President’s Message

As I write this month’s newsletter Memorial Day has come and gone. Summer is approaching at neck speed with some hot temperatures that are starting to sneak into the forecast. I’m also beginning to realize that my term as President of the Sierra Chapter is about to come to an end. When I look back to a year ago and the thought of what was ahead of me, I was a little terrified that I would be overwhelmed. In reality only the first board meeting and dinner meeting were really terrifying. I was not very well prepared for feither of these events but I and the world survived. I would like to thank all who gave me words of encouragement and plenty of support throughout the year.

I would like to think that the last year was a good year with many exciting events and happenings within our Chapter. In September we had our 2nd Annual Engineering Excellence Awards event which was well attended. We had four projects that were award winners and some went on to win at the State EEA dinner held in February at the Parc 55 in Downtown San Francisco. In November, the nation had our Presidential election and to the surprise of many Donald Trump was elected and since January I believe that Congress has been on a mission to get nothing done on the National level. Oh well, what else is new for them lately.

In January I attended a retirement party for one of our past presidents, Tom Holdrege. I’ll admit I’m a little jealous of Tom and his early retirement, but I guess somebody has to do it and I’m glad he is able to pull it off. Good Luck Tom.

In February we had our annual Past Presidents dinner which was well attended. Maybe it was due to our speaker Shane Motley, a meteorologist with HDR, or with all of the rain that had been falling in recent weeks and months and folks needed an excuse to go out for the evening. Shane did an admirable job with his presentation including a variety of charts to dazzle any engineer or surveyor. I really enjoyed the topic as I’m a bit of a weather geek.

In April our speaker was Matt Machado, Stanislaus County Public Works Director speaking about Stanislaus County new 1/2 cent Transportation Funding measure that voters passed in November 2016. There was plenty of interest in the subject due to the recent passage of the State’s new Road Repair and Transportation funding bill. After the meeting I was talking with a couple of members and we decided that we not be inviting a seismologist to speak at any of our upcoming monthly meeting. I for one do not want encourage any thought of an earthquake within the State!

In May the State ACEC had their annual Legislative Visit Day (LVD) which I attended for the first time. The State Capital is a busy place in May with hundreds of school kids on field trips to visit and a number of other groups at the Capital to lobby for their favorite cause. Prior to our LVD Governor Brown signed the Transportation Funding bill and SB 496, “Duty to Defend”  which ACEC California has been working to get passed for a number of years. I’ll admit that is was impressive to hear how this bill finally passed both houses and was signed by Brown into law. Let’s hope it doesn’t get watered down in the future.

June brought our annual Summer Social dinner and this year was held at Wine and Roses in Lodi. The facility was setup with a nice room, including fireplace, and an outdoor patio for visiting prior to dinner and games. The weather was as close to perfect as you could get for the 10th of June in the Valley. Everybody had a good time and enjoyed the venue location. The games were fun with M& M’s, card houses 12 stories tall (I didn’t want to challenge a 13th floor) marshmallows and nuts without the bolts. Needless to say grownups will always look for a chance to have a food fight. I’m just happy that Tom H. wasn’t there to add his shenanigans to the party, although that would have been fun.

Next year Landon Blake will be our President with Kathy Wickam as Vice President and Debanik Chaudhuri as Secretary/Treasury. I’m sure everybody will have a busy summer with a little work tossed in between  keeping everybody honest.

See you all in September or sooner at the golf course. I’m hoping that being a Past President I can play as much golf as President Obama is playing now. I’m somewhat jealous of his free time. Maybe I should talk to Tom H. and ask him what I need to do to retire early like he did. Maybe I needed to think about this 20-30 years ago.

Next ACEC State Board meeting is in July 27th in Orange County and the annual State Conference in Incline Village, Lake Tahoe on October 8 – 11, 2017. I hope to see everybody in September at the Sierra Chapter ACEC 3rd Annual EEA Dinner.


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