Orange County Branch Newsletter
Surpassing goals at the local, state, and national level!
"When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps." - Confucius
We surpassed quite a few goals at the local, state, and national level these last couple of months, so we thought we would highlight them in this month's ASCE OC Newsletter! Please help us congratulate those mentioned below.
ASCE OC Awards Dinner
What better way to celebrate National Engineers Week than by showcasing some of the best of the best projects and individuals in Orange County, among a record-breaking number of attendees, sponsors, and all within such an awesome venue! Thank you for making the ASCE OC Awards Dinner such a fun and amazing event on February 21st, 2019! It was great to see 280 members of our industry come together to celebrate each other and our accomplishments.
On behalf of the ASCE OC Branch, I would like to especially thank Chuck Karunathilake, Jazzy Quinabo, Jeff Braun, and Juliet Su for their great leadership in ensuring the event's success. So many of our members were engaged and involved with the planning process in one capacity or another, however, so we would also like to thank the ASCE OC Social Committee, ASCE OC Marketing Committee, and the ASCE OC Awards Committee.
ASCE OC Geo-Institute Seminar
The ASCE OC Geo-Institute and Professional Development Committee co-hosted a half-day seminar on February 22nd, 2019 in Irvine, California. The seminar covered a wide spectrum of ground improvement methods and was attended by nearly 100 practicing engineers, academics, and students! A special thank you to our presenters Dr. Lisheng Shao (Hayward Baker), Professor John Harvey (UC Davis), and Professor Kyle Rollins (Brigham Young University)!
OC YMF Wins Bid to Host 2021 WRYMC
At the ASCE Multi-Region Leadership Conference (MRLC) in Hawaii, ASCE OC YMF placed a bid to host the 2021 ASCE MRLC in Orange County... and WON!
Congratulations to all who were part of the team that helped make this possible, especially Joseph Huynh and Andy Nguyen for leading the effort.
California Wins ASCE Advocate of the Year Award
This year’s ASCE Advocate of the Year Award was presented in the Team category to Region 9 (California). The Government Relations Committee and State Infrastructure Report Card Committees worked together over the past year to ensure that 10-cent per gallon gas tax increase that was enacted in 2017 remained in place. They were successful in passing Prop 69 in June 2018, which enacted a lockbox, and more importantly, defeating Prop 6 in November, which ensured the gas tax to not be repealed. Woot! Woot! Huge congratulations to all of our local ASCE OC Members who helped make this possible!
ASCE Legislative Fly-In
On March 12-13, 258 ASCE members from 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico arrived on Capitol Hill to advocate for infrastructure and the civil engineering community. Armed with everyday civil engineering experiences, issues briefings, and insight from keynote speakers, attendees spent Wednesday afternoon advocating for a 25-cent per gallon motor fuels tax increase to help fix the Federal Highway Trust Fund, full funding of key infrastructure programs in FY2020 and urged Members of Congress to follow ASCE’s Principles for Investment as they draft a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
We had a record-breaking number of attendees, speakers, congressional visits, and Younger Members in attendance!
Huge thank you to MJ Hashemi, Lenard Tran, Kenneth Rosenfield, and Adeleine Tran for representing ASCE OC!
ASCE OC Branch
The Future is Female: Championing Women Engineers
On November 14th, ASCE OC hosted “The Future is Female – Championing Women Engineers,” a roundtable panel with four of Southern California’s prominent female engineering industry leaders. It was held at UCI’s Applied Innovation Center and Sponsored by Gannett Fleming.
The panel was comprised of Jeanet Owens, Senior Executive Officer of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Derya Thompson, DOT/Tolls Southern California Area Manager with Gannett Fleming; Karen Sepulveda, Manager of Construction Services with Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority; and ASCE 2018 President Kristina Swallow.
Aileen Santos-Redman, Structural Lead for Gannett Fleming’s Los Angeles office, moderated the two-hour event. Observations on how the industry has evolved for women, the importance of having and being role models, empowering women to have more meaningful voices and enlisting male advocates were a few of the topics discussed. The need to increase diversity in the industry was the overarching theme.
