Orange County Branch Newsletter

Established 1953

March 2020

President's Message

The Power of Teamwork and Diversity

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever” – Amy Poehler

Over the last several months, I’ve reflected on our local chapter and have realized one of our core strengths isn’t just the number of volunteers we have, the hours that are put in or anything else for that matter. It’s our volunteers, it’s our team and it’s the ability to have a diverse set of individuals from various backgrounds be involved and work together as a cohesive team. We’ve been able to utilize the strengths of each of our volunteers to help create and promote a shared vision and I’ve been so unbelievably fortunate to be able to stand on the shoulders of the visionaries who helped shape the diverse and inclusive culture that we have in Orange County. I’m proud to be able to help our group build upon our history. With the incredible amount of work across the industry, it’s hard to believe our volunteers have the time. However, the Branch continues to grow, we put on more events, we find innovative and creative ways to engage and provide value to our members and we spend those hours amongst friends who inspire and challenge us to be better.

This is evident as we summarize what our group has accomplished in just these last few months.

On December 5th, Orange County Branch won the WTS Rosa Park Diversity Leadership Award for our group's extraordinary efforts and initiatives in developing opportunities for women and minorities along with contributing to promoting diversity and cultural awareness within the organization and our industry. Elizabeth Ruedas, Past President of the Branch was recognized and accepted the award.

On January 24th and 25th, Orange County Branch participated in the Multi-Regional Leadership Conference (MRLC) in San Francisco. We had over 50 leaders from our Branch, YMF and local Student Chapters and had one of the strongest representations from across the Western Region. At the two-day conference, we had some incredible highlights including:

  • ASCE OC Branch was recognized for our continued efforts in recognizing our local civil engineering past with a Society History and Heritage Award.

  • Gabreelle Gonzalez (University Outreach Chair), was recognized by all of the Western Region YMF’s and won an award for her efforts in helping promote and engage our local Universities

  • Elizabeth Ruedas, gave the Keynote Closing Speech on Future World Vision

  • Taki Chrysovergis, presented breakout sessions on Starting a Successful Institute Chapter

  • Orange County YMF provided a quick update on hosting MRLC next year in Orange County with Nestor Godinez and Jessica Leyva (Conference Co-Chairs)
  • New Faces of Civil Engineering – Professional Edition were formally announced and Orange County had two honorees out of ten nationally
    • Jazzy Quinabo, OC YMF President
    • Alexandre Martinez, Ph.D. Student UCI

Our ASCE OC Construction Institute (CI) has been incredibly active and has utilized their momentum to help establish a board and are working on finalizing their bylaws. In the last several months, they have:

  • Hosted a joint luncheon with Branch on January 16th with a presentation from Niall Barrett of OCTA where he presented on the I-5 South County Improvements.

  • Jointly with our YMF, CI has established a Bridging the Gap Speaker Series to share valuable lessons learned about various topics in Construction and Design from our more seasoned professionals. Their last event on February 25th was well attended by Younger Members and included Sarah Carr from McCarthy and Regina Hu from Orange County Public Works presenting on Project Pursuits and Procurements, giving younger engineers a glimpse of the project pursuit process.

  • Been a part of the local organizing committee for the Construction Institute Summit which was held locally in Los Angeles on February 20th to 22nd and where a few of our members were able to present.
  • Hosted a panel discussion in celebration of Women in Construction Week, on March 5th with leaders from Los Angeles World Airports, Caltrans, EXP, Arcadis and McCarthy.

Finally, our Awards Night 2020 was a fantastic evening and would not have been possible without the efforts of our local Branch and YMF leaders. A total of nearly twenty volunteers from the Branch and YMF helped us to put on this annual event, held on February 27th at the Grove of Anaheim.

The Branch honored 17 individual award recipients and 19 project award recipients for the accomplishments over their careers and on the projects they’ve worked on. A full list of award winners can be found here. Additionally, our 2019 President’s Award was given to Adeleine Tran for her dedication, passion, and creativity within ASCE. In the last year, she’s held the following roles:

  • ASCE OC Government Relations Chair
  • ASCE OC Webmaster 
  • ASCE OC Publications Chair
  • ASCE OC Geo-Institute YMF Liaison
  • ASCE Committee on Younger Members Corresponding Member

Please help me congratulate Adeleine for the well-deserved recognition!

