Orange County Branch Newsletter

Established 1953

December 2020

President's Message

Finding the Words

I presume that if you’re reading this article, you probably became an engineer because your affinity for the language arts was not as strong as for math and sciences (assuming you even liked language arts at all).  While I personally enjoy writing and have been told that I am not terrible at it, I still find writing articles like the ones for this column to be challenging.  Newsletter articles offer a blank canvas to express your thoughts on a variety of topics, which can be overwhelming.  Writing a newsletter article for an engineering organization does, at least, help establish some boundary conditions.  Policy and funding, technical development, and outreach to university and high school students are critical topics that deserve the focus they receive in our industry.  For this article, though, I am going to focus on the importance of the newsletter articles themselves; while they carry a comparably lower profile, they are still a vital aspect of engineering organizations like ASCE.

As engineers, showing your work is a critical part of summarizing your reasoning and justifying your design.  Doing so also affords you and others the ability to avoid duplication of effort, review and (hopefully) admire past accomplishments, and look for opportunities to build or improve on thought processes.  The same need for documentation applies for engineering organizations.  During the past few years, ASCE Los Angeles Section (which includes ASCE Orange County Branch) has been converting historical documents to electronic files to help minimize the need for physical storage.  As someone who has been involved with the process, I have had the opportunity to peruse annual summaries, budgets, newsletter articles, and guidance documents that are more than 70 years old.  It was an eye-opening experience to see that our past leaders were faced with some of the same challenges that we are still striving to improve today, such as equality, inclusion, and engaging students and young professionals in ASCE.  It was also inspiring to see some of our organization’s past accomplishments and the impacts on our community, some of which are acknowledged in letters from local residents and agencies.

However, it is unlikely that many of us would be aware of our predecessors’ challenges and accomplishments if they had not taken the time to document them.  Despite our success, the ASCE Orange County Branch occasionally struggles to generate the quantity of articles that is commensurate with our members’ accomplishments and activity.  So, I invite you to help us document our legacy.  If you have ideas for articles on events, projects, accomplishments, people (or something else), please reach out to me ([email protected]) or our Publications Committee ([email protected]).  We would love to discuss your thoughts.  For those who are interested, ASCE Orange County Branch also has opportunities for those looking to help prepare our newsletter and/or to assist with digitizing our historical documents (there is still much to be done).

When I started writing this article, I was unsure of what I wanted to say.  It seemed seasonably appropriate to highlight the importance of gratitude, especially in the times of COVID.  While gratitude is important, I realized that I find myself feeling most grateful during moments of reflection.  Pictures, notes, and yes, even newsletter articles, serve as reminders and motivators that, in turn, can spark progress.  So, I encourage you to engage in the process of writing because you never know when you will stumble onto a topic worth writing about until you start writing.  I look forward to reading what you have to say, and so do our future engineers.

About the Author

Clint Isaac Isa, P.E., is a Principal Engineer at Diaz Yourman & Associates and the 2020-2021 President of ASCE Orange County Branch. Clint can be contacted at [email protected].


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Oktoberfest Virtual Beer Tasting & Brewery Tour

On October 29th, ASCE OC SEI held an Octoberfest beer tasting event. Our members compared the Pale Ale, Hazy IPA, Strong Ale and classic Oktoberfest beers. Brewers gave a guided virtual tour of their process in creating our beverage. We were led from the field where the hops grew through the process of combining the ingredients for the perfect beer recipe.

Since brewing is an intensive process, the various methods used to achieve sustainability were covered. Fortunately, a large roof lends itself to many solar panels. Spent grain can be used for animal feed as well. With success in brewing one can even chase LEED certification for their brewery as well.

About the Author

Jason Fix, PE, is a Bridge Engineer for McLean & Schultz. He has over 10 years of experience working on bridges and structures in Orange County. He is interested in exploring the civil engineering field and sharing knowledge within the professional network. Jason can be contacted at [email protected].


ASCE OC Mentorship Program

2020-2021 Mentorship Program Kick-off Pair Reveal Event!

