President's Message - February 2021

Julie Jones

Howdy ASCE Dallas Branch Members!

This month is a very special month for our Branch as we will be formally recognizing our 2021 ASCE Dallas Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year Award recipients. Sean Merrell and the rest of the ASCE Dallas Honors Committee were tasked with the tough assignment of grading several award nominations for both awards. Tim Abrams, PE and Chad Ostrander, PE were selected as our Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year, respectively. Both Tim and Chad have been involved with the Branch for numerous years and have made significant contributions to the profession and ASCE. Please tune in to our virtual February Branch meeting for a short video honoring these two very deserving engineers!

I also wanted to share with you all some guidance that was passed down to me from ASCE President Dr. Jean Louis Briaud and ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith regarding the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it relates to in-person events for ASCE. While the approval and distribution of the vaccine is beginning to open the door of hope for us to emerge from this difficult situation, the reality is that there is still a significant health risk to the public when it comes to in-person gatherings. Dallas County government also still rates the local risk level at “red” as of late January. While I understand we all have varying levels of comfort and acceptance of risk, I feel it is most prudent and inclusive of everyone in our Branch that we continue to pursue alternative options to in-person events through at least the end of June, per ASCE HQ’s recommendations. It is our ethical obligation as civil engineers to protect the health and welfare of the public, and I hope you will continue to support and empower our Branch leadership through these unprecedented circumstances. I also want to encourage you to please do your part: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

Despite our shift over the past year to virtual events and resources, I truly feel that our Branch is providing invaluable benefits to our membership – from the newly created Younger Member Bridge Program, which is designed to help upcoming and new college graduates make the transition from student life to the “real world”, to the upcoming Power Skills Workshop on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We also recently opened the nomination window for the G.B. Mann Scholarship and will have members participating in both the virtual Texas Section Legislative Dial-In and the virtual National Legislative Fly-In to advocate for infrastructure investment to our local politicians. There’s a lot going on in our Branch – so be sure to read the whole newsletter!

I am also proud to share that the ASCE Dallas Branch received TWO prestigious awards from the ASCE Leadership Training Committee (LTC) for the 2020 year! We received a Certificate of Commendation for both the Outstanding Section and Branch and Outstanding Section and Branch Website award categories. These are national awards, and we are very proud of everything our Branch has been able to accomplish over the past year. A special thank you to our ASCE Dallas Past President Julie Jones, PE for leading our Branch through 2020 and thank you to all our Branch leaders and membership for making our Branch so great! Congratulations everyone!

Finally, thank you to all our members who watched our January virtual meeting and donated $10 for their PDH certificates. From these PDH certificate proceeds, we were able to donate $612.50 each to the G.B. Mann Scholarship Fund and DISD STEM Department. This month we will be splitting the proceeds from our PDH certificates evenly between the ASCE Dallas G.B. Mann Scholarship and the STEM initiatives of the non-profit Communities in Schools Dallas Region.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am here to serve you as your Dallas Branch President, and my virtual “door” is always open.

-Jonathan Brower, P.E.

[email protected]