In addition to recognizing our award recipients, our event would not be possible without our event and annual sponsors. Thank you!

It is not without the power of teamwork amongst so many local Branch, YMF and Student Chapter leaders that all of this would be possible. Our group continues to push forward with new and innovative events, including the Pathways Academy – in its second year. I truly believe being surrounded by so many diverse, yet inspiring individuals who have challenged us (past and present) have made us a powerful team.  Thank you and we hope to see you at our next event!

About the Author

Ravi Shah is a Transportation Project Manager in Orange County, CA with Mark Thomas. He is the current President of ASCE Orange County Branch and a Past President (2012-2013) of the ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum. He has been actively involved with ASCE as a professional since 2010 and enjoys giving back to the community. In his free time, he enjoys traveling with his wife and enjoying good food and wine. Ravi can be contacted at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.


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Pump It Up for Platelets 5K Run

ASCE Orange County had the great pleasure to participate and volunteer for the 8th Annual Pump It Up For Platelets 5K on November 9, 2019 at the William R. Mason Regional Park.  The annual 5K is aimed at raising awareness about Immune Thrombocytopenia, better known as ITP.  ITP is a rare autoimmune disorder where the body mounts an attack against its platelets.  Platelets are what cause blood to clot when there is an open wound and an individual without a normal platelet count is easily susceptible to random bruising and internal bleeding.  ITP affects 10 times as many people as hemophilia yet is not as well known by the general public.  The Pump It Up For Platelets 5K was hosted by the Platelet Disorder Support Association (donations are always welcomed).  ASCE OC YMF President-Elect, Melissa Hilsabeck, has been the lead organizer for the 5K for several years.  Melissa was herself diagnosed with ITP while in college and has since been an advocate for spreading awareness about ITP and, more importantly, being part of the support community for those with ITP and their families.  Read Melissa’s own story along with others here.  The event featured the 5K around the park, good food, raffles, inspiring stories, and community.  The event was a large success with over $7,000 raised for ITP.

About the Author

Nestor is an Associate Engineer at SLR International Corporation. Nestor received his B.S. from UC Irvine and his M.S. from CSU Fullerton. Nestor joined OC YMF to further develop his professional network of his peers.


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ASCE OC Community Service

Annual Toy Drive 2019

During this past 2019 holiday season, ASCE OC partnered with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) to support their program SONRIE (Support of Orphanages in Need through Resources, Innovation, and Empowerment) to collect and deliver toys to Mexico. Toys were collected at ASCE events, including History & Heritage/Student Scholarship Night on November 21st and the Member Appreciation Newport Harbor Cruise on December 3rd. Thanks to everyone who donated a toy! We’d also like to thank C Below for collecting and donating over 50 toys! In total, over 140 toys were collected! 

All the donated toys were delivered on December 14th to a small community called Ojos Negros located about an hour from Ensenada, Mexico. The event took place at a community center in the middle of the town. About one hundred people attended the event. Tamales, chips, and desserts were served during lunch to the attendees. After lunch, stations were set up with STEM activities for the kids to participate in. One of my most memorable memories was when one little boy got so excited that his experiment using milk and liquid dish soap turned out the way he wanted it to be and started explaining to me what he thought was happening. After the STEM activities, clothing and shoe stations were set up for the kids to pick out clothes and shoes. At the end of the event, all the kids get to pick out their favorite toys. Seeing how happy and excited the kids were to receive new toys reminds me that what we do matter and that happiness can be shared through small acts of kindness.

Donation boxes at various ASCE OC events.

Kids picking out toys after delivery.

Group photo with kids in Ojos Negors, Mexico.

About the Author

Evelyn is a transportation engineer in San Bernardino, CA. She enjoys volunteering during her free time and meeting ASCE members at volunteering events.


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ASCE OC K-12 Outreach Committee

STEM Battleships

ASCE OC YMF visited two kindergarten classrooms at Bergeson Elementary School on two separate days, January 8th and February 5th. We were able to do a picture presentation that taught the students about civil engineering; what it is, what we do, and how our work impacts society. The children flooded us with questions and were eager to show their enthusiasm for civil engineering! Following the presentation, we held a hands-on STEM activity with the students. The focus of the activity was to teach the students the concept of buoyancy. Each student designed and constructed their own tin foil boats and then tested their creations by loading the boats with pennies until they sank. We measured the number of pennies to note how many the boat would hold until it capsized. The students really enjoyed being able to get their hands wet with this activity and really learned the concept and importance of buoyancy.