According to panelist Kristina Swallow, “Although change is subtly occurring regarding diversity within the industry, we are definitely seeing an increase in more equitable engineering work environments. With more diversity, we can all offer better solutions and do better for our communities and the world we live in.”
With more than 40 industry professionals and students in attendance, the event was an encouraging, engaging and enriching conversation for all involved.
“It was really great to be able to have an open dialog with people of different genders, races, and generations to talk about their experiences and to be able to discuss how we can affect a positive, equal environment for future generations”, said Araceli Abanilla, Structural Project Engineer with Gannett Fleming.
The voices, which strove to empower future generations to find success, encourage women to embrace one another, proactively build their careers and challenge traditional beliefs, overwhelming set forth the message the “The Future is Female.”
(L-R: Jeanet Owens, Derya Thompson, Karen Sepulveda, Kristina Swallow, Elizabeth Ruedas)
(L-R: Karen Sepulveda, Derya Thompson, Kristina Swallow, Jeanet Owens, Elizabeth Ruedas, and Aileen Santos-Redman)
ASCE OC Branch
Member Appreciation Harbor Cruise
A perfect night on Newport Harbor! ASCE Orange County welcomed over 50 Board Members, Committee Chairs, Institute Chairs and General Members to attend a Holiday Lights Cruise on December 4th in appreciation and celebration of a successful year.
The group enjoyed a festive evening that began with appetizers and drinks at Cruisers Pizza Bar. Past-President Jeff Braun took time to thank all board members, committee chairs, and institute chairs for the hard work and dedication that went into a successful year for the ASCE OC Branch. Incoming President Elizabeth Ruedas welcomed new members and shared her vision for another exciting year to come. In addition to the celebration, the group collected more than 50 toys for the S.O.N.R.I.E. Toy Drive, that were delivered to orphanages in Tijuana and Ensenada. The support and generosity of our members is amazing! Afterwards, attendees climbed aboard the Newport Legacy to enjoy over an hour cruising the Newport Harbor. It was a beautiful, clear, and cool night to view multi-million dollar estates and boats decorated in thousands of holiday lights.
ASCE OC K-12
ASCE CSULB Dream Big Event
On Saturday, December 1st, ASCE OC YMF K-12 and ASCE OC Branch collaborated with ASCE CSULB to assist in their first annual Dream Big Event. The event consisted of 200 plus middle school and high school students from Orange County and Los Angeles County.
Students were brought to the CSULB campus early in the morning where they received goodie bags with snacks and giveaways such as flash drives, pens, construction helmet stress balls, and sunglasses. Snacks were provided by ASCE OC YMF, ASCE OC Branch and the CSULB ASCE student chapter. The giveaways were provided by multiple civil engineering firms such as Huitt-Zollars, Inc., Mark Thomas, and LPA, Inc.
Students were formed into groups where various students chapters from CSULB and other campuses such as UCI, CSUF, and CPP organized hands-on engineering presentations and activities. Each workshop consisted of an engineering professional that explained, to the students, the science behind the activities and how similar concepts are applied to engineering design and construction.
The workshops hosted for the students were the following: Lego Man, Water Filtration, Popsicle Stick Bridge, Paper Towers, Foil Boat, Design-Build Phineas and Ferb Activity, Traffic Game and Safe Landing.
After the students finished their activities, a panel of engineers from various branches of civil engineering and different ranges of work experience, had the opportunity to provide insights, to the students, in regards to pursuing an engineering degree, work-life balance, projects, challenges encountered as an engineer and much more. The panel speakers also made time to answer various questions from students that showed enthusiasm and curiosity for pursuing engineering as a profession.
After the panel speakers, students finished off the day by watching the screening of Dream Big: Engineering Our World.
We want to thank the ASCE CSULB student chapter, CSULB Department of Civil Engineering, MESA, participating student chapters and professionals for hosting, organizing and volunteering for an event that has the potential to positively impact the lives of hundreds of students throughout the region. We also want to thank the civil engineering firms that provided sponsorship for the event: HDR and Turner Construction.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming involved with K-12 events, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].
Check out the event's photos [HERE]!
