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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or comments.
Region 9 Strategic Plan Update
by Mojgan (MJ) Hashemi, P.E., M. ASCE
ASCE Region 9 (California) Governor at Large
Chair, Region 9 Strategic Plan Committee
At its November 19, 2020, meeting, the Region 9 Board formed a committee (Comprised of three Governors: MJ Hashemi, Rune Storesund and Tapas Dutta) to review and provide an update for the Region’s Strategic Plan in alignment with the Society’s Mission and Goals. The committee met over the next few months and conducted a thorough research on the Society’s strategic planning process and ways to best utilize the Society’s existing Strategic Plan and documentation to serve the needs of our membership and profession in California. This report is intended to provide you with an update on this effort to date.
The primary purpose of a strategic plan is to provide a roadmap and direction for the entire organization to successfully accomplish its mission, vision, and purpose. As such, here are the latest ASCE Purpose, Vision and Mission statements:
“Help you matter more and enable you to make a bigger difference.”
“Civil engineers are global leaders building a better quality of life.”
“Deliver value to our members, advance civil engineering, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare.”
To accomplish the above identified Mission, Vision and Purpose, ASCE’s 2021 Strategic Plan has identified the following six Goals along with associated Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
- An ever-growing number of people in the civil engineering realm are members of, and engage in, ASCE.
- Civil Engineers develop and apply innovative, state-of-the-art practices and technologies.
- All infrastructure is safe, resilient, and sustainable.
- ASCE advances the educational and professional standards for civil engineers.
- The public values civil engineers’ essential role in society.
- ASCE excels in strategic and operational effectiveness.
As an example, for Goal 1: “An ever-growing number of people in the civil engineering realm are members of, and engage in, ASCE,” there is a Focus Strategy to “Improve member satisfaction among key member segments,” and the most relevant KPI for this strategy is identified as “Number of dues paying members,” along with two more KPIs dealing with “Member satisfaction” and “Annual member retention rate.”
Also related to Goal 1, there are several Ongoing Strategies including areas such as, “Improve student to member transition and younger member retention” and “Encourage and provide greater opportunities for younger member engagement and leadership in ASCE,” with most relevant KPIs identified as “Number of Younger Members retaining membership 4 years after joining ASCE,” “Number of Student Members transitioning to professional membership,” and “Number of Younger Members in leadership/officer roles at the Board, Institute, Region, Section and Branch levels.
In addition, the other five Goals each have their own Focus Strategy and Ongoing Strategies along with their associated KPIs.
Region 9 Strategic Planning Committee considered the relevance and importance of the above six Strategic Goals and their associated KPIs and concluded that our membership and profession would benefit from all these goals and that we should maintain all six Strategic Goals along with their associated KPIs to measure effectiveness.
At its February 18, 2021, meeting, Region 9 Board approved the framework for its 2020-2021 Local Implementation Plan (the Plan) as a living document in coordination with ASCE 2020-2021 Strategic Plan adopted by the Society’s Board of Direction on January 16, 2021, and last updated on May 3, 2021. Here is a link to this Plan
(https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oTocjUpO0AfzTy9Z1gjY2SIW1xt8PeY6/view?usp=sharing.) (Elias/Rune: This needs to be an active link if possible)
The Plan establishes Strategic Priorities that are measurable action items for Region 9 leadership for the immediate term (FY2020-21) and near-future term (FY2021-25). These local priorities are linked to the six ASCE Strategic Goals and are intended to best serve our members, the profession, and the people of California. The immediate term Priorities under consideration include:
Legislative Day in Sacramento, CA Infrastructure Symposium (CAIS), Conducting Monthly Board Meetings, Oversight of R9 Committee meetings, Technical Institute Presentations at CAIS, Annual Multi-Region Leadership Conference, Life Member Forum meeting in each Section, R9 Digital Strategy Guidance Report, R9 Local Implementation Plan updates, Deploy Google for Non-Profit, Governor Visits, Ensure that all student faculty/practitioner positions are filled, Ensure that YMF seat on R9 Board is filled, R9 Annual Awards/Ceremony, Joint meeting with ACEC, Joint meeting with APWA, Joint meeting with BPELSG, Joint meeting with AEC, Streamline R9 Voting, Maintain cash reserve of $10,000 and Perform annual budget audit.