By observing the children working together to formulate ideas, having fun creating their own vision and testing their creations, it truly showed us how much of a positive impact we had made that day. It’s difficult to express how proud we are of the Bergeson kindergarten students and how thankful we were to be there! Between all of the volunteers and the students, we all had a great time and learned a lot from each other! As our time came to an end, we not only walked away with smiles on our faces, but we were each given personalized and thoughtful thank you cards from each of the students!

(Left to Right) K-12 volunteers: Jared Lindo, , Adrea Echeverria, and Memo Medina.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming involved with K-12 events, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

About the Author

Memo Medina is a Civil Engineer at LPA, Inc. He is a rockstar when it comes to teaching students and is one cool cat.

Jared Lindo is a Transportation Engineer at Caltrans D12. He loves long walks on the beach with his Pekingese pet named Tulip.


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ASCE OC Geo-Institute

2020 Continuing Education Seminar

On February 6, ASCE Orange County Geo-Institute (G-I) kicked off our first event of the year with a successful continuing education seminar on “Geotechnical Performance-Based Design.” The half-day event is part of our annual tradition of bringing an immersive, technical-focused seminar to our geotechnical community. Co-hosted with the Professional Development Committee, our event was well supported by over 70 professionals and students. Many thanks to distinguished speakers Dr. Marshall Lew, Prof. Kevin Franke, and Prof. Shideh Dashti for sharing their time and knowledge!

Special shout-out to our 7 event sponsors for their continuous support: KELLERGMU GeotechnicalGroup DeltaWestern Ground Improvement, Gregg DrillingTenCate Mirafi, and Project X Corrosion.

Missed our seminar? Visit our G-I page below. While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to our e-mailing list or contact us at [email protected] to get notifications of our upcoming events!

OC G-I Board with guest speakers. (L-R) Sunil Arora (Secretary), Ali Bastani (Vice Chair), Pavlo Chrysovergis (Past Chair), Prof. Kevin Franke (Speaker), Prof. Shideh Dashti (Speaker), Adeleine Tran (First Director), Michael Givens (G-I Chair), Mohsen Mahdavi (Treasurer).

Full house at the G-I 2020 Continuing Education Seminar.

Guest speaker, Dr. Marshall Lew.

Guest speaker, Prof. Kevin Franke.

Guest speaker, Prof. Shideh Dashti.

Current OC G-I Chair, Michael Givens, presented Past Chair, Pavlo Chrysovergis, with G-I hourglass for his leadership in the past year.

About the Author

Adeleine Tran, P.E., is a Geotechnical Engineer with Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. As an engineer, she is passionate about advancing the profession and giving back to the community. In her other life as a food lover and travel enthusiast, she enjoys exploring new places and trying the locals’ favorite restaurants. For any inquiries or food recommendations, Adeleine can be reached via [email protected] and LinkedIn.


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Ace Your Annual Review: Earn What You’re Worth Workshop

On February 18th, ASCE OC YMF’s Ace Your Annual Review: Earn What You’re Worth workshop was hosted by Bryan Palma, E.I.T. and Tetra Tech in Irvine. As the guest speaker for the event, it was great to share my industry experience and lessons learned on this topic with other young civil engineers.

The presentation focused on how to find your market value, how to become a top performer, how to properly prepare and what to present in your annual review to increase your chances of getting a raise or promotion. I gave personal anecdotes on how these strategies personally worked for me and examples on how to implement them in today’s workplace.

Some key takeaways that the attendees mentioned included:

  • How salary structures work
  • A list of online and offline civil engineering resources for finding salary data points
  • 80% of the work is done before the actual review meeting, preparation is key
  • Examples of documenting your work and accomplishments
  • Looking at the bigger picture to find the most effective ways to help your manager and your team

Thanks again to Tetra Tech for hosting us. I was glad to share what I knew about this topic as it’s one of the important skillsets that we often forget about but use throughout the year.

