President’s Message

Landon Blake, President

The 2017/2018 ACEC Sierra Season is about to start. We’ve got a great line-up of chapter events for this season. It starts with our Engineering Excellence Awards Dinner at the end of this month. We’ve got 5 excellent projects as award winners this year, all designed and surveyed by our local ACEC member firms. Our speaker for the awards dinner will be Jesse Gothan from the City of Sacramento. Jesse will be talking to us about the City’s Riverfront Improvement Project.

Other special meetings this year will be the joint meeting with SAME in October, the joint meeting with APWA in January, the Past President’s Dinner in February and our Calmentor Lunch in March. At our November meeting we are going to host a panel discussion on the recent legislation passed on indemnification language in contracts.

I’m excited to start a new year as President of the ACEC Sierra Chapter. The last 2 presidents the chapter (Harvey Oslick and Dana Remington) had perfect attendance at all of our chapter meetings. They have set a high bar, and one I hope to reach. I’ve also got great support this year from Debbie (our administrator) and Kathy (our awesome vice president) and the rest of our chapter board. With their help, we’ll have a great 2017/2018 season for our chapter members.

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Jesse Gothan, P.E., T.E., City of Sacramento, Dept. of Public Works —Speaker, Sept. 20, 2017

Kathy Wickam, Vice President

Our keynote speaker for the September meeting will be Jesse Gothan, P.E., T.E., City of Sacramento.

Jesse is a Supervising Engineer in the Funding and Project Development Branch of the City of Sacramento’s Public Works Department.  Jesse is a graduate from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo and is a licensed civil engineer and traffic engineer with experience in transportation planning, management of local, state, and federal transportation funding, preparation of environmental documents, and roadway design.

Jesse will be talking about upcoming transportation projects in Sacramento and development in the region.

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Dokken Engineering – An ACEC Company Profile

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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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“The Gavel” – A Sierra Chapter Tradition

“The Official Passing of the Gavel Ceremony”. Dana Remington (R)2016/2017 outgoing President handing off the gavel to Landon Blake(L) 2017/2018 incoming President.

This article was first published in August 2000 edition of our Sierra Chapter newsletter and has been reprinted here for the benefit of those that may not know or remember the history behind the Sierra Chapter President’s Gavel.

The Sierra Chapter President’s Gavel is inscribed “Drury Butler, President, Sacramento Section, American Society of Civil Engineers 1927.” Just who is Drury Butler, and how did our chapter wind up with his gavel?

Drury Butler was born on November 22, 1877 in White Rock, in Eastern Sacramento County. His family lived in a house and ranch off the original road between Sacramento and Placerville. His father and 3 other men built the school house which later became the White Rock School District. Drury graduated from the school in 1890. He was then home schooled until 1896 when he took the examinations at Sacramento High School. He passed the exam and was allowed to enter the Senior Year.  After graduating in 1897, he went on to the University of California at Berkeley where he graduated as a civil engineer in 1901.

Drury worked for the Southern Pacific Company as an assistant engineer until 1908 when he joined the Sacramento County Surveyors & Engineers office. While he was there, Drury designed the concrete arch bridge that still spans the American River at Folsom.  He went on to become the Deputy County Surveyor and then served as the County Surveyor from 1914 to 1935. He was a practicing civil engineer until his semi‑retirement in 1956, at which time he became a consultant to Joseph E. Spink.

He joined ASCE in 1919, and served as the President of the Sacramento Section in 1927. In 1960, he was honored at the Engineer of the Year Banquet with a special award for his more than 50 years of “devoted service” to the engineering profession in Sacramento County. Drury remained a member of ASCE, achieving Life Member and Fellow status, until his death on March 2, 1964. He was survived by his wife and daughter.

Besides his contributions to the engineering profession, Drury was also active in Masonic affairs for more than 50 years. He was a charter member of Sacramento Rotary Club. The gavel he received from ASCE was presented to WAELS, one of our Sierra Chapter’s predecessors, just prior to his death.

About our guest reporter: Robert C. Hall is a 1949 Civil Engineering Graduate of the University of Arizona. He was a PE in California, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. Bob was also past president of WAELS (1968) and CCCE&LS (1981). He is an Honorary Director and Life Member of CELSOC, and a Life Member of ASCE. He retired from the Spink Corporation in 1992 after working there for 35 years. Bob also worked for the California Division of Water Resources and A. Teichert & Sons. He remains active in the Rotary Club of Sacramento, and serves on the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

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