The near-future term (FY20211-25) Priorities under consideration include:
Middle/High school-outreach, R9 Legislative Platform – Writing Legislation, Update R9 CA Infrastructure Report Card, R9 Member Benefit Summary/Statement and R9 Digital Strategy Plan.
The Region 9 Strategic Committee will continue to review the latest updates from the Society, the professional environment and periodically update the Plan to stay consistent with ASCE’s Mission, Vision, and Goals. It will also make recommendations to the Board for new strategic initiatives to improve the Board’s leadership and effectiveness as deemed appropriate.
If you have recommendations or ideas related to the Region 9 Strategic Plan that you would like the Committee to consider, please let me know. You can reach out to me at Gov.Atemail@example.com
Outgoing Region Governor’s Perspective
by Jeffrey M. Cooper, P.E.
ASCE Region 9 Governor from the San Diego Section
This will be my last official communique as the outgoing Region 9 Governor from the San Diego Section. It has been an honor and privilege serving members of ASCE Region 9, and especially the San Diego Section. It has gone by quickly! I walk away with a greater understanding and appreciation of all that ASCE does and what it means to the civil engineering profession. I am proud of the organization and what it stands for. Clearly, as you give to this organization, it gives back manyfold.
Region 9 has a very strong Board, consisting of Governors representing the four sections of Region 9, which include San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento, as well as two At-Large Governors and a Director. Additionally, serving on the Board are the Presidents of the four sections and Chairs of the various Region 9 committees that provide invaluable updates and input.
I was fortunate to have served in various roles during my tenure on the Region 9 Board, including serving as the Treasurer of the Board over the last 2 years. I will be continuing as the Treasurer for Region 9 for next year. I have served on the California Infrastructure Symposium Committee for three years and was involved mainly in fundraising. I was also appointed to the California Green Bond Market Development Committee representing ASCE.
I am happy to report that we were able to nominate a very good candidate, Patricia McColl, who was recently voted in by the membership and who will be replacing me as the incoming San Diego Section Governor, starting on October 1, 2021. I wish Patricia the best and am confident that she will do a great job.
Region 9 has continued to advocate for infrastructure-related bills that are of interest and value to our membership, and, to that end, the Government Relations Committee (of which I am a member and will continue to be) has continued to do a great job leading this charge. I would like to thank Richard Markuson of Pacific Advocacy Group, the Region Board’s legislative advocate. Richard has done a great job in his legislative liaison work, outreach and reports. One of the great benefits of serving on the Region 9 Board is that you get to meet many ASCE members from across the state. I have especially enjoyed meeting a lot of students and YMF members over these past few years, and I am very excited to see the continued level of enthusiasm and involvement across Region 9. The biggest challenge of the last 2 years has been the pandemic. You can’t replace face-to-face meetings, but we have discovered new platforms to communicate that we will continue to utilize for a long time – another tool in our tool box!
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Governors and Board members for their dedicated service, friendship and camaraderie. There are a couple of folks whom I would like to specifically thank – the first being Kwame Agyare, my first Director, for his leadership, especially in the active role he took on the ASCE National Board of Direction policies and initiatives. Next, I would like to thank Director Ken Rosenfield, with whom I have worked with this past year. He is doing a great job, and I am available to assist him as needed going forward. I appreciate his well demonstrated organization and speaking skills. Finally, I would like to thank Anne Ettley, our Region 9 coordinator extraordinaire! She has been great at making sure we are all on task with all things Region 9.
