Orange County Branch Newsletter

Established 1953

January 2019

President's Message

"You have 365 new blank pages. What will you write on the first blank page?" - Lailah Gifty Akita

I attended my first Toastmasters meeting this month where I had a great time meeting others, learned about public speaking, and even practiced some impromptu speaking as well. The meeting's reoccurring theme focused around becoming better versions of ourselves. Great timing given that so many of us are setting resolutions as we dive into the new year. Rather than setting resolutions, however, attendees were encouraged to set specific goals, and implement daily resets, rather than becoming discouraged after we fall off track. Some days will be better than others, but the idea is not to give up if one day does not go as planned. Each effort made towards that better version of ourselves leaves us in a better position than at the beginning of the year when we started.

I like the concept of daily resets, especially since it can easily be incorporated into other aspects of life. Below are three that we invite you to consider. 



We encourage sustainability in our work on a regular, if not daily, basis, but why not try a bit harder to walk the walk outside of work? Below are a few easy ways to do so.

No Plastic

Or at least less plastic? Why not try to reduce the amount of plastic that we all use this year? Did you know it is now against the law in California for a full-service, dine in restaurants to give you a plastic straw, unless you have asked for it? That's right! Starting January 1, 2019, California is making an effort to reduce our plastic use given the known impacts it can have on the environment. Maybe we start off by not using straws, but it can easily grow into something much bigger (e.g., no single-use items). Click here to learn more about the new laws that went into effect starting 2019.


Stop Food Waste

Services like Imperfect Produce keep perfectly good produce from going to the landfill for silly reasons, such as being imperfect (e.g., crooked, spotted, too big, too small, wrong color). Sometimes the produce is more on the "perfect" side, but was simply surplus. As vegans, Chad, my boyfriend, and I get about 80% of our food from them every week. Here are a few fun statistics associated with our progress that you can easily contribute to as well, but signing up for a service like this is not necessary. We can all start by just consuming all the food that we normally buy, rather than letting any of it go bad in the fridge. Also, we can find ways to use the scraps that would normally go to the trash by using them to make vegetable broth or blending them up in smoothies. 


Feed the Soil

Whatever you can't eat or reuse, compost! It is super easy! Two parts green, one part brown. Chad and I live in an apartment and use a tumbler bin, but if you have a yard, you don't even need a bin to get started.





Free Donations

We often ask companies to support ASCE OC via sponsorship opportunities, but each one of us can make regular contributions without much effort through services like Amazon Smile. It allows you to choose from almost a million nonprofit organization, including the American Society of Civil Engineers. Small contributions on a regular basis can really add up over time, and all at no cost to you. 



Donating our time to help improve the civil engineering profession, our community, and/or the environment can seem like a huge commitment, but even small contributions make a big difference. Please reach out to us and let us know how you can help ASCE OC via email at [email protected], even if it is just to help get the word out about some of our upcoming events.





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ASCE OC Environmental & Water Resources Institute

OC Public Works Storm Season Outlook and Preparations

By: Jennifer Marks, ASCE OC EWRI Chair

On December 6th, 2018, the ASCE OC EWRI Committee welcomed Kevin Onuma, Deputy Director of the Operations and Maintenance Service Area for Orange County Public Works for an educational and timely discussion on OC Public Works 2018/2019 Storm Season Preparations.  Mr. Onuma set the stage by reviewing a history of significant recorded storm events in Orange County, starting back in December 1861 and ending with more recently recorded events during 2010 and 2018.  OC Public Works has a system in place for both pre-storm season education and preparation as well as clean-up after the storms hit.  Pre-storm season efforts include channel cleaning, ocean outlets sand and debris removal, and pump station and dam inspections.  Due to the recent wildfires that have plagued the County, Mr. Onuma also focused on more recent pre-storm season preparations specific to the burn areas in Silverado Canyon and the areas impacted by the Holy Fire.  Traditional measures are used, including protection barriers and sandbags, as well as some emerging technologies and systems including boxwall flood barriers, inflatable barriers, and other flood and containment solutions.  These efforts and staging of equipment are focused on identified “hot spots” that are cleared before the storm and monitored both during and after.

