Orange County Branch Newsletter

November 2017

President's Message

Balance is the Key to Long-Term Happiness and Success

By Jeff Braun, P.E.

Jeff Braun, PE

Balance is the key to long-term happiness and success. The balance that immediately comes to most adults minds is the work-life balance. While this is important, it is not the balance I’m addressing in this message.  We all recognize the drive and hunger in our most successful role models and peers. They appear to never be satisfied with their current state, always looking for opportunities to learn more skills, become more efficient, and design and construct amazing projects to improve our built environment. We may hold these successful and motivated engineers in high regard for advancing our profession, but we must also take time to recognize our own achievements.

Take a breath …

... reflect …

... pause to appreciate your own growth,

the efforts of our peers, and the projects standing as a reminder of our contributions to our community.  The appropriate balance between continuously striving to better ourselves and lauding our accomplishments may not be 50/50, but there is certainly a need for both. If we don’t take the time to think about this, why should we expect our elected leadership or even clients to consider the important role Engineers play in bettering the world we live in?

Giving praise and recognizing the great work of our fellow engineers is even more important for those of us who are provided the opportunity to lead others. Whether you lead a team within your office, or a project team of design consultants and contractors, letting them know their late nights, weekend work, and technical excellence have been noticed and is greatly appreciated is very important. It re-energizes them to continue their diligent work and strive for finding innovative solutions to your most complicated project issues. Numerous studies show that pay is not the primary factor in job satisfaction, but understanding the greater purpose of one’s efforts and appreciating the difference their contributions have made often drive employees’ career decisions. Without at least some form of tangible appreciation, people may trend towards the good-enough performance levels, meeting the minimum standards and not seeking ways to optimize solutions and provide the greatest value.

I must admit that I was not the greatest advocate of awards and recognition through my military career, feeling like it wasn’t necessary to commend those who were “simply doing their job”. Sadly, it took me several years to appreciate how much I valued getting a simple pat-on-the-back or “good job” from my peers and superiors. I realized I had been in the position to provide a very important and meaningful element of satisfaction for all of my team members who’ve invested so much time and effort to our success. I promised myself that I would not let that continue.

Saying “Thank You” is a great start, but using more substantial methods will have greater impact, and luckily we have a few opportunities to recognize our fellow engineers right now. 

Our annual History & Heritage and Student Scholarship Night is coming up on Thursday, November 16, at the Marconi Auto Museum in Tustin. We will pay tribute to the efforts of Engineers who’ve come before us, our current leaders from whom we seek guidance and technical expertise, and the future of our profession, the engineering students. The ASCE Society President-Elect, Ms. Robin Kemper, will provide the keynote address, followed by announcing and celebrating the Student Chapter of the Year and awarding scholarships to several students who are already making their mark on the engineering industry in Orange County, and beyond. We’ve confirmed 20 firms who will have booths at the event, providing opportunities for potential applicants to explore opportunities as well as fellow engineers to learn more about potential teaming partners. If you haven’t signed up yet, you only have a few days to register for what will be a very fun and inspiring night – History & Heritage and Student Scholarship Night Registration.

Another opportunity to recognize fellow professionals is to nominate those who stand out, both as individuals and as project teams, for being called the Best of 2017 within the ASCE OC Branch at our Annual Awards Night in February.  The Awards Committee is accepting nominations right now and the deadline is currently less than a week away.  Don’t be that person who waits until the Awards Dinner to reflect on what’s happened over the past year, realizing you know of several engineers and projects worthy of praise and recognition in front of friends and peers, as well as the civil and environmental engineering leadership from across Orange County. Please take some time to review your interactions with fellow professionals and the projects we’ve delivered over the past year, and use the ASCE OC Branch Awards link to nominate any you believe deserve recognition by the Branch.


The Student Chapter of Year Award, student scholarships, and the Branch’s annual awards certainly mean a lot to the very deserving recipients, but they also serve another great purpose. They allow us to appreciate the greatest aspects of our profession and provide glowing examples we can use to inform our friends, neighbors, clients, and elected officials what Engineers are capable of.


If you don’t already do this, please take the time to say “THANK YOU” to the Staff Engineer who ran models all weekend to prepare for your project update, to the reproduction staff who missed their child’s soccer game to prepare your plan sets prior to tomorrow’s submittal, and to the team member who maybe hasn’t been extraordinary this week, but you always depend on for consistent quality work. If you know of someone who has done even more than that, then 'Thank You' may not be enough, but it is a great start.

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