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President’s Message – August 2019

President’s Message – August 2019

Art Clendenin PE

First, I want to thank all members for their outpouring of love and support for the Anthony Luce Memorial Scholarship Fund.  You helped the Texas Section raise just over $5,000 in a week’s time. $5,000 will be added to the $25,000 raised by the Dallas Branch to help support the education needs of Anthony’s two young children.  It is not too late to contribute if you would still like to do so.  Please contact the Section office to make a pledge. The Luce Family is very grateful for your help!

Leadership Development Weekend held last month was a huge success!  We had over 50 members in attendance to learn about management, communication and the details of our various volunteer job duties.  All of this was mixed with fun times at the evening socials and a tour of the Austin Central Library.  If you’re ever in the area, please take in this magnificent building and all it has to offer.  I did not actually see a book until I reached the third floor (there are six total), and there was not a single librarian trying to “shhhhh” anyone!  Overall, President Elect Susan Roth PE put together an amazing training at a perfect venue for all activities.  Thank you to the Pape-Dawson, Inc. Austin office for hosting our training meeting.

Solid cloud formation seen to the north and west of Houston on a flight to Houston two days before Hurricane Harvey

As I begin to reflect how quickly this year has passed, I am thankful that we weren’t faced with any major crises, but rather were able to focus on the several other immediate tasks at hand. Speaking of crises, near the end of this month, we will celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, which  I actually witnessed from quite a different perspective. 

Unstable, moisture-filled clouds seen to the south toward Houston on a flight to Houston two days before Hurricane Harvey

I was flying from Jonesboro, AR to Houston, TX two days in advance of the storm.  As I looked outside the plane’s window at 27,000 feet elevation, I saw beautiful cloud formations, that looked solid enough to walk on to the north and west. These mesmerizing clouds had some interesting pockets where you could peer deeper into them only to find more formations behind them (this was the high pressure system which was moving in to lock the storm into its stagnated position along the coast).  Then as I looked south, toward Houston, the clouds were very different.  The clouds toward Houston were unstable and erupting, and full of moisture (Harvey’s outer bands). We all know what happened next, but the story doesn’t end with Harvey itself.

In the year following, ASCE Texas Section leadership formed a Post Hurricane Harvey Recommendations task committee to assess the effects of the storm. It was comprised of members from Corpus Christi all the way to Beaumont.  This committee developed studies, reports and presentations, and this massive undertaking also involved many other experts beyond the ASCE realm.  This year, as legislature met, we provided our lawmakers with facts and figures, coupled with flood plain recommendations incorporated by the Texas Water Development Board.  The Legislature passed and Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 7, Senate Bill 8, Senate Bill 500 and House Joint Resolution 4.  Now, we now have to implement the plan! 

The Texas Water Development Board released their “Implementation of Flood Legislation from the 86th Texas Legislative Session” report this week.  We are quickly organizing a team to review this report and provide comments back to the TWDB by August 30th.  If you are interested in helping with this endeavor, feel free to contact the Section Office, and we will direct you to our team of experts to be sure you are included!  I want to thank all of you in advance for your wonderful help pulling off this task. 

Moving on to CECON 2019, You should have received an email notifying you of the conference program details.  We are excited to have most everything in place and are putting the final touches on the program. Registration remains open, and there are still sponsorship opportunities.  The Annual CECON Gala and Texas Section Awards Banquet is Casino Night themed, which will be a lot of fun! There will be professional dealers and even a “Pit Boss”.  Try your luck at Texas Hold ‘em, Black Jack, Craps and Roulette.  The prizes are real and the money is not!

Invest in yourself, participate and be a Texas Section volunteer,

Art Clendenin PE, 2018-19 (105th) President, ASCE Texas Section