Orange County Branch Newsletter

October 2016

Secretarys Column

Introduction of New Secretary

By Elizabeth Ruedas, EIT

The 2016 ASCE National Convention in Portland began with an inspiring presentation by Frans Johansson, the opening keynote speaker, a best-selling author and founder of The Medici Group. “Diversity drives innovation” was the central theme of his presentation, and an approach that I plan to embrace moving forward. What do you get when civil engineering, minorities, social media, and government relations intersect? The opportunity to better serve our engineering community and the general public through effective communication, the ability to inspire younger generations and the potential to influence those in a position of power.

My name is Elizabeth Ruedas and I am honored to serve as your 2016-2017 ASCE Orange County Branch Secretary. As a Younger Member who also serves on two ASCE Committees, the ASCE Committee on Younger Members and the ASCE State Government Relations Committee, I look forward to tackling challenges that our profession faces today, including effective communication, integration of underrepresented groups, and public policy through the various platforms made possible through our ASCE membership. Don’t forget to renew! “ASCE Membership helps Civil Engineers Dream Big!”

ASCE Membership Benefits

Although enhanced communication skills have proven benefits, they are rarely skills that engineers actively seek to improve. That’s beginning to change, however! For example, the ASCE Younger Member Leadership Symposium (YMLS) is an annual workshop that serves to enhance Younger Member leadership skills, including communication skills. It is tentatively scheduled for August 4th-6th, 2017 at ASCE Headquarters in Reston, Virginia. Please save the date and encourage Younger Members to apply! I look forward to not only planning this Society event, but bringing similar programming to our local Branch as well. Interested in helping plan events like this?! If so, let me know!



2016 ASCE Younger Member Leadership Symposium

We can encourage innovation by promoting, developing, and implementing policies and programs that attract diversity. “Diversity drives innovation.” To do so, however, we need to encourage members of underrepresented groups to plan and participate in activities. This ensures that we all have “a seat at the table” where our voices, ideas and concerns can be heard. Locally, for example, we have started combining Branch and Younger Member Forum committees to ensure that we promote professional, ethical, and technical excellence in all members, including students and Younger Members. Similarly, we recently hosted a Women in Engineering Panel and a Certified Business Enterprise Panel where minorities within our profession were able to ask questions, network, and come up with creative solutions together. At the Society level, it is the first time that the ASCE President and ASCE President-Elect are both women. What an exciting time to be involved! ASCE has embraced the power of differences! Now it’s time for us to actively adopt the concept as well.

ASCE OC YMF Women in Engineering Panel


ASCE OC YMF Engineer to Entrepreneur: Certifying and Operating a Small Business Enterprise 


ASCE Board of Direction

Passion is contagious and ASCE provides members with several tools, such as the Key Contact Program and the Legislative Fly-In, which allow all of our voices to be heard within the political arena, no matter how young or inexperienced we may be. It is very rewarding to think that our stories have the potential to influence the actions of those who are in a position of power. If you have not already done so, please sign up to be an ASCE Key Contact (click here). Similarly, apply to attend the ASCE Legislative Fly-in, which will take place March 14-15, 2017. Please note that there is a Younger Member Program that takes place prior to the start of the event, which is designed to ease the transition of Younger Members into the political sphere. The program helps ensure that our members are fluent in the technical language necessary to describe these issues, as well as comfortable speaking about them to elected officials, ASCE members, and the general public. These activities also help improve public speaking, interpersonal, and strategic planning skills. Sign up! We need you and your story! We can’t expect the political system to work unless we do. Click here to learn more.

ASCE Key Contact Program


2016 ASCE Legislative Fly-In - Younger Member Program

2016 ASCE Legislative Fly-In - California Attendees

Thank you for the opportunity to increase communication between our engineering community, the younger generations, those in a position of power, and the general public! Without further ado, I leave you with my 2016 ASCE New Face of Civil Engineering video, which includes a bit of personal information about myself.

2016 ASCE New Face of Civil Engineering 

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