July 2017 Print

President's Message

Recently, I had lunch with one of our ASCE members during which he asked me, “What’s the next step for me in ASCE?” I responded with a few questions, “What professional skills do you want to develop?  What type of position would you feel a little uncomfortable leading? The positions in which we feel a little uncomfortable are the ones we learn and grow the most.” He replied, “I hadn’t thought about it like that”. After some contemplation, he decided to take a chair position for one of our committees, knowing that he had the support of the previous chair and the network of professionals in the group. He is excited about the skills he will learn, the connections he will make and how it will benefit his career.

Speaking of leadership opportunities, officer elections for all of our chapters are in the next few months. Whether you live in Stockton, Yuba City, downtown Sacramento, Roseville, or Shasta, there are leadership opportunities near you.  Please reach out to me today and I will help you find a chapter, group, or committee that would best suit you.

On September 21, 2017, the Sacramento Section will host our annual 2017 Outstanding Individual Award Dinner at the Del Paso Heights Country Club. We received positive feedback about the venue last year and decided to host it at the same location again. Nominations to honor the outstanding ASCE members in the Sacramento Section are now open and are due by August 4. Last year, Margarita Kovalchuk won our local Outstanding Student Award, and is now featured in the ASCE National Newsletter.  Sacramento Section Individual Award winners are submitted for the annual Region 9 Awards. If they win at  the Region level, they are submitted to National. Click this link for more information to submit your nomination today.  


Elias Karam, P.E., M.ASCE
Sacramento Section President 2016-2017

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Calendar of Events

Capital Branch Speaker Lunch

Topic: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Modeling 101
Old Spaghetti Factory
1910 J. Street
Sacramento, CA

YMF Charity Golf Tournament

All Welcome
Granite Bay Golf Club
9600 Golf Club Dr.
Granite Bay, CA

2017 Outstanding Individual Award Dinner

Registration Opening Soon
Del Paso Heights Country Club
3333 Marconi Ave.
Sacramento, CA

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Call for Individual Award Nominations


Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the civil engineering profession? This is your chance to publicly recognize that individual at the ASCE Sacramento Section Individual Awards & Installation Banquet to be held on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at the Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento. Registration to open in August.

ASCE Sacramento Section recognize individuals for outstanding achievements or leadership in civil engineering or who, through their work, support and advance the profession. Contributions in any of the following areas are considered: 

Outstanding Civil Engineer Public Sector Outstanding Practitioner Advisor  Frederick W. Panhorst Structural
Outstanding Civil Engineer Private Sector Outstanding Community Service David N. Kennedy Water Resource
Outstanding Young Civil Engineer Humanitarian Jonathan Burdette Brown Education
Outstanding ASCE Section Officer Excellence in Journalism Stewart Mitchell History and Heritage
Outstanding Branch Officer Lifetime Member William H. Hall Flood Control
Outstanding YMF Officer Arthur L. Elliot Bridge Legistlative Activities
Best Civil Engineering Event Charles C. Pope Construction State Legistlator of the Year
Outstanding Civil Engineering Faculty Advisor Francis N. Hveem Geotechnical  

To Make a Nomination
Complete the online nomination form here. For a list of criteria for each award category, click here. If you would rather print out the form and return it by mail or email, click here to download a nomination form.

Questions? Please contact Tony Quintrall, ASCE Sacramento Section Senior Director, 
tony@larsenwurzel.com Please submit your nomination by August 4, 2017.

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Call For New Section Officers


The nominating committee for the Sacramento Section of ASCE is seeking candidates for the following positions to start in October 2017 through September 2018:

    President-Elect is a three year commitment with the first year serving as President-Elect, followed by President and Past-President.  As President-Elect, you are responsible for assisting the President.  As President you oversee the Section as whole including board meetings, newsletter, award dinners, and Branches, Institutes, Younger Member Groups and Student Chapters. As Past-President you will be in an advisory position to the President.

    Junior Director is a two year commitment with the second year serving as Senior Director.  The primary responsibilities of the Junior and Senior directors are organizing the Project Awards banquet in the Spring and the Individual Awards banquet in the Fall.

    Secretary is a one year commitment with the option to continue service.  The Secretary is responsible for taking the minutes at each Board meeting and distributing the minutes for review.  The Secretary is also responsible for all e-mail correspondence between the Section and its members.

ASCE Sacramento Section members are encouraged to volunteer for positions of leadership, regardless of age or level of experience. Serving in volunteer positions on the Executive Board assists in building and enhancing careers.  The rewards of volunteer service are fulfilling and show you care about ASCE and your profession. 

If you would like further information about any particular office, have questions regarding ASCE, or desire to run for office, please contact Elias Karam at elias.karam@jacobs.com.

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New Mentorship Program


The ASCE Student Chapter at UC Davis is creating a mentorship program between upper-division students and young professionals in the civil engineering field. By establishing a strong mentor to mentee program, we hope to bridge the gap between academia and the professional world.

Mentors will help their mentees in a variety of ways to prepare for the professional world. For example, mentors can provide advising on how to apply and interview for a job or internship, tours at their place of work, or discussions on the possible pathways to becoming a professional civil engineer.

Mandatory Meetings:

  • Introductory Event, Fall 2017 (Early October)
    Final Event, Spring 2018 (Late May)

Further mentor and mentee meetings and communications will be primarily to the mentor’s discretion, to comply with their schedules. This may include email conversations, phone or video calls, or meeting in person.

If you are interested in being a mentor and helping promote the student community, please contact Josh Marston (YMF Student Affairs Chair) at studentaffairs@sacymf.org or Scott Putty (ASCE UCD Mentorship Chair) at saputty@ucdavis.edu.

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Capital Branch Activities


The ASCE Sacramento Section Capital Branch is calling for nominations to join the executive board. This is a great opportunity to grow professionally while giving back to your profession.  Reasons to join include:

  •       Develop leadership skills,
  •       Improve your resume,
  •       Gain a deeper understanding of ASCE,
  •       Network with other likeminded professionals, and
  •       Shape the direction of our organization. 

