September 2017 Print

President's Message


Sadly, this is my final President’s message. I cannot believe how fast this year has gone. The Sacramento Section has accomplished a lot through the hard work and dedication of the board members and volunteers. I cannot say thank you enough to the board. I am truly honored to have been part of such a great organization and will continue to support the section for years to come. 

Over the last year, the Sacramento Section successfully accomplished all of events we traditionally host each year on top of a few new ones.  Here are some of the highlights:    

  • Supported numerous Girl Scouts of America events
  • Hosted Dream Big in Imax, which included 350+ K-12 students, parents, and ASCE members
  • Supported a local robotics team to take place in the national competition
  • Supported Engineers Without Borders (EWB) so they could travel to one of their three project sites
  • Supported the Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair
  • Attended the Multi-Regional Leadership Conference (MRLC) along with representatives our active Student Chapters, Branches, and Younger Member Forum (YMF)
  • Attended ASCE Student Chapter events providing resume workshops, industry panels, and mock interviews
  • Hosted Section Individual and Project awards and upgraded the awards submissions process so it is more user friendly
  • Participated in the Region 9 Fly-in
  • Conducted a YMF/Student Technical Symposium for the first time

I’m looking forward to transitioning the Sacramento Section officers into their new positions at the upcoming Individual Awards Banquet on September 21. We would love to see you there. To register, click here


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

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Calendar of Events

6th Annual Civil Engineering Golf Tournament

Sponsorship Opportunities
Mather Golf Course
4103 Zinfandel 
Mather, CA

EWB Chapter Meeting

Social Meeting - All Welcome

Cabana Winery and Bistro
5610 Elvas Ave. 
Sacramento, CA

2017 Outstanding Individual Award Dinner

Capital Branch Speaker Lunch

September 26, 2017
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Topic: Nationwide Water Management System: Can we get there & why should we care?
Old Spaghetti Factory
1910 J. Street
Sacramento, CA

EWRI Chapter Meeting

September 27, 2017
6:00 pm
Topic: Central Valley Flood Protection Plan
Claim Jumper Restaurant
1111 J Street
Sacramento, CA

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Individual Awards Dinner


The ASCE Sacramento Section will be recognizing individuals for outstanding achievements and leadership in civil engineering and who, through their work, support and advance the profession at the Individual Awards & Officer Installation Dinner to be held on Thursday, September, 21, 2017 at the Del Paso Country Club. Contact, if you have any questions. 

Register Here!


Outstanding Civil Engineer Public Sector - Michael Mierzwa 

Outstanding Civil Engineer Private Sector - Larry Dacus

Outstanding Young Civil Engineers - Shawn Leyva & Ariana Castillo

Outstanding ASCE Section Officer - Elias Karam

Outstanding Branch Officer - Clay Slocum

Outstanding YMF Officer - Josh Marston

Outstanding Civil Engineering Student - Lauren Pitcher

Best Civil Engineering Event - Dream Big

Outstanding Practitioner Advisor - Ed Anderson

Outstanding Civil Engineering Community Service - Christina Rice

Humanitarian - Engineers Without Borders

Lifetime Member - Rob Roscoe

Arthur L Elliot Bridge - Ahilan Selladurai 

Charles C. Pope Construction - Jim Lorenzon

Francis N. Hveem Geotechnical - Michael Hughes

David N. Kennedy Water Resource - Thomas Michael Hardesty 

Jonathan Burdette Brown Education - Ghazan Khan

Theodore D. Judah Transportation - Miguel Lopez-Dubois

William H. Hall Flood Control - Les Harder

State Legistlator of the Year - Jim Nielsen

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2017-18 Section Election Ballot


It's that time of year again to submit your ballot to elect officers for the Sacramento Section. Click here  to access the official ballot and mail or email (scan) your vote today. Ballots accepted until September 19. The following is a list of open positions and the candidates running to fill them. Please note the Junior Director position remains vacant.

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Capital Branch Activities


Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Old Spaghetti Factory
1910 J St
Sacramento, CA 95811
11:30 AM Networking, 12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch and Presentation 

TOPIC: A Nationwide Comprehensive Water Management System: Can We Get There and Why Should We Care?

