Orange County Branch Newsletter

December 2019

President's Message

President's Message

By Ravi Shah, P.E., QSD/P | 2019-2020 President

It’s been an incredible start to the new fiscal year as President and I couldn’t be more excited – we’ve got an amazing group of leaders within ASCE Orange County from our Student Chapter leaders and our Younger Member Forum (YMF) officers and chairs to our Branch officers and chairs. In my first message as President and as we conclude our History and Heritage/Student Scholarship Night (HHSSN), I can’t help but reflect on the remarkable 66-year history of the Orange County Branch and how the past President’s and leaders of the Branch have shaped it and laid an incredibly strong foundation for success. If you’re interested, our Past President’s page lists all of our Presidents since our charter in 1953. It has been so inspiring to look at this list of Past Presidents and recognize several names of those who continue to be actively involved with ASCE in a variety of positions all the way from Section and Region to even at the Society level. These same individuals are the leaders in our industry and the profession throughout Southern California and at their respective organizations and companies. I’m certainly honored to be able to serve in the footsteps of so many great Civil Engineers.

2019 HHSSN Past Presidents Photo

Prior to starting my term in October, I had the pleasure of attending and representing our Branch at the Presidents and Governors Forum (PGF) at the ASCE headquarters in Reston, VA. As I prepared to take on the role of President, one of the questions I have been asked is “What are my goals for the Branch as President”. At PGF, this question took on a new meaning when someone asked, “What is the legacy that you’d like to leave behind as President”. These words have resonated with me and while I have not entirely figured out what that I’d like that legacy to be - I am determined as your elected President to work hard to make sure we continue to build upon the strength of the past and current leaders in our organization. There are several goals I have for this year which I believe will help our Branch continue to be one of the strongest and most active within Society.

LA Section Leadership in front of the ASCE building in Reston, VA (left); PGF delegation in front of ASCE building in Reston, VA (right)

Goal 1: Increased focus on Institutes (CI, EWRI, GI, SEI, T&DI, UESI) - Our Institutes are one of the backbones of our organization, a critical part of the technical arm of our organization and, as such, they have the reputation of being the experts within our profession. Our goal is to continue to support and help enable our Institutes growth. For example, we’ll be working with our Construction Institute and Utilities and Engineering Survey Institute to host additional programs and encourage additional members to join their boards to help with their growth. Our Branch is one of the few throughout the nation that has six of the nine technical Institutes of ASCE represented providing additional value to our local professionals from all technical backgrounds. If you’re interested in becoming involved with our technical institutes, please reach out to me or our Institute Chairs.  

Goal 2: Provide Additional Value to Members and Sponsors - We are committed to finding ways to ensure the events and programs we put on provide value not only to our members but also our sponsors. This upcoming year we’ll be providing additional opportunities and more value for our annual sponsors – one such example is an industry VIP reception. Annual Sponsors will have the opportunity to mingle and network with leaders in our industry from the public and private sectors. We’ll be revamping our annual sponsor benefits to make sure our sponsors are getting the most out of their annual benefits and utilizing those funds to help support the over 100+ events our Branch, YMF, Institutes and Student Chapters put on each year. Additionally, we are working on creating additional programs and events that provide both professional and personal value across all levels. If there is an idea you’d like for us to consider please reach out and email me, we’d love to hear it!

Goal 3: Successful Upcoming Conferences (PSWC, Annual ASCE Convention and MRLC) - For those who don’t know, ASCE Orange County will have multiple major conferences coming to the OC area within the next year and a half.

The first is the Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) being hosted by Cal State Fullerton student chapter in April 2020. This event brings over 1500 students from all over the Pacific Southwest to compete in a multitude of engineering projects and fun events for students. There are opportunities to sponsor and even volunteer to be a judge. For additional information, please see the PSWC2020 website.

In October 2020, the annual ASCE Convention is coming to Anaheim and Orange County Branch will be helping support technical tours and other events as a result of the Convention being in our backyard. We’re looking forward to being able to host while ASCE continues the development of its latest initiative with Future World Vision which explores what the next 50 years of our profession will look like. This includes exploring future trends, disruptors (autonomous vehicles, alternative energy, climate change, smart cities, high tech materials, etc.), mega cities, floating cities, frozen cities and more. At this year’s convention, ASCE unveiled the floating city – it’ll be exciting to see what is unveiled next year!

From The Floating City debuted at the ASCE 2019 Convention in Miami. PHOTO: Jason Dixson Photography

In January 2021 our OC YMF will be hosting the two-day Multi-Regional Leadership Conference in Orange County. Last hosted by the OC YMF in 2011, this conference provides leadership, professional and management training opportunities for those involved within ASCE. Attendees include student chapter, YMF and Branch/Section leaders from Regions 8 and 9.

These events will really showcase and put an additional spotlight on all the great work we do here in Southern California. We’ll be working closely with our Student Chapters, YMF and Society to make sure these conferences are a success. I am honored to be a part of the local planning committees for these conferences.

All of these events, programs, and conferences would not be possible without our annual corporate sponsors. I’d like to recognize and thank last year’s sponsors for supporting the Branch:

Gold: Parsons

Silver: HDR, HNTB, Huitt-Zollars, Jacobs, Mark Thomas, Michael Baker International, Mott MacDonald, Stantec, WSP

Bronze: AECOM, CWE, Diaz Yourman, Earth Mechanics, ENGEO, EXP, Group Delta, LaBelle Marvin, NMG Geotechnical, TranSystems

Additionally, we had an amazing History and Heritage/Student Scholarship Night. We had nearly 300 attendees, 25+ career fair booths, 140+ students and gave away $15,500 in scholarships. Additionally, we had the opportunity to recognize our Past Presidents/Life Members/Fellows, install our incoming Board, recognize our History and Heritage, provide our YMF and Student Chapters an opportunity to present, include a keynote presentation on the Future World Vision by Jerry Buckwalter and recognize the Outstanding Student Chapter (Cal State Long Beach)! Here are some photos from the event:

>> View Full Album

Our scholarship winners were:

Achievement Scholarship

  • $3,000 - Michael Dinicola (CSULB)
  • $2,000 - Janelle Gonzalez (UCI)
  • $1,000 - James Baker-Arend (CSULB)

Environmental & Water Resources Institute Scholarship

  • $1,000 - Matthew Mendoza (CSULB)
  • $1,000 - Andrew Ly (UCI)

Geotechnical Institute Scholarship

  • $1,000 - Mahta Movasat (UCSD)

Structural Engineers Institute Scholarship

  • $750 - Teresa Rebolledo (CSULB)
  • $750 - Bakri Al Mouradi (CSUF)

Transportation & Development Institute Scholarship

  • $1,000 - Janelle Gonzalez (UCI)
  • $1,000 - Thao Tran (CSULB)
  • $1,000 - Jordan Lu (UCI)
  • $1,000 - Maniriam Phoummathep-Winspear (CSUF)

Construction Institute Summit Scholarship

  • $500 - James Baker-Arend (CSULB)
  • $500 - William Talamaivao (CSUF)

Our amazing Social Committee and all of our volunteers truly deserve the amazing credit for putting together a wonderful evening.

2019-2020 Social Committee and HHSSN Committee Volunteers

Our History and Heritage / Student Scholarship Night Event would not be possible without our sponsors, we’d like to sincerely thank them for their generous contribution.

Oval Office: Transtech

West Wing: AECOM, Mark Thomas

Air Force One: Kimley Horn

Marine One: LPA

Company Booth: AECOM, CNC Engineering, CWE, David Evans & Associates, Diaz Yourman, EXP, FPL Associates, HDR, HNTB, Huitt-Zollars, Infrastructure Engineers, Jacobs, Kimley Horn, LPA, Mark Thomas, Michael Baker International, Mott MacDonald, Orange County Public Works (OCPW), PACE, Parsons, PLSA Engineering, Stantec, Tetra Tech, TranSystems, Transtech, WKE, WSP

Book Store Gift Certificate: Hazen-Sawyer, Tencate

If you’re interested in our annual sponsorship, our levels and benefits have been updated for the next year, please consider being a sponsor. Please reach out to and visit our website for sponsorship benefits:

Also, I’d like to ask that each of you Save the Date for our annual Awards Night Banquet, being held on February 27th, 2020. The award nominations are currently open, please go to our website at to nominate an individual and/or project that you feel is deserving.

As the calendar year comes to an end, I know it’s been a busy one for everyone in the industry – please take a moment to reflect on your accomplishments this past year and truly enjoy and appreciate the holidays with your loved ones. From all of us at the Branch, we sincerely wish all of you and your families a wonderful, safe and happy holiday season!

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 or on LinkedIn.


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