Capital Branch: Another Busy Year

By Ken Roley, P.E., Past President ASCE Capital Branch

James Wilkinson, Investigator with OSBEELS speaking to the ASCE Capital Branch on January 20th, 2011.

The Capital Branch is having another amazing year in Salem, serving the local engineering community. The branch has luncheons and provides technical presentations on a variety of subjects to 30-40 engineers on the third Thursday of each month. This year we’ve had presentations about the I-5 Willamette River Bridge under construction in Eugene, PGE’s Cascade Crossing power line project, and constructed wetlands near Albany.

In January, representatives from the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineers and Land Surveyors (OSBEELS) visited the branch and talked about the investigative process and answered a number of questions from the audience. We were also pleased to have Javier Moncada, Oregon Section President, visit our branch and update us on section news.
In February, Ralph Yenne will be making a presentation about Errors and Omissions Insurance. And we plan on capping off the year in May with a tour of a new plant in Salem that manufactures composite rebar.

The branch has focused this year on community outreach. In January we sponsored a panel discussion with the student branch of ASCE at Oregon State. The panel consisted of a wide variety of engineers, both young and “more experienced”, from both the public and private sectors. Panelists shared their careers, what drove them to become engineers, and the value of experience in becoming a professional. We also stressed the importance of supporting ASCE and continuing their membership after they finished school. The event was well attended with many questions from the students and lots of pizza for everyone.

Once again this year, we are planning a major outreach effort with our area high schools. Lunch with an Engineer, during National Engineers Week, is becoming an annual event in Salem. For a second year, the branch is making a major commitment of resources in working with area schools to bring engineers, students, and colleges together. This year the event will be held on Wednesday, February 23rd, and is expected to be attended by about 300 people. The students will hear from a keynote speaker, listen to presentations from area colleges, go on industry tours in our area, and have lunch with a real engineer. These events are intended to have a positive influence on younger students so they will consider engineering as a career.

Panel members speaking to the ASCE Student Chapter at Oregon State on January 27, 2011.

The meetings, the outreach, and the special events only happen because of the dedicated members of the Executive Committee. President Stuart Jantze has done an excellent job leading the branch and helping to make sure that things get done. Serving on the Executive Committee is not only an honor, but a way to give back to our profession. The Capital Branch is always looking for new people willing to serve on our committee.

It also takes support from our member’s organizations who understand the value that ASCE provides to our profession and are willing to let their employees attend meetings and be involved. I want to thank Stuart, the Executive Committee, our members, and the organizations that support us, for another outstanding year. Thank you.