SPEAKER: Christopher N. Dunn P.E, D.WRE, Director, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Institute for Water Resources, Hydrologic Engineering Center, Davis

Registration Link:


A primary mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE, Corps) is to manage the nation's water resources. The Corps performs this mission across multiple purposes at the direction of the United States Congress. To satisfactorily meet these sometimes conflicting purposes, both now and in the future, it is critical that the nation's water resources are studied and managed in a holistic and comprehensive approach. Several tools have been developed to study and manage our nation's water resources both from a planning and a real-time water management perspective. The suite of water management tools is the Water Management Enterprise System (WMES) and the Corps Water Management System (CWMS) and the overarching tool to perform alternative analyses is the Hydrologic Engineering Center's (HEC) Watershed Analysis Tool (HEC-WAT). While these tools exist, the Corps is just beginning to consistently apply these state-of-the-art tools across the nation. Even though the technical capabilities existed, the resources did not. This presentation introduces the tools and describes new efforts that are attempting to implement these tools and why it is critical that these tools be applied consistently.  

About the Speaker:

Mr. Dunn has been the Director of the Hydrologic Engineering Center (CEIWR-HEC) since May 2006, leading a staff of about 45, consisting primarily of hydraulic engineers and computer scientists, and overseeing an annual budget of approximately $15M. HEC’s diverse program focuses on hydrologic and hydraulic engineering and planning analysis encompassing research, software development, special projects, training and technology transfer, and technical assistance to Corps field offices, Corps HQ, other agencies, and other nations. 

The Center participates in a wide range of domestic, interagency, and international projects and activities including reservoir and systems modeling in support to the Columbia River Treaty; technical assistance to southeastern districts on the ACT/ACF update of water control manuals; water management model development and support of the nationwide CWMS implementation; reach-back technical assistance to Corps projects in Iraq and Afghanistan; training in numerous international locations such as Brazil, Korea, Taiwan, England, Netherlands, and South Africa; provision of technical leadership for meetings with the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation (MLIT); and, collaboration with the USGS and the NWS in the Integrated Water Resources Science and Services effort. 

Mr. Dunn has spent over 30 years in the Water Resources profession working as a Regional Hydraulics Engineer for the Federal Highway Administration for 13 years prior to his service with HEC. He joined HEC in February of 1999 as a Senior Hydraulic Engineer and later became a Division Chief at the Center. He holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Civil Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.  


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.

September Meeting Sponsor:

Thank you to Milliken Infrastructure Solutions for sponsoring in the September ASCE Sacramento Capital Branch Luncheon Meeting.


Click here to download the official ballot and cast your vote for the upcoming year. Ballots due no later than September 19th. 

JOIN US ON LinkedIn.

The Capital Branch has 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


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   

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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

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Feather River Branch Activities

For more information about future meetings and activities, please contact, Clay Slocum at, or 530-864-1648.

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Shasta Branch Activities

For more information about the Shasta Branch meetings, please contact Susan Goodwin at

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Environmental Water Resources Institute (EWRI)


Wednesday, September 27, 6-8 pm
Claim Jumper Restaurant 
1111 J Street
Sacramento, CA 

Topic:  2017 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan
Speaker: Eric Tsai with the California Department of Water Resources


Registration cost is $25 for professionals and $15 for students. For questions, please contact Sarah McIlroy or 916-773-8100.

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Engineers Without Borders


Wednesday, September, 20, 6PM
Cabana Winery and Bistro
5610 Elvas Ave.
Contact: Ashley Martin, 530-200-6309 or  


Thursday, September 21, 6 PM - 8 PM
Blue Prynt Restaurant
815 11th Street
Sacramento 95814

Early bird ticket sales will begin Monday, July 31 for only $30. Tickets will increase to $35 on Monday, August 14 so get your tickets early! Tickets can be purchased at until Thursday, September 14.


