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President’s Message (December 2020)

President’s Message (December 2020)

A message from ASCE Texas Section President Sean P. Merrell PE, PTOE, RAS, F.ASCE (2020-2021)

Howdy.  Welcome to 2021…I have been anxiously awaiting your arrival.  Never in a million years would I have guessed what 2020 had in store for all of us.  I’m not a futurist, but I do predict 2021 will be a much better year.

A good 2021 wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and planning from our ASCE Texas leaders and volunteers in 2020. This begins with the world-renowned Infrastructure Report Card (IRC) for the state of Texas. The hard-working, 55-member IRC Committee had a herculean task of evaluating the current state and future needs of infrastructure across Texas. Hundreds, if not thousands, of hours were spent developing this outstanding resource for our elected officials and policy makers to use in making important decisions like funding levels and support for future infrastructure projects. I’m very thankful we have IRC Committee Chair, Mark Boyd, PhD, PE, to keep the committee focused and on schedule. We are currently finalizing the individual infrastructure category grades and reviewing stakeholder feedback.

Look for our Infrastructure Report Card to be released in time for the ASCE Texas Section Legislative Drive-in scheduled for the week of February 22-26, 2021. Details and registration are currently posted on our website for this exciting event. This will be a great way to reach out and interact with our elected officials during the legislative session. This program also provides our members with an inside look at the public policy process through training sessions and coordinated outreach efforts. Signup NOW!! This event is planned by our Government Affairs Committee with support from our Vice President for Professional Affairs Griselda Gonzales PE and Vice President Elect for Professional Affairs Patricia Frayre PE. Contact Government Affairs Committee Chairs Augustine Verrengia PE and Austin Messerli PE, at [email protected] to join the committee. We are always looking for another set of hands!

Visiting ASCE Global headquarters in Reston, VA

Planning is continuing for the revised ASCE Texas Section Strategic Plan. This is an important document that we use to guide us for the next five years. Now is the time to have your voice heard on the direction of our great organization. If you are interested in helping us revise our roadmap for the ASCE Texas Section and its leaders, please contact our Strategic Planning Committee Chair, Kacey Paul PE, at [email protected]

Planning is also on going for another of our crown jewel programs—the ASCE Texas Student Symposium, being held virtually April 15-17, 2021. Information will be available soon for corporate sponsors as well as opportunities to participate in the online career fair during this event. How great is it to be able to interview and recruit the brightest and most active civil engineering students in Texas and Mexico all in one career fair? Don’t miss out! Corporate opportunities to participate in this career fair will be limited.

Looking back on 2020, I want to congratulate the CECON Planning Committee for once again planning and hosting a very successful conference. The speakers and technical programs were better than ever. To plan such a huge comprehensive conference, then pivot to a virtual conference in a short time, shows the dedication and hard work of this outstanding committee.  Thank you to our senior CECON Co-Chair, Matt Singel PE, for leading this committee. Also, thank you to all the sponsors, partners, speakers, volunteers, section staff, and attendees—We couldn’t do this without you. If you missed out on CECON 2020 Virtual, there is still a chance to watch all of the technical presentations by purchasing On Demand access. We look forward to working with Jennifer Bohlander PE as our 2021 CECON senior Co-Chair as she leads the CECON Committee planning for our next CECON (hopefully in person this time).

ASCE Texas Section Board Meeting during the 2020 Student Symposium; Sean [far-left] and Rusty [far-right]
russell gibson image
Russell (Rusty) Gibson PE

Finally, I want to honor a long-time friend and ASCE leader who passed away just prior to Thanksgiving. Russell (Rusty) Gibson PE served the ASCE Texas Section and the Northeast Texas Branch for many, many years. Rusty was serving as our Vice President for Educational Affairs Elect and as a member of numerous Infrastructure Report Card subcommittees when he passed. Rusty never missed an opportunity to support his community when it came to passionately volunteering for ASCE activities and events, as well as local events and activities in his hometown. Rusty will be greatly missed. Please keep him, his family, and friends in your continued prayers as we celebrate his life in the coming months.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Remember to have FUN in all you do,

Sean P. Merrell PE, PTOE, RAS, F.ASCE
ASCE Texas Section President, 2020-2021