About the Author

Mathew Picardal is a Structural Project Manager at DCI Engineers. He received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly Pomona and his master's degree in structural engineering from UC San Diego. His project portfolio includes the structural design of commercial, residential, mixed-use, religious, and retail projects. Mathew can be contacted at [email protected] or


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ASCE OC Government Relations Committee

Super Tuesday Happy Hour

On March 4th, Super Tuesday, the ASCE Orange County Government Relations Committee held their monthly meeting at TAPS Brewery in Tustin. What's so super about this Tuesday? I hope you're not asking, and you missed the meeting to vote!

Super Tuesday is when the most delegates in the presidential primary are won, including those from the largest state, California. Both political parties are in fact holding primaries, however, it is a much bigger event for the party that is trying to unseat the White House incumbent. This year the competition was between Democrats. Another day it’ll be Republicans. At the end of the night, it was still unclear who and what policies may be on the November ticket. 

Shifting policies and alignments are my favorite part about the primaries. Viewpoints can vary widely within the same parties and they must compromise under one candidate and decide what is the best direction. In today's world that can be difficult to do. Here’s a great listen about that topic,

The meeting agenda included ongoing topics and a discussion led by Robert Marteniz on automated vehicle policies at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Recently the FCC ruled on the bandwidth that vehicles can use to communicate. Robert guided us through the decisions the FCC made and explained how the wavelengths are distributed for different uses. My takeaway was that a certain wavelength that was mostly unused at this point, but dedicated to future use for communication between self-driving cars, was being appropriated. ASCE’s stance on this ruling was that it was not a safe idea and a write up from the ASCE Report Card team can be found here.

After tacos, pretzels and beer tasting we all left the meeting better informed about what our government is doing and excited about the presidential primary season. As you get ready to vote this year, I encourage you to research and talk about the issues that our industry and the nation are dealing with that are important to you. Whether it is infrastructures or healthcare, stay engaged and help find a compromise. 

There are many chances for you to get involved in ASCE Government Relations, including: 

  • Attending the Region 9 (California) Legislative Day in Sacramento. This event is typically in May and registration will open in the upcoming months for the 2020 event.
  • Engaging with your federal, state and local representatives through email contact, scheduling face to face meetings, or attending planned events like holiday parties.
  • Engaging with ASCE regional staff through the Key Contact Program.
  • Reach out to Adeleine or myself to be added to the ASCE Orange County Government Relations Committee and get notified when there's an upcoming legislative event. 

Share the 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card:

There’s an App for that!

  • Search Save America’s Infrastructure on App Store or Google Play

See how you can get involved:

About the Author

Patrick Tierney is a civil engineer at Michael Baker International in Orange County, CA. He specializes in highway transportation projects and has experience in the bridge and regional planning fields. Originally from Massachusetts, he enjoys surfing the warmer waters in Southern California. Patrick can be reached at [email protected].


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ASCE OC Branch & YMF

I-405 Widening Construction Technical Tour

ASCE OC Branch & YMF coordinated with Azzam Saad, Contracts Manager for OC405 Partners and Billy Parent, Public Relations Specialist for OC405 Partners, to tour Interstate (I) 405 freeway construction site. The freeway widening will ultimately extend from I-605 juncture to State Route (SR) 73 in the south. It will encompass 18 bridge replacements, interchange reconfigurations, and merge lane improvements in order to add two new lanes in each direction.

The first stop on the tour was the Talbert Ave Overcrossing. This structure will ultimately be an approximately 435-foot-long structure. The bridge will be a Cast-In-Place Prestressed Box Girder Bridge. The abutments and columns are currently constructed; the soffit slab will be cast next on falsework, which will span the open I-405 freeway. The final top slab will be cast last. The over 50 degrees skew of Talbert Ave created longer spans over the freeway due to being at an angle.

McFadden Ave Overcrossing had similar geometry due to the freeway location. To align with the edge of the freeway the abutments, retaining foundations supporting the roadway superstructure, have lengths over 150 feet. Multiple rows of piles were required to provide sufficient foundation capacity. In 24-inch-diameter Cast-in-Drilled-Hole piles, tubes are placed for gamma-ray testing. This is used to find voids in the pile concrete which could compromise its capacity.

The tour ended at the batch plant which was set up for the I-405 project. A temporary plant has been constructed in the space adjacent to the Beach Boulevard off-ramp. At this location, the aggregate and cement are mixed to create the concrete required. With its close location, the necessary volume of material can be processed efficiently without much time lost to transportation.

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].