The most pressing issue to the community right now is the landslide threatening the principal storage tank for the water system. At first, the community wanted to purchase property from a community member to relocate the tank but that is no longer an option. It appears that the only option is to stabilize the land in the current location to prevent the slope from collapsing and the tank failing.

Many of us do not have geotechnical/geological experience. If anyone has experience in Geotech/geology or know someone who does, please take a look and share the photos that show the tank area and landside. Any suggestions or insights are helpful! Please contact Michelle Kolb, EWB SVPC Panama Team Project Manager,

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Disaster Preparedness


Doug Taylor, P.E., M.ASCE

Chair, ASCE Region 9 Disaster Preparedness Committee

Get Ready for a Disaster!

Have you been certified as a Safety Assessment Evaluator (SAP) yet? If you haven’t, then you’re not ready for a disaster. When thousands of homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed by an earthquake somewhere in California you won’t be able to offer your engineering assistance. And you’ll want to. So let’s get you certified.

It’s easy to get trained. The six-hour course is often FREE (or at a small charge for lunch and meeting room) and is provided in areas around the State periodically. The cert is good for FIVE years and then you can renew online… what could be simpler?  To find a class in your area, check the training schedule at and click on their Training Calendar. Look for an SAP Evaluator training class near you.

If you don’t find a class in your area, send an email to me saying you’re interested and I’ll do my best to set one up near you if enough people are interested. Please email me at:

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Feature Article



Dr. Thomas Burn

An ASCE member and college professor has a “novel” approach to promote the civil engineering profession. Dr. Thomas Burns, PE, recently released his debut novel, EQUILIBRIUM, which is a story about a civil engineer with a promising future in front of him until disaster strikes both his professional and personal worlds. “Basically it is a story about an engineer who suffers major setbacks and then struggles to find redemption”.

Burns has always enjoyed explaining to others what civil engineering is all about. “One of my favorite things to do is to talk to prospective students and their parents about our profession. I tell them to look at the world – all the buildings, bridges, and projects that civil engineers have had a hand in creating”. He believes that increasing the visibility of civil engineering will lead the best and brightest to our profession.

Why a novel? “I thought it would be an interesting way to promote the profession. The ASCE talks about the need to inspire current and future engineers and I thought this novel would be a fun way to approach this goal”. Experts say that popular fiction provides insight into the world in which the characters live, work, and play said Burns. “One of my goals with EQUILIBRIUM is to give the non-engineer, maybe even the high school senior, some glimpse into our profession and the enormous responsibility that civil engineers shoulder”.

A licensed engineer, Tom has undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering from the University of Cincinnati as well as a doctorate in construction management from Indiana State University.

You can find out more about the Tom’s novel on his website

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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 or Scott Putty (ASCE UCD Mentorship Chair) at

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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 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


Structural-Condition Assessment of Existing Structures 
October 19-20 | San Francisco Metro-Area

Design of Concrete Pavements
December 7 - 8 | Sacramento, CA

Financial Management for the Professional Engineer
February 2-3, 2018 | San Francisco Metro-Area


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: 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: 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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  ( 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



Jay H Higgins, P.E., ENV SP, F. ASCE

ASCE Region 9 Director

The October 11th American Society of Civil Engineers (Society) 2017 Annual Convention will mark the end of my term as your Region 9 Director.   It is hard to believe that my three-year term has come to an end.  It has been a pleasure to represent the members of the four Region 9 Sections: Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as your representative on the Society’s Board of Direction. 

I would like to thank all the Region 9 Governors, Committee Chairs, Committee Members and members of the Sections, Branches, Younger Member Groups and local Institutes for their hard work and support of ASCE.  You have all greatly contributed to my term being such a pleasant experience over the past three years.  I believe Region 9 has accomplished so much in support of the Society’s strategic initiatives, as well as many more activities of interest to our members at the local level. 

