Hoping all are safe and healthy during these unprecedented times
2020 Spring Communique
A Message from the President:
Chris Sharek, PE
We have all been impacted by the COVID-19  virus one way or another - socially, mentally, financially, and probably most of all, emotionally. The uncertainty of when this will pass, when will we be back to “normal,” when it will be safe to visit family, conduct a face to face meeting, or simply to shake hands again. This uncertainty can lead to frustrations, but we must realize that many things are simply beyond our control.

I clearly remember my Dad’s response after I told my him I wanted to be an engineer. He said everything material can be taken away from you – cars, house, money; “but they can never take your education.” He further explained how education was a calculated investment. Now, 23 years into this “investment,” I’m realizing how right he was.

Last week I was on a corporate Skype meeting and the results of a nationwide survey of consulting companies was being discussed. As most can imagine, many private development segments will probably see a more dramatic and sudden slow-down in development and thus revenue. However, the results of the survey showed that for most clients, their hard infrastructure projects, such as bridges, roads, pipelines, and treatment plants, did not expect to see much of a delay if any at all.

By choosing to be a civil engineer, we have made an investment in each of our community’s future. We are the backbone of this infrastructure. We design, deliver, and oversee construction of billions of dollars of infrastructure that improves our Florida community’s quality of life. Regardless of how this virus might affect social interactions and create life inconveniences, more than ever, we need to remain steadfast, humble, and continue to silently support our economy in each county across this state.
Stand proudly with me as a civil engineer!   

Chris Sharek, PE
ASCE Florida Section President
Region 5 Report
Peter M. Moore, PE, F.ASCE, Region 5 Director

These are certainly difficult and uncertain times that we are living in. Our families, our organizations and ASCE are all making a number of very specific decisions based on limited and vague information. As your Region 5 Director, I want to let everyone know that our first concern is the safety and wellbeing of you and your families during this trying time. Once you’ve secured that, I want each of you to know that taking care of our membership is the very next thing we are concerned about.
The ASCE Board of Direction has had dozens of meetings relating to COVID-19. All ASCE staff is working remotely, and while that presents some logistical challenges, the intention is for the membership experience to mirror “normal times” as closely as possible. ASCE has developed a COVID-19 Resource Page with a wide variety of information, from health resources to technical and career enhancement courses to educate in case you are one of the millions of Americans with a little more free time on your hands.

Our virtual resources are more important than ever, so I hope that you participate in a Collaborate forum, sign up to be a mentor or mentee or take advantage of all the other Member Benefits.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to send a message directly to our Student Members that read this publication. I was there in the room at a concrete canoe captain’s meeting for the Southeast Regional Competition when we learned that the competition was going to be altered (and later that night cancelled). Trust me, I know the heartbreak that every single competitor felt, particularly those that were looking to compete in what likely was their last competition. I also think back to my last semester in college -right here in Region 5 - and I know that every class, person, night and memory are things that I cherish, so for all those impacted, particularly our graduating seniors, I’m sorry that you are missing out on that chance to make those memories.

But I also challenge all students to take a look at the world we now live in. In the last two weeks, millions of Americans have lost their jobs. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security has identified nearly every single facet of Civil Engineering as critical to the Nation’s security, making your careers all the more important in stark contrast to the negative news about service and retail layoffs.

People are defined by how they face adversity, not how they live in times of bounty. All professionals in the civil engineering realm are trained and practiced to use our problem solving skills to overcome adversity. Please see how ASCE can put you in touch with the people and resources in order to overcome today’s challenges and thrive in the future. Please let us know how we can help.

Thank you and stay safe,

Peter M. Moore, PE, F.ASCE, ENV SP
ASCE Region 5 Director
Join Us for the 2020 Conference
Tzufit Boyle, PE, F.ASCE, Chair

Though we are living in uncertain times, we are still planning to hold the 2020 ASCE Florida Section Annual Conference on July 9-10 at the Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort. At this time, we are optimistic that the event will be able to proceed, and what better way to come out of quarantine than with all your engineering colleagues? We are excited to offer technical sessions for multiple civil engineering disciplines, and Law, Rules and Ethics. We are also working on a technical tour, as at this time most sites have ceased granting access to non-essential personnel. We still have sponsorship opportunities, which are available on our registration page. And speaking of registration, please click below. Be sure to check the Conference website for updates, and be on the lookout for emails announcing any updates. Also, be sure to click here to book your room now. See you on the beach!