In closing, although my role as Region 9 Governor is ending, my involvement will not. I am looking forward to continuing my service to Region 9 as the Treasurer and to help promote Region 9’s message on policy issues, especially in support of the need for continued infrastructure investment. If you would like to help or volunteer with any of our efforts, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Region 9 Outgoing Governor Observations
by Mojgan (MJ) Hashemi, P.E., M. ASCE
ASCE Region 9 Governor At-Large
from the Los Angeles Section
September 30, 2021, marks the end of ASCE fiscal year and the conclusion of my three years of service as your Governor At-Large from Los Angeles Section. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our members throughout California; and I would like to thank you for your support. When my term started in 2018, I wrote an article in this space about my plans and thoughts as a new Governor. I discussed my intentions of carrying out the objectives of the Board of Governors and working on programs that benefit Region 9. I also listed a few priorities that I considered important for the Region at the time: improving membership, increasing advocacy efforts, and promoting innovative state-of-the-art technologies and best practices. Here’s an update on the status of each of these priorities:
Improving Membership-Region 9 membership is around 19,000 including our student members. As a volunteer organization, we recognize the value of increased membership and active member engagement. In the last few years, one of the most successful membership programs has been the Member-Get-A-Member Program (https://www.asce.org/mgam), which offers a $50 Amazon Gift Card for each new member recruited. Also, in January 2021, Region 9 Membership Committee chaired by Elias Karam, Governor from Sacramento successfully negotiated a partnership program with the California Department of Transportation offering discounted membership to their over 20,000 employees at all ASCE membership grade levels. Region 9 continues to look for other partnership programs with major public and private firms to encourage increased membership and engagement.
Another challenge for our Region has been the transitioning of Student Members to Associate Members. To help with this, the Board has instituted an active Student-Chapter-Visit list covering all 24 California Student Chapters and distributed among the six Regional Governors (one each from Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego Sections and two At-Large Governors.) As one of the At-Large Governors, I personally visited many of the Student Chapters in the Greater Los Angeles Area (right up to the Pandemic in March 2020) and participated in the two Region 9 Student Competitions (in person at San Jose State for the Mid-Pac Competition in 2019 and virtually this year for the Pacific Southwest Competition). These visits offered me invaluable opportunities to engage with our student members and better understand their needs as well as being able to inform them about the vast resources available through ASCE at the Society, Region, Section, Branch, and Younger Member levels to support them in their academic and professional career.
To further improve student and younger member engagement in the 2021 Region 9 Infrastructure Symposium, a new Student Engagement Committee was formed with Dr. Seema Shah-Fairbank and I as the Co-Chairs. We explored options and decided on two additions to the Symposium line-up. First, we introduced a Senior Project-Capstone Presentation Competition and invited all the 24 Student Chapters in Region 9. The participating schools were asked to have their Capstone teams submit a short video and a summary write up about their project. The winners of the 2021 Senior Project had their videos presented during the Symposium and the top winners were also announced at the Region 9 Awards Banquet. The second addition was a new general session titled, “ASCE’s Role in your Career Advancement,” and we invited a diverse panel of ASCE members at various stages of their careers. This session was for the benefit of the entire membership with a focus on younger members contemplating career transitions. Both programs were very well received by students, faculty, and Symposium participants. We are currently working to ensure inclusion of similar programs in future Region 9 Infrastructure Symposiums.
Increasing Advocacy Efforts– Region 9 has a strong and effective legislative advocacy history, with our own State Legislative Advocate, Richard Markuson in Sacramento. Our State Fly-Ins, legislative webinars, and local visits with lawmakers continue to be good practices for training our members. We also need to continue the dialogue with our legislators to educate and inform them about the importance of planning and financing infrastructure projects. As a past Chair of the Region’s Government Relations Committee, I have organized and participated in several legislative fly-ins, briefings with legislators, member training, and educational sessions to ensure that we stay engaged.
In 2021, Region 9 collaborated with four additional engineering organizations namely, the American Public Works Association, the Structural Engineers Association of California, the California Geotechnical Engineering Association, and the American Council of Engineering Companies by holding a joint virtual Legislative Visit advocating for shared objectives and infrastructure policies. So far, 2021 has brought a lot of attention to infrastructure funding both at the State and Federal levels, and ASCE’s grassroots efforts along with the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure (released in 2021, and it included California’s latest Report Card issued in 2019) have been very impactful.