In an October 2014 article for the Section newsletter, I addressed the purpose and objectives of the Region 9 Board of Governors as assisting the Society Board of Direction on a regional basis in governing the Society and providing leadership to carry out programs for the benefit of Region 9.  This includes supporting the Society’s strategic initiatives.  These initiatives have changed slightly since 2104 and are currently the following;

  • Advocate for Sustainable Infrastructure – Raise the grades highlighted in the ASCE Report Card by taking into account that the infrastructure should be sustainable;
  • Grand Challenge - lower the life cycle costs of infrastructure projects by 50% by the year 2025;
  • Raise the Bar – define the educational and experience required to practice as a Professional Civil Engineer. 

Let me highlight some of the Region 9 accomplishments in support of these initiatives:

  • One of the most successful infrastructure advocacy activities is our annual Region 9 Infrastructure Symposium.  The symposium is hosted and rotated around the State to provide each Section geographic area the opportunity to become closely involved in this activity, and to assure the we are reaching members in all areas of the state.  This year the Infrastructure Symposium, chaired by Yaz Emrani, Region 9 Infrastructure Policy Committee Chair, was held in Los Angeles.  It reached close to 300 members, and involved speakers from many agencies, consulting firms, and three current and former mayors.  The Society’s 2016-2017 President, Norma Jean Mattei, was in attendance and spoke about the Society’s Infrastructure advocacy activities, and the Infrastructure Report Card released in March 2017. 
  • The Region formed a Sustainability Committee focused on including the tenets of sustainability in all civil engineering projects.  As Chair of the Region 9 Sustainability Committee, Mark Norton has developed this very active committee which includes representatives of all four Sections.  The Committee promotes the concept of sustainability and the new sustainability rating system, Envision, for civil engineering projects to our members, legislators and the public at large.  The Committee has encouraged members to obtain the Envision® Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) credential.  Workshops have been held to provide the training.  Notably, a workshop is held each year on the day before our annual Region 9 Infrastructure Symposium.
  • The Region has one of the most active legislative advocacy programs in ASCE.  The Region 9 Sacramento Legislative Fly-in Day held each year and hosted by the Government Relations Committee, chaired by M.J. Hashemi, brought together around 100 members for a morning legislative briefing before going to the State Capitol to meet with their Senator and Assembly Member.  Our member advocacy on legislation positively impacts issues surrounding infrastructure and the civil engineering profession. 
  • The Region also has a very active Transportation Committee, chaired by David Schwegel. This committee follows pending legislation that impacts the State’s transportation infrastructure.  In addition to participating in the Legislative Day Fly-In, the Transportation Committee annually holds another visit to state legislators and representatives of state committees directly involved in transportation issues.
  • The Region has a very active Water Committee, chaired by Xavier Irias, that also follows pending legislation impacting the state’s water resources.  In addition to participating in the Legislative Day Fly-In, the Water Committee annually holds another visit to state legislators and representatives of state committees directly involved in water issues. 
  • The Region recently formed a Task Committee, chaired by Jim Frost, to promote Society’s Grand Challenge Initiative, the Society’s newest strategic initiative. The investments needed to improve our infrastructure continue to increase well beyond available funding. How do we close the infrastructure gap? The ASCE Grand Challenge asks all civil engineers to join in the solution to: 1) significantly enhance the performance and value of infrastructure projects over their life cycles by 2025; and 2) foster the optimization of infrastructure investments for society.  To reach this goal, the profession must influence major policy changes and infrastructure funding levels, while challenging civil engineers to focus on innovation, rethink life cycle costs, and drive transformational change.  The Region 9 Committee will work with the Society as they develop an implementation plan for this initiative.

  • The Region has formed a Raise the Bar Committee (RTB) to support one of the three top strategic initiatives of the Society.  The goal of RTB is to advance the profession and protect the public welfare by actively supporting the national movement to raise the educational requirements for future professional engineers.  The Region RTB Committee is chaired by Kwame Agyare.  The committee is up and running with several representatives from the Sections and Branches participating in conference calls and activities.  They are coordinating their activities with the Society’s RTB Committee and have made presentations to members, which has provided valuable feedback. 
  • Awards Committee System Upgrade – Our awards Committee, Chaired by Matt Kennedy, has upgraded our Region 9 awards process to align the Section categories with the Region 9 categories, and developed a computerize system that allows the branches and sections to electronically submit award applications to the next level of evaluation.  This upgraded system allows a more efficient evaluation process for the submittals tor recognizing the great civil engineering work done by individuals and the project teams in our Region.