Please contact Adam Killinger at adam.killinger@crawford-inc.com or 951-265-5289 to discuss available positions. A brief professional biography and photo will be required to apply.       


Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
Old Spaghetti Factory
1910 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
11:30 PM Networking 12:00 PM Lunch and Presentation

Topic: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Modeling 101
Speaker: Tara Smith, Chief of the Modeling Support Branch, Department of Water Resources, CA

Registration Link:


Abstract: The 2016-2017 water year was an active one for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s California Nevada River Forecast Center.  A series of warm, wet atmospheric river systems impacted much of California.  Runoff from these atmospheric rivers caused flooding and filled many reservoirs that had been drawn down after several years of drought.    Additionally, high elevation snow accumulations in the Sierra Nevada guaranteed a high and prolonged snowmelt runoff period for the spring and summer which is still occurring in June.   This presentation will feature some of the highlights of this past runoff season as experienced by the California Nevada River Forecast Center. 

About the speaker:  Mr. Alan Haynes is the Service Coordination Hydrologist for the National Weather Service’s California Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) in Sacramento.  He serves as the primary external liaison for the CNRFC, connecting partner agencies and other customers to the CNRFC’s products and services and gathering feedback to improve the effectiveness of these products and services.  Mr. Haynes has 28 years of experience with the National Weather Service, including 16 years with the CNRFC.  He holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Meteorology from the University of Utah.


The ASCE Capital Branch is pleased to announce an opportunity for the Civil Engineering Firms, Contractors and Vendors to sponsor ASCE’s monthly Luncheons. The sponsoring company will have the opportunity to make a brief presentation that is 3 to 5 minutes long and is supported by a few slides in PowerPoint format. This opportunity will provide the sponsoring company a great marketing opportunity to the local engineering community. For further information, please contact Jai Singh at (916) 580-9725.

Past Meeting Sponsor:

Thanks to "StormTrap" (http://stormtrap.com/) for sponsoring in the ASCE Sacramento Capital Branch June Luncheon Meeting.

JOIN US ON LinkedIn. 

The Capital Branch has started a Group Page to make it easier to post announcements about upcoming events of interest to Civil Engineers in the Sacramento area. To join the group page go to http://goo.gl/iG6aD6

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Central Valley Branch Activities

We have monthly lunch meetings with various presentations on the third Tuesday of each month. If you are in the Stockton area please join us. For more information about the Central Valley Branch, please contact Rhett Kilgore at rkilgore@siegfriedeng.com.

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Feather River Branch Activities

For more information about future meetings and activities, please contact, Jim Richards at jim.richards@prodigy.net, or 530-762-9464.

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Shasta Branch Activities

For more information about the Shasta Branch meetings, please contact Susan Goodwin at sgoodwin@vestra.com.

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Younger Members Forum (YMF)


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Engineers Without Borders


Wednesday, July 19 at 6pm
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 300

Please contact Megan LeRoy at 707-291-5629 if you have difficulty entering the building. 
We are planning our annual fundraiser and looking for sponsors. Click here to to download information on corporate sponsorship level opportunities.  


Indonesia Project

We are looking for international development lead and more technical mentors. The Indonesia project is planning an assessment trip for a water supply project this upcoming summer. Feel free to reach Anindito Wibowoputro at awoputro@ucdavis.edu

Peru Project 

Peru's traveling mentor got very ill, and they are looking for some mentor help. The Peru team is planning an implementation trip for spring boxes this upcoming summer as well as assessing the feasibility of a water storage tank.

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Continuing Education



ASCE announces new asynchronous online instructor-led programs in which you move through a 6 or 12-week learning experience with your peers. The Guided Online Course content includes recorded video lectures, interactive exercises, case studies, live webinars and weekly discussions to help you master the course material. Gain unlimited, 24/7 accessibility to weekly modules. Complete coursework at the time and pace that is most convenient for you, using your own devices. Click here to see full list of courses.

Buy 2 Registrations and get the 3rd Free!
To receive this discount, email contact information for all registrants toguidedonlinecourses@asce.org and a registration confirmation email will be sent to each attendee. Or call 1-800-548-2723 to register, and mention the code GOCFREE. To inquire about larger group discounts, write to guidedonlinecourses@asce.org.


Design of Foundations for Dynamic Loads
August 16–18, 2017 | San Francisco, CA

Pumping Systems Design for Civil Engineers
August 18, 2017, Sacramento, CA


You've asked for it and we listened!  Pay 1 low rate, and gain unlimited access to your choice of 10 on-demand webinars from ASCE's complete catalog, during a 365-day subscription period. Order your on-demand webinar subscription today!  For individual use only, not to be used for groups.

  • Save up to 63%
  • Earn up to 15 CEUs/PDHs
  • Pay one low fee 
  • 10 on-demand webinars of your choice
  • State-of-the-practice programs taught by leading practitioners
  • A convenient, effective, affordable way to earn CEUs/PDHs for P.E. license renewal


Webinars are convenient, low-cost, and an efficient training option. Login anywhere and interact with the instructor and other participants. Live webinars cover practical, targeted topics taught by experts in their field. Gain knowledge and earn PDHs. Plus, as a Sacramento Section member, a portion of the webinar fee will go back to support our local chapter. For more details, go to: http://mylearning.asce.org/diweb/catalog/t/2125/c/79 Use Promo Code WEBSACSEC to secure your preferred rate.


On-demand learning is a convenient and effective method for engineers to earn PDHs/CEUs and gain practical, real-world knowledge.  ASCE's programs are developed by industry experts and available for a variety of technical areas and in your choice of format to meet the demands facing today's engineers. Plus, as a Sacramento Section member, a portion of the webinar fee will go back to support our local chapter. For more details, go to: http://mylearning.asce.org/diweb/catalog/t/2135/c/79. Use Promo Code WEBSACSEC to secure your preferred rate.

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ASCE America’s Infrastructure Report Card



Om Prakash, PE and David M. Schwegel PE


Back in 2007, decisions were made among Sacramento leaders to not engage as aggressively as other regions of California in the Proposition 1A (www.hsr.ca.gov) formulation process. Consequently Sacramento became the “rock bottom priority” on “America’s Largest Infrastructure Project” putting our region in a deep recession for the past ten years. The economic benefits of this project that have cut Fresno’s unemployment rate in half in only five years have almost completely bypassed our Region, thereby calling for much more effective decision making moving forward.