Emergency response efforts during storm events involve a unified effort between OC Public Works, OC Sheriff’s Department, and the OC Fire Authority.  Mr. Onuma also addressed flood channel clean-up issues that were addressed earlier in 2018.  These clean-up efforts have been part of a coordinated effort with the OC Sheriff Homeless Outreach Team as well as the Orange County Sanitation District.

The ASCE OC EWRI Committee would like to thank Kevin Onuma for an impactful presentation that was well received by 65 attendees. 

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ASCE OC Geo-Institute

Rocking the Bowling Alley!

On Thursday night, December 6th, 2018, ASCE OC Geo-Institute (G-I)’s 4th Annual Bowling Social & Fundraiser was a hit with nearly 30 geo-professionals and students coming together for a fun night of bowling at Irvine Lanes!  Attendees enjoyed two hours of bowling, food and drinks, bonding with old and new friends, and were entered in a raffle at the end of the night.  Congrats to Kenny Nguyen from CSU Fullerton’s CalGeo Student Chapter for winning a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

All in all, we had an incredibowl time hanging out with fellow geo-professionals and students in a laid-back setting.  Most importantly, in the holiday spirit, all net proceeds from the Bowling Social & Fundraiser were donated to help our local universities’ Student Chapters participate in the upcoming 2019 Geo-Congress Student Competitions. 

Thank you to everyone who attended and special thanks to our sponsors and representatives: Rick Walsh and Sunil Arora – Hayward Baker; Aaron Bishop – Western Ground Improvement; and Ruta Bandziulis – TenCate Geosynthetics for supporting ASCE OC G-I and our Student Chapters!

On Friday, February 22nd, 2019, ASCE OC G-I and Professional Development Committee are co-hosting a half-day continuing education seminar in Irvine.  The seminar topic will be on Ground Improvement, and a handful of methods will be covered, including shallow and deep methods.  Please see the following [link] for more details and registration.

Interested in joining Geo-Institute?  Contact us at [email protected].  See you at our next event!

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ASCE OC Community Service

Illumination Foundation Dinner Meal Service

By: Evelyn Tran, ASCE OC Community Service Co-Chair

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a place that we can call home and return to during this festive holiday season.  To bring a little warmth to those that are less fortunate than we are, volunteers from ASCE OC and YMF teamed up on Friday, December 14th, to host a holiday-themed meal service.  The service took place in Midway City at the Illumination Foundation Recuperative Care Center.  The Recuperative Care Center provides homeless individuals with a place to stay so that they can fully recover after being released from the ER or hospitals.

The meal service consisted of many holiday favorites such as turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and pecan pies.  Volunteers collaborated with one another to deliver plates of entrées and desserts.  After dinner, everyone including the volunteers played Bingo together.  Prizes for the Bingo games included gift cards, blankets, and candies.  Jackets donated by Zaki Mustafa and his wife, Loretta Mustafa, were handed out to everyone by volunteers after the Bingo game.

As the night concluded and the holiday season continues to pass, the memories of shared smiles and laughter will always remain.  The appreciation shown by everyone that attended this event motivates us to continue helping those in need and make the world a better place little by little.  Come join us at our next community service event.

To learn more about the Illumination Foundation, please visit: [IF]

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Happy Hour Informal Mentoring Event

Not even one of the bigger rainfalls of 2018 could dampen the enthusiasm for the Happy Hour Mentoring Event at Golden Road Brewing in Anaheim on November 29. Over twenty mentors and protégés participated in this first informal networking event hosted by the ASCE Orange County Branch Mentorship Committee. Participants engaged in work, career and less serious conversations while partaking in light appetizers and refreshments and stealing sneaks at the scores of the Lakers-Pacers NBA and Cowboys-Saints NFL games playing on big screens.

The event was designed to provide a relaxed, unstructured setting for younger engineers and more experienced engineering management professionals to share career- and business-related advice and ideas, and serve as sounding boards. It also served as an opportunity for protégés to meet other mentors outside of their own, and vice versa. Judging from the participation (see photos from the event), the Happy Hour Mentoring Event did just that.

Supplementing the mentor-protégé pairs’ own mentoring activities, future planned group mentoring events include a Mid-year Check-in Event, a Bowling Informal Mentoring Event, and a Mentorship Panel Discussion.