On November 11th, 2020, the ASCE OC Mentorship Program began the year with the virtual Kick-off Pair Reveal Event. Participants attended a series of virtual speed interviews between September 30th to October 1st where they conversed with every mentor/mentee to select their preference for the year. The program has a total of 25 participants this year.

The event began with an icebreaker activity where mentors were provided with a trivia question and mentees were provided with an answer. The goal of the activity was to find your corresponding question/answer. Once all was revealed, each pair was then placed into private Zoom Breakout Rooms to discuss goals and visions for the upcoming year.

At the end of the event, participants were given a feedback survey to anonymously provide thoughts and suggestions for improvement. The average rating received for the event was 4.6/5!

Interested in being a mentor or protégé? Check out our page for when the applications are open and see the previous years’ events!

About the Author

Lydia Chun is an Associate Traffic Engineer at Iteris, Inc. She is a UCI alumnus and previous participant in the Mentorship Program. She enjoys the outdoors and watches too many cat videos online. Lydia can be contacted at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.


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ASCE OC Sustainability Committee

Exploring Santiago Creek on Wheels!

To promote active transportation and healthy activities, the Sustainability Committee for ASCE-OC organized a bike ride activity on November 14th along the Santiago Creek Trail in Orange. One of the goals of the committee is to educate the engineering community about the many unique bikeway trails (Class I) in Orange County. The bike ride led by Nathan Forrest, Technical Director of California Nevada Cement Association, was approximately 9 miles; a round trip between Main Street and the Santiago Creek Recharge Basin. Before commencing the bike ride, Sam Ali, Co-Chair of the Sustainability Committee gave a short presentation (with a map) to the bike ride participants about Santiago Creek; its watershed area, alignment, reservoirs along the creek, etc.

The Santiago Creek which is 34 miles long, drains mostly from the Santa Ana Mountains and outlets into the Santa Ana River at Riverview Golf Course. While the upper portion of the creek is natural, the lower portion is mostly improved by OCFCD with the trail running along the improved creek, except for a missing portion just east of the Santa Ana River.  The size of the watershed for the creek is 100 mile sq. and the highest point in the Saddleback Mountain is Santiago Peak at 5,687 feet. Santiago Dam (Irvine Lake) was constructed in 1920 to balance the seasonal flood during the winter and the trickle in the summer and to provide irrigation water for farms at the current location of the cities of Orange, Anaheim and Villa Park.

The Villa Park Dam was constructed downstream of Irvine Lake in 1963 to reduce flooding of the cities downstream. In February 1969 both Irvine Lake and Villa Park reservoirs were filled with a historical flow of 4,500 CFS exceeding the 100 year runoff of 3,500 cfs. The historical flood caused significant damage to roads, bridges and private properties. In 1991 the OC Water District sold bonds and worked with US Corps of Engineers to construct the Santiago Creek Recharge Basin in a disused  gravel and sand pit. The basin consists of three adjacent reservoirs, Smith, Blue Diamond and Bond. The basin includes a floating pump station and a pipe that connects the basin to the Santa Ana River.

Two interesting historical attributes:

  • The basin of Santiago Creek was populated by the native tribes of Acjachmen and Tongva for 12,000 years before the Spanish arrived in 1769.
  • Modjeska Canyon, one of the tributaries to Santiago Creek was named after the Polish Actress Helena Modjeska who came to the area in 1883 to buy large piece of land and to build her famous Modjeska House.


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ASCE OC Community Service

Volunteering from Home in 2020

During 2020, we collected STEM activity kits for kids at Illumination Foundation, donated to fund meals at Ronald McDonald House, participated in the annual Coastal Cleanup from our own "happy places", and collected and donated supplies for dozens of hygiene kits for SONRIE to distribute in Ojos Negros, Mexico!

At the beginning of the COVID restrictions earlier in 2020, we had an in-person STEM event planned with kids at Illumination Foundation. Illumination Foundation provides services for vulnerable homeless adults and children in order to disrupt the cycle of homelessness. We quickly shifted and put together an online wishlist for STEM-themed activities to send to the kids instead. Fourteen STEM activity kits were delivered to Illumination Foundation in May to provide the kids with some summer break activities.