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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:

March 2020

Ali Adobayah, S.M.ASCE
Rouzbeh Afshar, Ph.D.,P.E.,M.ASCE
Mohammad Alazemi, S.M.ASCE
Josevictor Castillo, S.M.ASCE
Julia Chivington-Buck, P.E.,M.ASCE
Julian Falagan, S.M.ASCE
Authman Fateh, S.M.ASCE
Yuan Gao, S.M.ASCE
John Hakel, Aff.M.ASCE
Darian Haseyama, S.M.ASCE
Jeffrey Hess, S.M.ASCE
Boyuan Jiang, S.M.ASCE
Adriana Jimenez, S.M.ASCE
Benjamin Lim, S.M.ASCE
Fridah Mutunga, S.M.ASCE
Steven Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Sudi Shoja, Aff.M.ASCE
Rosalva Ureno, Aff.M.ASCE
Nhu Vo, S.M.ASCE
Gherardo Sebastian Zubieta, S.M.ASCE

February 2020

Priscilla Alvarez, S.M.ASCE
Peter Avalos, S.M.ASCE
Michael Broad, P.E.,M.ASCE
Nicholas Brown, S.M.ASCE
Raphael Caliolio, S.M.ASCE
Michelle Chavez, S.M.ASCE
Justin Choi, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Chelsea Coran, S.M.ASCE
Christian Delgadillo, Aff.M.ASCE
Josue Flores, S.M.ASCE
Diana Garrett, P.E.,M.ASCE
Jessica Ha, S.M.ASCE
Andrew Hanna, S.M.ASCE
Tommy Hosmer, S.M.ASCE
Yuhsiang Huang, S.M.ASCE
Kyle Hughes, Aff.M.ASCE
Kai Jin, S.M.ASCE
Sachin Kuppa, S.M.ASCE
Michelle Little, A.M.ASCE
Jessica Lopez, S.M.ASCE
David Maher, P.E.,M.ASCE
Sebastian Mariscal, S.M.ASCE
Angel Martinez, S.M.ASCE
Adolfo Morales, S.M.ASCE
Joshua Myran, S.M.ASCE
Alex Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Brenda Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Huy Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Jacob Perea, S.M.ASCE
Albert Raez Aristondo, S.M.ASCE
Ankit Rastogi, S.M.ASCE
Edgar Ruiz Diaz, S.M.ASCE
April Santonil, S.M.ASCE
Jason Schneider, A.M.ASCE
John To, S.M.ASCE
Joshua Woo, S.M.ASCE
Dylan Wyant, S.M.ASCE
Yijun Xiang, S.M.ASCE

January 2020

Haitham Abdelhafeez, P.E.,M.ASCE
Erich Axsom, Aff.M.ASCE
Ellen Chen, S.M.ASCE
Kyle Copley, S.M.ASCE
Yesenia Diaz, A.M.ASCE
Richard Dominguez, S.M.ASCE
Gail Farber, Aff.M.ASCE
Flint Freshwater, S.M.ASCE
Artur Gamirov, A.M.ASCE
Natalie Jensen, P.E.,M.ASCE
Charles Kerzic, Aff.M.ASCE
Sehrish Khan, Aff.M.ASCE
David Kim, S.M.ASCE
Kyle Kulpa, S.M.ASCE
Sangmin Lee, S.M.ASCE
Zhuofeng Li, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Charlotte Love, S.M.ASCE
Omid Mazdiyasni, Ph.D.,EIT,A.M.ASCE
Peter Meng, P.E.,M.ASCE
Brad Mielke, P.E.,S.E.,M.ASCE
Beau Morton, S.M.ASCE
Kim Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
James Pham, S.M.ASCE
Susan Pomerleau, P.E.,M.ASCE
Hunter Quon, EIT,S.M.ASCE
Nick Rayson, S.M.ASCE
Hussam Safieh, S.M.ASCE
Jonathan Speak, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Alejandro Valadez, S.M.ASCE
Brian Yoon, S.M.ASCE
Nick Zamarripa, P.E.,M.ASCE
Babak Zandi-Haghighi, A.M.ASCE
Zhilan Zhang, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Alexis Zoffreo, A.M.ASCE
Jesus Zuniga, S.M.ASCE

December 2019

Brian Chung, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Hyun Joon Kim, A.M.ASCE
Tonia Wang, P.E., M.ASCE
Chad Williams, EIT,A.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.

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