Leveraging Section Resources to Host Virtual Branch Meetings
Texas Section – Fort Worth Branch April Virtual Branch Meeting
by Kameron Boggan, Fort Worth Branch President, 2020
As civil engineers, we hold an ethical obligation to protect and enhance the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Likewise, the ASCE Fort Worth Branch’s top priority is the health and safety of our members. Out of an abundance of caution surrounding the current pandemic, the Fort Worth Branch made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person March Branch Meeting. For the month of April, the Fort Worth Branch Board still wanted to provide our members with an opportunity for continuing education with an interesting and quality presentation. The Branch Board discussed hosting the April Branch meeting via Zoom, but felt unsure over which package would suit us best as the basic “free” Zoom package only allows for up to 100 people per meeting and limits meeting time to 40 minutes. Hearing our concerns, Fort Worth Branch members, Texas Section Director Kimberly Cornett, and Past-President Austin Baird suggested we reach out to the Texas Section staff to explore webinar programs resources the Branch could leverage to host our meeting.
The Section staff graciously offered the resources of the ASCE Texas Section to facilitate the Fort Worth Branch April Meeting. We worked with Texas Section Operations Specialist Mike Sosa to set up and host the April Branch meeting through the Section’s Zoom account. To kick off the virtual Branch Meeting, a member of the Branch Board, made a panelist by Mike as the Zoom host, provided Branch announcements and introduced the speaker. A link to the recorded April Branch meeting video was sent out to the members of the Fort Worth Branch. Leading up to the virtual meeting, members were encouraged to register in advance, which initiated an automated confirmation email containing meeting details and instructions on how to join the meeting. In preparing for the branch’s inaugural virtual meeting, Mike worked with the Fort Worth Branch and speaker Travis Attanasio to set up a “tech check” test run to make certain we were all comfortable with this new online meeting process, which included a meeting script. The meeting script included technical instructions, as well as a thorough break down of speaking roles and speaking times.
The script was a huge help and the Fort Worth Branch April Meeting went off without a hitch. A total of 119 members attended the virtual April Branch Meeting. We received very positive feedback and our members really enjoyed Travis’ presentation on Haslet Parkway. With the success of the April Meeting, the Fort Worth Branch decided to invest in a Zoom account and have hosted virtual meetings for the months of May and June.
For additional resources and tips for Branches, check out the TexASCE Toolkit for Section & Branch Leaders >> Learn More