Over the past two years, key leaders have stepped forward in Sacramento, recognizing the importance of making wise decisions to plot a more favorable economic trajectory for our region. Specifically SACOG (www.sacog.org) CEO James Corless has orchestrated workshops featuring high-level economic development decision makers nationwide educating our local economic development experts on traits of economic development success. A common theme is the importance of making wise decisions on robust investments in infrastructure. As Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council (www.selectsacramento.com) CEO Barry Broome explained at the Region 9 Infrastructure Symposium in Sacramento in 2016: “Build it, and they will come. Don’t build it, and they won’t.” He citied specific infrastructure challenges for both our state and our region, namely: (a) California has the 2nd worst roads in the nation ahead of the District of Columbia only, and (b) Sacramento has the 15th worst roads in the nation.  

Now that the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1) has passed, key decision makers including Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg are calling on ASCE Sacramento Section members to provide guidance on the implementation of major infrastructure initiatives (including SB1) within our Region. Specifically they need guidance on which aspects of our infrastructure that have the greatest investment need, so that they can identify specific projects and provide justification on their funding applications. The Sacramento Infrastructure Report Card will be a key decision making tool to fulfill these objectives. 

ASCE Society educated the Sacramento Report Card leadership team on the specifics of what it’s going to take to make the Sacramento Infrastructure Report Card a reality. A critical first step is for subject matter experts to step forward to chair the following grading subcommittees:

(1) Public Parks and Recreation;

(2) Public Transportation System,

(3) School Infrastructure and Facilities,

(4) Solid Waste Management,

(5) Traffic Congestion,

(6) Wastewater System,

(7) Water Quality for Drinking Water, and

(8) Water Supply System. 

Please make your capabilities known to Report Card Chair Dr. Om Prakash, Ph.D., P.E., QSD, M.ASCE  (oprakash@westconsultants.com) at your earliest convenience, so that these grading subcommittees can be established. Once this is done, then ASCE Society representatives can fly in from Washington DC and Reston Virginia to help orchestrate the kick-off meeting. 

Time is of the essence. Key Sacramento decision makers have already been notified of the forthcoming Sacramento Report Card, and have started planning their marketing campaigns accordingly. Additionally, key California decision makers have been notified of the forthcoming California Report Card, which will be heavily reliant on our local publication. Time is of the essence. Report Card production experts from ASCE Society and the Sacramento Report Card Committee look forward to working with you as a subject matter expert on this key publication that will play a critical role for local, regional, and statewide infrastructure decision making for the next decade.     

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Region 9



Mojgan (MJ) Hashemi, P.E., M. ASCE
Chair, ASCE Region 9 Government Relations Committee


ASCE Region 9 members participated in the annual Legislative Fly-In to the State Capitol in Sacramento, on Wednesday May 17.  For the past two years, the Region 9 Legislative Fly-In visits have been held in conjunction with the Infrastructure Week to highlight the importance of infrastructure investment needs in communities throughout California.  In addition, for each of the past two years, the Region 9 Government Relations Committee (GRC) has authored an Infrastructure Week Resolution to encourage leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to address our pressing infrastructure challenges.  Our 2016 Infrastructure Week Resolution was the Senate Resolution 74 (SR74) and it marked the first such resolution shining a light on the significance of infrastructure in California during Infrastructure Week.  Our 2017 Infrastructure Week Resolution was aimed at both legislative houses, and it was introduced by Senator Beall as the Senate Concurrent Resolution 35 (SCR35).  It was overwhelmingly approved by all California legislators (Ayes 76, Noes 0).

The 2017 Region 9 Fly-In event brought together about 50 civil engineers from across California, of which 40% were first-time attendees.  A pre-Fly-in webinar was held on May 11, to help prepare the attendees for their visits.  Five Issue Briefs were also prepared and handed out on transportation funding, infrastructure investments, expanding design-build delivery options, increase STEM pathways, and advocating new approaches to the infrastructure deliberation process by legislators.  The event consisted of a morning training session at the historic Sutter House venue in downtown Sacramento, followed by over 60 legislative visits at the State Capitol after lunch.  Highlights of the day included a public relations and legislative training session by Richard Markuson, ASCE Advocate;  introduction to the legislative process by Bob Franzoia, former Staff Director, Senate Appropriations Committee; discussion of current issues at the California Board of Professional Engineers by Richard Moore, Executive Officer; A Journalist’s perspective on current events by John Howard, Editor, Capitol Weekly; and Keynote addresses by Senators Bill Dodd and Scott Weiner who also discussed the passage of SB1 and the importance of transportation infrastructure funding.  Participants this year displayed great enthusiasm, were engaged, and offered their own contributions during the legislative visits.  Thanks to all who attended, for your effective participation!

The ASCE Region 9 Government Relations Committee (GRC) actively monitors and recommends positions on statewide legislative and regulatory proposals that affect civil engineers, and support the standing policies of ASCE.  The committee is also responsible for the annual Region 9 Legislative Fly-In and the follow up local visits, which are intended to encourage an ongoing dialogue between ASCE members and their legislators about issues of importance to ASCE and to reaffirm the recognition that ASCE enjoys with state and federal legislators as a valuable non-partisan resource with expertise in all infrastructure related issues.

Region 9 and the GRC both work closely with the ASCE Society's Government Relations staff in Washington, D.C and in Reston, VA, and utilize their grass-roots advocacy system, the “Key Contact Program” for important legislative issues.  ASCE Key Contacts influence the policy process at the state and federal levels by developing relationships with elected officials.  You can learn more about this program at http://www.asce.org/keycontacts/

If you would like to learn more about the activities of the Region 9 Government Relations Committee, please contact me at mhashemi@mwdh2o.com



John Hogan, P.E., M. ASCE
ASCE Region 9 Governor from the Los Angeles Section

It was just three short years ago that I was elected to the position of Region 9 Governor representing the Los Angeles Section.  When my term began in October 2014, I penned an Incoming Governor article about my plans and hopes for the coming three-year term.  In addition to working to carry out the purposes and objectives of the Board of Governors, I listed my passions as Membership Growth, Infrastructure Advocacy, and Leadership Development.  It was my wish at the time that we could make tangible progress in each of these three goal categories.

So how have we done?  As my term draws to a close, here is my perspective:

Membership Growth:  Although membership numbers fluctuate due to seasonal factors (e.g., timing of renewals, student memberships), Region 9 averages about 19,000 members.  Earlier this year, we briefly hit the 20,000-member mark.  This has been encouraging!  So too has our overall focus on membership, led at the Region 9 level by Matt Kennedy, P.E., Region Governor from San Francisco.    Our membership numbers carry clout and enhance the effectiveness of the organization in advancing its goals, especially with regards to influencing public policy.  We are influential now, but as our member count rises, it will be hard to find a public policy maker or legislator, at any level, who would not want to listen to what we have to say.  Adding and retaining members is an on-going, never-ending quest.  As a Region, our progress has been slow and steady, but we are clearly on the right track.

Infrastructure Advocacy:  I continue to believe that one of the most important roles of the Region 9 organization is to advocate sound infrastructure policies at our State and local levels.  Having a legislative advocate in Sacramento (Richard Markuson), funded by Region 9, is important to our effectiveness.  So too are the visits, calls, and messages from our members to our legislators and other elected officials.  I have helped organize, and I attended, each of the past three annual Sacramento Fly-ins.  Not only do the fly-ins allow us to take our message directly to our elected officials, but there is an interesting bonus from this experience for our participating members.  I have observed that members who spend the day at one of the Fly-ins, come away with increased confidence and self-assuredness.  These important leadership traits will make our members more effective in their everyday lives.  Who knew that participating in legislative advocacy could be transformative in one’s career development?   

Leadership Development:  As a Region Governor, I have become more fully aware of the many ways in which ASCE works to provide leadership development opportunities for its members.  Some of these opportunities are side benefits to other ASCE activities, like the Sacramento Fly-in example above.  Other programs are designed for leadership development.  As Region Governor, I attended and helped lead the annual Multi-Region Leadership Conferences, which include tracks for Section, Branch and Institute leaders, younger member leaders, and student leaders.   These two-day conferences attract hundreds of highly motivated ASCE volunteer leaders from California and other western states.  Within Region 9, various Branches, YMF’s, and student chapters offer leadership development programs throughout the year.  Such programs are beneficial to the ASCE organizations by assuring an all-important leadership pipeline.  Similarly, the programs pay dividends to the employers of our member-leaders. 

My overall assessment of our progress is therefore positive.  While the Region 9 organization was strong when I came aboard, it has gained strength during these past three years, as evidenced by the tangible improvements in membership, statewide infrastructure awareness, our leadership depth, success of our annual Symposiums and Fly-ins, and our financial health.  These accomplishments are a testament to the efforts of the entire group of Region 9 volunteers, led by Jay Higgins, P.E., Region 9 Director.  On behalf of the Board of Governors, and all of the members of ASCE Region 9, I wish to commend and thank Jay for his tireless efforts.  It has been our good fortune to have Jay at the helm these past three years!   

Although I will be stepping down as a Region Governor at the end of September, I will remain quite active in Region 9 as a co-chair of the 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card.  As you might imagine, producing a Report Card on infrastructure for a State as large and complex as California is a significant undertaking.  Fortunately, we have many devoted members who will be volunteering their services to assist in producing this important document.  For me personally, it will provide an opportunity to stay connected with colleagues across the State as we work together on this important project which, when completed, will once again highlight ASCE’s crucial role as advocates and stewards of our infrastructure.    

Thank you for this opportunity to serve you as Region Governor.   In addition, thank you for demonstrating your commitment to our profession through your membership in ASCE.   There is no time like the present to enrich the value of your membership by taking on an active role in the organization.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please contact me at JHogan@deainc.com

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Legislative Day - Recap

Gyan Sinha (Kimley-Horn), Kenneth Rosenfield (City of Laguna Hills), David Schwegel (Precision Civil Engineering), Elizabeth Ruedas (CNC Engineering), Darwin Vargas (Caltrans), Josue Vaglienty (HNTB)

On Thursday, April 6, the State Legislature passed SB 1 (Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017) allocating $52.4 billion in repairs and improvements to the state’s transportation system. This represents the most significant transportation funding package in a quarter century. On Wednesday, June 14, six members of the ASCE California (Region 9) Transportation Committee met with high-level transportation decision makers to thank them for their courageous leadership in passing SB 1, determine what this means for California moving forward, and identify ways that professional associations like ASCE can help in the implementation process. A total of seven meetings took place. These visits were set up by ASCE Region 9 Legislative Advocate Richard Markuson of Sacramento.

Legislative Visits:

  1. Brian Kelly, State Transportation Secretary, California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) (www.calsta.ca.gov)
  2. Roger Dickinson, Executive Director, Transportation California (www.transportationca.com)
  3. Ofelia Alcantara, Acting Director of Engineering, California High Speed Rail Authority (www.hsr.ca.gov)
  4. Randy Chin, Consultant to Senator Jim Beall, Senate Transportation Committee (www.sen.ca.gov)
  5. Janet Dawson, Consultant to Assemblymember Jim Frazier, Assembly Transportation Committee (www.asm.ca.gov)
  6. Susan Bransen, Executive Director, California Transportation Commission (CTC) (www.catc.ca.gov)
  7. Senator Josh Newman, California State Senate (www.sen.ca.gov)

Highlights from five of these visits are as follows:


Darwin Vargas, Elizabeth Ruedas, Secretary Brian Kelly, David Schwegel, Kenneth Rosenfield, Gyan Sinha

Brian Kelly, State Transportation Secretary, California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) (www.calsta.ca.gov)