ASCE Florida Bridge Design Competition
Mikhail Moberg, PE, Chair

The coronavirus is impacting everyone’s’ daily lives and the ASCE Bridge Florida Design Contest is no exception. With school closures extended to May 1 st  (and possibly the rest of the school year), the Section's Bridge Design Contest is in uncharted territory due to the impacts of the coronavirus. Fortunately, as members of the engineering community, we thrive on problem solving, adapting to change and engineering solutions. Those skills will be utilized to derive and implement a potentially unique contest in 2020 for the evolving circumstances imposed by the coronavirus.
We successfully kicked off the 2020 ASCE Bridge Florida Design Contest on February 18 th with a kickoff meeting via teleconference where Branch representatives listened and discussed the plan for this year’s contest. General discussion centered around implementation of local contests. An additional teleconference meeting occurred on March 27th to discuss strategies to implement an online branch level bridge contest, which was in response to school closures and executive orders prohibiting large groups of people (10+ people) from gathering. The safety of our members as well as teachers and students is of the highest priority, therefore Branches were encouraged to set up a local online bridge contest instead of having a traditional in-person local contest. As of now, the annual Florida Section ASCE Bridge Florida Design Contest that is scheduled to occur at the annual meeting in July is not cancelled and will go on as planned. We are currently evaluating different Florida Section contest options that may be available in the event that the annual meeting is cancelled. If you have any questions please contact Mikhal Moberg , for more details.
Infrastructure is a Frequent Word on the News
Tonya Mellen, PE, Chair, Government Relations

Hearing President Trump mention the word “infrastructure” in his daily briefings is very exciting. Trump tweeted last week about a “very, big and bold, two Trillion Dollars” for infrastructure due in part to the very low interest rates. As economic stimulus goes, infrastructure funding is one of the best tools the federal government can use, but in 20 years of following this issue, I have never heard anyone mention borrowing the money to fund infrastructure. That is a little scary.

Understandably, the current “emergency” stimulus bills concentrate on payroll protection and loan/grants to small business and many in Washington fear that the talk, yet again, is just talk. “Infrastructure is like Bigfoot. Every once in a while, someone claims to have seen it and kicks up a frenzy, but it never existing to begin with.” – a Senior Hill Legislator said to the Washington Examiner (April 10 article Infrastructure Falls Apart ). Regardless of all the discussion for and against a large bill, we should not give up. We will come out of this pandemic eventually and the economic recovery will follow. Rebuilding our infrastructure will have to be a part of the recovery.
Florida Legislature 2020 – How Will It Change Engineering in Florida?
Fraser Howe, PE, F.ASCE

The Senate convened briefly Thursday, March 18, afternoon for a final vote on House Bill (HB) 5001 , the 2020-21 General Appropriations Act (GAA), and related bills. Action on all other legislation concluded Friday. Click here for a statement by Senate President Bill Galvano.

Preparation for this session began last August as legislators began to file bills. For ASCE, Fraser Howe, PE started by comparing the Issue Areas from the Society's Legislative and Regulatory Tracking Center , ASCE’s Report Card Infrastructure Categories, the Society’s 2020 State Priority Issues, and the topics for FES/ACEC’s Commission on Legislative and Government Relations (CLGR), to coordinate efforts during the session.

Beginning in November, Fraser collaborated closely with Florida Section President Chris Sharek and Government Relations Committee Chair Tonya Mellen, and with Maria Matthews, ASCE Senior Manager, Grassroots Programs and State Relations. He also joined teleconferences with FES/ACEC’s CLGR to coordinate efforts between Florida’s premier professional engineering societies.

In late November, ASCE was offered the opportunity to testify before State Senator Deborah Mayfield’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government about the grades in the 2016 Report Card on Florida’s Infrastructure. Although we were unable to get on the agenda before the legislature convened on January 14, we did submit a written statement for the record on SB 712 - The Clean Waterways Act.

