Orange County Branch Newsletter

June 2012

President's Message

Failure to Act: Electricity

By Joshua Nelson, PE

Failure to Act

As your president and ASCE representative I try to keep current with all the latest happenings with the society so I wanted to highlight a few things I've come across that you may have missed. In my January article I first mentioned the society's "Failure to Act" economic studies. As I noted before, these studies take a closer look at the economic impacts of our failing infrastructure in America. They look forward to 2020 and 2040 to determine potential impacts on GDP, personal income, and jobs if current infrastructure investment trends continue. The first report focused on surface transportation and the second one covered water and wastewater treatment infrastructure, and the most recent one is electricity.

You can find the executive summary here. The PDF of the full report can be found here. Essentially the report shows that "an investment in our nation’s generation, transmission, and distribution systems can improve reliability, reduce congestion, and build the foundation for economic growth. Based on current investment trends, the national electricity infrastructure gap is estimated to be $107B by 2020, or just over $11B per year. By 2020, shortfalls in grid investments are expected to account for almost 90% of the investment gap with nearly $95B in additional dollars needed to modernize the grid." This investment could potentiall "save US businesses $126 billion, prevent the loss of 529,000 jobs and $656 billion in personal income losses for American families." The scale and magnitude of this is impressive, sobering, but yet encouraging if you look at the return on the investment.

I like graphics, so this first one is short and sweet.

Click on the image for a high resolution version

The next one has a little more detail and shows where the investment needs to occur with regards to generation versus transmission/distribution.

Click on the image for a high resolution version

High School Civil Engineering Clubs

The latest development in K-12 outreach is Civil Engineering Clubs for high schools. I really like this idea. I generally knew what Civil Engineers did in high school, but I think this would have been a great place to start learning about Civil Engineering. Our branch is always looking for ways to reach out to our K-12 audience in Orange County and we would love to start Civil Engineering Club at a local high school. If you have any contacts at a local high school or know of a school that would be a good candidate to have a pilot club, I would definitely be interested in getting that info from you. Don't worry, if you contact me with information, it doesn't mean you are volunteering to lead the club. We have a committee ready to help. You can try emailing me [email protected] or calling me at 626-956-8288.

A Novel About a Civil Engineer

Wait what? Really? A novel about a Civil Engineer? I came across a novel about a civil engineer named Scott Carter. It's called The Jackhammer Elegies. I haven't read it yet but at $6 for the Kindle or Nook version, you can't go wrong trying this one out. I will let you read more about it on their website, but they give this opinion about the book. "If you’re used to TV shows and novels about doctors, lawyers, and detectives, make way for a backdrop of professional engineers, private practice firms, and one civil engineer's drive to carve out an engineering and personal legacy while facing mounting threats." Come on doesn't that sound exciting exciting? The author is Stefan Jaeger who also happens to work for our national society in Reston, Virginia, so he does happen to have some everyday experience with us engineers. Let me know if you read it and what you thought about it.