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ASCE OC K-12 Outreach Committee

Santiago High School Speaker Series

On November 9th, ASCE OC partnered with OC United Way to host a speaker series, an event where they aim to bring professionals from all STEM fields to visit school sites to present about their field and teach students about career options. Victor Aguirre and Memo Medina visited Santiago High School and spoke to two classes about the world of Civil Engineering. The class they visited were mixed with all grade levels but a heavier emphasis on 9th and 10th graders. For several students, this was the first time they had heard about civil engineering. The presentation included their personal experience about how and why they pursued civil engineering. Afterwards they explained the fields that a civil engineer can specialize in, and then spent some time discussing what they specifically do at work. Both Victor and Memo work in land development so they taught them concepts about grading and drainage and underground utilities.

If you or any one you know is interested in becoming involved with K-12 events, please contact our K-12 Chairs at [email protected].

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ASCE OC K-12 Outreach Committee

Marian-Bergeson Elementary School Workshop

On November 29th, ASCE OC visited Marian-Bergeson Elementary School and hosted a workshop for a kindergarten classroom.  Following a brief presentation that outlined the work that Civil Engineers do, they did two hands on STEM activities with the children.  They were able to bring out 4 volunteers for this event, Victor Aguirre, Memo Medina, Jared Lindo, and Andrea Echeverria.  The goal was to bring as many volunteers as they could so that each student could receive some focused attention if they asked for guidance through the activities, or to answer any of their questions. 

Their first activity was Spaghetti and Marshmallow Structures, each student was given a bag of spaghetti and marshmallows and were tasked to build a structure of their choosing.  They all had a chance to create their own structure from their imagination, but they soon realized that building a structure individually was quite challenging, so after discussing the challenges and achievements they transitioned to the second activity.  For the second activity they did Straw Towers, where the goal was the build the biggest, tallest structure.  This time they worked as a team in groups of 8 and they had a professional at each table to complete our group of 32 students.  The event concluded with prizes for the group with the tallest tower and then discussed what they learned and what parts they enjoyed the most. 

For being such a young group, they really surprised the volunteers with their wholesome answers.  One student’s response was that “no matter how your tower ended up you should always be proud of your work” another response was “triangles are strong shapes for building”. Overall, a very fun event with these kindergarteners.

If you or any one you know is interested in becoming involved with K-12 events, please contact our K-12 Chairs at [email protected].




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ASCE OC Community Service

ASCE OC & SONRIE - Toy Drive

ASCE OC partnered with S.O.N.R.I.E.(Supporting Orphanages in Need through Resources, Innovation and Empowerment) to host a toy drive for orphanages in Mexico.  S.O.N.R.I.E is a joint project put together by SHPE UCI students and SHPE OC professionals.  Their mission is "to enhance the living conditions of kids living in local orphanages and through mentoring, develop successful and professional leaders for their communities."  They have developed a partnership catering to the orphanage, Casa Hogar Rayito de Luz y Esperanza (RDLE), in Tijuana, Mexico.  For the toy drive, they decided to expand to other cities in Mexico!

ASCE OC collected the bulk of the toys at the annual History and Heritage/Student Scholarship Night and the ASCE OC Holiday Cruise in Newport, Beach.  Members donated 80+ toys to the cause!  On December 15th, SONRIE delivered them and “hosted an event for the community of Ojos Negros, Baja California, Mexico, 90+ miles from the San Diego border, where food, personal hygiene kits, and toys were distributed for the 200+ attendees.”

ASCE OC looks forward to more partnerships with SONRIE!

To learn more information about SONRIE and ways to get involved, go to:

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Annual Wine Trip 2018

The 2018 YMF Wine Trip in Temecula was a day filled with memories, socializing, and, of course, wine tasting.  The event occurred on Saturday, December 1st and lasted from approximately 9 AM to just after 5 PM.  The event began with a limo-bus picking up its 29 attendees in Irvine and heading to Temecula for a beautiful day of wine tasting.

The first destination was Baily Winery.  At this winery, our group was able to choose from a range of wines to enjoy and, also mingle with one another in the winery’s tasting room.  This winery provided a nice sentiment for the trip because everyone was able to leave with a souvenir glass provided by the winery. 

