Orange County Branch Newsletter

March 2020

President's Message

The Power of Teamwork and Diversity

By Ravi Shah, P.E., QSD/P | 2019-2020 President




“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever” – Amy Poehler


Over the last several months, I’ve reflected on our local chapter and have realized one of our core strengths isn’t just the number of volunteers we have, the hours that are put in or anything else for that matter. It’s our volunteers, it’s our team and it’s the ability to have a diverse set of individuals from various backgrounds be involved and work together as a cohesive team. We’ve been able to utilize the strengths of each of our volunteers to help create and promote a shared vision and I’ve been so unbelievably fortunate to be able to stand on the shoulders of the visionaries who helped shape the diverse and inclusive culture that we have in Orange County. I’m proud to be able to help our group build upon our history. With the incredible amount of work across the industry, it’s hard to believe our volunteers have the time. However, the Branch continues to grow, we put on more events, we find innovative and creative ways to engage and provide value to our members and we spend those hours amongst friends who inspire and challenge us to be better.

This is evident as we summarize what our group has accomplished in just these last few months.

On December 5th, Orange County Branch won the WTS Rosa Park Diversity Leadership Award for our group's extraordinary efforts and initiatives in developing opportunities for women and minorities along with contributing to promoting diversity and cultural awareness within the organization and our industry. Elizabeth Ruedas, Past President of the Branch was recognized and accepted the award.

On January 24th and 25th, Orange County Branch participated in the Multi-Regional Leadership Conference (MRLC) in San Francisco. We had over 50 leaders from our Branch, YMF and local Student Chapters and had one of the strongest representations from across the Western Region. At the two-day conference, we had some incredible highlights including:

  • ASCE OC Branch was recognized for our continued efforts in recognizing our local civil engineering past with a Society History and Heritage Award.

  • Gabreelle Gonzalez (University Outreach Chair), was recognized by all of the Western Region YMF’s and won an award for her efforts in helping promote and engage our local Universities

  • Elizabeth Ruedas, gave the Keynote Closing Speech on Future World Vision

  • Taki Chrysovergis, presented breakout sessions on Starting a Successful Institute Chapter

  • Orange County YMF provided a quick update on hosting MRLC next year in Orange County with Nestor Godinez and Jessica Leyva (Conference Co-Chairs)
  • New Faces of Civil Engineering – Professional Edition were formally announced and Orange County had two honorees out of ten nationally
    • Jazzy Quinabo, OC YMF President
    • Alexandre Martinez, Ph.D. Student UCI

Our ASCE OC Construction Institute (CI) has been incredibly active and has utilized their momentum to help establish a board and are working on finalizing their bylaws. In the last several months, they have:

  • Hosted a joint luncheon with Branch on January 16th with a presentation from Niall Barrett of OCTA where he presented on the I-5 South County Improvements.

  • Jointly with our YMF, CI has established a Bridging the Gap Speaker Series to share valuable lessons learned about various topics in Construction and Design from our more seasoned professionals. Their last event on February 25th was well attended by Younger Members and included Sarah Carr from McCarthy and Regina Hu from Orange County Public Works presenting on Project Pursuits and Procurements, giving younger engineers a glimpse of the project pursuit process.

  • Been a part of the local organizing committee for the Construction Institute Summit which was held locally in Los Angeles on February 20th to 22nd and where a few of our members were able to present.
  • Hosted a panel discussion in celebration of Women in Construction Week, on March 5th with leaders from Los Angeles World Airports, Caltrans, EXP, Arcadis and McCarthy.

Finally, our Awards Night 2020 was a fantastic evening and would not have been possible without the efforts of our local Branch and YMF leaders. A total of nearly twenty volunteers from the Branch and YMF helped us to put on this annual event, held on February 27th at the Grove of Anaheim.

The Branch honored 17 individual award recipients and 19 project award recipients for the accomplishments over their careers and on the projects they’ve worked on. A full list of award winners can be found here. Additionally, our 2019 President’s Award was given to Adeleine Tran for her dedication, passion, and creativity within ASCE. In the last year, she’s held the following roles:

  • ASCE OC Government Relations Chair
  • ASCE OC Webmaster 
  • ASCE OC Publications Chair
  • ASCE OC Geo-Institute YMF Liaison
  • ASCE Committee on Younger Members Corresponding Member

Please help me congratulate Adeleine for the well-deserved recognition!

In addition to recognizing our award recipients, our event would not be possible without our event and annual sponsors. Thank you!

It is not without the power of teamwork amongst so many local Branch, YMF and Student Chapter leaders that all of this would be possible. Our group continues to push forward with new and innovative events, including the Pathways Academy – in its second year. I truly believe being surrounded by so many diverse, yet inspiring individuals who have challenged us (past and present) have made us a powerful team.  Thank you and we hope to see you at our next event!


About the Author

Ravi Shah is a Transportation Project Manager in Orange County, CA with Mark Thomas. He is the current President of ASCE Orange County Branch and a Past President (2012-2013) of the ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum. He has been actively involved with ASCE as a professional since 2010 and enjoys giving back to the community. In his free time, he enjoys traveling with his wife and enjoying good food and wine. Ravi can be contacted at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.


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