ASCE OC YMF
Personal Finance Workshop Was a Hit
Those in our Younger Members Forum have come of age in the wake of the financial crisis. In contrast to the angsty basement-dwelling stereotype of millennials, the attendees of the Personal Finance Workshop, put on by the OC YMF on December 11th, 2018, were eager to learn how to navigate the often volatile waters of the post-recession economy.
CalCPA provided a speaker to give one of their "Dollars & Sense" workshops. CalCPA is an organization of over 40,000 California CPAs. They have been offering continuing education to their members and educating the public on financial issues for decades. They arranged for Dwight Nakata to teach the workshop. Mr. Nakata is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Financial Planner. He earned his degree in business accounting from CSU Los Angeles 36 years ago, and serves on their board of directors to this day. He is an Adjunct Professor at Santa Ana College, so he regularly teaches people financial literacy. Before the event, I sent him a list of questions that attendees had, and he tailored his presentation for us.
As this was my first event as co-chair of the YMF Programs Committee, I was nervous and excited watching the number of paid attendees rise to 38. Luckily, the amount of help and support from my fellow younger members was overwhelming. Jason Fix reached out to CalCPA and confirmed the date. Daniel Keady volunteered the full-sized classroom at his employer, Tetra Tech, for the event. Melissa Hilsabeck, Programs Co-chair, ordered and picked up the food. Jazzy Quinabo, who has been on assignment in Hawaii, still managed to attend, provide the laptop for the presentation, and bring cases of water! I designed the flyer, set up the EventBrite, sent out the e-mail blasts, and beeped people into the surprisingly secure elevator. The event really was a team effort!
Dwight Nakata started off the presentation with the basics of personal finance. It was really valuable to hear about all the different kinds of clients he has, from all walks of life. One important point he made is that he has two types of clients, those who are rich, and those who live richly. He said one of his wealthiest clients is a gardener who lives within his means, saves, and invests his money wisely. He also changed my mind about where to invest my retirement. I always figured my Roth 401k was my one-stop shop for retirement success, but he stressed that it's worth considering putting some money into a tax-deferred account, because it gives you more options to limit your tax liability when navigating the start of your social security benefits and those pesky minimum distributions.
The dizzying wealth of information left us all wondering how we could benefit from a financial planner. Mr. Nakata never came across as trying to sell us something, which I really appreciated. We basically begged him to give us some kind of ballpark for how much a financial planner charges. He said that there are a variety of pricing options, but that we could expect to pay between $500 and $1500 for professional advice. I admit, as a self-proclaimed cheapskate, this sent me reeling, but then he gave some perspective that I'll always remember. You'll pay much more for a real estate agent, and one could argue that your financial future is far more important.
In the end, it was a very well attended and successful event. Recently, the LA YMF reached out to me asking how they could organize their own financial workshop. I'm so proud to be a part of an organization that is making a real impact on our engineering community.
ASCE OC Branch
December Luncheon: Park to Playa Bridge at Kenneth Hahn Park
On December 20th, 2018, Ken Taylor, PE (McLean & Schultz), presented the process for delivering the new Park to Playa Trail Bridge located at Kenneth Hahn Recreation Center.
The trail bridge will be used to cross La Cienega Boulevard and connect the Park to Playa trail to the Stoneview Nature Center. This will facilitate recreational use of the park and provide a means for wildlife to cross the busy street below.
Rendering of Park to Playa Bridge
Due to the location of the project, several stakeholders have an interest in its success. Ken presented the importance of having a project team that is working toward the same goals. His analogy is that a project is similar to the 7th Hole at Pebble Beach. While it may seem simple (ie. A Par 3, 106 yards), due to the challenges of the wind and slope the first swing is important to start in the right direction.
To start the project correctly, Ken outlined how meetings were organized so the stakeholders may raise their concerns to the team with all disciplines present. This allows the team to work together with the same solution. From these meetings, the most interest has been in the appearance of the bridge. As requested, the trail aesthetic has been extended through its path over the structure.
The park requested that the bridge enable wildlife to cross. To do so planters have been provided on the north side of the bridge. These use variable heights and native shrubbery to provide cover for small animals to cross. The hiding locations are necessary so they feel safe enough to cross. Larger animals such as the native foxes will follow the prey across.