The next stop on the itinerary was Chapin Family Vineyard.  Here, the winery hosted our group for a sit-down tasting.  The group was seated down at one long table so one was able to chat and really get to know the members and friends they sat nearest too.  Away from the table, the winery also provided beautiful views of the vineyards and a patio, so it was the perfect spot for a group picture.  

The lunch spot was at the third winery for the day, Maurice Car’rie. At this spot, we had sandwiches and plenty of snacks provided by YMF.  Attendees also had the opportunity to buy famous, fresh-baked sourdough bread with melted brie cheese inside.  It was a tasty addition for our wine tour and gave us plenty of sustenance to depart for the last winery.

The group closed out the wine tour at Longshadow Ranch Vineyard and Winery.  This winery was a fantastic location to end the trip at because they had an expansive tasting room and outdoor area.  The best part was that the winery had corrals of farm animals to view and pet.

After the last winery, the limo-bus with all 29 attendees departed for Irvine.  Although it was sad to see the day end, the attendees gained new memories, new friends and an excitement for next year’s trip!


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Ugly Sweater Holiday Bar Crawl

It was a chilly night in California when a group of ASCE OC YMF members congregated at Bootlegger’s in Downtown Fullerton. Tension was in the air as Christmas loomed around the corner, deadlines were due, and finals had just begun to wrap up for some college students.

The cheers of youthful exuberance and clinks of glass slowly resonated throughout the venue, warming cold hands/hearts, and reminding everyone that working hard also requires an equal or greater amount of playing hard as well.

As the group finally got together, we had our final drinks at Bootlegger’s and made our way to Florentine’s. Promptly, a dance battle ensued enticing everyone to show off their dance moves. No matter how flashy or sincere, everyone poured their heart out on the dance floor, slowly letting the music turn up the volume on happiness and lower the volume on anxiety, stress, and ill will.

We ended the night at Roscoe’s Famous Deli. The ambiance was a bit more relaxed. There was a live band, fully stocked bar, friends reuniting, and just a full array of life all happening at once. 

It was a night full of memories clear and vivid as day as colleagues reminisced about the good times they had this year and blurred as they recounted hardships and moments that helps shape character, also known as life. In the end, we were all there for each other and that’s really all anyone could ever ask for. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

If you would like to be a part of ASCE YMF OC, please check out our website

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ASCE Orange County Branch

New Members December 2018

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.

Welcome New Members:
December 2018

MS Sarah Ablouj
MR Nicolas Akli
MR Thomas Cotan
MR Johnny Doan
MR Joseph Huynh
MISS Camille Ituralde
MR Dacheng Lee
MR Junhao Liu
MR Christopher Lu
MR Patrick Maivu
MR Jesus Mendoza-Rivas
MISS Sarah Pfeifer
MR Ethan Schultz
MS Qiaochu Sun
MR Hao Xu
MR Chad Yeargain
MR David Yu

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Orange County Engineering Council (OCEC)

2019 Awards Nomination Request

By: Steve Baine, PE, OCEC Vice President – Corporate Members

As most of you know, OCEC organizes an Honors and Awards Banquet every year in February during the Engineers’ Week.  At this event, we recognize the best of the best engineers, scientists, educators, students, and projects from engineering and scientific corporations, professional societies, educational institutions, governmental agencies, STEM Program affiliates and individuals dedicated to serve our professions, in and around Orange County.

Provided herein are the OCEC - 2019 Awards Individual Nominations and Project Nomination forms, Sponsorship Form, and OCEC President's Request for Nominations.  Kindly use these forms to submit nominations for suitable awards from OCEC at the OCEC Annual Honors and Awards Banquet on February 16, 2019 at the Double Tree Hotel in Santa Ana. 

Please forward these forms to fellow associates with a request to submit as many nominations as possible by January 11, 2019.  We look forward to celebrating your achievements and having another successful event.

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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 futher acknowledgement will be sent.  There is no guarantee of publication.

Advertising Rates:

Company Business Cards / Professional Directory: $300 for 177px X 300px ad placed in the newsletter and on our website for the year.

Newsletter ads: Tier 1 - $300, Tier 2 - $250, Tier 3 - $200 for 300px X 800px ad placed between articles in the monthly newsletter.

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

For more advertising and biling information please contact Robert Martinez at [email protected]

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

LA Section:

Orange County Branch: