January 2020 Print

President's Report

ASCE Sacramento Section President’s Message

HAPPY NEW YEAR from your ASCE Sacramento Section! Exciting times are ahead — especially considering the many active groups in which we can all participate. These include:

  • Younger Member Forum (YMF) if you're 35 years old or younger,
  • Branches,
  • Committees, and
  • Institutes.

I'm certain we have something you're going to be interested in. We will be showcasing these groups in future engineerogram (EOG) newsletters. Please reach out to one of the board members if you're interested in getting more involved. Contact information is located at the bottom of this EOG.

We continue to make progress with preparation for the CA Infrastructure Symposium that will be held on April 3rd, 2020 at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West. I want to reiterate that our goal is to reach 500 participants at the Infrastructure Symposium, so I ask you, our members, to discuss the importance of this symposium with your coworkers and other stewards in your community and encourage them to attend. Also, we have an Envision Sustainability Credential (Env SP) Version 3 Training Workshop planned for the day prior to the Symposium on April 2nd, 2020 at the Green and Gold Room in the University Union at California State University.

And lastly, the Sacramento Section Project Awards nominations are open! The Awards Banquet will be held at the DoubleTree Hilton in Sacramento on May 7, 2020. Nominations are due by February 28, 2020. NOMINATE YOUR PROJECT TODAY!


Tino Maestas
President, ASCE Sacramento Section

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Save the Date

Important Upcoming Dates


April 2, 2020

Envision Sustainability Credential Version 3 Training Workshop
Registration coming very soon

April 3, 2020

California Infrastructure Symposium 2020

Region 9 Awards Dinner


May 7, 2020

2019 Project Awards Banquet
Nominations open until February 28, 2020

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California Infrastructure Symposium & Region 9 Awards Banquet

Driving the Economy Forward with Transportation Infrastructure


David M. Schwegel, PE, APEX Civil Engineering

The California Infrastructure Symposium takes place Friday, April 3, 2020 at the Hilton/Arden West in Sacramento. The theme is "Driving the Economy Forward with Infrastructure". Barry Broome, President & CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC) is a Confirmed Keynote Speaker. The desired outcome is to encourage delegates to promote economic stimulation through infrastructure investment according to the metric that matters – the expedited delivery of state-of-the-art infrastructure making optimal use of taxpayer funds. The recently released Report Card on California's Infrastructure will serve among the foundational documents for discussion along with ASCE www.asce.org Policy Statements on Design-Build and Project/Construction Management in light of our state's currently struggling High-Speed Rail Project (recent $929 million Federal "claw back" with a threat of a "claw back" of the $2.5 billion remainder should progress not pick up significantly). In addition to the keynote presentations, the event also features an Awards Banquet spotlighting outstanding projects and leaders in the Civil Engineering profession, and parallel Transportation and Water Tracks.

Questions to be addressed during the Transportation Track include the following:

  1. What are some of the design/build innovations going into the I-405 Project in Orange County and the I-680 Managed Lanes Project in Contra Costa County?
  2. How is San Francisco International Airport (SFO) handling the severity of its capacity constraints given that their "third runway" (High-Speed Rail) may not be delivered as expeditiously as SFO officials had hoped?
  3. What is the perspective from both the Federal and State Governments on the new transportation performance metrics on VMT and GHG reductions?
  4. How is the six-county Sacramento Council of Governments (SACOG) region dealing with the 19% per capita GHG reduction mandate relative to 2005 values by 2035 given its vast geography and high projected population growth?
  5. Why is the City of Sacramento only requiring the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) to restripe a few Midtown roadways for protected bike lanes in lieu of traditional passenger rail station mitigation measures of constructing massive parking structures and robust roadway improvements?
  6. What's behind Sacramento RT's (SacRT) remarkable turnaround from the nation's largest drop in transit ridership between 2011 and 2018 and sudden increase in ridership given that it only gets 1/6th the per capita funding of comparable transit agencies and 1/20th that of Sound Transit – nation's largest gain in transit ridership during the same 2011 to 2018 timeframe?

Ask Barry Broome and Malcolm Gladwell about the relationship among quality transit rolling stock, economic stimulation, and crime reduction. You'll likely hear success stories of Seattle's state-of-the-art light rail rolling stock and the region's phenomenal economic performance (62 construction cranes in Seattle in 2016 versus 0 in Sacramento), frustration stories of Sacramento's deteriorating rolling stock and the loss of perspective employers based on a single experience on SacRT after months of "wining and dining" by GSEC, and the observation of boosting the aesthetic appeal of rolling stock and cracking down on fare evasion on the New York Subway System and the corresponding significant drop in crime in the "Big Apple".

Among the talking points at the recent Cascadia Rail Summit, was a $24 to $42 billion High-Speed Rail System along the Cascadia Innovation Corridor (Portland OR-Seattle WA-Vancouver BC) generating $355 billion in economic activity; and Former Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire's observations that economies are now competing Mega-Region to Mega-Region, and the Cascadia Mega-Region prides itself in doing what other Mega-Regions "can't, won't, or are otherwise unwilling to do".

Investing in transportation in California not only boosts the economic competitiveness within the Northern and Southern California Mega-Regions, but also strengthens the ties between them.

Finally, messaging on "Driving the Economy Forward with Transportation Infrastructure" will be instrumental in the ITE Advocacy Committee's efforts to reauthorize the FAST (Fixing America's Surface Transportation) Act.

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Project Awards Call For Nominations

The 2019 ASCE Sacramento Section Project Awards Nominations are now open! ASCE Sacramento Section Project Awards recognize outstanding Civil Engineering projects in the Sacramento Section geographic area that have completed construction within the last two (2) years.

The deadline to nominate a project is February 28, 2020! The Project Awards Banquet will be held on May 7, 2020 at the DoubleTree Hilton in Sacramento, CA. 

Nominate your project today by going to http://www.asceregion9awards.org/section-awards/nomination-project/sac or emailing nomination form. If you have any questions, please contact Christine Rice, Senior Director, at [email protected].

Project Categories

Airports & Ports
Architectural Engineering
Bikeways & Trails
Community Involvement
Environmental Engineering
Flood Management
Historical Renovation
Parks & Recreation
Road & Highway
Small Project (under $5M)
Sustainable Engineering
Urban/Land Development
Wastewater Treatment

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Shasta Branch Activities

Monthly Meeting

Construction Manager / General Contractor (CMGC) Program
John Martin, P.E., M. ASCE,
President, ASCE Shasta Branch 2020

Thursday, February 20, 2020
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Lassen Training Room
Caltrans District II Office
1015 Butte St, Redding, CA 96001

For further inquires, please email the ASCE Shasta Branch at [email protected].

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Capital Branch Activities


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.

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 https://www.linkedin.com/in/asce-sac-section-capital-branch-b0148b87.


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 https://www.facebook.com/ASCE-Sac-Section-Capital-Branch-178312272707468/.   

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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 Erik Almaas

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Feather River Branch Activities

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

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Environmental Water Resources Institute (EWRI)

The Sacramento Chapter of EWRI would like to welcome you and your guests to our next meeting.


Michael Anderson, Ph.D., P.E.
State Climatologist, DWR


Predicting and Observing California’s Weather in a Changing Climate

Join us to hear from our California State Climatologist, Dr. Michael Anderson, as he presents water year 2020’s outlook and observations highlighting investments in new observing and prediction of California’s amazing weather. With an eye towards a warming world and expectations of hydrologic challenges ahead, the talk will discuss expectations of California’s future and investments being made now to better manage future uncertainty.

Registration cost is $30 for professionals and $15 for students.

Please register via EventBrite

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Claim Jumper Restaurant
1111 J Street
Sacramento, CA

For questions about this event or having trouble registering, please contact Megan LeRoy at [email protected] or (916) 993-4613 shown below.

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History & Heritage Committee

Region 9 History & Heritage Committee Update


Chuck Spinks, P.E., M. ASCE
Chair, Region 9 History & Heritage Committee

This past year has been a banner year for civil engineering history buffs, with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad being the highlight. The Railroad History Symposium held in Sacramento in May was a great success and was attended by ASCE members from across the United States. The Symposium included sessions on the construction of the railroad and the civil engineers that led the construction. The event was sponsored by the Society History & Heritage Committee and by the Sacramento Section.

2019-2020 ASCE President Guna Gunalan opening the Symposium

Professor J. David Rogers presents his paper on Theodore Judah, the Central Pacific's Chief Engineer

Here in California, the big 2020 ASCE event will be ASCE's Annual Convention in Anaheim from October 28 to 31. Typically, some of the best attended sessions at the Convention are the History & Heritage topics. The 2020 Convention will highlight projects in Southern California, including the 7 National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks (NHCEL) in the Los Angeles and San Diego Sections. The 7 NHCELs are: All American Canal; Arroyo Seco Parkway; Colorado River Aqueduct; Owens River-Los Angeles Aqueduct; Sweetwater Dam; Tehachapi Loop; Tustin Blimp Hangars.

The Conference History & Heritage topics will include:

  • Landmark and other historically significant projects.
  • Major historic civil engineering events.
  • Biographies of prominent civil engineers.
  • Historic projects with lasting significance and relevance to modern practice.

If you have a special interest in any of these topics and want to be a part of this Conference here in our Region, please submit an abstract for a presentation at the conference. The abstracts are due by January 9th, with information on the ASCE Conference website: https://www.asceconvention.org/call-submissions.

A History & Heritage activity that will continue in 2020 is the research and cataloging of all the Civil Engineering Landmarks in Region 9, including National, Region, and Local landmarks. We are looking for assistance from Section and Branch members to visit civil engineering landmark sites, take photographs, and fill out a Site Visit Form for each landmark.

We are also looking to identify new potential Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks, particularly sites that would qualify as National Landmarks. If you have any suggested projects for new landmark recognition, please contact me: [email protected].

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Cal Office of Emergency Services Safety Assessment Program

Cal OES Safety Assessment Program
the Camp Fire, Butte County


John Kilps, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 9 Disaster Preparedness Committee

ASCE members serve as evaluators in the California Office of Emergency Services Safety Assessment Program (SAP), to assist in assessment of homes, structures, and other infrastructure in the aftermath of disasters. ASCE is one of the primary professional societies that sponsor training courses, and provide experienced professionals to quickly evaluate damaged structures and determine if they are safe for occupancy. The SAP program was formed initially for California earthquakes. The program has developed and expanded over the years, in addition to several earthquakes, was also used successfully in response to Hurricane Katrina.

While California is arguably in an "earthquake drought", the SAP program is now being used in major California wildfires. There is an unmistakable trend of increasingly frequent and large wildfires in California over the past 20 years. One of those incidents was the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County. Driven by high wind and dry conditions, the Camp Fire was an extremely rapid fire that started the morning of November 8, 2018, and destroyed the Town of Paradise within 6 hours. More than 18,800 buildings were destroyed, which is more than the previous 9 major California wildfires combined. The fire caused 85 civilian casualties, and was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

In the aftermath of the Camp Fire, an evacuation order remained in effect in Paradise. The evacuees were waiting, many camped outside a Walmart in Chico, waiting for assessment of their homes. Assessment of all structures in Paradise would be an extensive task. Requests for SAP evaluators were sent. Upon confirmation from Cal OES, volunteer evaluators deployed to the emergency operations center at the City of Chico. The City of Chico Building Inspector, Mr. Tony Lindsey, coordinated the assessment effort. Regrettably, Mr. Lindsey's home was lost in the fire.

Safety of SAP evaluators is a top priority. In safety briefings, evaluators were instructed to keep away from smoldering "hot spots", and carefully step through damage areas. Overhead hazards are a concern. Paradise is located within a forest of ponderosa pine trees more than 100 feet tall. Many of the trees were damaged by the fire and falling. Damaged trees near homes and structures were to be identified and reported.

There were a total of 20 evaluators in our group. Another group of evaluators had already completed assessment of thousands of structures a week before us. Our group was to pick-up where they left off. We formed teams of two and mobilized up the mountain to Paradise. As we arrived, burned-out cars were seen alongside the road. They had been caught in gridlock trying to evacuate the fire.

Paradise Town Hall was saved by firefighters, and we arrived there for a logistical meeting. The town hall had a generator for electricity. Tools and materials were distributed there, and maps of areas to be assessed were reviewed.

Each evaluator was given a tablet loaded with GIS software to record assessment reports . The tablets were user-friendly, and greatly increased the efficiency of completing large quantities of assessments. Rain the first day made it difficult to keep the tablets dry, and caused them to glitch. Cellular service was spotty, which also affected the tablets. The weather cleared up the next day, and cellular service was restored. The GIS database continually updated, allowing users to see assessment reports of other evaluators in real-time, helping to avoid redundant assessments.

Although rain slowed our progress the first day, it also helped extinguish what remained of the fire, and cleared the air of smoke for improved breathing. A majority of homes and structures were completely burned to the ground. The fire was peculiar, leaving single homes seemingly untouched in the middle of completely destroyed neighborhoods. Homes and structures that were not destroyed required more extensive assessment to determine if they were safe for occupancy. Assessments were completed by our 4th day. Some Town of Paradise employees participated in assessments the last day for training purposes.

Local agencies and utilities are investigating the cause of the fire, and how prevention can be improved. As California deals with climate change and its effects, the SAP program continues to adapt and improve to assist in all kinds of disasters. Thank you to ASCE Region 9 Disaster Preparedness Chair, Doug Taylor, and Cal OES, for continued progress and development of the SAP Program.

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Legislative Update

Legislative Update


Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate



New Reports of Interest

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation released California Building Decarbonization: Workforce Needs and Recommendations. This study estimates the potential employment impacts of “building decarbonization,” which involves renovating residential and commercial buildings with energy efficient improvements. “In total, building electrification in California could support an average of 64,200-104,100 jobs annually, after accounting for losses in the gas industry.... The average annual jobs … are slightly different from the total job impacts upon 100% electrification…. The areas of greatest increase are building retrofits and renewable energy construction, while the greatest decrease is in gas distribution followed by labor-saving all-electric new construction, but these negative impacts are much smaller than the positive impacts.”

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Electricity Markets & Policy Group released Interruption Cost Estimate (ICE) Calculator. “[B]lackouts—while not as deadly or terrifying as wildfires—are nonetheless expensive in their own right. Outages this week could cost the American economy as much as $2.5 billion, says Michael Wara, a lawyer and energy-policy scholar at Stanford University. His estimate, calculated using a tool from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, assumes that the blackout will eventually reach its planned length (48 hours) and planned size (800,000 customers). Most of that $2.5 billion will be silently incurred by businesses, since many offices must restrict their hours or close altogether in a blackout. But costs will propagate through the economy. Tens of thousands of families must now sort through spoiled food and restock their freezers.… And people who depend on medical equipment to survive must decide whether to temporarily leave town, invest in a generator, or risk going without until the power returns.”

The Little Hoover Commission released Mapping a Strategy for GIS. Though California state government has been utilizing geographic information systems (GIS) to map data for more than a decade, “the state lacks a strategy to realize the full potential of GIS through coordination and data sharing.” Public policy recommendations: 1) California should designate a state Geographic Information Officer that would coordinate shared resources and projects, and promulgate standards; 2) the state should convene a GIS Advisory Council of governmental leaders and stakeholders; and 3) GIS should be utilized to evaluate disparities in regional funding and delivery of services.

The San Francisco Estuary Institute released Understanding Microplastic Levels, Pathways, and Transport in the San Francisco Bay Region. “Microplastics (particles less than 5 mm) are ubiquitous and persistent pollutants in the ocean and a pervasive and preventable threat to the health of marine ecosystems. Microplastics come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and plastic types, each with unique physical and chemical properties and toxicological impacts…. We measured microparticles and microplastics in stormwater from 12 small tributaries comprising 11% of the watershed drainage area to San Francisco Bay (6% of total flow to Bay). These tributaries varied in urban and nonurban land uses and were distributed across the region. Microparticles were identified in stormwater from all 12 small tributaries, which discharged between 1.3 and 30 microparticles per liter. Fragments (59%) and fibers (39%) constituted nearly all microparticles sampled.” 

The California High Speed Rail Authority released 2019 Sustainability Report: Energizing Economic Revitalization. “California’s high-speed rail project received five stars and is one of the top ranked sustainable rail infrastructure projects in North America, as evaluated by the GRESB Infrastructure Assessment—the leading benchmark for environmental, social and governance policies, practices, and performance of real estate and infrastructure investments around the world.”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released Reducing Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase Two. “Medium- and heavy-duty trucks, motor coaches, and transit buses—collectively, ‘medium- and heavy-duty vehicles’, or MHDVs—are used in every sector of the economy. The fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of MHDVs have become a focus of legislative and regulatory action in the past few years. This study is a follow-on to the National Research Council's 2010 report, Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. That report provided a series of findings and recommendations on the development of regulations for reducing fuel consumption of MHDVs.”

Governor’s Appointments

As senior advisor at the California State Transportation Agency: Giles Giovinazzi, Davis, chief of staff and federal transportation liaison for the CA Dept. of Transportation since 2018.

As general counsel at the California State Transportation Agency: Scott Wyckoff, Sacramento, general counsel at the CA Dept. of Business Oversight since 2014.

Reappointed to Regional Water Quality Control Boards, by area.

San Francisco: William Kissinger, Mill Valley, partner at Morgan Lewis and Bockius since 2014.

Central Coast: Michael Johnston, Watsonville, former consultant for teamsters Local 890 and Teamsters Joint Council 7; Jean-Pierre Wolff, San Luis Obispo, viticulturist and owner of Wolff Vineyards since 1999.

Central Valley: Mark Bradford, Sacramento, former principal at ERM-West.

San Diego: Henry Abarbanel, Del Mar, professor of physics at UC San Diego and a research physicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography since 1983; Eric Anderson, Elfin Forest, agronomist and vice president of La Costa Flower Shop and Nursery since 1978.

Los Angeles: Cynthia Guzman, Los Angeles, principal at Estolano Advisors since 2018; Irma Munoz, Los Angeles, founder and president at Mujeres de la Tierra since 2007.

Lahontan: Donald Jardine, Markleeville, member of the Alpine County Board of Supervisors since 1987; Peter Pumphrey, Chalfant, former deputy district attorney in the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.

North Coast: Kelli Gant, Trinity Center, former owner and president at Tangella Corp.

Colorado River Basin: Edward Muzik, Indian Wells, general manager of the Hi-Desert Water District of Yucca Valley since 2007; Jayne Powell, Rancho Mirage, environmental and aggregate resources manager at Granite Construction Inc. since 2007.

Santa Ana Region: Tom Rivera, Grand Terrace, former associate dean of undergraduate studies at CSU San Bernardino; William Ruh, Montclair, director of government affairs for the Citrus Valley Association of realtors since 2001 and a member of the Montclair City Council since 1998.


Status Report on ASCE’s other Bills of Interest

AB 48 by O'Donnell (D – Long Beach) Authorizes $15 billion for the construction and modernization of public preschool, K-12, California Community Colleges (CCC), University of California (UC), and California State University (CSU) facilities to be placed on the March 3, 2020 primary ballot. Chaptered – Proposition 13 on the March 2020 ballot. Support

AB 695 by Medina (D – Riverside) Extends the sunset on community college districts’ (CCDs’) authority to enter into design-build public works contracts and adopts the same "skilled and trained workforce" requirements applicable to the design-build authority of state agencies and local governments. The bill contains provisions that allow a contractor under a project labor agreement to be presumed to meet the requirements of using a skilled and trained workforce. Chaptered. Support

AB 1522 by Low (D – Campbell) Extends the operation of the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists until January 1, 2024. Chaptered. Support

SB 127 by Wiener (D – San Francisco) This bill requires more pedestrian and bicycle facilities to be installed on state highways, subject to limitations and exceptions, when Caltrans is working on those highways. Vetoed. OUA 

To the Members of the California State Senate: I am returning Senate Bill 127 without my signature. This bill creates a process to require the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to add complete streets elements to certain projects on state highways. I fully support improving facilities to increase walking, biking and accessing public transit. However, this bill creates a prescriptive and costly approach to achieve these objectives. By implementing my Executive Order N-19-19, Caltrans is increasing and accelerating its investments in active transportation where appropriate and feasible. I am committed to holding the department accountable to deliver more alternatives to driving while continuing to maintain our state's highways and bridges. The new leadership we are putting in place at Caltrans will be key in implementing this vision and approach. Sincerely, Gavin Newsom

SB 197 by Beall (D – San Jose) This bill removes the Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) sunset provision relative to withholding retention proceeds on public contracts. Chaptered. Support

New Reports of Interest

Delta Stewardship Council releases 2019 update to report first issued in 2015 titled “State of the Estuary,” It finds that since 2015 tidal marsh restoration is “proceeding at a brisk pace” and “urban water conservation continues to meet mandated benchmarks,” however water flows “continue to be well below levels that could increase and restore ecosystem health” and fisheries in the brackish and freshwater areas of the Delta are in “poor condition.”

Governor’s Appointments

As deputy secretary for climate policy and intergovernmental relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency: Lauren Sanchez, Oakland, international policy director at the California Air Resources Board since 2018.

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Younger Members Forum (YMF)

ASCE / YMF Mentorship Program

Also the UC Davis Student chapter has reach out for potential mentors for their 2019-2020 mentorship program.

If you are an interested professional interested in signing up, please fill out this form.
Mentor Questionnaire 2019-2020

Questions can be directed to
Aaron Liu
UC Davis Mentorship Chair
[email protected]

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The Law & Civil Engineering



Gene Bass



Diversion of funds received for construction of improvements is a crime

Most contractors are aware of the prompt payments laws in effect that require payments to be made to general and subcontractors within a limited period of time. In addition to the possibility of civil penalties for non payment, a contractor who receives payment and then either does not complete the work or uses the money to pay bills for other jobs may also be guilty of violation of the Penal Code.

The California Penal Code provides that a person who receives money for the purpose of obtaining or paying for services, labor, materials or equipment and willfully fails to apply such money for such purpose by either willfully failing to complete the improvements for which funds were provided or willfully failing to pay for services, labor, materials or equipment provided incident to such construction, and wrongfully diverts such funds to use other than that for which the funds were received, shall be guilty of a public offense and shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars, ($10,000), or in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and such imprisonment if the amount diverted is in excess of two thousand three hundred fifty dollars ($2,350). If the amount diverted is less than or equal to two thousand three hundred fifty dollars ($2,350), the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

A general contractor was prosecuted for violation of the Penal Code that prohibits diversion of money received for construction of improvements. In defense of the charges, the contractor argued that in order to be guilty of the crime, it had to have the specific intent, at the time of receiving the money, not to complete the improvements or to pay the subcontractors. The contractor admitted that it diverted funds from one job to pay costs incurred on other jobs but that it always intended to complete the job for which funds had been paid and to pay the subcontractors.