Promoting Innovative State-of-the-Art Technologies and Best Practices– Region 9’s Strategic plan focuses on civil engineers developing and applying innovative state-of-the-art practices and technologies. A solid background in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is the prerequisite for accomplishing this strategic goal. Region 9 supports programs that foster STEM education at the K-12 level. Additionally, a relatively new ASCE student competition called the Blue Sky Innovation Contest offers college students the opportunity to think about and participate in innovation in a forward-looking environment. Another program promoting innovative infrastructure ideas is the Future World Vision, an interactive experience exploring the built environment of 2070. (https://www.futureworldvision.org/)
So, looking back at the last three years, I believe we have accomplished a lot in all the above referenced categories as well as our successful annual Symposium, legislative visits, sound financial status and numerous other initiatives.
I would like to take this opportunity and thank the entire leadership team of Region 9 and the supportive staff.
Finally, although I will be stepping down as a Region Governor-At-Large, I will remain active in Region 9 as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and look forward to my continued service to ASCE to improve our profession. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or suggestions, at email@example.com
New Report on Economic Benefits of Investments in California Infrastructure
For Immediate Release: July 27, 2021
Contact: Kathy Fairbanks (916) 813-1010 // Kelsey McCauley (916) 532-0194
Economic Benefits and Supports 700,000 Jobs in California Every Year. It includes a new, searchable database that shows the Economic Benefits of Government Infrastructure Funding for every California County.
Sacramento, CA – A first-of-its-kind report released today finds that upcoming spending on federal, state and local infrastructure will generate nearly $200 billion in economic activity in California annually over the next decade and will support 700,000 jobs per year.
According to the report, in the next 10 years government investments in California’s transportation infrastructure will grow from $40.4 billion in 2021 to $52.6 billion in 2030. This equates to a return of $4.30 in economic activity for every $1 spent on the transportation system. Every $1 billion spent supports over 15,000 jobs throughout the economy.
The report uses a series of sophisticated models to quantify both the immediate economic activity from increased highway, street, bridge, and transit program spending levels in California and the longer-term user benefits that accrue from improving the transportation system.
The “Economic Impacts of Highway, Street, Bridge, & Transit Investment in California” is the first to examine the impacts of transportation infrastructure spending on all sectors of the California economy, not just the transportation sector. The release includes the launch of a new, searchable online database that breaks down the economic benefits of infrastructure spending in every California county. County by county breakdowns here.
“There’s no question that construction, maintenance and operation of California’s highway, street, bridge and transit infrastructure is a major economic driver that benefits every sector of the economy,” said Michael Quigley, executive director, California Alliance for Jobs. “This is a groundbreaking report that, for the first time, takes all transportation revenue streams into account — local, state, federal — and quantifies the economic benefits of these investments on California and local economies.”
“Investments in public transit are investments in equity,” said Michael Pimentel, executive director, California Transit Association. “Transit improves access to work and life’s daily necessities in disadvantaged communities, providing reliable transportation options and increased mobility for seniors, persons with disabilities and those without other alternatives.”
“This report underscores how strategic investment in transportation infrastructure creates strong ripple effects in our cities, including an increase in jobs, economic activity, and tax revenues, while at the same time ensuring equitable access to multiple transportation options for all Californians,” said Carolyn Coleman, executive director, League of California Cities.
“This report underscores the benefits of maintaining and repairing existing roads. Taking a ‘fix-it-first’ approach is environmentally and financially sustainable, while also contributing significantly to the local economy,” said Graham Knaus, executive director, California State Association of Counties.
The research was conducted by Dr. Alison Premo Black, Chief Economist at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and released by the California Alliance for Jobs (CAJ), California Transit Association, California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and the League of California Cities (Cal Cities). The newly-created website allows for creation of specific sector reports and more.