  • Key Focus: SB1 implementation: CTC is formulating guidelines. The CTC just held an event on this topic at Sacramento City Hall, June 8-9.
  • Note the current bills that resonate with ASCE’s Grand Challenge of reducing the lifecycle cost of infrastructure projects by 50% between now and 2025.
  • Chasing Republicans with “reform” measures may be challenging, as no reforms so far have resonated with Republicans. This lack of Republican engagement issue is unique to California, as 23 other states including many with Republican-controlled legislatures have recently passed robust transportation funding measures.
  • Infrastructure is one of the key areas where California is in agreement with the Trump Administration.
  • A Federal Executive Order was signed on January 24, 2017 streamlining the environmental review process. California would like to apply this streamlining process to the High-Speed Rail project (www.hsr.ca.gov) and other large-scale projects.
  • Caltrans has lost 4,000 employees over the last 10 years, bringing the personnel level to a 19-year low despite an increased project workload. This is an example of efficiency. CalSTA will provide additional talking points to support this efficiency argument.
  • The USDOT relies on Caltrans more than any other DOT in the US.
  • There are over 400 transportation agencies in California with individual decision making power, making it extremely difficult to expedite projects involving multiple jurisdictions.
  • There’s discussion about reducing the Self-Help County voter threshold from a ?-supermajority (67%) to 55%. It would need to pass the Legislature first, and then go to the public for a vote. It likely will not happen for at least another year. School bonds currently only require 55%.
  • The 2019 Statewide Infrastructure Report Card should provide indications on whether or not we’re trending in the right direction since the 2012 Report Card (www.ascecareportcard.org).


Gyan Sinha, Darwin Vargas, Kenneth Rosenfield, Roger Dickinson, Josue Vaglienty, Elizabeth Ruedas, David Schwegel

Roger Dickinson, Executive Director, Transportation California (www.transportationca.com

  • Mr. Dickinson’s background includes: Sacramento Regional Transit District Board, Sacramento County Supervisor, Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) (www.sacog.org) Board, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (www.capitolcorridor.org), Caltrans (www.dot.ca.gov), and Assemblymember (2010-2014) (www.asm.ca.gov).
  • Slide 4 of “The Road Ahead for Transportation Funding in California” (ASCE, APWA Fresno, May 18, 2017) plots a “blue” line for VMT (vehicle miles traveled) growth and an “orange” line for fuel consumption decrease with a major diverging of the lines starting in 2004. The gap represents the “revenue loss due to increased fuel efficiency”. By Fiscal Year 2017-2018, the gas tax will have less than half of the purchasing power that it did back in 1994. It has not been indexed for inflation, and vehicle fuel efficiency has increased considerably since 2007.
  • The passage of SB1 means that agencies can “dust off their list of projects prioritized by PCI” (pavement condition index).
  • In collaboration with stakeholders (including the California State Association of Counties and League of California Cities), maintain a consistent message and a sense of urgency. Let the public see the benefit of their tax dollars. A UC Berkeley Institute of Environmental Studies poll shows that only 35-40% of the respondents support a tax increase underscoring the importance of communicating what the public will get with these tax increases. The study simply asked about support for a tax increase with no indication of where the funds were actually going.
  • Transportation California is coming up with new videos as the focus has shifted from ‘why we need a tax increase’ to ‘what’s going to get done with this increase in funding’.
  • The recall of Senator Josh Newman is an opportunity for Republicans to get an extra seat, so that the Democrats no longer hold a ?-supermajority. SB1 was simply the vehicle for trying to obtain this extra seat.
  • Transportation California will be providing their insight on what should potentially be included in the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) Report on the implementation of SB1.
  • Transportation California will also be weighing in on the extension of Cap & Trade Legislation recognizing that the organization supports all modes of transportation including walking, bicycling, transit, intercity rail, high-speed rail, and roads.
  • Public-Private Partnership (P3) authority expired last year. Transportation California will be formulating a position on P3’s.
  • SB1, although significant ($52 billion over 10 years), is just a starting point with much more revenue needed to fulfill the need. SB1 reforms include Advance Mitigation and the creation of the position of Inspector General (accountability for all agencies receiving state funds).
  • Caltrans plans to release its Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) (Road Charge Pilot Program) study later this year.
  • General funding measures require only a 50% majority, while more specific measures require a two-thirds (67%) supermajority where it takes 2 yes votes to counteract 1 no vote.
  • While SB1 contains strong promises for reducing congestion, no measure will completely eliminate congestion. The key is a balanced multi-modal system optimized by trip length, population density, and user preferences, among other considerations.
  • SB1 is an opportunity to rebuild the public’s confidence in government. Among the reform provisions is the expedited timeline for CEQA review (used on the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, currently being used on the NFL Stadium in Los Angeles).


Lijia Zhang, Darwin Vargas, David Schwegel, Randy Anderson, Anush, Brian Sutliff, Ofelia Alcantara, Gyan Sinha

Ofelia Alcantara, Acting Director of Engineering, California High Speed Rail (HSR) Authority (www.hsr.ca.gov)

