Orange County Branch Newsletter

October 2016

President's Message

Following Gary's Legacy

By Josue Vaglienty, PE

About 10 years ago I attended my first ASCE YMF meeting in a conference room at Diaz-Yourman & Associates in Santa Ana. There were about a dozen other younger engineers in attendance who seemed energetic and vibrant to be planning all sorts of events – social mixers, seminars, community service events, and technical tours to name a few. There was one individual in particular who took the time to explain the whole purpose of YMF to me – all of it! I asked a lot of questions, but the end result was inevitable – I wanted in! This individual was the YMF President and he welcomed me to become part of the group. His name was Gary Gilbert. I recall that conversation vividly and will never forget it. I will also never forget Gary and all of the valuable mentorship and wisdom he provided me and many others within ASCE.

Fast forward a decade, and I’m proud to be part of what Gary started – one of the largest and most diversified ASCE Branches in the nation! As your 2016-2017 ASCE OC President, I want maintain the strong foundation for our Branch, while encouraging our leadership to look for improvements. How do we go about doing that? How do we make ASCE OC better? Here are a few actions the ASCE OC Branch is working on:


Before the end of 2016, the Branch will be reaching out to you, our membership, to understand what you value most out of ASCE. We have several hundred active members that regularly attend our events. However, with almost 3,000 members county-wide, we want to hear from you.

  • What interests you?
  • What topics, trends, skills would you like to know more about?
  • What additional benefits can we provide collectively to our membership?

In anticipation of your input and ideas – we will be moving forward with plans to provide more family-oriented events, to discover more unique “behind the scenes” technical tours, as well as develop more diverse topics and engaging speakers for our general meetings. The Branch will also continue to support each of our six institutes (EWRI, T&DI, SEI, GI, CI, and UESI) throughout the following year to provide more in-depth programs that balance technical aspects, policy, and social context. Our Mentorship, K-12 Outreach, University Outreach, Sustainability, Government Relations, and Social Committees (to name a few) are also busy planning upcoming events and brainstorming ideas for new ones. The Branch Board will be full-heartedly supporting the goals of each committee.


During Engineer’s Week in 2017, Dream Big, a full-feature IMAX film sponsored by ASCE and the Bechtel Corporation will be released in select theaters across the country. ASCE has a very unique opportunity to harness this new film to encourage young students to consider and pursue a career in engineering or a STEM related field. Check out the trailer now available on YouTube. Watch it on your phone or tablet, then imagine watching the whole film on a screen that is 60-ft high by 90-ft wide! A special event is in the works for a viewing party during Engineer’s Week here in OC – so stay tuned for that.


Our ASCE OC Branch spans a spectrum of members reaching from Student Members to Younger Members to Professional and Life Members. As such, we need to continue to garner relationships across all groups. This diversity is what brings depth and richness to the ASCE OC Branch. Our ASCE Student Chapters at CSU-Fullerton, CSU-Long Beach, and UC Irvine are more engaged with ASCE OC Branch and YMF than ever before. Many of the students continue their involvement and transition into YMF, which fuels their professional success. I, for one, am incredibly proud of the ASCE OC Younger Member Forum (recipient of the 2016 ASCE Outstanding Large Younger Member Group Award) for their continued creativity and dedication. Professional Members are the “bread and butter” of our organization and provide a wealth of knowledge and resources. However, they must balance their time with their own growing families and work commitments – a balance I am striving to achieve as a new parent. Our small but active Life Member Forum group is also gaining momentum. With more and more members in the “Baby Boomer” generation retiring in the near future, there is huge potential to LMF to grow. The Branch will provide more events to span the ASCE OC spectrum with the intent of spurring more conversations, sharing more ideas, and empowering our network.

While attending the 2016 ASCE Convention in Portland this past month, I was excited to see that there is a lot of momentum for ASCE. With more than 800 ASCE members from across the country and the globe in attendance, the convention became a hub for the exchange of diverse ideas. The convention also served as a great catalyst to build relationships between ASCE Sections and Branches, and within our own ASCE Los Angeles Section. I also took an opportunity to talk to our newly elected ASCE Society President Dr. Norma Jean Mattei at the convention. She is enthusiastic about her role as a Keynote Speaker at our Annual History and Heritage / Student Night event on November 17th at the Lyon Air Museum. I hope you get a chance to meet her – she truly is an amazing person.

(2016 ASCE Convention in Portland, OR. Chloe Gharios, Jazzy Quinabo, Dr. Norma Jean Mattei, Elizabeth Ruedas, Kathereen Shinkai, Josue Vaglienty, Amber & Ravi Shah)

2017 will set off a series of great ASCE events taking place in Orange County. Here is just a preview of what is coming (more details to follow):

  • February 18, 2017 – ASCE OC Annual Awards Night
  • February 2017 – 23rd Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition – ARTIC (Anaheim, CA)
  • March 2-5, 2017 – Construction Institute (CI) Summit – Anaheim, CA
  • March 31, 2017 – Region 9 Infrastructure Symposium / Awards Dinner – California Science Center
  • April 2017 – ASCE Pacific Southwest Student Conference (hosted by ASCE UCI) – Anaheim, CA

I consider it a privilege to serve as President of the ASCE OC Branch for this upcoming year and look forward to working alongside the rest of our dedicated Branch Board Officers. We were all present alongside Gary Gilbert during our planning retreat this past summer where we generated fresh ideas and measurable goals for this coming year. We plan on executing these ideas and achieving the goals for the benefit of ASCE OC. We also hope to make Gary proud – I know he’s watching.

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