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September 2020
This Issue
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Younger Member Forum
UCF Student Chapter

Student Chapter
Your ASCE East Central Branch is hitting the ground running this September! Our Virtual Meeting skills are strong as we have two technical webinars this month (EWRI - September 17th & Geo Institute - September 22nd) as well as our Virtual Officer Installation meeting (September 18th). It took us a little bit to work out the kinks but I think we've got this virtual meeting thing well in hand!
Juan Gonzalez, PE
New Branch Secretary

Speaking of officer installation, I want to personally congratulate our newly elected and soon to be installed Branch Secretary, Juan Gonzalez! Juan has been leading our Education Committee for years now and I know he will continue to excel in this new role. As part of the Education Committee he has been very active volunteering at: First robotics, STEM night, judge at SECME balsa wood bridge competition, Model Water Tower Competition and ASCE Bridge Florida Competition to name a few. Thank you Juan and congrats on the new position!

This is my last month as President of the East Central Branch and needless to say it has been one roller-coaster of a presidency. I wasn't able to enact all the additional social and volunteer activities this year like I wanted, but I think we still had one heck of a year (I mean we did win
Large Branch of the Year). I want to thank all the East Central Branch members who continue to support our events, our Institute and Committee Leaders, our Younger Member Forum, the UCF and ERAU Student Chapters and my fellow East Central Branch Board Members (pictures below in case you forgot what we look like)! Oh and a big thanks to my wife for your support and all the solo kid watching.

East Central Branch Board Members 2019-2020

I know our upcoming Branch President, Jignesh Vyas, will do a great job next year and continue the great work of the East Central Branch. Finally, I leave you with a video of all the fun we had this year, prepared by our out-going YMF President William Soehaili!

ASCE ECB YMF 2019-2020

Thanks for a great year!



Craig Ballock, P.E., M. ASCE
ACSE East Central Branch President
Virtual Officer Installation Luncheon
The ASCE ECB Officer Installation will be a FREE virtual event this year. Please join us on Friday September 18th
from 12-1 to recognize the previous officers, meet the new 2021 officers, congratulate annual scholarship winners, and hear a project update from our guest speaker, Katie Mitzner from Brightline Trains!
Friday September 18th  
From 12PM to 1PM 
Register now
History & Heritage
Black Bottom House of Prayer 
By Rocio Rodriguez
History & Heritage Committee Chair
The Black Bottom House of Prayer is located at 921 Bentley Street, in the Callahan neighborhood just north of Parramore.
In the summer of 1916, several black families from the south settled in the Orlando area called "Black Bottom", so called because when it rained in the area, flooding occurred and black mud was left from the constant flooding (see Fig.1). The water remained for so long that the residents had to use canoes to get around. In 1925, the Black Bottom House of Prayer was constructed by African American citrus workers as the home of the Pleasant Hill Colored Methodist Episcopal congregation, later renamed Carter's Tabernacle CME. The building was financed through a stock purchase from the Orange County Building and Loan Association. Thirty shares were purchase at $100 per share, for a total of$3000.

Figure 1: Typical flooding that occurred in the Callahan neighborhood during the early 1900's .

The building is of Masonry Vernacular architecture with Gothic Revival style, exterior stucco finish, and arched windows, which are typical of other local religious structures from the construction time period beginning in 1923 (see Fig.2). The thick brick and stucco walls were typically used for the cooling effect in the hot Florida weather before air conditioning. The building is an example of an early African American church and is possibly the oldest church building in Orlando's black community.

Figure 2: Exterior stucco, Gothic Revival style [1].

The church was nominated a Historical Landmark on 2/24/2020 but unfortunately, just a day after the Orlando Historic Preservation board voted to designate the church a landmark, the roof collapsed on 12/05/2019 (see Fig.3). Now it's up to the Orlando Historic preservation board to decide whether to demolish the structure or to rebuild it (just the evaluation of the current state of the structure costs about $17000).
Figure 3: Collapsed roof on Bottom Black House of Prayer structure. 
Environmental & Water Resources Institute  
EWRI Technical Luncheon

Do you sea grass?  
Inferring estuarine health from 30 Years of aerial seagrass mapping along Florida's west coast

September 17th
From 12PM to 1PM

Chris J. Anastasiou, Ph.D.,
Southwest Florida Water Management District


Register now  

On August 20th, ASCE EWRI held a technical webinar on Green Infrastructure Site Assessment with New ICPR Water Quality Tools, presented by Mark Ellard, P.E., and Mike Hardin, Ph.D., P.E. from Geosyntec Consultants and Pete Singhofen, P.E., with Streamline Technologies. With 100 attendees, the event was a great success that incited many technical follow-up questions. Since the webinar registration hit its maximum capacity, we understand many are looking forward to the recording of the webinar. Please stay tuned for the distribution of this information.
Geotechnical Engineering Institute  
Geo Webinar

Design, Installation, and Quality Control of Stone Columns

Please join the Geo Institute for a 1-hour webinar with speaker Dr. Wilhelm Degen to learn about various soil improvement methods (vertical drains, vibro compaction, stone columns, soil mixing) and their appropriate application based on soil type and ground improvement.
Tuesday, September 22
From 12PM to 1PM

Gene Williford, PE

Central Florida Geo-Institute Chapter 
Geotechnical Lecture Series
A Perspective on Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls Pushing the Limits  
or Pulling Us Down 
Date: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2020

Dr. Robert C. Bachus, P.E., D.GE
Geosyntec Consultants
Kennesaw, Georgia 
Many will argue that fill walls, particularly mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls, represent a boom to the U.S. geotechnical practice and are a testament to the valuable and innovative contributions by geotechnical practitioners. Many examples can be cited to demonstrate the profession's ability to push the limits in terms of wall height and creative applications. These success stories notwithstanding, there have been several reported MSE wall failures that should give the profession pause for concern. There are indications today that the profession's lack of attention and focus has started to reverse the impressive trends of innovative practice. These failures should remind us that we have to remain ever mindful of the basic tenants of good geotechnical engineering practice and that we cannot afford to lose sight of important geotechnical considerations and perspective regarding the design and construction of MSE walls and slopes. This presentation strives to once again highlight important lessons regarding the design and construction of MSE walls from both big and small projects. It will also include specific recommendations to halt this disturbing trend before it has potentially severe consequences.
Presenter Bio   
Dr. Robert C. Bachus, P.E., D.GE 
Dr. Bachus is a civil engineer with more than 40 years of experience, with an expertise in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. He started his professional career as a member of the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he taught for 11 years before joining Geosyntec Consultants in 1990, where he is a Senior Principal. The firm specializes in geotechnical, environmental, and water resource engineering, with >1,200 employees in its 75 offices in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. His research and project activities cover a wide range of topics, including dams and levees, landslide assessment, landfill design and performance, soil/rock properties, geosynthetics, and forensic engineering. He has worked extensively on the properties and beneficial use of coal combustion residuals (CCRs) and geotechnical data management and visualization. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Georgia Tech and Chairman of the Transportation Research Board's Standing Committee on Soil and Rock Properties.
2020 ASCE East Central Branch
Geo-Institute Scholarship 
The Geo-Institute Chapter of ASCE's Florida Section - East Central Branch (ASCE ECB) is proud to announce two scholarship opportunities. These scholarships are part of the Geo-Institute's commitment to supporting Central Florida's brightest minds for future careers in geotechnical engineering.  
Younger Members 

Register now

September 17
From 3PM to 4PM

Your very own YMF President - William Soehaili will be one of the panelist in "exploring the future of networking".
Bring your questions, and get to know other members of ASCE throughout the country.
Younger Member Forum 2020-2021 Officer Elections and 2019-2020 Officer Sendoff
Interested in becoming a bigger part of the Central Florida Engineering Community? Nominate yourself or another young engineer in Central Florida for positions within the ASCE East Central Branch Younger Member Forum!
All Positions can be found HERE for the 2020-2021 year.
New to ASCE ECB? Committees are also available for most positions to help chair positions with all of their officer duties!
The ASCE East Central Branch Younger Member Forum plans community service events, socials, STEM outreach events, professional development classes, University Outreach events, and many other things around the year! This wouldn't be possible without the help of many young engineers in the Central Florida Area. The following lists the positions that make up the YMF Officer Board:
Past President
Marketing Chair (Committee)
Service Chair (Committee)
Social Chair (Committee)
Engineer for a Day/Education Chair (Committee)
Technical Seminar/Professional Development Chair
University Liaison
Central Florida Field Trip Chair
Sports Chair (Committee)
PE Review Chair (Not voted on)
All officers are required to attend (or call into) monthly meetings at the president's discretion and follow through their roles as discussed in the Officer Descriptions in the link in the "What" Section.  
Elections are October 7, at 7:30AM
Contact William Soehaili at to RSVP and/or get more information to join! We'll send you a calendar invite with all of the information you need!
Student Activities 

September Update

Our board of officers is excited to start off the Fall 2020 semester. Through numerous planning and meeting with our officers using zoom before the start of the fall semester, we are still facing some difficulty with the social distancing rule put in place by the university. Therefore, this semester we will continue to host general body meetings but through zoom instead of meeting in person. Our first general body meeting will be joined by ASCE Younger Members Forum on September 10th, 2020 to speak with our members about their experience with ASCE and how it connects members even after graduation! To increase the connection between our members, we are also planning on doing another Instagram story of "A day in the life as Intern" to give our members insight into what are some of the tasks civil engineers do in the industry.

Employment Opportunities



  Khanh Olka, E.I   

  Communications Chair 

  East Central Branch

  Florida Section   

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