ASCE Region 6 Director’s Report

Author: Sean Merrell PE, PTOE, F.ASCE | ASCE Region 6 Director

July 2023

This has been a busy past few months for Region 6.  In March, ASCE President Maria Lehman joined me in visiting our Mexico Section Members in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Region 6 Governor Dr. Héctor Gabriel Dávalos Alejo hosted us while we visited the Universidad Panamericana, Guadalajara Campus where we got to visit the Civil Engineering Department Head (photo right) and many of the students during our visit.  We also got to enjoy a trip to Tequila, Mexico to see the original Jose Cuervo distillery that has been in operation since 1795.  We may or may not have had a few samples to ensure the quality of the product.

Then in April, President Lehman joined us at the Region 6 Student Symposium.  This was held in Amarillo, TX, and was cohosted by the West Texas A&M and Texas Tech Student Chapters. Unfortunately, the wind made the actual concrete canoe races an impossibility, but the rest of the Symposium went off without a hitch with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) winning the Region 6 Steel Bridge competition and the University of Texas at Tyler (UTT) winning the Region 6 Concrete Canoe Competition.  UTA ended up winning the lightness category at the National Steel Bridge Competition and UTT finished 6th overall at the National Concrete Canoe Competition.  Great job to both teams.  We look forward to the 2024 Region 6 Student Symposium which will be held at Angelo State University, in San Angelo, Texas.

Region 6 wants to congratulate Susan Roth PE, for being elected to serve as a Region 6 Governor representing Texas this Fall, and to Kensey Russell PE as he won his reelection and will continue to serve as a Region 6 Governor representing Oklahoma.

The Region 6 Board of Governors continues to meet monthly either in person or virtually.  A few things to note include:

  • Updated Region 6 website with important information now translated to Spanish to assist our members in the Mexico Section.
  • Region 6 Grant Program Guidelines and Application are currently available.
  • Region 6 continues to support the Section activities including:
    • CECON (Sep 20-22 in San Marcos, TX)
    • ASCE New Mexico Annual Conference (Fall 2023, Location TBA)

One change President Lehman has enacted as President is to conduct more frequent virtual board meetings to receive updates from different ASCE entities and to conduct other non-voting business to make our quarterly in-person board meetings shorter (2-day board meetings are no fun!!)

Highlights from the March 3, 2023, Society Board Meeting:

  • We received the final report from the Board Strategic Advisory Council which formed a subcommittee on workforce development charged with developing recommendations to alleviate the workforce development challenges currently experienced in the industry.
  • Growing membership is a key strategic priority that has faced significant headwinds during a historic economic and public health disruption. Despite challenges, there are signs of optimism and numerous initiatives are underway to increase member engagement and participation in this “new normal.”  A review of dues-paying and non-dues paying members in a historical data context was presented.
  • The ASCE Innovation Contest is a Society-wide competition that started at the 2022 student symposium. ASCE staff has been directed to work with the Technical Region Board of Governors to develop a contest management plan. The Geo-Institute leadership volunteered G-I to be the first Institute to manage the 2024 ASCE Innovation Contest and will work to facilitate the evolution of the program to the institutes and TRBG.
  • The Government Engineers Council is continuing its goals to increase government engineer membership in ASCE, enhance the operations of government entities, become financially self-sustaining, and increase the profile within ASCE of government engineer leaders.
  • An update from the Committee on Sustainability reinforced its commitment to sustainable infrastructure that integrates ASCE technical units, governance, and policies, and that accounts for equity when designing, operating, and maintaining infrastructure. With several new initiatives underway, including the ASCE INSPIRE 2023 Conference and the creation of the Sustainability Technical Committee (comprised of representatives from all ASCE Technical units), COS is well positioned to help deploy the new ASCE strategic plan.

The next Society Board Meeting is scheduled for July 21-22 in Buffalo, N.Y. (The hometown of both Maria Lehman and I).

To share your views or provide ideas on how ASCE can better serve its members and the profession, please email Sean P. Merrell at [email protected].