Orange County Branch Newsletter
President's Message - Be a Part of an OC Branch Institute or Technical Group
By Penny Lew, P.E.
The Branch institutes and technical groups are a vital part of the Branch –these are the groups that drive the advancements of the Civil Engineering profession. Since civil engineers need access to technical, educational, and professional development in their practice area, ASCE offers each member a membership in one of its eight Institutes. As you may recall, you are given the opportunity to choose your area of interest when you apply for membership and every year when you renew your ASCE membership.
Through the membership data we receive each month from the Society (national) who receives your annual membership dues, we are able to find the most popular specialties of interest amongst our local Branch members. This was the basis from which the Branch Board of Directors focused its attention regarding technical groups and institutes these last couple of years.
Throughout the year, these groups reach out and invite your participation and expertise to join in the planning of their events and activities. These groups can provide opportunities for you whether you join the committee or attend their events. You are sure to benefit in one way or another; technically, by expanding your network, or through professional development.
We have heard that many ASCE Orange County members, especially the younger ones, are very interested in increasing their technical knowledge and meeting others that face similar technical challenges. One way of meeting these fellow engineers is by joining your respective technical group or institute or at least by attending their events.
The big news this month is that we just established a Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) within the Branch. Many of us were under the impression that the other professional structural engineering association covered all aspects of structural engineering so when we found that this was not the case; we jumped at the chance to start up the SEI within the branch and provide more value to our members. The new webpage within the branch website is just getting started so keep your eye out for updated the page.
We also recently established the Geo-Institute (G-I) within the Branch and are hoping that those interested in joining the committee will be a part of the institute’s inaugural year activities. The group will also be strategizing and setting goals for forthcoming years. We are looking to the G-I group to find at least one geotechnical speaker to discuss a project or bring to the branch the latest in technology, standards, methods, etc. The group will coordinate with the OC Branch in finding a representative to attend the annual G-I Congress. Committee members will assist the Los Angeles Section with their annual event at the Queen Mary.
Sometime last year the former Hydrology & Hydraulics Technical Group (HHTG) converted to an institute - the Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI). This group has been holding its events every other month (on even numbered months of the year) at Dave & Busters at the Irvine Spectrum. Since converting to an institute last year, the group was able to send one of its committee members to the annual EWRI Congress earlier this year.
Although the Transportation Technical Group (TTG) has decided not to change to Transportation & Development Institute (T&DI) at this time, members of their board took the opportunity to attend a T&DI conference this year to bring back new ideas to the group. TTG helps in the advancement of transportation engineering, planning, and the development community through a mutually beneficial affiliation. The TTG has been planning its events for every other month (on the odd numbered months of the year) and typically has them at the UCI University Club.
There have been discussions about starting up a Construction Institute (CI) within the Branch. Look for any announcements about this later on.
The beauty of having members from different professional backgrounds allows a forum for a variety of ideas to be shared and implemented. The common goal of all the Branch’s institutes and committees is to find ways to come up with activities to bring the most value to our members, to represent the branch and to grow professionally and personally.
ASCE’s website provides a wealth of information about each institute from the society’s level so establishing some of these institutes should provide our members a bridge to some of the lesser known but significant offerings. Click here to find out more about specific ASCE institutes and technical committees.