COR-TEN Steel Planters
COR-TEN steel planters will be used as the steel’s surface will gain a patina over time which will provide a rustic feel. In addition, the steel provides easy maintenance as vandalism can be addressed through sanding down the surface and allowing the weathering to continue.
Speaker Ken Taylor, PE (McLean & Schultz) and ASCE OC Board of Directors
ASCE OC & T&DI
T&DI is Back!
The Transportation & Development Institute held an introductory mixer on January 29th at Karl Strauss Brewing Company in Costa Mesa to kick off its 2019 Lunch Program Season and introduce the Board Members. Over 30 attendees were joined by T&DI's invited guests for OCTA, the City of Anaheim, and Rancho Mission Viejo. Below are the T&DI board members and the list of lunch programs we're pursuing for the year. We look forward to seeing our T&DI members along with ASCE OC branch members at our upcoming events.
ASCE OC Branch
Technical Tour: Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement
Talk of aliens and bats accompanied the 6th Street Viaduct technical tour on February 1st, 2019. Southern California residents have driven through this construction site for years and they watched the demolition of the iconic bridge just over the 101 freeway east of Downtown Los Angeles. Built in 1932, the original bridge has served as a backdrop for car commercials, movies, music videos, and TV shows for decades. From Grease to Fear the Walking Dead, if a scene is on a bridge with the Los Angeles skyline in the background, chances are it was filmed on the 6th Street Viaduct.
Unfortunately, alkali-silica reactions in the concrete have taken their toll, slowly destroying the bridge from the inside out. Each of the other bridges across the LA river in the area were able to be seismically retrofitted, but the degradation of concrete of the 6th Street Viaduct is severe to the point that even its place on the National Register of Historic Places could not save it. Ironically, the 6th Street Viaduct was the newest of a series of bridges built in the 30s and now is the first to pass into history.
Replacing the bridge is a near $500 million effort. The City of Los Angeles is using this opportunity to realign the bridge to eliminate an awkward kink in the road as it crosses the Los Angeles river. This means the purchasing of 34 parcels of land and the demolition of 13 buildings. The new open space created under the bridge will become a 12 acre city park.
One issue for a 3,500 foot long bridge is that it does not serve the community living beneath it. Previously, if a resident wanted to walk across the Los Angeles river, he or she would need to walk over a quarter mile just to get to one end of the bridge and then walk its full length to the other side. Planners solved this issue by designing a helical, ADA compliant ramp next to the river that will give pedestrians and cyclists access to the bridge deck at mid-span.
Julia Moye, a Sr. Civil Engineer for the City of Los Angeles, gave a presentation to ASCE members - highlighting some of the flaws of the original bridge and new features of its replacement. The bridge is to be base isolated, and is designed to withstand a 1,000 year seismic event and have a design life of 100 years.
Among the many construction challenges was the relocation of a colony of bats living in the bridge. A suitable home was created for them on an adjacent bridge before demolition. Thankfully, the eviction is only temporary. The new bridge has incorporated a permanent bat house into its design!
Robert Thorpe, a Field Engineer at Stacy and Witbeck, Inc., led a discussion on the construction challenges they have experienced to date. There are dozens of stakeholders in the project, including the Army Corps of Engineers whom maintains the concrete channel of the Los Angeles river; the Fish and Wildlife service on account of the bats; the Water Board given the Los Angeles river's classification as a navigable river; and surprisingly, the Los Angeles film industry. Construction activities have closed the only vehicle access to the river for several miles in each direction, rerouting film crews as far north as the 110 freeway or as far south as the City of Vernon. But of all the stakeholders, perhaps none are as invested and powerful as the five rail agencies that have easements under the bridge and on both sides of the river.
Initially, the railroads were quite concerned about construction affecting shipping during the ramp up to the holiday season, that they successfully lobbied to have the project pause during the last quarter of each year. However, after several years of cooperation between all parties, the railroads allowed construction year round for the first time last year. Their primary concern is that something will fall across the tracks, also known as “fouling.” To address this risk, the contractor must pay for a full time employee from all five railroad agencies to monitor construction. If a train is coming, the railroad representative orders the construction team to lower the booms on all cranes and remove any equipment tall enough to fall across the tracks until the train passes through the job site.