The appellate court disagreed with the contractor and held that the law was violated if the diversion of money was the cause of failure either to complete the improvements or to pay the subcontractors for services, labor, materials or equipment. It was not necessary at the time of diversion that the contractor intended or desired that the improvements not be completed of that the subcontractors not be paid.

In theory, a contractor should have sufficient resources or borrowing capacity to not have to use money from one job to complete another job. The reality is often different, however, and funds are "diverted." And, if the contractor does not run out of money and fail to complete the job or pay for subcontractors and other job costs, most likely, no one complains. But, the contractor should be aware that if a job goes bad and the owner has paid but the contractor used the money on other jobs, there is the potential not only for a civil lawsuit and a major headache from the contractors license board, but a criminal prosecution as well.

More on Contract Clauses

On of the main purposes of a contract is to allocate risk between the contracting parties. Generally, the parties expect that contract terms will express normal risk allocation. Sometimes, however, a contract may contain terms that vary from the expectations. Care must be taken to review all the terms of the contract to be aware of the unusual or unexpected provisions that can significantly affect anticipated risk and the contract price.

Clauses requiring a contractor to investigate a job site and related conditions and to acknowledge satisfaction with those conditions are not uncommon. The reason for this type of provision is to protect the owner from changes to the project that may increase the cost if unanticipated conditions are found. If the owner supplies misleading information, such a requirement may not be enforceable, however. If an owner intends that the contractor conduct an extensive investigation before submitting a bid, the price will, of course, reflect those costs, providing the bidders appreciate the necessity for such an investigation. A bidder should clearly understand if it is the owner's intention to shift the risk of site conditions to the contractor or the bid price will be higher than it should be. Owners should also be aware that to the extent they do not invest in pre-bid site investigations, the price of their project will increase to reflect the added costs to the bidders. Also, there is more possibility that the contractor's investigation may not be as thorough as it should be, thus increasing the risk of problems during construction.

Sometimes contracts seek to limit compensation or damages arising from delays by providing that the only remedy available for a delay is a time extension of the contract. Time delays can be very expensive and often mere time extensions will not provide reasonable compensation for the delayed contractor. If faced with such a provision, a contractor should seek to limit it's application where delays are not within the contemplation of the parties or are unreasonable. Also, such clauses should not be applied to bar any claims for delay that can be passed onto the owner.

Payment clauses that seek to only require payment to a subcontractor after the general contractor is paid, can be very problematic. The legitimate intent of such a clause can be to provide that payment will be made in due course when the submittal, approval and payment process has been completed. Another purpose can be to provide that if the general contractor is not paid by the owner, the general contractor does not have to pay the subcontractor. That may not be a risk that the subcontractor will appreciate, especially after fully performing the work. Special care should be taken to recognize and understand such clauses and to be sure that they are modified, if necessary.


In the "honeymoon" stage of any relationship between a client and engineer, there can be some discomfort in insisting on a carefully drawn written contract. There may be the feeling that one party does not trust the other or that one party wants to take advantage of the other. A well written contract is a great benefit to all the parties, however, in that it makes it clear to everyone what will be expected and provides for a course of action where the unexpected occurs.

A common source of problems between clients and engineers is where expectations are not met. The contract is the place where the parties can see their expectations clearly expressed in language that they can all understand. Each party should bear in mind that the other party may not perceive their language in exactly the same way as they do. It is therefore important for each party to know the other party's level of understanding of what is stated in the contract. The engineer should thoroughly discuss the scope of work and terms of the contract with the client to be sure the client has an accurate understanding. If in doubt, a good rule is to "say what it is and say what it is not."

