Orange County Branch Newsletter

August 2011

Secretary's Column

Get INVOLVED! OC Branch Committees Want Your Participation

Our branch committees have been busy this year working on events, goals and their mission. We have a variety of committees that all have something to contribute to the branch "big picture" and you just may have the expertise, experience, or connections to give them the boost they could use. I wanted to give you a taste of just what each committee is involved in and what they been up to lately. A lot is going on that you do not necessarily hear or read about. Some committees consist of one member but "committee" still applies here as they are working towards their goals. Hopefully one of these committees will spark your interest and I invite you to contact them to let them know you would like to assist. The committees and their chairperson’s contact information are provided in the newsletter and our website.


Nominations for Branch awards are coordinated each year by the past president and awards committee. Ken Rosenfield organized last February’s Awards Night. Kathereen Shinkai who will be coordinating the next dinner and she will need help putting together the awardees’ biographies and photos. This committee plans only one event each year, so participation should not take too much of your time.

Continuing Education

This committee creates and coordinates two to three educational programs per year to provide practical knowledge to young practitioners in a variety of civil engineering disciplines. They seek volunteer teachers; reserve a facility for the class and coordinates site and accommodations. Muhammad Ataya, Hugo Pineda, Wei Zhu, Sam Ali and Dan Elkins coordinated a storm drain design seminar and recently, a sewer and water design seminar. If you have ideas for future seminars, please contact the committee.

History and Heritage

The History and Heritage Committee identifies civil engineering projects in Orange County that have historical significance. It researches and writes up the significance of the project. Committee members prepare interviews with Civil Engineers who have contributed to the improvement of the profession to record the oral history of their careers. They also prepare exhibits to be shown at the November Dinner Meeting celebrating the History and Heritage of Civil Engineering in Orange County and coordinate the attendance of past Presidents to this event. Bill Lawson and Carl Nelson have been busy with local projects including the John Wayne Airport that recently was dedicated as an historic engineering landmark. Bill is currently finalizing plans for dedication of the Irvine Ranch Irrigation System as a historic engineering landmark.

Public Infrastructure Coalition of Orange County (Infrastructure Report Card)

This committee maintains the Orange County Infrastructure Report Cards and updates the Report Card every three years or as determined by the Los Angeles Section, Region 9 or the Society. It also coordinates with other entities as well as for the unveiling event. The report was last updated in 2009. Blake Anderson heads up the committee and recently presented at the Association of California Cities Annual City Infrastructure Conference June 2 where investment strategies, policies and financial issues were topics of discussion. The committee is also working on ideas to create a local infrastructure institute and identifying local partners.

K-12 Student Outreach

For students in grades K through 12th grade, civil engineering is promoted as a career option. Committee members use fun and educational hands-on learning activities, classroom presentations, friendly competitions and community service events. Activities demonstrate the practical applications of math, science and civil engineering in our daily lives and include school visitations and participation in Career Days. Their goal is to visit 4 schools per year and recently, Josue Vaglienty, Karly Ho, and Kimberly Gee who head up this committee, have visited McGarvin Intermediate and Stonegate Elementary this year. One way you can help is to get the group to visit your children’s schools, so contact them and they can set something up. The next popsicle stick bridge contest will be hosted by YMF in February at CSULB.

Government Affairs (Legislative)

This committee identifies legislative issues for the branch to suport and coordinates with Region 9 Government Affairs Committee, arranges visitations to local offices of State and County elected officials, and prepares articles on ASCE legislative activities and legislation that could affect ASCE members. With a coordinated message, the committee prepares a group to attend the annual Legislative Day in Sacramento. They also plan for Washington D.C. fly-in. Jeannette Lindemann leads the committee and there can never be too many on this committee as there is always legislations to review. For this fall, they are planning a visit with the County Board of Supervisors. If this is something that interests you, give them a call or email.

Life Member Forum

I encourage anyone who is at least 65 years of age, paid dues in any membership grade except Student Members for at least thirty (30) years, and has had ten (10) years continuous membership immediately preceding the attainment of Life Member. The Life Member Forum brings on dozens of new members every year. Members are often contacted for engineering advice and consultation during natural disasters. A number of them were activated to help with the fires giving advice to the public officials. They also get involved with local issues like the extension of the 241 toll road and put their years of experience to good work in support of good causes. Ted McConville is the chair of the Life Member Forum.