Robert Thorpe lead ASCE members through the sprawling construction site. They first viewed a scale mock-up of a crucial connection between several structural components. The high amount of steel reinforcement in this concrete section could cause the forest of rebar to sieve the aggregate from the cement and create large air pockets in the concrete. To address this concern, the contractor is using self-consolidating concrete and testing it on a mock-up. Once the mock-up is cured, they will literally cut it in half and inspect the inside like a geode to confirm its success.
Attendees then walked down to the Los Angeles river bed and viewed temporary shoring that will support the equipment for erecting the span over the river. To get to the other side of the construction site, attendees had to return to their cars and take surface streets to adjacent bridges. Once across, Thorpe showed them huge tanks of liquid nitrogen. The chemical process of curing concrete is exothermic - that is, it produces heat. If too much concrete is poured at once, the interior of the concrete can get hot enough to boil. The contractor initially countered this problem by ordering concrete with ice mixed into it, but the concrete plant required much more lead time to ensure that it could create enough ice for the giant pours. Now the contractor keeps two towering tanks of liquid nitrogen on site to cool the concrete during pours.
The tanks were housed in an area needing extensive demolition work of existing buildings. Thorpe recounted tales of some of the challenges the contractor faced. Soil contaminated with lead was found under one of the buildings. Since it was classified as hazardous waste, they had trouble finding a dump site that would accept it. In the end, they had to ship the soil to a disposal site in Nevada to finally be rid of it. One of the concrete buildings marked for demolition was built adjacent to another building. In fact, the exterior wall along the property line essentially used the brick facade of the adjacent building as part of the form, leaving the demolition contractor with little choice other than to chip bits of concrete away from the brick by hand.
Other challenges were found underground. An archeologist was on call 24/7 for consultation. Every time an object like a bottle was uncovered, the project would stop while the team texted photos to the archeologist and waited for the all clear to be given. But even an archeologist would have been stumped by the strangest object they found. Beneath the surface, they uncovered a giant hunk of metal several feet long. It was so heavy that no truck could carry it away for salvage. They had to bring in what they described as a bazooka-like torch to cut the object in half. Though some theorized that the object was alien in nature, Thorpe says it is most likely an accretion of slag from welding during construction in the 30s.
The tour concluded with picturesque views of the Los Angeles skyline on the east side of the project in Boyle Heights. With a little luck, and a lot of engineering, the new 6th Street Viaduct is sure to grace the skyline for another 100 years.
ASCE OC YMF
Mentoring Program Bowling Event
Mentors, protégés, and committee members gathered at The Tustin District’s Bowlmor Lanes for the Mentorship Program’s Bowling Event on Thursday, February 28th. More than a dozen ASCE members participated in the Program’s second informal event and the first event of 2019 over appetizers and drinks to relax and see how the Program was going. A few bowling strikes and more than a few gutter balls later, the event came to be a rousing success! The committee looks to plan the Mid-Year Check-In Event for the Program’s future.
ASCE OC K-12
Yorba Middle School Visits
Over the course of two weeks, ASCE OC YMF/OC Branch – K-12 Outreach made two classroom visits to Yorba Middle School. On Thursday, February 21st, they visited the group of middle school students that are involved in a lunch club at Yorba Middle School. The teacher who brought the club to life is interested in bringing professionals on a monthly basis to talk about their field of work and share any other insights that could benefit these students at their young age. Present volunteers were Jared Lindo, Guillermo Medina, and Nestor Godinez. The outline for this first visit was for them to present on the different fields of civil engineering and how each of them got to where they are regarding their initial interest in engineering and the educational path they went through, and finally concluding with what they currently do at their jobs. Students were engaging throughout the presentation and were particularly interested in structural and geotechnical engineering and the type of impact those fields have on our daily lives. The presentation concluded with allowing them to vote on the hands-on STEM activity they would like to do the following week since they knew we were returning.
