Orange County Branch Newsletter

June 2021

President's Column

Legacies

By Clint Isa, P.E. | 2020-2021 President



 

Firmly entrenched in the midst of my career and fast approaching my 40th birthday, I have found myself thinking about legacies quite a lot lately.  One of the unique things about being president of the ASCE Orange County Branch is that the position affords the ability to see legacies at various stages of development: ones that have been cemented, ones whose seeds have just been planted, and everything in between.  In the ASCE Orange County Branch, I have noted some excellent examples of each over the past few months.

  • Keenan Do, who just completed his term as President of the ASCE Student Chapter at UCI, was named as one of the ten 2021 ASCE New Faces of Civil Engineering (College Edition).  This award recognizes and celebrates future leaders for their academic excellence and commitment to serving others.
  • The ASCE Orange County Branch University Outreach Committee was given the award for Outstanding Support of a Student Chapter at the 2021 Western Regional Younger Member Council (WRYMC) Conference.
  • Nestor Godinez (SLR Consulting) received the award for Outstanding Younger Member in ASCE Activities at the 2021 WRYMC Conference and the Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award for professional achievement, the latter of which is given to young engineers who have shown service to the advancement of the profession; evidence of technical competence, high character, and integrity; leadership in the development of younger member attitudes toward the profession; and contributions to public service outside of their professional career.
  • ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum (YMF) hosted the 2021 WRYMC Conference virtually, where they received the Outstanding Younger Member Group Project for the Pathways Academy, and recently also won the Society Award for Outstanding Younger Member Group in the Large Group category.  It was also announced during WRYMC that ASCE OC YMF was selected to host the conference in 2023.  ASCE Orange County YMF is extremely excited to have another opportunity to host the WRYMC Conference in person after having to host this year’s conference virtually because of the pandemic.  The planning committee is already forming and will be ready to go to work following the 2022 WRYMC Conference that will be hosted in Salt Lake City by the ASCE Utah Section.  If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out at [email protected].
  • Thirteen members of the ASCE Orange County Branch were welcomed into the Life Member Forum on Thursday, May 13, 2021, during the ASCE Los Angeles Section’s annual induction ceremony. 

Nicholas J Carpenter, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE

Stavros Panajotis Chrysovergis, P.E., M.ASCE

Douglas Alan Harriman, P.E., M.ASCE

Theodore Vincent Hromadka, II, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE

Rudolf Erwin Ohlemutz, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE

John R Price, P.E., M.ASCE

Saroj P Weeraratne, M.ASCE

Baylor Price Gibson, III, P.E., M.ASCE

Neil James Gillis, P.E., M.ASCE

Harvey H Liss, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE

Pai-Kang Wang, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE

Ashok Narayan Apte, M.ASCE

Elwood Anthony Smietana, M.ASCE

With each passing year, I gain more appreciation for the perseverance and dedication required to sustain a full career in our profession, and we at the Orange County Branch are so grateful to this year’s Life Member Forum inductees (as well as those inducted in prior years) for their service, guidance, and inspiration.

  • During our annual Awards Banquet that was held virtually in March, ASCE Orange County honored the recent passing of Dick Hunsaker (founder of Hunsaker & Associates) and Al Nestlinger (Past President of the ASCE Orange County Branch) by issuing them Lifetime Achievement Awards for their significant contributions to the local civil engineering community.  Helping compile the nomination information for the awards, which were issued posthumously, was an exercise that I personally found to be humbling and inspiring.  Dick and Al were truly exceptional gentlemen, and they will be deeply missed.

If you know any of these people or committee members, please join us in celebrating their hard work and efforts in advancing our engineering community and positively shaping the community that we all serve.

Of course, not everyone knows what they want their legacy to be.  I myself fall into that category.  However, I do have a short personal anecdote on the topic that I would like to share if you’ve made it this far into the article.  Each year, the President’s Trophy is presented to the incoming ASCE Orange County Branch President by the outgoing predecessor.  The trophy itself is about two feet tall and is physically noteworthy: a bronze sculpture of two engineers peering through a transit level sits atop a broad, wooden-base block that has a golden plate on the front indicating the current president and another plate on the back engraved with the names of the past ASCE Orange County Branch Presidents.  Because of the pandemic, I inherited the trophy at a time that I had already been working from home for several months, and the trophy spent a few months thereafter in various locations around my house before I took it to the office. 

One evening not long after my presidency began, my wife and I were watching TV after dinner when our six-year-old daughter, Noelle, came into the living room.  She was clearly upset.  When we asked what was troubling her, she said she “needed money so that she could work and get a trophy.”  Kid logic is not always straightforward, so I asked what she does for work.  I suppressed a smile when she told me that her work consisted of “sending emails,” but I had to compose myself after I asked what trophy she was referring to and she pointed at the President’s Trophy sitting on a nearby counter.  Curious, I knelt in front of her and asked if she knew what I did for work; she had obviously seen me working from home for several months and visited my office regularly before the pandemic, but I was never truly sure she grasped what I did.  When she said she didn’t, I shared with her that I am an engineer and asked if she knew what engineers do.  She told me that coincidentally she had learned in school earlier that day that engineers design things like lighthouses.  I was thrilled by this because it gave me an opportunity to explain how civil engineers like me design some parts of a lighthouse and how mechanical engineers like my brother design other parts.  Our conversation came to a close soon thereafter with Noelle saying, “I have to keep working and writing emails and pass my tests because I’m not an engineer yet.”

I learned in that moment that someone is always noticing the work you do and that you are creating a legacy whether you realize it or not.  I consider it a blessing that I have the opportunity to create my own legacy (whatever it becomes) in a profession as worthy and impactful as ours and hope this is a sentiment you share with me.

Thanks for reading.


About the Author

Clint Isaac Isa, P.E., is a Principal Engineer at Diaz Yourman & Associates and the 2020-2021 President of ASCE Orange County Branch. Clint can be contacted at [email protected].


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