Over the summer, we had previously reserved a time to cook and provide a meal to families staying at Orange County Ronald McDonald House. This not only helps the families with children receiving hospital care a long distance from their homes but provides ASCE members an opportunity to connect with the community. Unfortunately due to the circumstances of 2020, we were unable to visit the Ronald McDonald House in person. Instead, we collected donations to send so that families could order and have meals and/or groceries delivered.

This September, we participated in the annual Coastal Cleanup hosted by the California Coastal Commission. This year was a little different: instead of meeting up as a group on a Saturday morning to clean up one of our local beaches or bays, everyone volunteered from their own neighborhoods or “happy places.” Trash can travel through storm drains and creeks to the ocean, so any clean up we can do in our own neighborhoods helps keep trash out of the ocean!

Lastly, but certainly not least, we were able to collect and purchase with monetary donations, hundreds of items to include in hygiene kits for SONRIE! SONRIE, which stands for the Support of Orphanages in Need through Resources, Innovation, and Empowerment, works with orphanages and communities in need in Mexico to help improve living conditions and engage kids in STEM activities. Hygiene kits were distributed on December 12th, 2020, during the 3rd Annual Posada hosted by SONRIE in the community of Ojos Negros, Mexico. Items donated included toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, bodywash, loofahs, deodorant, femine products, floss, and other similar items.

Thanks again for all of your generous donations! We’re looking forward to volunteering from home (and hopefully in person) with you in 2021!

About the Author

Kayla Kilgo is a water resources engineer in Orange County, CA. She enjoys making the world a better place through projects at work at CWE as well as volunteering with the ASCE OC Community Service Committee. She can be reached at [email protected].


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Design Challenge’s Upcoming Info Session

ASCE OC YMF has been working diligently for the past several months to bring to the community the Design Challenge. The ASCE OC Design Challenge is a 3-week multidisciplinary proposal-style event that will challenge and inspire Younger Members to create innovative solutions for current and future infrastructure challenges. ASCE Younger Members will form small teams of 3 to 5 members to compete and collaborate for the best innovative proposal that addresses a multidisciplinary Design Challenge prompt developed by our Community Partner, the City of Anaheim!

For more info, join us for one of our Info Sessions, held on Thursday, December 17th and Tuesday, January 12th from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm!

We are looking forward to seeing teams form, collaborate and deliver an awesome multi-disciplinary proposal to help the community at large!

See links here to register:

For questions, please contact the Design Challenge Committee at [email protected]!


Renewal Connect Message to License Holders

Message to the Board’s License holders…

As many of you know, in early 2020 the Board initiated the development of a new application/licensing system designed to facilitate the submittal of applications and management of license(s) through an online portal, known as BPELSG Connect.  The first release resulting from this development launched in September 2020 with online Engineer-in-Training (EIT) and Land Surveyor-in-Training (LSIT) applications in addition to online complaint submittals.

The Board anticipates that renewal of existing licenses will be included in the next release which is scheduled to occur in early 2021.  Traditionally, license holders have become accustomed to receiving a renewal notification in the mail around 30-60 days prior to their license renewal date, on a biennial basis.  These notices are printed and mailed by a state agency, through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) on behalf of the Board.  Due to circumstances outside of the Board’s or DCA’s control, this other agency will discontinue production and distribution of the printed renewal notices sometime during 2021.

Once renewal functionality in the next release of BPELSG Connect becomes publicly available, it will be imperative for each individual license holder to register a new profile in the system as soon as possible to ensure that future renewal notices are received by each license holder in a timely and efficient manner.

It is anticipated that during registration, the license holder will:

  • Confirm contact information including address of record
  • Link their profile to their existing license(s)
  • Verify receipt of a confirmation email

The Board believes that this initial process should only require approximately 10 minutes of the license holder’s time to complete and will be well worth that time to ensure that each license holder is properly served in an effective manner during this transition.

Please share this message with your professional licensed colleagues and spread the word.  The Board will continue to provide updates on this effort in the near future and throughout 2021.


