Orange County Branch Newsletter

Established 1953

September 2019

President's Message

FY 2020 Leadership


"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." – Joel A. Barker


It is with great pleasure that we present the Fiscal Year 2020 ASCE OC Branch & YMF Executive Board Members! The new term is set to begin on October 1st, 2019. Excited to continue to volunteer with such amazing leaders! 

ASCE OC Branch






ASCE OC Younger Member Forum





About the Author

Elizabeth Ruedas is a Surface Water Engineer with Michael Baker International in Orange County, CA. She is passionate about inspiring, empowering, and educating others to help us move towards a more sustainable future. She currently serves as the ASCE OC Branch President and is grateful for all of the opportunities that ASCE provides for members to give back. Elizabeth can be contacted via [email protected] or LinkedIn.


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ASCE OC Branch & Geo-Institute

Effects of Earthquakes to California’s Water Distribution System

On July 18, 2019, the Orange County Branch and Geo-Institute co-hosted a luncheon featuring Professor Scott J. Brandenberg of UCLA, who presented on “Effects of Earthquakes to California’s Water Distribution System.” Professor Brandenberg discussed an extensive research study on the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, which included field testing, centrifuge modeling, laboratory testing, development of fragility functions, and development of a system reliability analysis procedure.

With Magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes occurring in Ridgecrest, California two weeks prior to the luncheon, this topic was particularly relevant to the 90+ local members who attended. Professor Brandenberg also presented a recap of his observations from a field reconnaissance trip to Ridgecrest as a part of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association. Please see our page to download the presentation:

Thanks to everyone who attended and to our sponsors: Western Ground Improvement, Hayward Baker, Middle Earth Geo Testing, and California Nevada Cement Association!

About the Author

Mr. Pavlo Chrysovergis is a Project Engineer with SPC Geotechnical and works in the Civil, Geotechnical, and Environmental fields. He currently serves as Chair of the ASCE OC Geo-Institute and has a passion for enhancing the local geotechnical practice and supporting the development of future civil engineers. Pavlo can be reached at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.


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Port of Long Beach Harbor Cruise

On a wonderfully sunny day in July, OC YMF and the Metropolitan LA Branch jointly hosted a Port of Long Beach harbor cruise. Approximately 70 ASCE members and their families, along with the general public, coasted through the Long Beach Harbor into the Port’s channels. The tour was narrated by Port of Long Beach staff in addition to special guest, Francisco Aragon, LA Branch President. The tour got up close and personal with the crane rail operators at Pier E in Middle Harbor which is part of the Port’s Capital Improvement Program.

The Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment Project is creating the world’s greenest container shipping terminal — nearly all electric and zero emissions. Equipped with the most advanced technologies in North America, the new facility will handle twice as much cargo as the two terminals it replaces, while dramatically cutting air pollution. The modernized wharf can handle the world’s largest ships and will strengthen the Port’s competitiveness and the local economy. The Middle Harbor construction began back in 2011 and is expected to take about nine years. The first of two phases opened in 2016. Orient Overseas Container Line, a major Hong Kong-based shipping line, agreed in 2012 to a 40-year lease to operate the new terminal through its subsidiary Long Beach Container Terminal.

The harbor cruise continued under the Gerald Desmond Bridge where folks were able to get a waterside look at the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project. When completed, the bridge will span the Port of Long Beach’s Back Channel with a deck rising 205 feet above the water! The sleek, cable-stayed bridge will include additional traffic lanes, a higher clearance to accommodate larger cargo ships, and a dedicated bicycle path and pedestrian walkway, including scenic overlooks. With two towers reaching 515 feet into the sky, it will be the second-tallest cable-stayed bridge in the United States.

As the second-busiest container seaport in the United States, the Port handles trade valued at more than $194 billion annually and supports 2.6 million trade-related jobs across the nation, more than 575,000 in Southern California. The Port encompasses 3,200 acres with 31 miles of waterfront, 10 piers, 62 berths, and 68 post-Panamax gantry cranes. In 2018, the Port handled more than 8 million container units, achieving the busiest year in its history. 

The Port provides Harbor Cruises all summer long. They currently have morning tours on the first and third Saturdays as well as the second and fourth Thursdays in the evenings. Be sure to check out the registration online. 

About the Author

Melissa Hilsabeck is a design engineer at KPFF Consulting Engineers and an alum of Cal Poly Pomona. She has been involved with ASCE for many years and is currently serving as President-Elect for OC YMF. She is also involved with OC Branch’s Professional Development Committee and serving as the Coasts, Oceans, Port and Rivers Institute (COPRI) Liaison. When Melissa is not contributing to ASCE activities, you can find her riding bikes in Huntington Beach and organizing a 5k walk for the Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA).


