December 2021 – Region 9 Reports

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Region 9 Digital Strategy Initiative

By: Rune Storesund, Dr.Eng., P.E., G.E.,
San Francisco Section Region 9 Governor


ASCE Region 9 (California) is embarking on a new Digital Strategy initiative to streamline the overall member experience for activities within ASCE Region 9, such as local event registrations, professional development tracking, awards nominations, and Section, Branch, Institute, and Group voting.  A major component of our future-looking digital approach is a Region 9 database that seamlessly provides integration across the four Region 9 Sections (Los Angeles Section, Sacramento Section, San Diego Section, and San Francisco Section).  The aim of this effort is to reduce the need for multiple data entry and greatly streamline and reduce the administrative burden for our volunteer officers so more time can be spent on member engagement.


Currently, each Section, Branch, Institute, and local Group approaches websites and web management as an individual entity.  Collectively, we are spending in excess of $50,000 each year on duplicative services.  By consolidating and integrating web services, we can reduce the core expenditures to a fraction of that $50,000 (say $5,000 per year), resulting in the availability of $45,000 each year in member digital enhancement and engagement services.


Streamlined Dynamic Websites


Website ‘front-ends’ (a front-end is the web page user interface) will have the option of being connected to the Region 9 database (also known as the ‘back-end’) to eliminate duplicate data entry, offer real-time updates, and integrated archiving capabilities such as past events, officers, and awards.  All Region 9 Section, Branch, Institute, and local Groups will be able to leverage website layouts, features, and enhancements from the other Section, Branch, Institute, and Groups within Region 9 and updates will be implemented at the Region level, thus eliminating the need for each Section, Branch, Institute, and local Groups to individually implement the same update locally.  This enables a ‘divide and conquer’ approach where different groups can develop different features resulting in a larger menu of options, rather than each group re-developing the same feature multiple times.


Events & Event Management


Region 9 will offer an integrated event manager available for use by all Section, Branch, Institute, and local Groups.  Events will be grouped by the specific Section, Branch, Institute, and local Groups.  Events will have the ability to feature member and non-member pricing as well as online payments (with funds being deposited into the Section, Branch, Institute, and local Group specific account).  Upcoming and past events will be featured on each ASCE Region 9 user’s profile page.  The events will be automatically deployed to social media, calendars, and websites.  A consolidated event management system will save thousands of dollars each year, enabling more dedicated investment into enhancing and expanding member engagement and younger member recruitment each year.


File Storage & File Archiving


ASCE qualifies for Google for Non-Profit.  We will be leveraging this resource to establish an organizational “Google Drive” profile for each of the four Region 9 Sections (Los Angeles Section, Sacramento Section, San Diego Section, and San Francisco Section).  Google Groups will be leveraged to manage access to the various organizational repositories from a Region and Section Google Group management dashboard.


Unlike personal google drive folder, organizational repositories contain files that ultimately belong to the organization.  This eliminates the concern about files contributed to personal folders becoming unavailable if an individual is no longer affiliated with ASCE.


Emails & Notification Preferences


Members will have the ability to customize, via their own individual user preferences page, which email lists they belong to and the frequency at which email notifications are received.


Awards Nominations and Submissions


Annual awards are a major element of the Branch, Section, and Region activities.  Recognizing projects, individuals, and organizations for their contributions to the built environment are an important recurring activity.  The new system will enable individuals to start, incrementally populate and save, and submit online.  All the nomination materials will be packaged and associated with the individual member’s profile.  One will also be able to see past submitted applications as well as upcoming deadlines.


ASCE Region 9 Sections, Branches, and Groups Voting


Another feature will be a secure voting system accessible to all Region 9 Sections, Branches, and Groups.  This voting system will be centralized, so one consistent platform will be used and a consolidated ‘archive’ of past elections will be readily accessible.  As mentioned earlier, the successful candidates will be automatically moved onto the roster of incoming leaders and Section/Branch/Group websites will be automatically updated with the new incoming leader information, while automatically archiving the past leadership roster(s).


ASCE User Profile Page


We will offer a user profile page for all ASCE members affiliated with Region 9.  The user profile will be populated with data from ASCE Society database.  Additionally, members can upload additional information such as short biographical statements, upload photo, attach resume, etc.  The user profile page will also summarize user-specific activities such as events attended, Region 9 email and notification preferences, award nomination applications and submissions, and annual participation reports.


Annual Participation Member Reports


Through the use of a central database, we will be able to auto-generate a “member participation summary report” for each ASCE Region 9 member that they can submit, for example, to their employer demonstrating their participation and contributions to ASCE.  Professional development events and PDHs can be tracked and separately listed on the annual reports.




Please contact Rune Storesund, San Francisco Section Region 9 Governor ( with questions or comments.


Region 9 Aligned Elections Initiative

By: Rune Storesund, Dr.Eng., P.E., G.E.,
San Francisco Section Region 9 Governor


ASCE Region 9 (California), which consists of the Los Angeles Section, the Sacramento Section, the San Diego Section, and the San Francisco Section and has over 17,000 ASCE members, is coordinating to align Section and Branch elections with the Society election and voting, which occurs in May each year.


The purpose of this initiative is to enhance the individual ASCE member experience by streamlining the current ‘voting’ season, which spans May to end of September, into one consolidated period of time for both Society-wide as well as local branches/groups.  ASCE members would have one voting period for both Society and local election matters.


