Orange County Branch Newsletter
ASCE Welcomes new Branch President Jeff Braun
By: Jeff Braun, P.E.
Jeff Braun, PE
I am extremely proud and honored to assume the role as President of the Orange County Branch. We have another awesome group of folks serving on the board this year and we are all focused on continuing the outstanding legacy the OC Branch has developed over the past several years because of the commitment of our members and committee leadership.
In case you were not aware, my path to being on the Branch Board was a bit different from the rest of my fellow board members. A few years ago, after moving to Orange County, I was a new face at one of our YMF’s Speaker Series events, where many of the attendees welcomed me and made me feel at home. I had been loosely affiliated with ASCE throughout my Army career as I moved roughly every other year, but never lived in one place long enough to commit to a committee or board. That warm reception at the YMF event encouraged me to become more involved with ASCE. While attending my second event, which happened to be our End-of- Summer Social, I met the new Branch President, Steven King, and discussed my desire to become involved. He immediately knew a way I could contribute to the branch using my experience and interests. I never expected to meet so many dedicated volunteers, leading the efforts for the advancement of Civil Engineering in Orange County and beyond, while making sure we had a good time doing it. After a few meetings with Steven and Gary Gilbert, I was serving on the Continuing Education Committee. In early 2016, Steven called about an opening on the Branch Board. Their reassurance and support inspired me to serve as treasurer, which eventually resulted in me having the opportunity to publish this, my first President’s Message.
Experiencing and Providing the Value of ASCE Membership
Something I failed to do while moving to new locations was to understand, appreciate, and take advantage of the opportunities ASCE could offer wherever I moved. ASCE is focused on engaging engineers throughout their lives, starting with K-12 outreach, through higher education, and as we progress through our careers. There are significant drop-offs in member involvement as students transition to their professional career and again as younger members become “not-as-young”, and sadly, I was one of those data points. My primary focus this year is to strengthen the ties between our student chapters, Younger Members Forum (YMF), and the rest of the branch. Not only do we need to communicate the value ASCE provides to each member, we need to continually seek ways to increase that value. I am looking forward to working closely with YMF, our committees, and the institutes to bring that value.
If you have not had the opportunity to visit other branches or sections, or attend a regional or society-wide event, you may not have an appreciation of the amazing things our members are doing, and the dedicated leadership we have within our Younger Members’ Forum, committees, and institutes. The most exciting role I have as Branch President is to support their pursuits to provide the best experiences for our fellow members. To fully support them, we need your help. If you are not active in Branch activities, consider getting involved in a committee or helping organize an event. If that is not possible, please provide feedback on our events, letting us know what provides the most value to you, whether it is technical content, networking opportunities, community service, or having fun with fellow engineers beyond our design meetings and project updates. If we haven’t inspired you recently, suggest ideas that would motivate you to attend and become more involved.
Our annual History and Heritage and Student Scholarship Night is the perfect place start my pursuit of strengthening the ties between our members. On November 16, we will gather at the Marconi Auto Museum in Tustin to celebrate the accomplishments of engineers within our area, acknowledge the contributions of our most knowledgeable and experienced professional members, and support the growth of our future staff engineers and teaming partners. President-Elect Robin Kemper is our keynote speaker for the event too! We are still accepting scholarship applications, so if you are an interested student, you have until October 22 to apply. If you haven’t registered, consider taking advantage of this opportunity to network with engineers of all experience levels (H&H Night Signup). Not only will you learn some great things about our profession, several companies will have booths set up, looking for new members for their teams and sharing information about their services. This is an excellent way to learn about potential teaming partners and talk with outstanding students and potential candidates, who may end up being your next co-worker. We always appreciate event sponsors as well. This will be the perfect venue to have your firm recognized for its support of our profession.
It is also never too early to mention or Annual OC Branch Awards Dinner, scheduled for Thursday, February 15, 2018. This event has grown each year and has been a lot of fun for all who attended. It is always amazing to learn about our peers’ accomplishments and provide the recognition they deserve. We will begin accepting nominations in November.
Our recent “ASCE OC Branch Upcoming Events” email distro showed a very active month with a breadth of experiences we can share with our fellow members. A few of the opportunities include:
- October 19 - OC Branch Monthly Luncheon SEI: Park Avenue Bridge Replacement Project
- October 20 - OC EWRI Technical Tour: The OCWD Ground Water Replenishment System
- October 20 - OC YMF Halloween Costume Bar Crawl
- October 24 - OC Geo-Institute Dinner Presentation: Introduction to Torque Down Piles
- October 25 - OC Branch and SEI Second Biennial Japanese Whiskey Tasting
- October 27 - ASCE PE Exam Booth and Happy Hour in Pomona
- October 28 - K-12 Outreach: Stepping Up Career Day
- November 4 – OC Sustainability and T&DI Bike Event
- November 16 – ASCE OC History & Heritage/ Student Scholarship Night
Check out the links and sign up for an opportunity to learn, network, and have fun.
If you are interested in being more active, but just don’t know where to start, our award-winning Branch website is the best place to look (http://asceoc.org) or you can email me at [email protected]; but the best way is to talk to us at one of our monthly luncheons, evening events, or committee meetings. We have committees and groups for almost all interests, but if we don’t, we will find the right fit so you can pursue your passion.
Lastly, I pledge to continue Josue’s efforts on increasing the sense of hospitality at our meetings and events. While we love catching up with friends and talking about new opportunities, I ask all of you to take a few minutes and say hello to the new faces, just as you did when I attended my first event. Help them feel welcome and learn about their interests and goals. That simple gesture may encourage them to return, become more engaged in Branch activities. Who knows, maybe they will end up as one of our Branch leaders in a few years.
Thank you again for everyone’s support and friendship over the past few years. I am excited about supporting all of you as we provide the experiences and value you deserve.