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ASCE OC Branch

Welcome New Members!

Welcome to the American Society of Civil Engineers! We are happy you joined us in ASCE's Orange County Branch. Remember...there are 101 ways to benefit from your membership with ASCE. Become involved, educate yourself on an engineering topic outside of your expertise, and build relationships with others in the industry - to name a few.

Please contact a Board Member if you have questions, or a committee chairperson to become involved.

Welcome New Members:

November 2020

Brisa Bernal, S.M.ASCE
Dan Bunce, Aff.M.ASCE
Victoria Ignacio, S.M.ASCE
Ashley Kuwahara, S.M.ASCE
Joseph Lee, S.M.ASCE
Yiqiao Li, S.M.ASCE
Meilin Lu, S.M.ASCE
Huda Munjy, Aff.M.ASCE
Tommy Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Charles Ou-Yang, S.M.ASCE
Michelle Sabers, S.M.ASCE
Jamal Salman, P.E., M.ASCE
Christian Santonil, S.M.ASCE
Chloe Sutkowski, A.M.ASCE
Brandon Alan Tanjuaquio, S.M.ASCE
Paul Von Berg, Aff.M.ASCE

October 2020

Karim Ahmed, EIT,L.S.I.T,S.M.ASCE
Laisha Alanis, S.M.ASCE
Ishmel Albert, S.M.ASCE
Ghazaleh Baradaran Rafii, EIT,S.M.ASCE
Hannah Belk, S.M.ASCE
Sharayu Bode, S.M.ASCE
Michelle Boguslavsky, S.M.ASCE
Blanca Calderon, S.M.ASCE
Jose Carrasco, S.M.ASCE
Daniela Fabila, S.M.ASCE
Genesis Figueroa, S.M.ASCE
Rodolfo Garcia, S.M.ASCE
Brandon Giron, S.M.ASCE
Leondro Joson, S.M.ASCE
Claudia Lara, S.M.ASCE
Elena Le, S.M.ASCE
Jibran Lodhi, S.M.ASCE
Kayla Luong, S.M.ASCE
Maria Medina-Muniz, S.M.ASCE
Katie Mendoza, S.M.ASCE
Brooke Miller, S.M.ASCE
Carlos Monsalve, S.M.ASCE
Brandon Nghi, S.M.ASCE
Caroline Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Dianne Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Kristine Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Paul Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Azamat Nigmatullin, S.M.ASCE
Rahul Pal, S.M.ASCE
Kevin Phan, S.M.ASCE
Liane Reyes De Leon, S.M.ASCE
Jacob Rips, S.M.ASCE
Jada Rizzo, S.M.ASCE
Amber Ross, S.M.ASCE
Kristina Simitian, S.M.ASCE
Daniel Soto, S.M.ASCE
Grace Sta Maria, Aff.M.ASCE
Savannah Tapia, S.M.ASCE
Jamie Tran, S.M.ASCE
Spencer Vu, S.M.ASCE
Alexander Wang, S.M.ASCE
Erick Wendler, S.M.ASCE
Calvin Wong, S.M.ASCE


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Publications Committee

Newsletter Information

Do you have an interesting topic you would like to share?  We are always looking for new and relevant content to distribute to our members relating to Civil Engineering in Orange County (no ads!).  If you have an idea please feel free to submit it to the Publications Committee! You will receive a confirmation email; however, no further acknowledgment will be sent.  There is no guarantee of publication.

Advertising Rates:

Company Business Cards / Professional Directory: $500 for 177px X 300px company business card placed in the bimonthly newsletter and on our website for the year.

Newsletter ads: Tier 1 - $350 (top section), Tier 2 - $300 (middle section), Tier 3 - $250 (bottom section) for 300px X 800px ad placed between articles in the bimonthly newsletter for the year.

Annual Sponsorship Opportunities: See our website for information on how to become an annual sponsor for even more benefits.

For more advertising and billing information please contact our Publications Committee at [email protected]

National ASCE: (800) 548-2723 (ASCE),

LA Section:

Orange County Branch:

Orange County Younger Member Forum: