ASCE Texas Section Board of Direction members are asked to fill out a questionnaire so Section members can get to know them a little better. Let’s hear from President Elect Travis N. Attanasio, PE, CFM, M.ASCE:
When did you first get involved with ASCE at any level (student chapter, local branch, section)?
I was a student member of ASCE in college, but it was only for the free pizza. I did not do concrete canoe or steel bridge in college; my freshman and senior design projects dealt with acoustics. After college, my first interaction with ASCE did not include free pizza but rather a three-day class in HEC-RAS. The non-member price being significantly more than a member price jogged my memory that I was, at one time, a member of ASCE. Reactivating my membership, I quickly signed up for that class and another in Dam Breach modeling, further locking me into becoming a Civil Engineer specializing in hydraulics and hydrology. In 2005, I attended my first ASCE Fort Worth Branch, where my boss “voluntold” me that I would be the meeting set-up chair, which seemed outrageous, seeing that it was my first meeting but, in hindsight, really set my path in ASCE. The meeting set-up chair was responsible for the nametags of the Branch, which makes it easy to get to know people’s names and where they work. The networking that was inspired at these meetings allowed me to expand my mind about how many different facets of Civil Engineering there were.
What is your favorite thing about ASCE?
Easily the information that you can gain from ASCE is the best part. Given one question, what do you do at COMPANY X? many engineers would dive into a complete dissertation of their projects, from highways and high rises to harbors and flood plains. For someone that wanted to know it all, ASCE was the place for answers. I wanted to understand how water pressure planes worked; I wanted to know what a hydraulic jump did to a concrete structure; I wanted to understand how a contractor can mess up a good set of engineering plans and how an engineer can make construction difficult. Moving from the Branch to the Section opened up even more knowledge to help understand the complexities of engineering in the DFW Metroplex and across the State, from the dust mitigation plans in El Paso, the vital function of playa lakes in Lubbock, sump storm drain systems in Houston, and port engineering in Corpus. I even branched out to Regional meetings and could gain information about how Cleveland interacted with the Cuyahoga River, Denver with the Regional rail system, and how a water system in Detroit reacts when all the customers move away. Seventeen years of ASCE, seventeen years of gathering knowledge.
How has ASCE helped you in your career?
Going into job interviews, I always stressed that I did not know how to do all the tasks of a position; however, I learned a little about a lot of stuff, and through my ASCE network, I knew who to call to help. I always end the interview with one of my favorite quotes published in the 1914 Expositor and Current Anecdotes Book- Volume 16
“Educated people are not those who know everything, but rather those who know where to find, at a moment’s notice, the information they desire.”
1914-1915, The Expositor and Current Anecdotes, Volume 16, Indexing and Filing,[Advertisement for Wilson Index Company of Lynn, Massachusetts]Page XX, Column 2, F. M. Barton, Publishing, Cleveland, Ohio.
What is your go-to calculator?
This is a fun question because I would venture to say that most engineers’ go-to calculator is the one they used in college, which in my case is a TI-89. My original TI-89 died a few years ago after 20+ years of service, but I came across another one at a Pawn Shop, so I didn’t have to learn a new calculator!
Mountains or beach?
Both, but in opposite seasons. I grew up in Colorado, so I am a mountain man at heart, but that said….I do not miss the snow. I hadn’t been on a beach until I moved to Texas in 2002, but now you’ll find me annually on Mustang Island with my truck bed pointed to the ocean, my kite in the air, and my line in the water.
If a tomato is a fruit, does that make ketchup a smoothie?
I actually ponder crazy things like this all the time. Here are some of my favorites: Is a hot dog a sandwich or a taco? Are pop-tarts breakfast calzones? Do straws have two holes or one? But to answer the initial question, ketchup is a jam, that goes on your hot dog taco.
Photos were taken two days apart in September 2021…a shock to the system
Learn more about the ASCE Texas Section leadership.