  • While limited SB1 funds are going to the actual HSR program, a sizeable portion ($400M) is going to the extension of the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) (www.acerail.com) Commuter Rail Service to Modesto (Senator Anthony Cannella’s District - the only Republican who voted yes on SB1). The Draft 2018 State Rail Plan is projected to come out within the next month. The passage of SB1 reinforces California’s commitment to a “complete transportation system” with no one project necessarily being deemed a “pet” project.
  • The $64B High-Speed Rail program target funding includes ? by the State (Prop. 1A, SB 1029), ? by the Federal Government, and ? by the Private Sector. Cap and Trade would serve as the “backstop” as funding sources beyond Prop. 1A, Federal Grants, and SB 1029 begin to materialize.
  • The Federal Government has agreed to fully fund their $600M+ portion of the Caltrain electrification project between San Jose and San Francisco.  
  • The Authority’s Engineering Team consists of six engineers reporting to Chief Engineer Scott Jarvis with an additional layer of internal oversight provided by a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) consisting of HSR experts worldwide.
  • The Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board (SAB) provides external oversight. When crossing faults, the objective is to be at-grade to avoid being on a bridge or within a tunnel when crossing a fault.
  • The Design Criteria Manual (DCM) and Directive Drawings (DD’s) are being updated with tunneling information - a major consideration as HSR progresses over Pacheco Pass into the Silicon Valley and over the Tehachapi Mountains into the Los Angeles Basin. Tunneling includes single-bore and double-bore.
  • A major consideration is the need to take boring samples within the acquired right of way.
  • LiDAP and Geophysics studies provide images of the “bare ground” (trees stripped away) to assess the potential for geotechnical hazards such as landslides. In some cases, such observations have led to revisions in fault mapping.
  • The San Jose to Merced Section would potentially be subdivided as follows: (1) San Jose, (2) Monterey Highway, (3) Morgan Hill to Gilroy, (4) Pacheco Pass, and (5) Central Valley. Procurements will consist of individual construction packages for constructing the track-way civil infrastructure; followed by a separate procurement covering rails, electrification, and positive train control. This is similar to what is currently taking place on First Construction Segment (FCS) between Madera and Bakersfield.
  • Tunnels within the Pacheco Pass segment will range from 1.5-2.0 miles to 13 miles with depths up to 1,500 feet. The color scheme on Authority imagery includes blue (aerial), green (at-grade), red (trench), black (tunnel), and gray (beyond the segment). Some initial pilot tunnels are already underway including a larger San Luis Reservoir tunnel and a smaller Santa Clara water tunnel.
  • When the train is operational, there will be a limited maintenance window between 2:00 AM and 5:00 AM.
  • The Bakersfield to Palmdale Section currently has multiple alternatives under study. This section involves two faults - White Wolf and Garlock. While the technical challenges resemble those of Pacheco Pass, the tunnels are typically a mile or less to avoid using a tunnel boring machine (TBM). Instead, it’s a combination of tall bridges and tunnels, with the bridges serving as the access portals to the tunnels.
  • The Palmdale to Burbank Section is the most complex in terms of tunneling with tunnels along the proposed alignments (SR 14, E1, E2) of up to 23 miles long and 2,700 feet deep. While geotechnical investigations are currently underway, environmental clearance is not projected until 2018.
  • The immediate procurement plans are for an early train operator. The procurement for rolling stock will come later with design criteria currently under development. 

Janet Dawson, Consultant to Assemblymember Jim Frazier, Assembly Transportation Committee (www.asm.ca.gov)

  • Three factors contributed to the successful passage of SB1: (1) “No Blank Checks” Initiative, (2) winter storms, and (3) the Oroville Dam Failure. ASCE’s messaging on the escalating cost of infrastructure neglect also helped passage. Had the vote been delayed to 2018, it may not have passed due to preoccupation with re-election. Short terms means that elected officials may not be around long enough to see the consequences of their decisions.
  • SB1 lobbying was a 15-20 year effort resulting in the successful passage with profound implications on funding transportation infrastructure.
  • SB1 barely scratches the surface of what is needed, but at least it gets the process started.
  • ASCE may want to consider creating a position paper on the status of the state’s transportation network for release sometime between now and the release of the 2019 Statewide Infrastructure Report Card.
  • Regarding the “Grand Challenge”, make sure that ASCE communicates that it is already doing the “Grand Challenge” by taking a system-wide approach to addressing congestion instead of fixing one choke point only to push the congestion “bottleneck” further downstream. Avoid simply evaluating projects based on “low bid”. Make sure that specialty experts are called in to address specific challenges versus highway engineers being viewed as the “cure all to end all” (no optometrist to look at tooth). 

Susan Bransen, Executive Director, California Transportation Commission (CTC) (www.catc.ca.gov)

  • The CTC was formed in 1978 via AB 402 out of a need for a “single, unified California transportation policy” covering the responsibilities of the California Highway Commission, the State Transportation Board, the State Aeronautics Board, and the California Toll Bridge Authority. It consists of 11 voting and 2 ex-officio (non-voting) members. The CTC programs and allocates funds for highway, passenger rail, active transportation, aeronautics, and transit improvements statewide. The CTC advises CalSTA and the Legislature on policies and plans for the state’s transportation programs.
  • SB1 impacts the State Highway Office of Planning and Preservation (SHOPP), the State Highway Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), and the Active Transportation Program (ATP). It’s no longer just about giving funds off the top. There is also accountability for how much was actually spent in order to receive additional funding.
  • ASCE can help set targets, identify performance measures, and determine how assets are defined in the life cycle cost analysis within the Asset Management Plan per SB 46 (2014).
  • CTC reports to the Legislature how well Caltrans is doing. Yet there are only 19 engineers within the CTC versus around 20,000 Caltrans personnel.
  • While $1.5B was cut from the STIP program last year, new projects will be added in this year as detailed in the upcoming CTC Meeting on June 28.
  • The STIP is a 5-year program adopted biannually starting with an estimation of available revenue followed by a forecast of revenues projected to become available.
  • The passage of SB1 means there is no longer a reason to believe that new projects will not be added. In fact, many of the projects put on hold could be restored to active status.
  • While the ATP may not have a new Call For Projects, it will likely move the ready projects forward.
  • SB1 calls for taking care of the system preservation and rehabilitation while minimizing future costs. ASCE can help determine how Caltrans is managing their work from a lifecycle cost perspective while encouraging elected officials with short terms to adopt a perspective that exceeds their time in office.
  • ASCE and other associations can help serve as a team of experts to define the assets, determine how to take care of these assets, and formulate the targets. They can also help interpret legislation.
  • If bills come up that are a concern to ASCE, they should bring it to the attention of the CTC.   


Gyan Sinha, Darwin Vargas, Senator Josh Newman, Elizabeth Ruedas, Josue Vaglienty 

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Legislative Update


Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate 

The Legislature reached another milestone with the House of origin deadline on June 2, 2017.  By that date all bills (with a few exceptions) needed to be approved by the respective houses where introduced – or they became two-year bills and ineligible for passage in 2017. 


The Assembly approved ASCE supported AB 851 (Caballero D) that allows the Santa Clara Valley Water District to use the design-build procurement method.  The bill was significantly narrowed from its original broad authority for all special districts. 

