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June President’s Message: 2019 Infrastructure Week

June President’s Message: 2019 Infrastructure Week

Art Clendenin PE

When I look toward the future, I may be thinking about the next 10-20 years ahead.  I am really glad that others are looking 30-50+ years ahead because there are a lot of mega-projects that will take place. These will be great to experience as an engineer and as an end user. 

The 2019 Infrastructure Week, held in May, brought collaborators from all across the country to various venues, holding about 500 meetings in all.  I was fortunate to be able to attend the Infrastructure Week Southeastern Summit in Houston.  There are a lot of amazing projects on the books for Texas, and the vision to get them accomplished is in place.  Investors are flush with cash to fund the projects, and evolving technology is creating a lot of efficiencies with our existing infrastructure.  So, you may ask, “what is holding up progress?” The environmental process in Texas (and across much of the nation) has caused excessive delays to our growth and ability to get light years ahead of our competition.  We need to be good stewards and sensitive to our environment; we all enjoy clean air and water, but regulations need to be streamlined. For instance, the widening and deepening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel has taken 29 years to acquire an approved permit.  While I do not know the intimate details, from a 10,000 foot view, 29 years is way too long! Meanwhile, other countries without such environmental regulations are moving full steam ahead with projects that we could be competing against. 

Texas Legislature has finished its 86th session.  We were successful in a number of areas, but Floodplain Management had the largest impact.  SB7 addresses this in detail with two other bills that provide the funding mechanisms to enact this multi-billion dollar legislation.  We are not done though. The bill just gets the ball rolling, and the rules for projects still need to be written, so it is imperative that those of us who are experts stay involved with the process to see it through.

ASCE Global completed their election process, and our endorsed candidate, Jean Louis Briaud, Ph.D, PE, D.GE, Dist. M. ASCE, is the 2020 President Elect.  Now is the time to focus on participating in the Texas Section election and your Branch election too.  There are some myths going around that some feel that they are too old to serve in an officer position, believing it’s for the younger folks, and feeling, for example, that once a volunteer has served as President of the branch, there is nothing left for them to do at the local level but move out of the way.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  We still need active members to serve on committees and help to mentor the incoming members so they can become strong leaders for the future.

Leadership Development Weekend will be held July 12-14th in Austin.  All new Branch Officers and Texas Section Leaders should plan to attend.  Susan Roth PE, President Elect, has an exciting and informative program laid out!  I urge you to commit to being present for this valuable opportunity.

CECON is kicking into high gear, and you will be getting more information on this year’s event from now until September 18th.  Early bird registration is open, and sponsors and exhibitors still have time to get engaged with CECON.  We have some great speakers already lined up, and the awards banquet will be great fun, as it always is.  Come build your leadership skill set while interacting with your colleagues, and pick up all your annual PDHs, including ethics, while you’re at it!

I mentioned in my LDW participant letter last year that as we grow into the profession and network at ASCE functions, certain relationships are formed that are for life, and we extend our friendships beyond the borders of our profession.  It is with great sorrow that we share current Dallas Branch President, Anthony Luce, P.E. passed away peacefully June 5th after an extended illness.  He was a Project Manager with BGE, Inc. and had tremendous spirit, leadership and humor.  He is survived by his wife and two young children, other family members, and of course his ASCE family, too.  Please lift up Anthony’s family at this time.  In the near future, the Dallas Branch will be setting up a scholarship fund in his honor so that his legacy may continue.

Invest in yourself, participate, and be a TEXASCE volunteer,

Art Clendenin, PE

Texas Section President (105th) 2018-2019