The Region has several other committees working to benefit our members and keep the Region organization effective.  They include: 

  • Disaster Preparedness Committee, chaired by Doug Taylor, which is training our members to be prepared to respond to calls from the State of California to help during the disaster response phase of natural and man-made disasters.  Look for announcements in the Section newsletters for opportunities for Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training in post-disaster engineering assessments.
  • California State Report Card Committee, chaired by John Hogan and Tony Akel, are in the process of coordinating an update to the California Infrastructure Report Card, for release by March 2019.  This is a very valuable tool to use in our legislative advocacy activities. 
  • BPELSG Committee, chaired by Thor Larsen, endeavors to send a representative to every CA Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists Board meetings to show our support of the board and to remain current on actions affecting professional Civil Engineers.
  • Younger Member Forum Committee, chaired by Gidti Ludesirishoti, keeps the Region 9 Board informed of the various activities of the younger member forums, and allows us to be proactive in supporting their activities.
  • History and Heritage Committee, chaired by Chuck Spinks (former Region 9 Director), recognizes the great civil engineering projects within the state of California.  Region 9 coordinates with the Sections and Branches on identifying worthy historic projects deserving of recognition.  It is important to let the public know about the significant civil engineering projects that improve their quality of life. 
  • The Audit Committee, chaired by Thor Larsen, and the Membership Committee, chaired by Matt Kennedy, help with the internal activities to keep Region 9 running effectively. 

I am grateful to all these committee chairs, Section Presidents and Governors, who participate in all our board meetings, as well as those members that served on committees. I appreciate their commitment to ASCE, their hard work, and their dedication in helping to make Region 9 effective in benefiting our members.

Beginning in October 2017, Kwame Agyare, the current Vice Chair for Region 9, will become the Director of Region 9 and will serve on the Society Board of Direction.  I have the greatest confidence that he will continue the great work being done by our committees and members, and will move our Region forward in providing benefits to our members.

I have no definitive plans for my future involvement in ASCE, but I know that I will continue to support our organization in any way I might be asked to serve.  If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at: or my cell phone at (818) 406-4896.


Ric Moore, PLS
Executive Officer, CA PE Board (BPELSG)

(Reprinted with permission from the Spring 2015 BPELSG Bulletin)


The California PE Board (BPELSG) has asked the ASCE Region 9 Board to assist in reminding public agency engineers of their responsibilities for monument preservation/perpetuation as required by law.  Please contact BPELSG Executive Officer Ric Moore ( for any questions or clarification in regard to this 2015 past article. 

On January 1, 2015, changes to both the Professional Land Surveyors’ Act and the Professional Engineers Act that apply to governmental agencies and their employees became effective.

Section 8725.1 was added to the Professional Land Surveyors’ Act (California Business and Professions Code) requiring that all licensure requirements imposed upon private sector professional land surveyors shall be imposed upon individuals performing land surveying for a governmental agency. Section 8725.1 states as follows:

It is the intent of the Legislature that the licensure requirements that are imposed upon private sector professional land surveyors and land surveying partnerships, firms, or corporations shall be imposed upon the state and any city, county, city and county, district, and special district that shall adhere to those requirements. Therefore, for the purposes of Section 8725 and this chapter, at least one person authorized to practice land surveying shall be designated the person in responsible charge of professional land surveying work practiced in any department or agency of the state, city, county, city and county, district, or special district.

This requirement has been a part of the Professional Engineers Act, in Section 6730.2, for many years.  The addition of Section 8725.1 has made it clear that professional land surveying services performed for or by a governmental agency are required to be done by a person legally authorized to perform land surveying services. These sections clarify that the requirement for licensure applies to governmental agencies and their employees as well as licensees working in the private sector.

The change to the Professional Engineers Act was an addition to Section 6730.2, which has been amended to add subsection (c) concerning monument preservation. Section 6730.2(c) states as follows:

The designate person in responsible charge of professional civil engineering work of any department or agency of the state, city, county, city and county, district, or special district pursuant to this section is responsible for compliance with subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 8771.

