Orange County Branch Newsletter

Established 1953

September 2020

President's Message

Final President's Message and Incoming Board

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein.

One of my favorite things about being involved in ASCE is the endless networking opportunities from our local events to national conferences, friendships, and the ability to meet so many colleagues from all around the world. As my term as President comes to an end, I wholeheartedly expected the last 12 months would go by quickly, but I certainly did not expect the challenges beyond attempting to balance professional involvement and a full-time workload while progressing my goals as President and advancing the mission and vision of our organization. As the reality of the pandemic set in, I was certainly proud to see our Branch and YMF adjust so quickly to the new normal.

Our Branch, YMF, and Student Chapters and their leaders have adapted and are continuing to bring value and engagement to our members and those within the community from K-12 students through college students and professionals. Most of our events are now being completely hosted virtually from our monthly luncheons to our recently completed Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition and Pathways Academy Programs. Our Branch and YMF are continuing their annual mentorship program (in its 7th year) and we are even continuing to plan some of our major events such as our Annual History and Heritage Student Scholarship Night in November, which will be hosted virtually for the first time. We will be awarding over $10K in scholarships – our social committee has been working diligently to plan an amazing event that recognizes our student chapters and our rich history in Orange County.

While there are some events we had expected to host in-person and have been postponed to ensure the safety of our members - such as our Annual Golf Tournament, VIP Event, and the ASCE Annual Convention, which was to be held here locally just next month, we are excited about the possibilities of the events we have been able to hold virtually. We hope we will one day soon be able to return to hosting in-person events. In the meantime, our leaders will continue to plan fun events such as OC SEI’s upcoming Oktoberfest Virtual Beer Tasting & Brewery Tour delivered to your door to informative technical events such as OC Geo-Institute's Geo-Instrumentation & Fiber Optic Virtual Presentation. Please consider joining us at our next event!

As I conclude my Presidency, I'm very excited to announce our upcoming FY 2020-2021 Board who will continue to build upon what we’ve been able to accomplish during this difficult time.

  • Clint Isa, President
  • Rémi Candaele, President-Elect
  • Taki Chrysoveris, Secretary
  • Jennifer Marks, Treasurer
  • Ravi Shah, Past-President

Also, we’ve got a phenomenal YMF Board lined up for next year.

  • Melissa Hilsabeck, President
  • Ashlyn Alexander, President-Elect
  • Esmeralda Briseno, Secretary
  • Victor Aguirre, Treasurer
  • Jazzy Quinabo, Past-President

Please take a moment to congratulate them and help support them over the next year! If you’re interested in being involved in one of the many institutes or committees, please reach out to [email protected].

Additionally, I’d like to take a moment to provide some quick announcements regarding the Multi-Regional Conference (January 2021) and Annual Convention (October 2020). The Western Region MRLC has officially been postponed to July 9-11, 2021 in Orange County, just in time for some wonderful California weather! Please stay tuned for registration information. With the current restrictions on large events, the Annual Convention next month has also gone virtual. If you are interested in attending, they’ve got some great speakers and topics, please register here:

For those of you looking forward to hosting ASCE members from throughout the world, the Annual Convention will be returning to Southern California in October 2022. Mark your calendars and start thinking about some of the great projects and topics we can showcase to those visiting and attending the conference – it’ll be here before we know it.

Finally, I’d like to take one final opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to all of our members, volunteers, leaders, and sponsors for allowing me to serve as your President and providing much-needed support for our Branch. We’ve accomplished great things over the last year, as challenging as it may have been – we would not have been able to do it without your continued support. I’d also like to thank my employer Mark Thomas and my wife, who have been supportive of my involvement over the last several years. While I have not been able to meet as many of you in person as I normally would have – I look forward to seeing many of you soon and at our next event, thank you again!

Ravi Shah, PE
President, ASCE OC Branch

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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ASCE OC Mentorship Program

A Professional Panel in Uncertain Times

On July 22, 2020, the ASCE OC Mentorship Program held its first-ever virtual professional panel. This event was open to all ASCE members and there were 30 total participants, including some attendees from college chapters. Stephen Cruz and Nadia Mugisha acted as moderators and there were 3 speakers for the panel, each from a different field within the industry.

The panel included an interactive survey using "Kahoot!" where participants could anonymously post answers to a series of questions related to mentorship. The panelists were then asked to share their personal mentorship experiences, their perspectives on the importance of mentorship, what makes a good mentor, and why even consider being a mentor.

A key topic of discussion was the current situation surrounding COVID-19. The panel offered a platform for participants to openly discuss about impacts to our industry, advice on how to still develop professionally during this time (you can finally start to study for that PE exam), as well as provide encouragement to one another.

One thing that is certain is that the Mentorship Program is continuing to find ways to stay connected! Interested in being a mentor or protégé? Check out our page for when the applications are open!

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 Orange County

Pathways Academy 2020

Established in 2019, the ASCE OC Pathways Academy is a three-part summer program that introduces university students to the various civil engineering disciplines through our "Engineering Your Future" (EYF) Speaker Series Event, Company Tour Seminars, and valuable professional networking opportunities. The goal of this program is to bridge the gap between academia and industry by encouraging students to explore all their potential career options. With the huge success of its first year, ASCE OC was excited to empower the engineering journeys of our Class of 2020 Student Scholars!

Due to the unprecedented events, this year's Pathways Academy was hosted completely virtual. During the EYF 2-Day Virtual Event on July 23rd and 24th, our Speaker Series featured companies from various disciplines and public agencies. Students had the opportunity to hear 25-minute lightning talks from professionals working in the seven main Civil Engineering disciplines. The speakers shared their scope and career paths, interesting projects they have worked on, highlights of their career journeys, and provided advice to students on how they can prepare for their respective disciplines. Thank you to our 2020 EYF participating companies - Gannett Fleming, Murex Environmental, SPC Engineering, DCI Engineers, LADWP, OC Waste & Recycling, PACE, Stantec, McCarthy Building Companies, City of Anaheim, OCTA, Mark Thomas, and Jacobs, for presenting to nearly 100 university students and professionals! We also want to give a big thanks to our Gold Sponsors: HNTB and Michael Baker International!

EYF July 23rd Industry Speakers

EYF July 24th Industry Speakers

EYF Professional Panel Speakers

The Company Tour Virtual Seminars were hosted between July 27th and July 30th. Our 25 Pathways Academy Student Scholars had the opportunity to do a deeper dive into the seven main civil engineering disciplines by virtually attending eight Company Tour Seminars. These seminars, hosted by private firms and public agencies in Orange County, allowed students to learn about real-world design and construction projects, participate in interactive activities to better understand the disciplines, and network and learn from experienced engineers from their firm. Thank you to our 2020 Company Tour Hosts - WSP, Griffith Company, ENGEO, Michael Baker International, OC Public Works, Kimley Horn, Mark Thomas, and TY Lin International! ASCE OC appreciates their time, effort, and support towards the future of these bright students.

ASCE OC Pathways Academy 2020 Company Tour Hosts

The program concluded with a Cohort Virtual Graduation Ceremony on Friday, July 31st where our 25 Pathways Academy Student Scholars, participating companies, and the amazing Pathways Academy committee virtually celebrated the end of this year's program. The Scholars shared their experience and were presented with their Certificate of Completion. Additionally, during the Ceremony, our participating companies revealed their Externship/Mentorship opportunities to the scholars they selected. All of our 25 Scholars received at least one Externship/Mentorship opportunity! Wow! Thank you all for the continuous support and congratulations again to the Class of 2020!

ASCE OC Pathways Academy Class of 2020 Student Scholars

About the Author

Esmeralda Briseno is a Project Engineer for the Program & Construction Management Group at Jacobs. Since her involvement, ASCE has provided Esmeralda with opportunities of personal and professional development and allowed her to meet some of the most enthusiastic and hard-working engineers in the industry. In her spare time, Esmeralda enjoys visiting museums, hiking, and exploring new places.


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ASCE OC Government Relations Committee

Impacts of COVID-19 September 2020

On August 19th, the ASCE OC Branch and Government Relations Committee hosted an online panel to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the civil engineering profession. Dr. Cris Liban, Chief Sustainability Officer at LA Metro, led the discussion as moderator. The panel brought various perspectives from within the ASCE community with panelists from:

  • Caroline Sevier, American Society of Civil Engineers Director of Government Relations
  • Kenneth Rosenfield, P.E., Assistant City Manager at the City of Laguna Hills, ASCE Region 9 Vice-Chair and Director-Elect
  • Jeffrey Cooper, P.E., Director of Infrastructure at Irvine NV5, ASCE Region 9 Governor

2020 has been a unique year. Civil unrest has spiraled in a call for social change. The COVID-19 outbreak has closed offices and disrupted our normal travel patterns. As of August, data shows that six months into the pandemic unemployment rates are around 10% and 180,000 lives have been lost. For some people, COVID-19 has torn the world apart. Where is the civil engineering profession going? How are we impacted as a profession?

The panelists started off by discussing how election outcomes could affect infrastructure funding. Given the current unemployment rate, now would be a great time to fund the construction sector and create jobs. The lack of action by our legislators in D.C. stems from a difference in policy and focus on immediate relief packages. Republicans have focused on fiscal responsibility and streamlining project delivery. Democrats have proposed policy and legislation that centers around sustainability, equity, and resilience. Typically, infrastructure funding is a bi-partisan issue.

The Failure to Act has a cost:

Please check your voter registration status here:

Questions were asked about the impacts of COVID-19 on our industry. The general consensus was that our industry has adapted. State agency budgets have been impacted. Agencies are elongating project schedules and reducing available funds in the short term. Projects will return to full potential once funds will recover. Cities and towns are shifting to focus on maintenance and utility work since there are fewer drivers on the road. Many professionals are still working remotely. Civil engineering hasn’t been adversely affected and our adaptation has mitigated impacts.

The prospect of new infrastructure funding to create jobs through our sector could actually boost the profession. The panelists and moderators brought a call to action for civil engineers to get involved in government and politics. This will help push for infrastructure funding to be passed and to shape our world the way civil engineers see it possible. That can start with advocacy through ASCE government relations and with your voice this election season.

The talk was informative and well-attended by over 40 professionals. Each panelist brought a unique perspective to the screen. Thank you to the moderator and panelists for sharing your insights on the pandemic impacts on our industry and government relations.

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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Seismic Retrofit of Bridges in Southern California

ASCE Orange County Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) held its August 2020 technical presentation on “Seismic Retrofit of Bridges in Southern California” on Thursday, August 27th. The presenter, Amit Joshi, is a Bridge Engineer at Caltrans, Division of Engineering Services, Office of Bridge Design South. Mr. Joshi has 10 years of experience in structural design and construction of bridges in California. He serves as a Project Engineer on various seismic retrofit, bridge widening, and replacement projects in the Los Angeles Region. He is part of the Post-Earthquake investigation team at Caltrans. Mr. Joshi has recently founded the ASCE Los Angeles Chapter SEI.

The presentation covered the primary performance standard for retrofitting bridges in California, which is to prevent the structure from reaching its collapse limit state for the Design Earthquake, i.e. “No Collapse” performance is the goal to protect human life. Mr. Joshi covered unique methodologies used for structural analysis and innovative technologies used for determining the seismic retrofit strategy of the bridge in Southern California and described Caltrans Seismic Retrofit program and its evolution over time in detail. He also went into details of seismic retrofit concepts including mass reduction, mass separation, column casing, and hinge modifications. Mr. Joshi described the seismic retrofit projects he worked on in the Southern California region:

  • S55-S73 Connector OC
  • Gaffey Street Bridge
  • Harbor Scenic Drive Bridge


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ASCE OC Sustainability Committee

2020 ENR Award of Excellence

Congratulations to Cris Liban, L.A. Metro Chief of Sustainability Officer, for receiving the 2020 ENR Award of Excellence.

Cris is a longtime advocate of incorporating sustainability into the full life cycle in projects. He is actively serving in many organizations such as the ASCE Committee on Sustainability Nation Chair, Panel Expert/Chair/Member for Transportation Research Board (TRB) National Academies, Technical Adviser for The World Bank, etc. He has led the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure, “… a global coalition of change agents from across the engineering, investment, city, and philanthropic communities.” It “… will identify and address the biggest barriers to action that have prevented us from working together for a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future.”

For more information regarding the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure:

Watch the ENR 2020 Award of Excellence Winner video: 2020 ENR Award of Excellence and Cris’s response to the award: Looking Forward, the Engineering Challenge of our Moment

About the Author

Charlotte Wu is a Professional Civil Engineer, Envision Sustainability Professional, Sustainable Transportation Professional in the field of transportation with AECOM. She currently serves as co-chair for ASCE Orange County Sustainability Committee. Charlotte can be contacted at [email protected].


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ASCE OC Geo-Institute

2020 Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award

The ASCE Orange County Geo-Institute (G-I) is pleased to announce that Dr. Binod Tiwari, PhD, PE, F.ASCE has been awarded the 2020 Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award by the Society’s Geo-Institute for co-authoring the paper “Characterization of the Reduction in Undrained Shear Strength in Fine-Grained Soils due to Cyclic Loading,” published in the May 2019 issue of Journal of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Engineering.

Tiwari has greatly contributed to our institute through his active involvement in ASCE technical committees, his well-positioned journal papers, and his leadership at Cal State Fullerton (CSUF). He has been repeatedly recognized for his dedication to improving the future generations of geotechnical engineers with honors that include the CSUF 2017 Outstanding Professor Award, the 2016 Carol Barnes Teaching Excellence, and the 2012 CSUF Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty awards.

On behalf of the ASCE OC G-I and our membership, we thank Dr. Tiwari for his continued contributions to our geotechnical community and congratulate him on a well-deserved award.


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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:

September 2020

Cameron Abdoh, S.M.ASCE
Cambria Adams, S.M.ASCE
Mohamed Al Taei, S.M.ASCE
Reza Alamir, Aff.M.ASCE
Angel Alay, S.M.ASCE
Monserrat Alegria, S.M.ASCE
Paul Ambrose, S.M.ASCE
Richard Antablin, S.M.ASCE
Zachery Aragon, S.M.ASCE
Maria Ayala, S.M.ASCE
Manuel Benitez Ruiz, S.M.ASCE
Marc Brito, S.M.ASCE
Zachary Chao, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Harry Chen, S.M.ASCE
Jacqueline Chen, S.M.ASCE
George Colaco, S.M.ASCE
Morgan Daly, S.M.ASCE
Quinten De Veirman, S.M.ASCE
Roderick Dela Cruz, P.E.,M.ASCE
Justin Demirbey, S.M.ASCE
Paul Estillore, S.M.ASCE
Kaila Ganzon, S.M.ASCE
Vanessa Garcia, S.M.ASCE
Francisco Gutierrez, P.E.,M.ASCE
Matthew Hoeksema, S.M.ASCE
Ismail Ibrahim, S.M.ASCE
Nathan Johnston, P.E.,M.ASCE
Bryan Kao, S.M.ASCE
Eugene Lai, S.M.ASCE
Huan Le, S.M.ASCE
Brennan Liu, S.M.ASCE
Sabrina Luo, S.M.ASCE
Louie Mercurio, P.E.,M.ASCE
Samantha Mihelish, P.E.,M.ASCE
Benjamin Molina, S.M.ASCE
Tamires Nassar, Aff.M.ASCE
Alan Pacheco Malagon, EIT, A.M.ASCE
Joshua Paredes, S.M.ASCE
Tin Phan, S.M.ASCE
Edward Quigley, S.M.ASCE
Marie Frances Santos, S.M.ASCE
Kendra Shreve, S.M.ASCE
Ana Siddiqui, S.M.ASCE
Katie Taugher, S.M.ASCE
Emily Tran, S.M.ASCE
William Tse, S.M.ASCE
Alexander Tu, S.M.ASCE
Christopher Tyndall, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Heather Yoshii, S.M.ASCE
Yu Zhang, Aff.M.ASCE

August 2020

Cristina Baily, S.M.ASCE
James Baker-Arend, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Matthew Buck, S.M.ASCE
Cady Byrd-Cabelka, S.M.ASCE
Alan De Nova, S.M.ASCE
Khanh Doan, S.M.ASCE
Jesus Hernandez, S.M.ASCE
Jonathan Jo, S.M.ASCE
Ali Khalidi, S.M.ASCE
Alice Lara, S.M.ASCE
Camille Le, A.M.ASCE
Jue Li, S.M.ASCE
Kevin McDonald, EIT, A.M.ASCE
Derek Nguyen, EIT,A.M.ASCE
Tyler Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Ximena Quero, S.M.ASCE
Erika Rodriguez, S.M.ASCE
Nicholas Senturia, S.M.ASCE
Stacy Soewono, S.M.ASCE
Patrick Dang Tran, S.M.ASCE
Jarvis Yuan, S.M.ASCE

July 2020

Veronica Alvarez, A.M.ASCE
Lydia Chun, Aff.M.ASCE
Cynthia Dimnik, S.M.ASCE
Ogul Doygun, Ph.D.,Aff.M.ASCE
Alvaro Estrada, S.M.ASCE
Belen Manzano, S.M.ASCE
Monica Nguyen, S.M.ASCE
Mateo Rivera, 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:

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Orange County Younger Member Forum: