how National ASCE works to create a voice for the industry that can influence the policy process at the state and federal levels at asce.org/keycontacts. Stay tuned, too, for details on assembling the sophomore issue of the Report Card for Maryland’s Infrastructure. Reach out to MarylandReportCard@members.asce.org to express your interest or provide feedback.
I recently seized the chance to sit down with fellow Maryland ASCE members Thomas Lanyon, Michael Perrotta, and Dennis Warner and staffs from both Maryland Senators and three Maryland Representatives to talk about relevant legislation currently on the Federal stage. Consider approaching any of the four of us to elaborate on our meetings which were arranged by ASCE during its National Legislative Fly-In, 16 March.
Advocacy is integral to planning for the future of our industry. ASCE President Mark Woodson, P.E., L.S., asserts “that each of us can be an ambassador for local infrastructure.” It is our responsibility to be advocates.
Plan for our industry’s future
I’d like to share my appreciation and congratulations to the scholarship committee for organizing another successful indoor putt-putt event to support the Section’s scholarship endowments. Thank you also to sponsoring firms and volunteers who helped make the 5 March fundraiser possible. Student scholarships are one way we plan for the industry’s future.
The Maryland Engineering Challenges and similar outreach are another way to grow the industry for the future. Typically sponsored by local firms and culminating in marquee events each spring, the Maryland Engineering Challenges aim to introduce students in grades one through 12 to the roles of engineers in today’s society and to connect what students learn in school with real-world engineering concepts and applications. Learn more about these programs on the Baltimore Museum of Industry’s website.
Please speak to a board member if you are interested in participating in Maryland Section-sponsored pre-college and college outreach.
In his recent President’s message, Geo-Institute President Kord Wissmann asserts that “progress is driven by people who first recognize the need, even when the need is not readily apparent to others, and then find creative bridges to get there.” He said, “all developments, great and small, start with people. People who somehow see the need that others don’t and then have the knowledge, wits, creative imagination, and courage to bring a new twist to the package.” The needs to celebrate, advocate, and plan for the future of civil engineering and our infrastructure are readily apparent (refer to recent infrastructure report cards) and it is up to each of us to talk about what we do, not as “just” or “only” engineers, but as stewards of the built and natural environments and students and professionals best situated to discuss their value. Let’s discuss them while we continue to deliver.
Peruse the website for information about upcoming spring events. The spring and fall schedules are filling up with exciting goings on. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out with your feedback for the Section or me.
The New Year is upon us. Happy New Year! With the turning of the calendar comes a season of reflecting on the past year, giving thanks, and forward-gazing.
2015 was another successful year for the Maryland Section of ASCE in no small part due to its volunteer leaders. I am thankful for the Board and Branch, Institute, and committee participants. The Maryland Section is a member run group which owes its successes to the enthusiasm, follow through, and feedback of its members.
Thank you, also, to Section sponsors for their support which allows us to pursue and fund the execution of content and activities for the members’ best interests.
Finally, a special note of appreciation goes out to Development Facilitators, Inc. (DFI) for providing, again, a buffet of desserts for the December member appreciation event. December seems especially busy, but members and their guests never regret squeezing in the Section’s annual social event and satiating their sweets-cravings at the DFI dessert buffet. Thank you, also, to those who donated to the Toys for Tots campaign organized at the December event by our Younger Members and hosted by two Marines.
In line with one of this session’s themes to celebrate our industry and recognize engineers, the Section has the privilege of inducting 23 Life Members this year. Five new Life Members and their guests were in attendance at the December event; the remaining who can attend will be recognized at the June member appreciation and awards event. Please see below for a complete list of the 2016 new Life Members.
The Section comprises 15% Life Members. ASCE recognizes that its Life Members represent the true nature of our people-serving profession. They have dedicated their time and talent to the engineering profession, contributing to the building of better communities and the improvement of quality of life for people around the globe. ASCE sees that, too routinely, civil engineers are the unsung heroes of the built environment and it was my distinct pleasure to single out the Society’s newest Life Members of the Maryland Section to celebrate them and their accomplishments. These engineers have paved the way for those practicing today as well as future generations. I look forward to continuing to engage with them through their work and our Section.
Looking forward, the Section has an exciting, engaging spring blossoming. Refer to the events calendar on the Section’s website for announcements, details, and updates about Branch, Institute, and committee goings-on. Remember, in the words of ASCE President Robert Stevens, Ph.D., P.E., “the deeper your involvement in ASCE, the more you derive from your membership.”
Timely now are three particularly engaging events – the Younger Members’ college outreach workshop for résumé review and interviewing, the Scholarship Committee’s annual miniature golf fundraiser, and the compilation of an update to the Report Card for Maryland’s Infrastructure.