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ASCE OC Branch & YMF

Breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House

ASCE OC hosted a breakfast meal service on August 10, 2019 at the Orange County Ronald McDonald House. Ronald McDonald House is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The organization has about 364 houses worldwide. The main purpose of these houses is to give families with children who have serious illnesses or injuries a place they can call home while undergoing treatments at nearby hospitals. Each house provides families with home-cooked meals, bedrooms, and playrooms at little to no cost.

The breakfast meal service began at 7:00 AM and ended at 11:00 AM. We were divided into groups to help with the cooking. Most of our ingredients required the oven so the group strategized how to cook things according to heat of oven, time, quantity and how long they can stay hot before serving. One group was responsible for bacon first and then the biscuits. The group also put the waffles in the oven and the toaster to utilize time and resources. Another group helped with scrambled eggs last. The group was very grateful to have a volunteer who made the sausage gravy from scratch! We provided turkey bacon and two different kinds of sausages to give families different alternatives. Fruits such as bananas and apples were served along with juices, coffee, and cereal. Everyone also cleaned and washed the dishes after.

During the meal service, we get to eat together with families that were staying there to learn more about their stories. They were very nice and appreciative of what we had done. Knowing that we are making a difference in our community brings joy and more drive to give back. We had an amazing time cooking and serving. Please join us at our next volunteering event!

To learn more about the Ronald McDonald House, please visit:

ASCE OC members having fun cooking breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House!


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ASCE OC Geo-Institute

Seismic Design Updates for the California Building Code

The Orange County Geo-Institute Chapter co-hosted an August dinner meeting with CalGeo in Santa Ana featuring a presentation by Dr. David A. Baska of Terracon Consultants. The presentation covered some of the changes that will be implemented in the 2019 California Building Code, such as a more widespread requirement for site-specific ground motion studies, enhancing site-specific procedures, and providing threshold values for differential settlement and lateral spreading, to name a few. The meeting was attended by over 110 local practicing engineers, academics, and students.

Thank you to our sponsors: Hayward Baker and Western Ground Improvement. A copy of the presentation slides can be found on the Geo-Institute webpage.

About the Author

Mr. Pavlo Chrysovergis is a Project Engineer with SPC Geotechnical and works in the Civil, Geotechnical, and Environmental fields. He currently serves as Chair of the ASCE OC Geo-Institute and has a passion for enhancing the local geotechnical practice and supporting the development of future civil engineers. Pavlo can be reached at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.


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Summer Networking Socials

Throughout the year, ASCE OC YMF hosts many activities and networking social events that offer an opportunity to share food and drink with other young engineers in Orange County. This summer, we had two networking social events in July and September. The July Networking Social took place at TAPS Brewery in Tustin on a Wednesday evening. It was a great location for a mid-Summer Networking Social due to its outdoor patio and open seating. The event was very well-attended and everyone was able to mingle with different groups whether they were crowding around the fire pit or standing around a wooden barrel. This networking provided a great opportunity away from work to connect with fellow and prospective YMF members while enjoying nice cold refreshments and delicious appetizers on a summer night.

The last YMF social event of the fiscal year occurred at Lucille’s Barbecue and Smokehouse at the District in Tustin. Attendees first met up in the bar area before being seated. This was perfect since it was also the opening day for the NFL and the TVs in the bar were showing the football game. Attendees were able to get their first beverage while conversing with fellow YMF members and watching the game.  Once a majority of the group arrived, we moved to the outdoor patio to where our table was located. Although it seemed to be one of the hottest evenings of the year, attendees hardly complained. They were happy to eat some delicious appetizers from ribs to fried okra and catch up with peers while meeting new acquaintances.  Although attendees may have come for the biscuits and barbecue, they stayed for the networking opportunity.


About the Author

Jessica Leyva, PE, is a civil engineer at Michael Baker International in Orange County, CA. When she's not writing articles for ASCE OC or working as an engineer, she can be found running, skiing or hanging by the beach. Jessica can be contacted at [email protected] or LinkedIn.


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ASCE OC T&DI & Government Relations Committee

A Panel on SB 1

Since Senate Bill (SB) 1 was signed into law in 2017, the gas tax revenue has been the largest infusion of transportation funding for California. For our September 11 Luncheon, ASCE Orange County Transportation & Development Institute (T&DI) and Government Relations Committee proudly invited a panel of OC’s leading transportation agencies (Caltrans District 12, Orange County Transportation Authority, and Orange County Public Works) to share with our members the positive impacts of SB 1 funding on our local and state surface transportation infrastructure. Current and future projects, such as the repair of our bridges, completion of the OC Loop, pavement preservation along SR-55 and 57, and operations of bus/rail services, would not be possible without SB 1! When asked about the future of the California Infrastructure Report Card, all of our panelists believe that transportation investments, such as but not limited to SB 1, will undoubtedly help increase our grades, particularly in roads where the category is only a "D."

The panel discussion was well received by over 60 attendees. I’m so proud to have been part of the planning committee. Many thanks to:

  • Our panel speakers, Ryan Chamberlain (Caltrans), Jim Beil (OCTA), and Nardy Khan (OCPW), and panel moderator, Dina Rochford (Leighton), for sharing their time;
  • Our lunch sponsors, Jacobs and Michael Baker International, for supporting our event;
  • T&DI board members, Kelsie Anderson, Juliet Su, and Robert Martinez, for providing so much guidance;
  • Lastly, my GR Committee co-chair, Patrick Tierney, for coordinating this event with me!

Panel Speakers: Caltrans District 12 Director, Ryan Chamberlain; Deputy Director of Infrastructure Programs for Orange County Public Works, Nardy Khan; and the Executive Director of Capital Projects for Orange County Transportation Authority, Jim Beil.


ASCE OC Branch Executive Board, T&DI Board, and Government Relations Committee Chairs with Panel Moderator and Speakers.


To raise California’s infrastructure grade, ASCE developed the following four recommendations:

  • Promote effective and collaborative leadership;
  • Develop smart plans to better identify funding needs;
  • Increase state and local funding;
  • Inform the public and raise awareness.

As civil engineers, we are responsible for protecting the public's quality of life, we have the technical expertise and professional duty to help our communities and lawmakers work towards a comprehensive infrastructure investment plan. We encourage you to share the grades with your friends, families, and legislators to help promote the improvement, repair, and modernization of our infrastructure.

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

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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ASCE OC Branch & YMF

California Coastal Cleanup Day

On September 21, 2019, the ASCE OC Branch and YMF joined together to participate in the 35th California Coastal Cleanup Day at the Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach, California. The Coastal Cleanup Day dates back to 1985 with efforts to clean up our beaches since the 1970s! According to the Newport Bay Conservancy, the Upper Newport Bay watershed (the network of storm drains, rivers, creeks, and canals) covers 154 square miles, encompassing the communities of Newport Beach, Irvine, Tustin, Orange, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Costa Mesa, and Santa Ana. Also, the Bay receives thousands of pounds of trash that has washed in from surrounding cities, polluting the water, harming wildlife and threatening public health. Therefore, this year, ASCE OC wanted to service the filthier areas such as the Bay and be a part of a team of 1,000 people that typically help with this site.


We arrived with our own materials to reduce waste at the event and the Coastal Clean Up organization provided materials for our group as well. We had people arrive at all different times, so the large group separated into smaller groups. We had a group who got on a bus to a further site of the Bay by the Jamboree Bridge where tons of trash gets washed up and is difficult to get to on a normal basis. We also had a group who stayed back at site 10 and were able to clean up on the trails and down near the water. It was emphasized at the meeting to wear shoes that you would not mind getting dirty and one of our members learned this in a funny way as she reached for a piece of trash and got stuck in the mud, knee-deep! Other people who were near-by and witnessed it kindly helped her out and recovered her shoe that was stuck in the mud! Overall, It was interesting to see all the trash that we were able to pick up from bottle caps, packs of beer bottles, straws, plastic, wrappers to even pieces of furniture like couches and chairs! It was also a great opportunity to socialize with everyone in the group and meet other people that were volunteering! 

We love that we are a part of an organization like ASCE, whose purpose is to uplift, support each other and communities and even contribute to keeping our beaches sustainable and safe for everyone and animals. We truly had a blast during this event and would love to do this again in the future. We look forward to the next community outreach events to come!


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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 2019

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 2019

Soheil Anzabi, S.M.ASCE
Banu Armstrong, S.M.ASCE
Patrick Charlton, Aff.M.ASCE
Lucero Good, A.M.ASCE
Chris Haugen, S.M.ASCE
Michael Hernandez, A.M.ASCE
Kaier Lao, S.M.ASCE
Cindy Miller, P.E., M.ASCE
Bryan Paine, Aff.M.ASCE
Brenda Palermo, Aff.M.ASCE
Jerome (Joe) Parco, P.E., M.ASCE
Farhan Sattar, Aff.M.ASCE
Gary Tran, Aff.M.ASCE
Sergio Valdez, S.M.ASCE
Jose F. Ventocilla, Aff.M.ASCE

July 2019

Chandrikaa Balendhran, P.E., M.ASCE
Liqi Chen, S.M.ASCE
Andrew Cornelius, A.M.ASCE
Samuel Dominguez, S.M.ASCE
Brendan Dugan, Aff.M.ASCE
Maxwell Guarniere, P.E., M.ASCE
Ali Hajihashemi, P.E., M.ASCE
Tom Lazear, A.M.ASCE
Pratiik Malik, S.M.ASCE
Giovanny Parra, S.M.ASCE
Noe Parra, EIT, A.M.ASCE
Blake Pendergrast, S.E., M.ASCE
Jackie Phuekhunthod, Aff.M.ASCE
Shery Salama, S.M.ASCE
Aiqian Shen, EIT, A.M.ASCE
William Talamaivao, S.M.ASCE
Sean Theriot, S.M.ASCE
Wenbin Zhao, 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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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 billing information please contact our Publications Committee at [email protected]

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