On Thursday, February 28th the K-12 Outreach volunteers returned for the second visit, this time the only item on the agenda was a water filtration activity. After the presentation, the students learned more about the importance of clean water and this event ended up receiving the most votes. The goal of the activity was to educate students on the process water goes through to be cleaned. This week Guillermo Medina and Nestor Godinez attended and worked with the students first to demonstrate how water ends up getting polluted and second to help them create their own filters. Tap water was mixed in with several “contaminates” that represented real-world situations. Dirt (representing debris and soils), vegetable oil (representing motor oil), baking soda (representing salt), food coloring (representing chemical spills). Groups of students worked together to find the best combination of cleaning materials to create the best filtration device. The team with the cleanest water walked away with some cool ASCE pens/highlighters.
ASCE OC Geo-Institute & Professional Development Committee
Ground Improvement: Shallow and Deep Methods
The Orange County Geo-Institute and Professional Development Committee co-hosted a half-day seminar on February 22nd in Irvine, California. The seminar covered a wide spectrum of ground improvement methods and was attended by nearly 100 practicing engineers, academics, and students. Each of the three presenters provided a unique insight to their field of expertise. The seminar concluded with a panel discussion that provided attendees an opportunity to ask the presenters about how they could apply different ground improvement methods to their projects.
The presenters and their topics are listed below:
Dr. Lisheng Shao, Ph.D., P.E., G.E. - Chief Engineer, Hayward Baker
- Optimized Ground Improvement Program – Combined Treatment Technologies
Professor John Harvey, Ph.D., P.E. – Professor, University of California, Davis
- Lime and Cement Treatment for Subgrade Stabilization
Professor Kyle Rollins, Ph.D., P.E. – Professor, Brigham Young University
- Pre-Fabricated Vertical Drains for Reducing Liquefaction Potential Based on Full-Scale Shaking Table Tests
Please see the following link to download a copy of their presentations:
Thank you to our sponsors:
Farrell Design-Build, Hayward Baker, Western Ground Improvement, Gregg Drilling, Langan, Eaglelift, Cell-crete, Uretek, Project X Corrosion, California Nevada Cement Association, and Tencate Mirafi.
ASCE OC K-12
Rancho Canada STEAM Family Night
On February 8th Rancho Canada Elementary School held its annual STEAM Family Night. This is an event where classrooms open up to students and families for after-school learning and activities. Classrooms throughout the school were filled with a variety of hands-on activities such as controlling electronic robots, 3D computer modeling, star gazing, slime making, and more. ASCE OC YMF and ASCE OC Branch K-12 Outreach Committee volunteers, represented by Guillermo Medina, Victor Aguirre, Jared Lindo, Kayla Kilgo, and Jenny Mital, teamed up to provide a unique experience for the elementary students and family by holding a hands-on spaghetti and marshmallow building activity. The activity allowed individuals to work together with engineer volunteers to learn about civil engineering through trial and error. The marshmallows were used to connect the spaghetti pieces to make trusses, buildings, bridges, and all sorts of creations. Over a hundred students and family members walked through the halls participating in different activities found in each room. When participants were ready for a break they had the opportunity to purchase specialty waffle treats and refreshments from the catered eatery on site. The participants gave great feedback during the event, with rooms filled full of laughter and with children staying until the last minute of the two and a half hour event.
ASCE OC Branch
New Members: January 2019
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 a engineering topic outside of your expertise, 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.
MR Andrew Bjork
MISS Emily Brady
MR Najati Burrow
MR Richard Chau
MS Kristida Chhour
MR Nicholas Cratty
MS Julia Doan
MR Christian Eustaquio
MS Beyza Guler
MISS Megan Irving
MR Chris Johnson
MR Shyamkumar Kheni
MR Paul Kim
MR Chaitanya Kukutla
MR Ryan Leung
MISS Amanda Liske
MR Steven Mendoza
MS Robin Nezhad
MR Marcus Nguyen
MR Samir Nomani
MS Mahnaz Nourhashemi
MR Max Olin
MISS Savannah Pierson
DR Amin Rahmani
MR Peter Ravenkamp
MR Stephen Stone
MS Amal Suleiman
MR Varun Tankha
MR Rex Torrez
MR Jason Tran
MISS Michelle Truong
MR Davis Vo
MR Donald Young
MR Peter Yu
MR Peyman Zandifaez
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