Joint Meeting a Record Success!

By Mark K. Boyd, PhD, PE, Dallas Branch Vice President  

I am thrilled to report our July 11th  2016 Dallas and Fort Worth Branch joint meeting in Arlington as a resounding success! As your branch Vice President with some of the planning responsibility, I was somewhat anxious because I had never before been deeply involved in organizing our annual joint meeting. My anxiety was not justified. After a while, I realized I was just along for the ride. It was a good feeling! Arriving at the hotel early, I was relieved to see our key board members and their chairs milling about the hotel already at work setting things up and making sure we were ready for 7:30AM registration start. We have a fantastic volunteer leadership team. Wow! The meeting exceeded all expectations with over 380 registered, about 70% of those from the Dallas Branch, a record draw. Raffle ticket sales were also at record levels with over $1,500 raised for Civil Engineering scholarships (with many thanks to Hossein Hosseiny).

Our dedicated institute volunteers pulled off an excellent morning program with about 200 in attendance. There was something for everyone. I was surprised and pleased to find myself carrying extra chairs for the standing-room-only crowd during the opening 8:30 AM Transportation and Development Institute (TDI) session where Mark Bouma (NTTA) provided some informative lessons-learned on  PGBT widening projects. All institutes including TDI (Chair Mike Garrison), Structural Engineering Institute (SEI Chair Arthur Vidales), Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI Chair Jim Keith), Construction Institute (CI Chair Dion Allicock), and Geotechnical Institute (GI Chair Sri Dinakaran) hosted programs with timely diverse content and well prepared distinguished speakers from City of Dallas DWU, US Army Corp of Engineers, TxDOT Fort Worth District, Hayward Baker, Space Between Design Studio, and Denton County Transportation Authority, among others. Congratulations and thanks to our Technical Director Jonathan Brower who led the charge for the institute programs working with all our institute chairs to provide such an informative, educational, and well organized morning program.    

Our lunch program was also something to be proud of, well attended and planned. In a poignant moment prior to the keynote speech, Travis Attanasio, Fort Worth Branch President, reminded us that despite our presumed rivalry “Fort Worth has Dallas’ back,” in memoriam to the heroic police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty days earlier. SMU and UTA ASCE Student Chapter officers were present to make announcements about local student activities. Our keynote speaker, Mr. Victor Vandergriff of the Texas Transportation Commission, looked out over a luncheon crowd of 340. His refreshing presentation style, sans power-point, provided us with an intriguing TxDOT update on infrastructure investment plans and processes in the wake of the passing of recent propositions. Finally, approximately 100 attendees stayed for the 1-hour of ethics presented by Texas Board of Professional Engineer’s Deputy Executive Director, David Howell. Julie Jones did her usual bang up job smoothly delivering the luncheon and afternoon program, as the Dallas Branch Program Chair and our newly appointed Chapter Director! To see pictures from this exciting event, please visit the photo gallery.

The Fort Worth Branch folks were very supportive and helpful, led by Andrea McGinley as their registration chair. Brad Hernandez, our energetic President, was of course key as he was able to share and apply all those valuable lessons learned from prior events. Also, I want to give a special shout out to Paulina Cristoforo and Mathew Armstrong for doing such a flawless job with so many name tags and management of the registration desk. I have not expressed my appreciation here by name to every Board member, chair and volunteer leader involved in this successful event. Want to know who else was involved? Just check out our officer and chair directory on our website, or look up and around you at the next luncheon meeting. If you attended the joint meeting and liked the experience, these talented men and women, your board and leadership group, are there for you every month. Reach out to them and tell them you value their service to our Branch and our profession.  We are all enriched to have them around.