March 2019 Presidents Message

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President’s Message
By Don Adams, PE, M. ASCE, San Francisco Section President

What do ASCE Members Want?

A fundamental question that ASCE leaders need to regularly ask is, “What do ASCE members want?”.  It  should be asked directly to members as they are engaged at various activities, and it should be clearly understood what the majority of the organization’s members want.  We should not be guessing or assuming or theorizing what the membership wants.  While this is a relatively simple concept, it becomes increasingly challenging as the organization increases in the number of members, the varied geography we cover, and the demographics of the members.  This point is being instilled in me as I travel across the San Francisco Section (which extends from Humboldt, down to Santa Cruz and in to Fresno) and attend student, YMF, and Branch, and Region events.

In my travels, I have seen the whole gambit of events, ranging from networking socials to technical presentations and from ski trips to developmental conferences.  It is clear there is not a one-size-fits-all ASCE event (however, technical tours always seem to sell out…).  The simplest way to evaluate if the organization is providing what the membership wants is to look at turnout at the events.  Are the members showing up?  If not, we should be asking, “why not?” and “What is something different than we can offer?”  The San Francisco Geo-Institute’s recent Women in Geotechnical Engineering Panel Discussion is a perfect example of something new to draw attendance and offer value to our members.

To the general membership: if you aren’t getting what you want, please, please, please let your YMF, Branch, Section, or Institute leadership know.  The leadership wants to give you what you want, and they don’t want to be wasting their volunteer hours or the financial resources of the organization.  My e-mail is and please let me know what you want.


Thank You,




Don Adams, PE, M. ASCE,

San Francisco Section President

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