Jerry B. Paz PE, M.ASCE, ENV-SP Shares the Value of Volunteerism
Jerry B. Paz, PE, M.ASCE, ENV-SP, ASCE Region 6 Director – Elect
I have been involved in ASCE for over 35 years, starting as a sophomore in college when I joined the New Mexico State University DB Jett Student Chapter. I could have never imagined how professionally rewarding ASCE would be in my life when I walked into that first student chapter meeting or how ASCE would help shape my career. I now enjoy working with the El Paso chapter when I can on a regional and national level.
I have always believed in volunteerism from the examples my parents and many mentors set along the way. Right out of college, I was very active in ASCE on the local and State level, but when I got married and started having kids, my ASCE volunteering came to a screeching halt. So I volunteered in other ways with my kids. As an “empty nester” now, I have returned to ASCE for my volunteer efforts. That’s how it works: volunteer when you can, and step away when you need. ASCE gave me the opportunity to serve my profession in a dozen or so capacities over the years, most notably as New Mexico Section President, Region 6 Governor, and now as a newly-elected Region 6 Director.
One of the greatest moments in the life of a civil engineer is when a project is successfully completed, and you get to use a piece of infrastructure that serves the public while realizing that it started in your mind, and the minds of the project team. From a $100+ million interstate interchange, to a sewer line in the ground, the realization and satisfaction a civil engineer gets from it all starting in their mind never gets old. I have been blessed to have many such moments.
We work in teams. Planning, design, and construction bring together a cross section of professionals to successfully complete our projects. ASCE has organized itself to support me in those technical and team building goals. Through learning new skills in technical classes, top notch conferences to continue my education and networking, and leadership training, ASCE has helped me build my career.
ASCE needs you to stand up for your profession as a civil engineer. The civil engineering profession has a unique ethical standard to protect the public using our scientific and technical skills in the infrastructure we design. That is such a heavy burden to bear on our own. Volunteering for ASCE, in any capacity, allows civil engineers to network, collaborate, and educate themselves in their chosen profession. It also encourages them to embrace that ethical responsibility with likeminded colleagues in a way that is professionally rewarding – and fun.