Until you are fully comfortable with the language in a contract and understand the meaning and interpretation of the terms, including all of the small print, it is advisable to have the agreement reviewed by your attorney and insurance advisor. There can be requirements in a contract for which there may be no insurance coverage. Those provisions should be known and negotiated out of the contract. If that is not possible, indemnity and hold harmless terms should be sought as well as adjustment in the compensation to account for the added degree of risk involved. The option of not entering into the contract should always be maintained if compensation and terms commensurate with the risks cannot be negotiated.

Contract changes can be a source of conflict with a client where they involve more money. The scope of work definition should be clearly stated so that changes from the original scope can be readily identified. There should also be clear provisions in the contract for adjustment of payment in the event of a scope change.

A review of regularly used contracts is necessary to assure that the engineer is fairly protected. A well written contract can serve as a guide to dealing with unexpected issues that may arise during the performance of the work. A primary objective of the contract is to keep the parties out of court.

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Continuing Education


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  • 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.

Live P.E. and S.E. Exam Reviews 


  • Take the guesswork out of your study plan and build confidence for exam day
  • Learn from qualified experts in interactive courses 
  • Receive access to recorded webinars and reference material
  • Take advantage of group rates for 2 or more engineers preparing in the same location



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 LinkedIn Group


ASCE National's LinkedIn group has become a vital community of professionals like you that share ideas and knowledge. Here you can join your fellow civil engineers to network, interact and exchange ideas. To join, click here. If you are already a member of the group, learn more about networking and the benefits of ASCE membership.

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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   Tino Maestas [email protected] 916-471-8210
President Elect   Megan LeRoy [email protected] 916-993-4613
Senior Director  Christine Rice [email protected] 530-559-4506
Junior Director Vacant    
Secretary Isela Chavez [email protected]  
Treasurer Jafar Faghih [email protected] 916-679-8864
Past President Mike Konieczki [email protected] 916-840-5211
Executive Director Tony Quintrall [email protected] 916-296-9856
YMF Board Rep   [email protected]
[email protected]f.org
Region 9 Chair Kwame Agyare [email protected]  
Region 9 Governor Elias Karam [email protected] 209-481-6857
Egrs. w/o Borders Levi Johnson [email protected]  
Ladies Auxiliary Marlene Tobia [email protected] 916-492-2181
EOG/Webmaster Escott Anderson [email protected] 916-961-2723
Capital Branch Ron Loutzenhiser [email protected] 916-788-2884
Central Valley Branch Wilson Zhu [email protected] 209-946-0268
Feather River Branch  Kamie Loeser [email protected] 530-864-1648
Shasta Branch John Martin [email protected] 530-223-2585 


Coasts, Oceans Ports & Rivers Inst. Zia Zafir [email protected] 916-366-1701
Construction Inst.    Brad Quon [email protected] 916-871-2080
Environ. & Water Resources Inst.  Dr. Derya Sumer [email protected] 916-978-5188 
Geo-Institute Kartk Atyam  [email protected] 916-679-2005
Structural Engineering Inst.

Niranjen Kanepathipillai

[email protected]ca.gov 916-227-4463
Transportation & Development Inst.   Vacant     


College Accreditation Joan Al-Kazily    530-756-9530
Disaster Preparedness John Andrew [email protected] 916-651-9657
Education & Awards Thor Larsen [email protected]  916-973-0356
Government Relations Craig Copelan [email protected] 530-908-4790
History & Heritage Thor Larsen  [email protected]  916-973-0356
Membership-Life Mem. Elias Karam  [email protected] 209-481-6857
Scholarship Eric Polson [email protected]  916-801-6290
Sustainability Jennifer Buchanan [email protected] 916-240-7010


California State University, Sacramento Harpreet Gill [email protected]  
University of the Pacific Nelson Tejada [email protected]  
University of California, Davis Darren Mack [email protected]  
California State University, Chico   [email protected]  


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