Anh Ly, our membership chair, keeps track of who has joined the branch and makes sure all members are on the email distribution list. The committee helps to identify new members and welcome them by giving them a call or writing them a quick note welcoming them. .

Professional Practice

Each year we like to have a luncheon event focused on professional practice. We also like to hold an Order of the Engineer ceremony every couple years. These events are the main things we like to do, but this committee has a lot of flexibility. Other ideas we have discussed that would fall under this committee could be leadership seminars or regular articles in our newsletter. Currently there is no chairperson for this committee; however, if you want to get involved, contact Ziad Mazboudi.

Programs Committee

This is a very active committee lead by Lori Wolfe who plans and coordinates the monthly luncheons. A lot of coordination and attention to details are required to make our events happen each month. The committee has monthly conference calls with the Board and you are welcome to contact Lori to let her know if you are interested in joining us. They also send out the monthly email announcements prior to events.


This is a new committee currently headed up by Cindy Miller who develops strategies for promoting events and finds the best ways to get the word out about our events and sponsorships. The branch has recently revamped its website and launched an electronic newsletter, opening the door for sponsorship. The same applies to our venues, during which companies could become sponsors. These sponsorships help us achieve our goals, provide grants to students and maintain our website and newsletter.

Public Relations

Lisa Clark and Bobby Fouladi have recently taken over the public relations committee. The group keeps a list of our local media contacts and is responsible for getting press releases to them on our events when needed. Social media is also used to get the word out. The committee set up a Facebook page for the Branch and is tweeting what we are up to.

Student Groups

Committee members meet with the ASCE Student Board at each of the three local student chapters (UCI, CSULB, and CSUF) on a monthly basis when school is in session; coordinate with Practitioner Advisors to provide mentoring to the students; coordinate to have schools prepare a video for Student Night Presentation, coordinate to have students apply to the OC Branch for scholarship and encourage matriculation to Associate ASCE membership.

Giancarlo Ganddini, the student groups committee chair is responsible for communicating with our universities. The group visits each of the universities regularly and coordinates their interaction with the branch; and helps them with fundraisers for their events. They attend barbeques and regular meetings with the students. If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, please contact Giancarlo.

Younger Member Forum

The goals of the Younger Member Forum are to increase the membership in ASCE and YMF, encourage college student involvement in ASCE, and have new graduates join us as YMF members as YMF is the stepping stone between the student chapters and the Branch.

YMF provides a forum for Civil Engineers to network with other engineers and people in the community, to share ideas with other engineers. The K-12 Student Outreach is part of YMF that promotes enrollment of students in Civil Engineering programs. YMF has many activities that are fun and beneficial for both the YMF members and the Branch members that include community service such as Rebuilding Together or the Soup Kitchen or social activities such as skiing, wine tasting, and baseball games. For more information, check out their website.

Andrew Pham is the president of the Younger Member Forum. Those of you who are 35 years of age or younger, are automatically part of YMF. See how you can get involved.

Sustainability Committee

Goals of the Committee are to educate our members and the community at large about the importance of sustainability, create students outreach programs at local universities and conduct lectures and training programs, involve the ASCE student chapters in the outreach program, organize field trips to LEED Certified projects within Orange County, and partnership with Sustainable organizations such as USGB, OC Chapter, Audubon Society, etc. The committee is chaired by Sam Ali and the committee recently coordinated an ASCE monthly luncheon on a sustainability rating system that is in development. Keep an eye on ways you can get involved.


A few years ago we built our own webpage with efforts from Mike Hoolihan who with Josh Nelson has worked hard this past year in revamping it and worked on transitioning the newsletter to fully digital. The website is now more user-friendly and dynamic where you can more easily find info about our branch and all the activities

I encourage you all to really consider joining a committee, sharing your ideas, and putting those ideas into action. If you are concerned about time commitments, most of what you would be helping with can be taken care of during your lunch hour or during short periods of time throughout the day. So take advantage of these opportunities as you will probably gain something positive out the experience.