The addition of Section 6730.2(c) identifies that the civil engineer in responsible charge for civil engineering work at a department or agency is responsible for compliance with the laws pertaining to the preservation of monuments that control the location of subdivisions, tracts, boundaries, roads, streets, or highways, or provide horizontal or vertical survey control, and the monuments shall be located and referenced prior to the time when construction of the project begins so monumentation is not lost and that any existing monumentation can be retained or replaced in their original position. 

Based upon these new requirements, the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (Board) is in the process of creating a form to be completed by governmental agencies that will identify the engineers and surveyors in responsible charge of performing the respective engineering and land surveying duties for their agency.  The form, Notice of Department or Agency Association, will be required to be filed by all governmental agencies that perform civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering or land surveying services whether that agency is a State, city, county, or city/ county agency, or a district or special district.  The form will provide the Board with a record of who, whether an agency employee or a contracted individual, is in responsible charge of engineering and surveying services for each department or agency. 

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Legislative Update


Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate 

The Legislature finished with their work and left on their summer recess on July 21. they will return on August 21 for the final month of this first year of the Legislative session. 

Before departing, the Legislature passed an extension of California’s Cap and Trade legislation (sometimes referred to as Cap and Tax). Gov. Jerry Brown quickly signed the bill AB 398 (Garcia, Eduardo) that extends the center-piece statutory provisions in California’s quest to solve global climate change through greenhouse gas reduction.

Brown was joined by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who signed the state’s original cap-and-trade bill in 2006, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assemblymember Garcia and dozens of local, environmental and business leaders on Treasure Island to sign the bill. The event was open to invited guests and credentialed media only.

The final bill includes tax cuts and prevents local air regulator boards from setting their own rules on emissions that go above and beyond the cap-and-trade program – a provision particularly irksome for the environmental community and local pollution authorities.

Brown observed California is “a nation-state in a globalizing world,” and called cap-and-trade “one of the key milestones in turning around this carbonized world into a decarbonized, sustainable future.”

You can read details about AB 398 here.

The Air Resources Board, coincidentally, released California Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory Program. “The state’s emissions in 2015 dropped just 0.3% from the prior year, according to data released … by the California Air Resources Board. The board’s detailed annual greenhouse gas inventories are issued more than a year after the fact. While emissions from electrical plants fell in 2015, driven down partly by the rapid growth of large solar facilities, the amount of greenhouse gases spewed by cars and planes rose. That may be due to low fuel prices and an improving economy, both of which typically entice people to drive more.” (SFGate)

Other Legislation

ASCE supported AB 1523 (Obernolte R) that will authorize the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority to use the design-build contracting process for local agencies was approved by the Legislature and sent to the Governor for his consideration.

ASCE supported AB 1671 (Caballero D) took an interesting turn. As approved in committee, it would have required the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to update its backflow protection and cross-connection regulations. After leaving committee, it was substantially amended. Now the bill allows the state board to implement its backflow protection and cross-connection standards through the adoption of a “policy handbook” (the bill does not specify which “policy handbook”) that is not subject to the notice and hearing requirements of California’s Administrative Procedures Act. Caballero also amended her AB 851 that would extend county’s current authority to useconstruction manager at-risk construction contracts. The bill now will “prohibit a construction manager at-risk entity from being prequalified or shortlisted or awarded a contract unless that entity provides an enforceable commitment to the county that the entity and its subcontractors at every tier will use a skilled and trained workforce to perform all work on the project.” This is boiler-plate language of the State Building and Construction Trades Council that exempts contracts pursuant to a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) from its requirements. 