Informal polling during San Francisco Section’s “Get Out and Vote” campaign in May 2020 found overwhelming support from members to consolidate the disparate array of voting seasons into one.  Informal polling of the local branches/groups within the San Francisco Section also found great support, with the caveat that some organizational/procedural changes would be required to restructure current calendars to achieve the consolidated ASCE ‘voting’ season.  The polling also found that members were far more likely to vote for items of local interest rather than at the Society level.  Thus, engaging members for local elections is anticipated to increase member participation at both the local and Society levels.


The benefits for this coordination include the following:


  • Consolidate the ‘voting season’ to just one month (May).

Currently, different Sections and Branches have elections and associated voting anytime between May and October.  This can make it confusing and cumbersome for ASCE members to track what vote takes place when and for which group.  Consolidating the ‘voting season’ into one month that includes all the various ASCE entities (Society, Sections, Branches, etc.) will eliminate this confusion and simplify individual member’s need to track different voting periods.

  • Streamline leadership recruitment for Section and Branches

Many Sections and Branches struggle to find volunteers to fill leadership positions on their boards and committees.  There are many reasons for this, but a primary factor is the lack of messaging to the larger membership of openings and opportunities to become engaged.  By coordinating the elections across all Sections and Branches/Groups in Region 9, all Region 9 ASCE members would know that local elections occur in May and would have the opportunity to search for any open positions in advance of the May voting regardless of the Section, Branch, Group, etc.  We all have busy lives and tracking the specific timing of one group to engage can be challenging, especially for volunteer positions.

An added benefit of a coordinated elections period for the leadership of ASCE Sections and Branches/Groups is having a similar timeline for nominations, ballot preparation, and conducting the elections.  This generates an automatic ‘support system’, where groups with less experienced leadership can leverage the experience and knowledge of more experienced leaders in different groups because the events are happening at the same time.  This is a win-win!

  • Increase overall voter turn-out

Ultimately, the goal with this initiative is to increase overall member engagement.  A concerted effort was made in May of 2020 to promote voter turnout at the local level through a “Get Out The Vote” campaign at the local level within San Francisco Section.  Due to the size of Region 9 in relation to the overall Society membership, this local encouragement had a measurable effect on voter turnout at the local level and the Region 9 groups (with more than 1,000 members) performed much better than the average voter turnout for others as well as within Society overall, which has a voter turnout typically less than 10% (about 8%).


Table 1:  2020 Society Voting Participation (Groups with more than 1,000 members)

Section & Branch Name Eligible Voters Voted Turnout
San Francisco Section-Golden Gate Branch 2116 328 16%
San Diego Section 1010 131 13%
Los Angeles Section-Metro Branch 1735 219 13%
Los Angeles Section-Orange County Branch 1404 178 13%
National Capital Section 1723 148 9%
Illinois Section 1923 140 7%
Texas Section-Houston Branch 1891 127 7%
Boston Society of CE Section 2103 113 5%
NY Metropolitan Section 1372 107 8%
Seattle Section 1365 106 8%
Colorado Section-Denver Branch 1342 105 8%
Texas Section-Dallas Branch 1013 104 10%
Philadelphia Section 1254 95 8%
Georgia Section 1195 85 7%
New Jersey Section-North Jersey Branch 1220 73 6%
Maryland Section 1148 68 6%
New Jersey Section-Central Jersey Branch 1017 65 6%


Regardless, all of these voter turnout numbers are far below what we should be striving for.  Voting is one important aspect of membership where individuals have the ability to ‘have their voice heard.’  We should be self-examining our processes and procedures to ensure we’re making voting as accessible as possible to engage members.  This coordinated election season initiative aims to do just that.

We have the opportunity to get close to 100% voter participation.  Our current participation is on the order of 10%.  By coordinating elections at the Society and local levels, the working hypothesis is the local ‘energy’ will get more members ‘to the polls’.  We would target a 10% increase in voter turnout per year, with an aim of recurring voter turnout in excess of 70%.


What’s Required?


Most of the work to accomplish this coordination will occur within the ASCE Sections and Branches/Groups.  The first order of business is to update the existing Bylaws to ensure that the voting periods are updated and compatible with the coordinated elections season.  Once the Bylaws are updated, the Section Bylaws must be submitted to the Governing Documents Committee at the Society level, which typically takes 3-6 months.  Region 9 is working with the Governing Documents Committee to review Bylaw updates from all four Sections within Region 9 this fall, thus allowing all groups to be able to coordinate their elections season for 2022.


Branch Bylaws need not be submitted to Society, but typically require review and approval at the Section level.


What to Look For?


As an ASCE member in Region 9, be on the lookout this winter for solicitations for leadership and/or committee opportunities.  Since all Sections, Branches, and local groups will have a coordinated elections schedule, the solicitation and nominating process will be similar.  Check with your local Section for open positions and apply so you can be included on the ballot in May.


A typical timeline might look something like this:


  • January & February –Sections/Branches/Groups identifying candidates for upcoming elections;
  • March & April – Sections/Branches/Groups in establish ballots;
  • May – Society and Local Elections


If you’re not interested in a leadership position, be on the lookout for the May elections season.  Region 9 will provide coordinated balloting for all members within Region 9.  Upon completing the local ballot, you will be automatically forwarded on to the Society ballot where you can participate and vote for those elements you feel comfortable voting on.  In many cases, there is just one candidate and those candidates would greatly appreciate your vote.  These candidates represent the individual member, so at the very least, the voting membership has some awareness of who these candidates are and what they do.




Please contact Rune Storesund, San Francisco Section Region 9 Governor ( with questions or comments.

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