May 2019 – Region 9 Reports

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2019 California Infrastructure Symposium & Awards Dinner Recap

By Mark Webb, P.E., M. ASCE, Chair, ASCE Region 9 Infrastructure Symposium Committee


Thank you to everyone who was able to spend Friday March 29, 2019 with us at the San Diego Convention Center for a day-long symposium and awards dinner.  This year’s California Infrastructure Symposium and Region 9 Awards Dinner was a joint endeavor between Region 9 and the San Diego Section of ASCE.  Sessions welcomed and informed the 233 attendees, who enjoyed the perfect, sunny weather between sessions and speakers.  The day was complete after 145 people joined us for the evening’s awards dinner in Ballroom 6.

After registration, attendees had breakfast in the general session room, where our board was pleased to have reserved tables available for five Ruby-level sponsors and for the ASCE Region 9 Governors and the keynote speakers.  I was pleased to serve as MC for the day’s events.  We started with opening remarks from Kwame Agyare, Region 9 Director, then one of the morning’s keynote speakers, 2018-2019 ASCE President Robin Kemper.  Robin spoke on Engineering the future, a vision for the future of the civil engineering profession, told us what ASCE was all about, and put an emphasis on having fun.  The morning’s second keynote speaker, Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager for the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, spoke about the agency’s accomplishments and the future project of what was the twin tunnels to bypass the delta near Sacramento.

Wonderful volunteers from the San Diego Section YMF helped ensure the day ran smoothly and that the sessions ran as expected.  We are grateful for all the volunteers’ work that helped make the day such a success.  Thank you also to Tony Petroccitto from GHD for moderating morning sessions in the Water & Environmental Track.  These discussions were centered on desalination, water supply, and advanced water recycling.  Thank you also to AECOM’s Domenic Lupo, who moderated the morning Transportation and Development Track sessions on local transportation, technology, and housing and then mobility, housing, and economics in Southern California.

While attendees enjoyed a delicious boxed lunch, Region Director Agyare introduced Brain Pallasch, Managing Director of ASCE Government Relations & Infrastructure Initiatives, who outlined the organization’s direction for government relations.  Our lunchtime keynote speaker, Laurie Berman, Director of California Department of Transportation, brought us all up to date on what Caltrans is doing today and how they are adapting our roads for automatous vehicles with innovations such as changes to road striping that is better received by car sensors.  The Symposium planning team is proud to have given each of our keynote speakers the San Diego Section’s history books and a San Diego Section tee shirt as a token of our appreciation.

Our heartfelt thanks also go out to our afternoon moderators, Kleinfelder’s Natalie Smith for the Water & Environmental Track and TYLIN’s Bethany Dawa, who moderated the Transportation and Development Track.  These discussions focused on water quality and environmental regulatory trends; the water infrastructure implications of climate change; the big picture on jobs, housing, and mobility; and finally, creative funding to advance housing and mobility.

As our final session of the day, we were pleased to welcome Jim Madaffer, Chair of the Board of Directors for the San Diego County Water Authority, who spoke about the history of water in San Diego County and how the County has diversified its sources to end America’s Finest City’s reliance on imported water from MWD.

Thank you to all of our Symposium Sponsors!

  • Ruby Level ($ 5,000)
    • GHD, Morning Water and Environment Track
    • AECOM, Afternoon Water and Environment Track
    • Kleinfelder, Morning Transportation and Development Track
    • TYLin International, Afternoon Transportation and Development Track
    • NV5, Inc. Evening Reception
  • Sapphire Level ($ 2,000)
    • ASCE San Francisco Section
    • ASCE Los Angeles Section
    • ASCE San Diego Section YMF
    • Rick Engineering Company
    • Harris and Associates
    • Psomas
  • Emerald Level $ (1,000)
    • Akel Engineering Group, Inc.
    • AECOM
    • IEC
    • ASCE Sacramento Section
    • Dokken Engineering
    • Michael Baker International
    • Group Delta
    • East Bay Municipal Utility District
    • Parsons
    • Ninyo & Moore
    • Horrocks Engineers
    • Wood Rogers

After cocktails, attendees enjoyed the Region 9 Awards Dinner, where we presented awards to both individuals and projects.  Even MC Adam Killinger, co-Chair of the Region 9 Awards Committee, entertained the group with fun facts about San Diego.  Thank you to the incredible Awards committee for their hard work in reviewing all submittals, and congratulations to all of our award winners!