Recent Reports 

Science released Estimating Economic Damage from Climate Change in the United States.” “Unmitigated climate change will make the United States poorer and more unequal, according to a new study published in the journal Science. The poorest third of counties could sustain economic damages costing as much as 20% of their income if warming proceeds unabated. States in the South and lower Midwest, which tend to be poor and hot already, will lose the most, with economic opportunity traveling northward and westward…. The study is the first of its kind to price warming using data and evidence accumulated by the research community over decades. From this data, the team estimates that for each one degree Fahrenheit (0.55°C) increase in global temperatures, the U.S. economy loses about 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product, with each degree of warming costing more than the last.” (, Jun. 29, 2017). 

American Immigration Councilreleased Foreign-Born STEM Workers in the United States. “Of the nation’s 50 states, California ranks second in its proportion of foreign-born STEM workers—one percentage point lower than New Jersey, where 43% are immigrants…. When the health and social science occupations are added to the California STEM analysis, foreign-born workers make up a slightly smaller share of our workforce: 37%.... The study also found that the nation’s foreign-born STEM workers are more highly educated than their U.S.-born co-workers…. As demand grows in these fields, so will the need for an educated workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that STEM occupations will increase about 13% from 2012 to 2022, compared to 11% projected for all occupations.” (San Jose Mercury News, July 14, 2017).

Brookings Institutionreleased Modernizing Government’s Approach to Transportation and Land Use Data: Challenges and Opportunities. “[T]his report catalogs emerging data sets related to transportation and land use, and assesses the ease by which they can be integrated into how public agencies manage the built environment. It finds that there is reason for the hype; we have the ability to know more about how humans move around today than at any time in history. But, despite all the obvious opportunities, not addressing core challenges will limit public agencies’ ability to put all that data to use for the collective good.”

Caltrans has released its 2017 State Highway System Management Plan, outlining its five-year maintenance plan and 10-year highway operations and protection program plan, notes “about $19 billion in SB 1 revenues will be invested repairing our state highway system in the next decade,” resulting in “an additional 17,000 miles of pavement repaired; an additional 500 bridges repaired or replaced; an additional 55,000 culverts and drains repaired; and an additional 7,700 signals, signs and sensors repaired or replaced.” 

Southern California Water Committee has released a polling memo from Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, reports the Governor’s California WaterFix project “has support from nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Southern California voters,” says “voters favor the infrastructure improvement project by 62% when provided an objective summary of it” and “after hearing positive messaging regarding California WaterFix, support for the project jumps to 71%.”  


Governor Brown has made the following appointments:

As director of the California Department of Water Resources: Grant Davis, Petaluma, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency.

As deputy director of the State Water Project at Dept. of Water Resources: Joel Ledesma, Sacramento, various positions at Dept. of Water Resources since 1991, including assistant division chief of operations and maintenance. 

As assistant director of public affairs at the California Department of Water Resources: Erin Mellon, Sacramento, communications and outreach advisor at the CA Natural Resources Agency. 


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The Law & Civil Engineering


Gene Bass

An engineer had a contract to provide consulting services to a charter city. The contract required that any modifications to the agreement were only to be made by mutual written consent of the parties. The contract work was completed, billed and paid for. Ten months after completion of the project, the engineer submitted a final invoice for a substantial additional sum, which the city refused to pay because it was beyond the maximum contract price and included work that was not authorized by the contract. The engineer sued the city for breach of contract and common counts. He admitted he did not follow the contract's written modification requirement, but argued the contract was orally modified to include extra work based on requests by the city's associate engineer and an outside consultant.

The contract set forth very specific requirements as to extra work amounts and procedures for authorization and payment. The city asserted that the engineer was not entitled to be paid for the extra work because he did not seek to renegotiate or amend the contract or request authorization for the special work at any time prior to submitting his final invoice.

The dispute was tried before a judge and a decision for the city was rendered, denying the engineer any pay for the extra work performed at the request of the assistant city engineer and project manager. The case was appealed and the appellate court upheld the trial court's decision, denying any recovery to the engineer.

In reaching it's decision, the appellate court noted that that the city's charter contained the specific provisions regarding contracts and that there was no provision for payment based upon the legal theories that did not comply with the charter.

The appellate court disagreed with the engineer's contention that he was entitled to be paid for the extra work he performed because an associate engineer employed by the city and an outside consultant hired by the city to oversee the project requested that he perform the work. He contended that the request to do extra work amounted to a modification of the contract.

