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2016 ASCE Multi-Region Leadership Conference

On January 15th and 16th several of our Officers and Chairpersons had the opportunity to attend the ASCE Multi-Region Leadership Conference (MRLC) in Chicago.  Our Conference included Section, Branch and Student Chapter leaders from Regions 3, 6 and 7, covering fourteen states across the midsection of the Nation.  Attending from the Dallas Branch were: Fabian Herrera, Sean Merrell, Alexis Clark and Frank Pugsley.  The Conference events were generally broken into sessions for Section and Branch leaders, Younger Member leaders, and Student Chapter leaders, with training and discussion geared toward each group’s responsibilities to ASCE.

The Section and Branch Leaders were engaged in workshops ranging from Emotional Intelligence, Communication Styles in the Workplace, and roundtables on ASCE Best Practices.  Through these sessions the trainers reinforced the traits that great leaders share like relationship management, empathy, and social awareness.  Our leaders were also briefed by the ASCE Chief Council Tara Hoke regarding potential legal pitfalls resulting from operating a non-profit professional organization.  The Younger Members had the opportunity to take part in roundtable discussions, leadership workshops, and ASCE best practices, among others.

Our very own YM Chair, Alexis Clark, had the opportunity to make a strong presentation in support of holding the next MRLC in Dallas, but unfortunately we were not selected.  This would have been a great opportunity for our YM’s to showcase their strengths in assisting in the planning and coordination of this large event.  The Board knows that with our vibrant core of YM leaders, we will have a much better chance of selection at the next opportunity they get to throw their hat in the ring.

One of the most important events at the Conference was the opportunity to hear from each of the current nominees for ASCE National President-Elect, Kristina Swallow, and Robin Kemper.  Each woman had the opportunity to engage the entire audience in a question and answer session, and both are well qualified to be our National President-Elect.  If you would like to know more about each candidate, don’t hesitate to ask one of the attendees for our insight and opinions.  Fabian and Frank even had the opportunity to take a 5am jog around the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and Millennium Park with Kristina on Saturday morning.  In our opinion, there isn’t a better way to get to know a candidate than during a workout.  Regardless of the outcome, it is exciting to know that a woman will be the President of ASCE in two years.

On a loosely related note, on our stroll back to the hotel from dinner, Alexis and I saw a man with a very large saw and snow shovel making pyramids out of the grimy plowed snow on the side of the street.  If you look at the photo, yes, the snow is taller than the man, and those are his pyramids.

All of our attendees came away with a deeper understanding of the workings of ASCE, and learned valuable insight into how we can each further the mission of ASCE at the Section and Branch Level.  We also had the rare opportunity to meet others from across the nation and exchange ideas and strategies for Branch operations that have helped each of us in different ways.  We would like to thank ASCE National and the Illinois Section for coordinating such an outstanding event, and dedicating their time and energy to holding these MRLC’s across the nation over several weekends.