Individual Winners are:

Civil Engineer in the Public Sector

Ted Craddock, PE, California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, California

Civil Engineer in the Private Sector

Rodney McNeely, PE, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, Fresno, California

Civil Engineer in Community Service

Bradley Dybel, PE, Stoney-Miller Consultants, Inc., Irvine, California

Civil Engineer in Legislative Activities

Elizabeth Ruedas, PE, Michael Baker International, Santa Ana, California

ASCE Section Officer

Lorraine Htoo, PE, GHD, San Francisco, California

ASCE Branch Officer

Om Prakash, PhD, PE, California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, California

ASCE YMF Officer

Gyssela (Jazzy) Quinabo, EIT, Jacobs, Irvine, California

ASCE Practitioner Advisor

Carolyn Berg, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, County of San Luis Obispo; Public Works Department, San Luis Obispo, California

ASCE Faculty Advisor

John S. McCartney, PE, PhD, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

ASCE Life Member

Maurice D. Roos, PE, California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, California

Younger Civil Engineer

Nestor Godinez, PE, SLR International Corporation, Irvine, California

Civil Engineering Student

Allison Woodworth, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

State Legislator of the Year

Assemblyman James Gallagher, California State Assembly, District 3, Yuba City, California

Excellence in Journalism

Richard Ehisen, LexisNexis State Net, Sacramento, California

Lifetime Achievement

James H. Clark, PE, Black & Veatch, Los Angeles, California

Lifetime Achievement

Camilla Saviz, PE, PHD, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California


Project winners are:

Project of the Year

OCTA OC Bridges Program
Location     Orange County, California
Owner         Various Entities
Engineer     Multiple Consultants


Architectural Engineering Project

316 Vernon, City Hall Annex
Location     Roseville, California
Owner         City of Roseville
Engineer     Buehler Engineering, Inc.
Architect     LPAS Architecture + Design


Bikeways & Trails Project

Arcata’s Humboldt Bay Trail North and Eureka’s Waterfront Trail
Location     Arcata and Eureka, California
Owner         Cities of Arcata and Eureka
Engineer     GHD Inc.


Bridge Project

Riverside Drive Viaduct Replacement over the Los Angeles River
Location     Los Angeles, California
Owner         City of Los Angeles
Engineer     City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works


Community Improvement Project

Fulton Mall Reconstruction Project
Location     Fresno, California
Owner         City of Fresno
Engineer     Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group and RHAA


Construction Project

Mule Creek State Prison Level II Infill Complex
Location     Ione, California
Owner         California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Engineer     KSN, Inc.


Energy Project

Beacon Solar and Battery Energy Storage Project
Location     Cantil, California
Owner         Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Engineer     Los Angeles Department of Water and Power


Environmental Engineering Project

Sacramento River Joint Intake and Fish Screen Project
Location     West Sacramento, California
Owner         Reclamation District 2035
Engineer     Stantec


Flood Management Project

Feather River West Levee
Location     Yuba City, California
Owner         Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency
Engineer     HDR, Inc.


Geotechnical Engineering Project

Blu Harbor Development
Location     Redwood City, California
Owner         Pauls Corporation
Engineer     ENGEO, Inc.


Historical Renovation Project

Seismic Strengthening of Congregation Sherith Israel
Location     San Francisco, California
Owner         Congregation Sherith Israel
Engineer     Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.


Parks & Recreation Project

Hilltop (Sundial) Park Renovation
Location     San Francisco, California
Owner         San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
Engineer     Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc.


Roadway & Highway Project

Location     San Diego, California
Owner         City of San Diego
Engineer     Rick Engineering Company


Small Project

Yuba Goldfields 100-year Interim Flood Control Project
Location     Yuba County, California
Owner         Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority (TRLIA)
Engineer     MBK Engineers


Structural Engineering Project

181 Fremont Tower
Location     San Francisco, California
Owner         Jay Paul Company
Engineer     Arup


Sustainable Engineering Project

Southeast Surface Water Treatment Facility (SESWTF) and Kings River Pipeline
Location     Fresno, California
Owner         City of Fresno
Engineer     Carollo Engineers, Inc.


Transit Project

Butte Regional Transit Operations Center
Location     Chico, California
Owner         Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG)
Engineer     GHD Inc.


Transportation Project

I-5/La Novia Roundabout
Location     San Juan Capistrano, California
Owner         Caltrans District 12
Engineers    Michael Baker International


Urban/Land Development Project

Urban and Land Development / Riverstone Development
Location     Madera, California
Owner         Valley Development Company
Engineer     Precision Civil Engineering, Inc.


