November 2018 – Region 9 Reports

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New Region 9 Governor Perspective

Mojgan (MJ) Hashemi, P.E., M. ASCE
ASCE Region 9 Governor-At-Large from the Los Angeles Section

It is an honor to be one of your new Region 9 Governors, and I am looking forward to serving you in this capacity over the next three years.  Also new to the Region 9 Board of Governors is Jeff Cooper from the San Diego Section.  We were both sworn in at ASCE’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia in September during the Presidents and Governors Forum and our three-year terms officially began on October 1, the start of the new fiscal year for ASCE.

I would like to thank the outgoing Governors, Ken Rosenfield and Jim Frost for their invaluable service to Region 9.  I look forward to continuing their great work representing our region, and I know that they both are continuing their volunteer efforts to support ASCE through active committees and task forces.

I have been involved with ASCE for over three decades going back to my school days at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Many of you probably better know me however from my active legislative advocacy work on behalf of ASCE including as a State Advocacy Captain in California, the Los Angeles Section Government Relations Chair, and most recently, as the Region 9 Chair of the Government Relations Committee, a position that I held for the past three years.

The responsibilities of Region 9 Governors were summarized by Kwame Agyare, the Chair of Region 9 Board of Governors, in his newsletter article last year as follows:

“The purpose and objectives of the Region 9 Board of Governors shall be to assist the Society’s Board of Direction on a Regional basis in governing the Society and to provide leadership and carry out programs for the benefit of Region 9.”

ASCE’s Vision Statement is that “Civil engineers are global leaders building a better quality of life.” The accompanying Mission Statement asks us to “Protect the public health, safety, and welfare; deliver value to our members; and advance civil engineering.” In addition, the Society’s Board of Direction recently completed a strategic plan and approved the following six goal statements that will enable us to better align our programs and activities toward common objectives:

  1. An ever-growing number of people in civil engineering realm are members of, and engage in, ASCE.
  2. Civil engineers develop and apply innovative, state-of-the-art practices and technologies.
  3. All infrastructure is safe, resilient, and sustainable.
  4. ASCE advances the educational and professional standards for civil engineers.
  5. The public values civil engineers’ essential role in society.
  6. ASCE excels in strategic and operational effectiveness.

These goals establish the foundation of our Region 9 strategic initiatives, customized for the benefit of our membership. Some of our current priorities include, membership growth; younger member retention; infrastructure advocacy; innovation and technology support; communication and collaboration among various Society and regional groups; leadership development; and succession planning.

As an incoming Governor, I will work with the Society, the Region 9 Board, and local Section and Branches to help further the Region’s strategic initiatives.  Here are some of my top priorities for the next three years:

  • Improving membership- As a volunteer organization, our future is directly dependent on the number and level of involvement of our members at all levels. There is currently a challenge in transitioning our ASCE Student Members to Associate Members, attracting young engineers to join ASCE, and retaining young engineers as members.  I believe that we must all engage and communicate more often with our student members. We also need to connect these student members with working professionals and welcome them to our programs and be accessible to them, to help improve their interactions with ASCE and our existing Younger Member Forums (YMFs).
  • Increasing advocacy efforts- I am a strong believer in the importance of advocacy and engagement on issues surrounding infrastructure and the civil engineering profession. Region 9 has one of the most active legislative advocacy programs in ASCE.  Our membership is engaged in advocacy at all levels, and for the past three years we have consistently completed legislative visits to Sacramento with over 50 members representing all our Sections.  We have also conducted local follow up visits as well.

We need to continue educating and training both our new and seasoned members, to help them all become better advocates.  Events such as fly-ins, webinars, and local visits are some of the ways to do this.  We also need to continue to educate the policy makers to make them aware of the importance and the need for improved infrastructure funding and planning.

  • Promoting innovative, state-of-the-art technologies and best practices- We need to incorporate innovative technologies while planning and implementing infrastructure projects. As a recent example, on October 11, ASCE Board of Direction adopted a new SMART (Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation) Cities policy statement.  This policy supports integration of technology into our transportation infrastructure systems, to build strong community connectivity, workability, and resiliency.

We also need to support efforts to increase funding for research as well as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs to develop more capable engineers; and to establish collaborative efforts between the practicing engineers and the academicians.

As the current year, 2018, comes to an end, I would like to thank you all for your contributions to ASCE and wish your family a wonderful new year ahead.  I look forward to working with many of you over the next three years and would welcome your suggestions and ideas.  For any further information, you can reach me at


Region 9 History & Heritage Committee Update
– 150th Anniversary of the Completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad

by Chuck Spinks, P.E., M. ASCE Chair, Region 9 History & Heritage Committee

Next year, May 10th, 2019, is the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad, the most significant Civil Engineering accomplishment of the 19th century.  To celebrate this great event, ASCE is presenting a Railroad History Symposium on May 6th in Sacramento.

The Symposium, which is being sponsored by the ASCE History & Heritage Committee and the Sacramento Section, will include topics on the civil engineers, engineering design, and engineering projects of the period.  In the 19th Century, civil engineers received much more recognition from the press for their projects than we receive today.

The attached photo by Andrew Russell, the official photographer for the Union Pacific, was taken at Promontory, Utah on May 10th, 1869, after the ceremony.  Russell titled it “Engineers of the UPRR at the laying of the last rail, Promontory”.  To a modern audience, that might be interpreted as a group of locomotive engineers, but it was the Civil Engineers, the skilled professionals that designed and led the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad.  The Symposium will tell the stories of some of these Civil Engineers as well as the Civil Engineers of the Central pacific Railroad.  Additional Symposium details and registration information will be available by early 2019.

If you have any questions about the event, or to reach me, please contact me at




ASCE Region 9 invites nominations for one Region 9 Governor from the Sacramento Section and one Region 9 Governor from the San Francisco Section for a three-year term beginning October 1, 2019. To be considered for this position, you must be a Society member in Good Standing and have an Address of Record within the Region being represented. It is encouraged that nominees also have prior service as a Branch, Section or Technical Group officer, member of a Section or Branch committee, or a member of a Society-level Committee with demonstrated leadership skills. These are elected positions under the election procedures and rules of ASCE.

To apply for either one of these positions, submit the following documents by the deadline of December 1, 2018, to 1) Yazdan Emrani, P.E., Region 9 Nominating Committee Chair, at and 2) Patricia Jones, Managing Director, Executive and Board Operations, ASCE, at :

— A Letter of Intent to apply for this elected office
— Signed Governor Commitment document (contact Yaz Emrani for form)
— Biographical Statement, not to exceed 200 words
— Vision Statement, not to exceed 200 words
— Any endorsements
— Color head shot photograph

Nominees will be requested to attend an interview before the Region 9 Board of Governors on January 25, 2019, in Los Angeles, CA, at a time and specific location to be set. For questions, please contact Yaz Emrani via email or at (818) 898-1222.


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