February 2019 – Presidents Message

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President’s Message

By Barton Ching, P.E. M.ASCE

The San Jose Branch was founded 64 years ago in 1955 by two directors, Stanley Kocal (President) and Myron Jacobs (Secretary/Treasurer). Over the decades the size of the leadership team has grown and so has the value that we bring to our members. I want to thank our board members Deric Weis (Past President), Alana Guzzetta (Vice President), Diana Lin (Secretary), Peter Park (Treasurer), and Octavio Duran (Assistant Treasurer). I also want to give a special thanks to our Scholarship Chair – Chuck Anderson, Honorary Board Advisor – Steve Sherman, Younger Member Forum President – Kari Nelson, and Honorary Monterey Officers – Philip Edwards and Shaun Mehl.

This is my fifth year serving on the ASCE SJ Branch and the friendships that I’ve formed and personal and professional connections I’ve made with my fellow ASCE members have made it an incredibly rewarding experience. One question I always have on the top of my mind is, “What are we doing to bring value to our members?” As president, I’ve tried to approach our activities this year with that topic in mind.

The San Jose Branch regularly partners with the San Jose Younger Member Forum (YMF), American Public Works Association, South Bay Transportation Officials Association, San Francisco Geo-Institute, and Environment and Water Resources Institute on many joint events throughout the year hosting lunches, picnics, and dinners with informative presentations relating to civil and environmental engineering. SJ Branch and YMF proudly collaborate with Doug Taylor, ASCE Region 9 Disaster Response & Preparedness Chair, to plan and host Safety Assessment Program (SAP) trainings every 2-3 years. If interested, please keep an eye out for an announcement about an upcoming training in early Spring!

Our headline event is our annual student awards program which is open to CEE students at Stanford, Santa Clara, and San Jose State Universities. The board collaborates with all three ASCE student chapters to organize and host a dinner banquet at one of the universities on a rotating basis. Students submit one-page essays which are graded by the board and scholarship awards are distributed to students based on merit. The banquet will be hosted at Santa Clara University near the end of April at the Adobe Lodge. This program would not be possible without generous financial contributions from local professionals and engineering firms.
Although ASCE is a large international organization with over 150,000 members worldwide, the value of membership is really what we put into the organization at the grassroots level and the effort we make to connect with our local branches, local student chapters, local YMF, and local affiliated STEM organizations. There are a lot of exciting things coming up. San Jose State University is hosting the ASCE Mid-PAC this April and San Francisco & San Jose YMF are jointly hosting the Western Region Younger Member Conference in 2020. I hope that you will consider attending a local ASCE event to give back, gain value, and make a connection.

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