Water Project

TCP Wellhead Treatment Project
Location     Bakersfield, California
Owner         California Water Service Company
Engineer     AECOM


Wastewater Treatment Project

City of San Diego South Bay Water Reclamation Plant Demineralization Project
Location     San Diego, California
Owner         City of San Diego
Engineer     Michael Baker International


Thank you again to the awards dinner sponsors:

Platinum Sponsor

  • Precision Civil Engineering


Gold Sponsors:

  • California Water Service,
  • KSN, Inc.,
  • Pacific Advocacy Group
  • Rick Engineering Company

Silver Sponsor:

  • Camilla Saviz

And finally, another big thank you to the tireless Awards Committee, which includes:

Elizabeth Bialek with East Bay Municipal Utility District, for the San Francisco Section

Martin Querin with Granville homes, for the San Francisco Section

Louay Owaidat with Odin Construction Solutions, for the Sacramento Section

Bradley Waldrop with NV5, for the Sacramento Section

Amber Shah with the City of Laguna Hills, for the Los Angeles Section

Joshua Nelson with CNC Engineering, for the Los Angeles Section

Steve Fitzwilliam with AECOM, for the San Diego Section

Curtis Edwards with Edwards Engineering, for the San Diego Section

Thank you also to all the attendees!  We hope to see everyone at next year’s event in Sacramento.

If you need any additional information regarding the event, please contact me at


ASCE Region 9 Grand Challenge Task Committee Update

Rossana D’Antonio, P.E., G.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, ASCE Region 9 Governor At-Large, Chair, ASCE Region 9 Grand Challenge Task Committee

Investing in our infrastructure has never been more critical than it is today.  After all, infrastructure is the backbone of any community’s economy.  Yet we face major challenges in the form of climate change, lack of adequate maintenance, and continued dwindling resources.  In short, infrastructure needs are greater than available funding, resulting in an infrastructure gap.  To address this infrastructure gap, ASCE has adopted the Grand Challenge as one of its strategic initiatives which asks civil engineers to focus on innovation to significantly reduce life cycles costs by 2025 and foster the optimization of infrastructure investments for society.

Last year was perhaps one of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire seasons in California history.  Major infrastructure was wiped out, thousands of homes destroyed, and entire communities ravaged.  Costs are expected to be in the billions with devastation widespread throughout California.

California couldn’t seem to catch a break as a considerably wet year caused mudslides on communities still reeling from the after-effects of the wildfires.  It seemed like a 1-2 punch.

Recovery is now underway and as civil engineers, starting anew poses a truly remarkable opportunity to innovate for a more resilient future.  How do we maximize the limited funding for the overwhelming needs in infrastructure rebuilding?

Innovation comes in several forms.  New approaches, materials, and technologies will ensure that our infrastructure is more resilient and sustainable.  In the County of Los Angeles, for example, Public Works worked with the community members to expedite the construction of a bridge that was destroyed in the Woolsey Fire.  The initial approach was to construct a temporary bridge to quickly restore vehicular and local access.  However, a new approach was implemented that eliminated the temporary bridge altogether.  Through this effort, plans for a temporary bridge were scrapped jumping right into the design and construction of a permanent rustic-looking bridge that fit the community environment.  Emergency contracting and the elimination of the temporary bridge component resulted in reduced project costs, increased positive community engagement, and an overall reduction in construction schedule.

There is also much research underway into innovative new materials and technologies to modernize and extend the life of infrastructure, expedite repairs, and promote cost savings.  Barren and devastated communities pose a clean slate for innovative and resilient rebuilding.

Government has not always been perceived as innovative, but it also has a role as it relates to establishing new policies, standards, and processes.  Perhaps there is a need for improved land use planning at the local level to consider the function of existing and new infrastructure.  Given the current climate change induced catastrophes we are experiencing, government should take a hard look at the balance between the built and natural environments and determine whether new policies or design standards are required.

Finally, new funding options such as public-private partnerships have emerged as an innovative solution.  Finding opportunities for this alternative to invest in our infrastructure whether in new construction or operation and maintenance is an exciting challenge.

There is no one solution to today’s challenges.  Nor should we tackle these issues in silos.  There are so many examples of successful innovative solutions around us.  Hence, ASCE’s Grand Challenge.  Crowdsourcing, sharing best practices, and collaborative partnerships will result in innovative alternatives that can tackle the infrastructure gap.

More details on the Grand Challenge can be found on the ASCE website:  ASCE Region 9 has established a task committee that is solely focused on the Grand Challenge.  If you are interested in serving on this task committee, please contact me by email at  Here’s looking to collaborating on finding the new innovative solutions for a more resilient and sustainable future!


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