The court stated that a charter city may not act in conflict with its charter and that any act that is violative of or not in compliance with the charter is void. It held that the mode of contracting, as prescribed by the municipal charter, is the measure of the power of the city to contract and a contract made in disregard of the prescribed mode was unenforceable. The court also stated that persons dealing with a public agency are presumed to know the law with respect to any agency's authority to contract. Further, it stated that one who deals with an employee or agent for a public entity is presumed to have full knowledge of that employee or agent's powers, and stands the risk that the entity will no liability for the agent's acts outside the scope of it's express authority. The court also stated that since there was no provision in the city charter for execution of oral contracts by employees of the city who do not have requisite authority, the alleged oral statements by the associate city engineer and project manager are insufficient to bind the city. No government, whether state or local, can be bound to any extent by an officer's acts in excess of his authority. A contract that does not conform to the prescribed method for entering into municipal contracts is void and no implied liability can arise for benefits received by the city.

While the appellate court expressed sympathy for the seeming unfairness of denying payment for work done in good faith by one who has no actual knowledge of the restrictions applicable to municipal contracts it still held that one dealing with the city is bound to see that the city charter is complied with and if the charter forbids the contract which he has made, he knows it, or ought to know it, before he places his money or services at hazard. The court also noted that in this case the engineer was not the victim of an innocent mistake in that he admitted that, at the time he performed the extra work, he knew it was outside the scope of the contract. Moreover, that he had actual knowledge of the process for obtaining authorization for extra work.

The case is important because it makes clear that that the engineer dealing with a public entity must be aware of the distinction between public and private contracts and that the legal theories for recovery that apply to private projects will not necessarily apply to public entities. Public entities are bound by their governing documents limiting the power of city officials to contract for the city. The case also serves to demonstrate the importance that city employees be aware of the limitations of their authority to bind the city. In this case, the consultant was not paid for work performed upon the request of the assistant city engineer and project manager who did not have the authority to request the work on behalf of the city.

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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 209-481-6857
President Elect   Adam Killinger 951-265-5289
Senior Director  Kyle Dushane 916-677-4782
Junior Director Tony Quintrall 916-993-7616
Secretary Dr. Ben Fell 916-278-8139
Treasurer Jafar Faghih 916-679-8864
Past President Louay Owaidat 916-462-6420
Executive Director Marie Silveira   916-296-9856
YMF Board Rep Guy Hopes 707-685-3015
Region 9 Chair Jay Higgins  818-406-4896
Region 9 Governor Thor Larsen  916-973-0356
Egrs. w/o Borders Ashley Martin 530-200-6309
Ladies Auxiliary Marlene Tobia 916-492-2181
EOG/Webmaster Michelle Zeiss 916-961-2723
Capital Branch Dr. Om Prakash 916-802-6140
Central Valley Branch Rhett Kilgore 209-943-2021
Feather River Branch  Clay Slocum 530-864-1648
Shasta Branch Susan Goodwin 530-223-2585 


Coasts, Oceans Ports & Rivers Inst. Zia Zafir 916-366-1701
Construction Inst.    Brad Quon 916-871-2080
Environ. & Water Resources Inst.  Rich Juricich 916-492-2181 
Geo-Institute Kartk Atyam 916-679-2005
Structural Engineering Inst. Ahilan Selladurai 916-349-4266
Transportation & Development Inst.   Vacant     


College Accreditation Joan Al-Kazily  530-756-9530
Disaster Preparedness John Andrew 916-651-9657
Education & Awards Thor Larsen  916-973-0356
Government Relations Craig Copelan 530-908-4790
History & Heritage Thor Larsen  916-973-0356
Membership-Life Mem. Thor Larsen  916-973-0356
Scholarship Eric Polson  916-801-6290
Sustainability Jennifer Buchanan 916-240-7010


California State University, Sacramento Vince Anicich  
University of the Pacific Joey McElhany  
University of California, Davis Abdulla Alishaq  
California State University, Chico Grant Rose  


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Event Flyers

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