ASCE supported SB 27 (Morrell R) that would have required every board under the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to grant a waiver for the application and initial licensing fee to an honorably discharged veteran, failed passage in Senate Appropriations.

The full Senate sent ASCE supported SB 436 (Allen D) to the Assembly on a 35-0 vote.  The bill establishes the California STEM Professional Teaching Pathway to recruit, train, support, and retain qualified science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals as mathematics and science teachers in California.  To pass, the bill was stripped of its Proposition 98 General Fund appropriation, beginning in the 2017-18 fiscal year.  The bill would require its provisions to be implemented only upon the enactment of an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute for its purposes. 

Recent Reports

Pacific Institutereleased Impact of California’s Five-Year (2012-2016) Drought on Hydroelectricity Generation[web link] “The severe five-year drought afflicting California between 2012 and 2016 was the driest and hottest in the instrumental record…. Under normal conditions, electricity for the state’s millions of users is produced from a blend of many sources, with natural gas and hydropower being the top two.  During the drought, reductions to state river flows that power hundreds of hydropower stations meant that natural gas became a more prominent player in the mix.  This was an expensive change.  According to the report, the five years of drought led to an increase in electricity costs of approximately $2.45 billion.  The additional combustion of fossil fuels for electric generation led to a 10% increase in the release of carbon dioxide from California power plants.  In addition, the report notes that the ability to expand California’s hydroelectricity capacity is limited, as there are few undammed rivers, little unallocated water, and growing environmental, economic, and political constraints to adding new hydropower capacity."

In a pair of short reports, researchers at Pew Charitable Trusts provide snapshots of state-level driver safety trends, distracted driving, and seatbelt use.  California ranked in the top 3rd of states for distracted driving habits, with high rates of hard braking, risky acceleration and abrupt turns.  At the same time, California tied with Georgia for having the highest rate of seatbelt use in the country.  Where Are the Most Distracted Drivers? Where Are the Safest? and More States Adopt ‘Click It or Ticket’ Laws; Do They Work?

International Boundary Water Commission, released Report of Transboundary Bypass Flows into the Tijuana River. “A sewer line break in Tijuana resulted in the bypass of approximately 28 million gallons (105,000 cubic meters) of wastewater into the Tijuana River channel on February 1-4, 2017….  In addition, other sewer line problems in the Mexican city affected the Tijuana River Valley in both countries. These included blocked or collapsed pipes and the overflow of sanitary sewers after rainwater entered the sewer system…. A binational task force … aside from gathering the facts surrounding the sewage spill, made a series of recommendations that include acquiring equipment to prevent or manage spills, establishment of a communication and notification protocol, and an enhancement of data collection and information exchange to assist in speedy detection and response to transboundary sewage spills.” 

The Institute for Leadership and Public Policy at Fresno State College of Social Sciences released 2017 San Joaquin Valley Survey—Results on High-Speed Rail A telephone survey of 541 adults from eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley found that interest in the high-speed rail project is mixed. “Among those who voted in the 2016 presidential election, there is a very marked split in their views of the high-speed rail project.  Forty-seven percent of voters support the completion of the project, while 46% oppose it.  In contrast, non-voters are much more supportive of high-speed rail, with 74% of them in favor of it…. Across racial and ethnic groups, non-white groups are the most supportive of the high-speed rail project. Seventy-six percent of Latinos and 60% of non-white, non-Latinos, which includes blacks and Asians, support construction of the project. In contrast, a majority of whites (64%) oppose the construction of the high-speed train through the Valley.” 

The National Renewal Energy Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy released  ESIF 2016: Modernizing Our Grid and Energy System. “This 2016 ESIF [Energy Systems Integration Facility] annual report highlights work in finding new ways to control and protect electric grids, showing how they can accommodate more renewables, demonstrating that utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) installations can provide grid services, challenging inventors to create a smaller inverter, determining the best way to dispatch battery energy storage systems (BESS), using big data to improve solar forecasting, and developing new test devices for hydrogen refueling.” 

The UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies releasedRethinking the Corporate Campus: The Next Bay Area Workplace.“The suburban corporate campus remains the predominant real estate solution for the [Bay Area’s] employers. With isolated single-use buildings set behind vast parking lots, far away from the public street, it is a model that reinforces dependence on cars and pushes sprawl development into open spaces and farmland…. Rethinking the Corporate Campus examines the forces that shape our employment landscape, highlights the implications of different models, and recommends policies and practices to tackle two key questions: How do we encourage employers to choose efficient, sustainable, high-performance locations [; and] how do we create new locations that are more efficient, sustainable and high-performing?”

The Public Policy Institute of California releasedCalifornians’ Views on Climate Change. “A majority of Californians say the effects of global warming are already occurring” with 64% surveyed responding that “global warming’s effects have already begun.” Four in five Californians believe that global warming is a “very serious (54%) or somewhat serious (27%) threat to the state’s future economy and quality of life.” The majority of respondents supported independent state efforts to address global warming (67%) and supported action even with increased costs (56%). In fact, “only 20% of Californians believe state action on climate change will lead to a loss of jobs.”

The California Housing Partnership released Housing Needs 2017. Ten briefs describe the current state of housing needs in Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo and Sonoma Counties. For the Bay Area counties, “[s]kyrocketing rents, shrinking incomes and severe cuts in state- and federal-government support for affordable housing have made it far harder for lower-income Bay Area residents to find a place to live…. [For] Alameda, Contra Costa, Sonoma and San Mateo counties, … each is more than 10,000 rental spots short of what it would take for everyone of limited means to find an affordable place to live…. [Also], state and federal funding for affordable housing in the four counties has dropped 65 percent since 2008. Meanwhile, in each county the split between rent and income diverged sharply from 2000 to 2015—with rent shooting up and income dipping.”

The Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University released Lower Basin States Work to Keep Lake Mead Afloat. “Hoover dam and the reservoir it created have had one public purpose since the 1930s, when they first tamed the Colorado River. And as the Depression's engineering marvels aged into the 21st century, Lake Mead and its dam were still seen largely as the workhorses needed to send water and hydroelectricity around the Southwest. But in the last 15 years, things have changed. Climate change and the disconnect between the river’s water supply and the amounts promised has given Lake Mead a new identity. It remains the biggest storage tank in the Southwest's plumbing system, but now it is also an hourglass. Its falling level marks the time remaining before interstate and international agreements kick in to dictate who loses water. As of this writing, the lake level stands at 1,082 feet. As the bathtub ring on the canyon walls gets larger, the time will get shorter.”

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The Law & Civil Engineering


Gene Bass

The law provides that an engineer performing professional services for a client, owes that client the duty to have that degree of learning and skill ordinarily possessed by reputable civil engineers, practicing under similar circumstances. The engineer also has the duty to use the care and skill ordinarily used in like cases by reputable members of the profession practicing under similar circumstances. In addition, the engineer has the duty to use reasonable diligence and best judgment in the exercise of skill and the application of learning. The failure to perform any one of these duties is defined as negligence.

Determination of the standard of care is a moving target and purely local practices cannot be relied upon for the determination of that standard. Obviously, local practices can develop that, while expedient, may not comply with what is considered to be good practice on a nationwide basis. With modern communication, determination of the duty of care for a prudent engineer will involve consideration of practices other than locally.

The Attorney General of the State of California had rendered opinions on particular legal questions that existing laws do not adequately address and where there is no other clear legal precedent available. A hypothetical situation of interest to civil engineers was presented to the Attorney General for an opinion. The question asked if a registered engineer is retained to investigate the integrity of a building and determines, based on structural deficiencies in violation of applicable building standards, that there is an imminent risk of serious injury to the occupants of the building, and who is advised by the owner that no disclosure or remedial action is intended and that such structural deficiencies and the fact that there is an imminent risk of serious injury to the occupants of the building are to remain confidential, has a duty to warn the identifiable occupants or, if not feasible, to notify the local building officials of such determinations.

The Attorney General's opinion was that under the circumstances presented, the engineer had the duty, notwithstanding the owner's direct instruction to keep the findings confidential, to warn the identifiable occupants of the building or, if not feasible, to notify the local building officials of such determinations. A key consideration in reaching the opinion was that there was an imminent risk of serious injury.

An owner of a building may have concerns about the integrity of the structure and may want an engineer to “take a look” and let him know how bad it is. The owner may not be inclined, however, to alarm paying tenants of the structure with the bad news and could decide to “take the risk” and not perform any repairs until “later.” The Attorney General's opinion concludes that the engineer's duty to those at imminent risk of serious injury take precedent over the the owner/client's interests to keep quiet about the problem. An engineer hired to make an inspection of a building to determine it's structural integrity would do well to fully inform the client of the duty of the engineer to tell the occupants of the building or local building officials if any conditions are found that represent an imminent risk of serious injury where the owner does not intend to remedy the defective conditions.

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Officer Contacts

(Those listed in blue are considered Section Board Members with voting authority. Everyone else on this list is invited to our meetings to give an update on their subsidiary organization)


President   Elias Karam elias.karam@jacobs.com 209-481-6857
President Elect   Adam Killinger adam.killinger@crawford-inc.com 951-265-5289
Senior Director  Kyle Dushane kdushane@pcwa.net 916-677-4782
Junior Director Tony Quintrall aquintrall@gmail.com 916-993-7616
Secretary Dr. Ben Fell fellb@csus.edu 916-278-8139
Treasurer Jafar Faghih treasurer@asce-sacto.org 916-679-8864
Past President Louay Owaidat louaywaidat@gleis.com  916-462-6420
Executive Director Marie Silveira marie.silveira@jacobs.com   916-296-9856
YMF Board Rep Guy Hopes guy.hopes@erm.com 707-685-3015
Region 9 Chair Jay Higgins  jayhiggins896@gmail.com  818-406-4896
Region 9 Governor Thor Larsen thor.larsen@hdrinc.com  916-973-0356
Egrs. w/o Borders Megan LeRoy megan.leroy@kimley-horn.com 707-291-5629
Ladies Auxiliary Marlene Tobia marlenetobia@att.net 916-492-2181
EOG/Webmaster Michelle Zeiss asce@asce-sacto.org 916-961-2723
Capital Branch Dr. Om Prakash oprakash@westconsultants.com  916-802-6140
Central Valley Branch Rhett Kilgore rkilgore@siegfriedeng.com 209-943-2021
Feather River Branch  Jim Richards jim.richards@prodigy.net 530-762-9464
Shasta Branch Susan Goodwin sgoodwin@vestra.com 530-223-2585 


Coasts, Oceans Ports & Rivers Inst. Zia Zafir zzafir@kleinfelder.com 916-366-1701
Construction Inst.    Brad Quon bquon@cts-1.com 916-871-2080
Environ. & Water Resources Inst.  Rich Juricich rjuricich@pacbell.net 916-492-2181 
Geo-Institute Kartk Atyam  kartk.atyam@aecom.com 916-679-2005
Structural Engineering Inst. Ahilan Selladurai  ahilan.selladurai@tylin.com 916-349-4266
Transportation & Development Inst.   Vacant     


College Accreditation Joan Al-Kazily  alkazily@sbcglobal.net  530-756-9530
Disaster Preparedness John Andrew john.andrew@water.ca.gov 916-651-9657
Education & Awards Thor Larsen thor.larsen@hdrinc.com  916-973-0356
Government Relations Craig Copelan ccopelan95694@yahoo.com 530-908-4790
History & Heritage Thor Larsen  thor.larsen@hdrinc.com  916-973-0356
Membership-Life Mem. Thor Larsen thor.larsen@hdrinc.com  916-973-0356
Scholarship Eric Polson polsonengineering@earthlink.net  916-801-6290
Sustainability Jennifer Buchanan jbuchanan@watearth.com 916-240-7010


California State University, Sacramento Vince Anicich csusascepresident@gmail.com  
University of the Pacific Joey McElhany j_mcelhany@u.pacific.edu  
University of California, Davis Abdulla Alishaq ucd.asce.president@gmail.com  
California State University, Chico Grant Rose chicoasce@gmail.com  


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Event Flyers

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