Orange County Branch Newsletter

July 2014

President's Message

Summer Time - Fun Time

By Penny Lew, P.E.



I hope you are enjoying your summer this year and are finding it a good time to spend with family and friends.  Whether you are travelling this year, visiting places you’ve never visited, or staying home to enjoy the local sites, the season definitely encourages us to rest, relax, reflect and recharge.

Summer time can be the perfect time to relax at the beach with a good book or program you can view on your tablet. Recently I watched PBS programs “NOVA-D-Days Sunken Secrets“ and “American Experience”  that described the temporary infrastructure  built for the invasion at Normandy Beach in France at the close of the second world war.  Designed by military civil engineers, the infrastructure included artificial harbors known as Mulberries and temporary floating bridges that were built to support Sherman tanks.  This is a well-done PBS program and I don’t recall such civil engineering feats being mentioned when my US history classes covered World War II.  I’m glad to see that civil engineers are getting the credit we deserve.  Without the work and ingenuity that provided these features, the war could have continued for a much longer time and may have ended differently.   

Another thing about summer that I really enjoy is the beach.  Lately, I haven’t been able to get out as often as I would like especially to ride waves on my body board-one of my favorite things to do at the beach.  I’ve slowed down over the years but sometimes you can’t let too many things keep you from doing what you enjoy. So, I think about the times when I had some hesitation about going out and hitting the water. It could have been on a day when the waves seemed a little larger than my liking or a day when the water was noticeably colder than expected, or a time following another when I almost got clobbered by a big surf board.

Just like many things in life, you have to make the choice of going for something you want although there are risks.  Not taking on a challenge at all might keep you wondering what you might have missed.  In the case of body boarding, I would better prepared myself by checking the surf report before leaving the house (so that I know what I’m up against), bring gloves and booties (in case it’s colder than expected), and when paddling out I would be more cautious of others and more aware of my position in the water. So do your homework, gather your resources, assess your position and GO get the things you want whether it’s a promotion or a new big project. Sometimes you just have to get out there and see what you’re made of.  I’m ready for my next wave.

So before the summer ends, I invite you all to share your summer travel photos.  The photos will be included in the next newsletter.  Make sure you include your name, location where the photo was taken and the name of your company or agency.  

I was fortunate enough to be able to get away over the Independence Day holiday for a short trip to Portland, Oregon.  Aside from problems at the rental car desk, not once but twice (they took more reservations than they had cars to rent out), it was a very good trip visiting with old and new friends river rafting, hitting different restaurants and enjoying the Oregon Coast and all the beautiful scenery along the way. Oh yes, and there were fireworks too!

Here are my photos…

A bridge across the Columbia River to Washington.

Construction in downtown Portland.

A high rise residential tower in downtown Portland with wind turbines.

Truss structure at Portland International Airport (PDX).

Oregon Coast at Oceanside, OR.

White water rafting on the White Salmon River.

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