The résumé review and mock interview event designed by Younger Member co-chairs Kelly Ambrose and Ian Roddy has been endorsed and funded by National ASCE. It needs Section member participation to reach its full potential of reaching out to student members and helping them prepare for interviews. More details are forthcoming, but contact Kelly and Ian at MarylandYM@members.asce.org if you are interested in assisting one evening, likely early February in anticipation of the Section’s March student night, to provide students with résumé and interview tips.
The Section’s Scholarship Committee has organized its 22nd annual miniature golf fundraiser. Mark your calendars for Saturday, 5 March 2016. See the Section website for additional details. The miniature golf event is a fantastic fundraiser and an engaging, creative networking event. Firms and other groups are invited to sponsor the event and to design and build a golf hole for play. This year’s Western theme promises to be a wild, good time.
The Maryland Section’s Scholarship Committee has grown endowments at Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, and the University of Maryland between $78,000 and $90,000 from which the universities award annual scholarships of about $3,000 each for students in civil engineering programs to defray costs of education. Note that tournament sponsor revenues go directly to endowment donations (not food or drink or other event costs) and, last year, made up over half of the donations; sponsorships are critical to growing the endowments.
The Maryland Section issued the first Report Card for Maryland’s Infrastructure in 2011. The Report Card is a compilation of assessments for select infrastructure categories presented to Maryland residents and policy makers. It is time to issue an updated Report Card. I am pleased that some of the veterans who participated in the first effort will return for the second. But, more help, taking on a variety of shapes, is needed. Please reach out to MarylandReportCard@members.asce.org if you are interested in participating in the effort, whether collecting data, generating content, marketing, etc. I will respond promptly.
Let’s continue supporting our themes this session to celebrate our industry, advocate for our industry, and plan for the future of our industry.
Best wishes for a happy and productive 2016!
Hello ASCE Maryland Section members.
Welcome to our 102nd year.
Founded in 1914, the ASCE Maryland Section is a member-based professional organization focused on technical programs, events, and initiatives to support the professional growth of our members and benefit the civil engineering profession. This year, the Section’s 102nd, we’ll celebrate our industry in all its shapes – from planning to drafting table and conference room to construction site –and disciplines, advocate for our industry, and plan for the future of our industry.
This year will comprise interesting speakers hosted by the Section and its institutes and advocacy for the industry focused on our local presence. The Maryland Section places emphasis on nurturing future engineers, advancing engineering knowledge, and serving as an advocate and trusted advisor for public safety in the built environment, investment in sustainable infrastructure, and protection of our natural resources.
Refer to the Section’s organizational chart to see the numerous individuals who help make the Section run. Throughout the year, challenge any and all of the Section’s volunteer leaders with your ideas regarding what you want from your Section. Let’s keep getting better. Also reach out to us if you are interested in taking on leadership or organizational duties.
Planning for the future through growth and promotion
Congratulations to the Section’s own Joel Oppenheimer, P.E., who was featured in the regular “7 Questions” column in the July/August issue of ASCE’s “Civil Engineering.” Joel talked about the importance of mentoring, why companies should support it and individuals should pursue it, and what shapes mentoring relationships can take. Joel reminds us that “if we’re going to rebuild infrastructure around the world, then we need to develop outstanding engineers and future leaders” and mentoring is a vital tool for this from which both the mentor and mentee can benefit.
See the graphics below, “The Maryland Section by the Numbers,” for a breakdown of the levels and types of experience represented in the Maryland Section. Whether or not your company has a mentoring program, the Maryland Section is a great place to network and learn from one another.
Consider the assertion by Ron Ebelhar, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, F.ASTM, and senior principal with Terracon, in the July/August issue of ASCE’s “Geotstrata.” Ron said that “by nature, most civil engineers are not self-promoters. We have to learn to help the general public and politicians understand why civil engineering is important: to develop and maintain infrastructure for economic viability and quality of life.”
Civil engineering is important. Let’s better appreciate that fact as an industry and help those outside of the industry better understand it. Let’s celebrate what we do. We’ve got plenty to celebrate including as evidence an accomplished history of projects celebrating notable anniversaries– the Washington Monument (130 years), the facilities at Lake Montebello (100 years), and the Fort McHenry Tunnel (30 years), this year alone. Cheers to us, civil engineers!
I look forward, Maryland Section, to leading a collaborative session during which we celebrate our work through recognition, learn about it through technical sessions, case studies, and networking, and advocate and plan for it through outreach and growth.
Carrie Nicholson, P.E.