In February the Florida Section adopted a statement supporting HB 1073 / SB 7016 to establish a statewide Office of Resiliency and create the Statewide Sea-Level Rise Task Force. On February 27 this statement was sent to Heather Williamson, Staff Director for the House State Affairs Committee with a request that the Committee vote in favor of the bill. The Senate committees voted in favor of the bill and sent to the House on March 6. Unfortunately, the bill died in this last committee without being referred to the full House.

Of the 3,518 bills filed during the 2020 Regular Session, we eventually identified 25 bills (5 were companion bills in both chambers) that were of both high importance and high priority to ASCE, see Table 1. We coordinated with FES on bills that were of interest to both societies.

2020 Past President Endowment Scholarship
E. Bruce Lawson, Chair

The ASCE Florida Section Past President’s Scholarship (FSPPS) Committee is pleased to announce the 2020 scholarship application process. The Scholarship Committee will award at least two $1,000 scholarships. The scholarship winners will also receive a student registration to the annual conference, which we hope will take place July 9-10, 2020, at the Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort.
Applications and scholarship criteria will be posted on the  Florida Section Web page The application submittal must be received by Judy Nichols in her  email  (preferred) or office, with a date stamp no later than  5:27:20  pm  on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 . The ASCE Florida Section mailing address is PO Box 1372, Lake Worth, FL 33460.
The criteria for the FSPPS is points-based divided between ASCE activities, other engineering activities, academic grades, and community activities. The criteria matrix that the scholarship committee will use to evaluate the submitted scholarship applications is on the Florida Section website..
The  Undergraduate Student Florida Section Past President’s Scholarship  is open to all undergraduate student chapter members who will be registered in the fall of 2020 as full-time undergraduate students majoring in Civil Engineering or related field at a Florida college or university.
The  Graduate Student Florida Section Past President’s Scholarship  is open to all graduate/Ph.D. students who are members of the student chapter and will be registered as in the fall of 2020 as a full-time graduate.
Please contact  Judy Nichols , Executive Director, for more information.
A Hard Lesson in Resilience
Michael Antinelli, Chair, Sustainability Committee

From the new reality of remote learning and working to the heart wrenching massive layoffs causing fear across the American workforce, COVID-19 has uprooted our "normal life." The virus is shedding light on the vulnerabilities of our society and global economic system to disruption that threatens to halt the activities that drive prosperity. In an unexpected and unwelcome way, we have seen what it takes to drastically reduce activities that hurt our environment. This is not only a hard lesson in resilience, but an indication of the size of the effort needed to address our current environmental challenges. This moment has presented an interesting opportunity to stop, reflect, and reassess business as usual. To be clear, action must be measured and considerite of economic and environmental consequences, and what we have seen in the past few weeks has taught us important lessons.
Humanity is in a precarious position right now. In the coming decades, we will see more change to our climate, ecosystems, biosphere and as a result, our society. We will be forced to adapt at a rapid pace. One cannot fully attribute COVID-19 to a changing climate, however, epidemiologists have been warning about the inevitability of an outbreak for years along with projected increases in future outbreaks, particularly from melting permafrost in the Arctic releasing ancient bacteria. All evidence thus far for the coronavirus points to animal transmission, but the parallels between taking preventative measures for a viral outbreak and taking preventative measures for climate change are eerily similar. Both are perceived long-term threats that require long-term planning with relatively small windows of opportunity to act before reaching exponential growth rates. Both require subject matter experts to lead those in positions of power, and we must be willing to take risks and make hard decisions to plan and respond effectively. 
While traffic has dropped appreciably as a result of Governor DeSantis’ safer-at-home order, the novel corona virus will have a lasting effect on the way we mobilize. Only months ago, ridesharing and last mile programs like scooters were setting the stage for larger populations to abandon their single passenger vehicles and opt for public transit. In the coming months as we return to a new normal, we must pay close attention to how travel patterns among the population shift and consider how this affects our transportation infrastructure planning.
While construction has continued on our most critical infrastructure projects, inspections for non-essential projects have begun to turn virtual where possible. Virtual inspections are an emergency response right now, but with added regulations and minimum standards, could become an option for engineers and building officials in the future. This may be a welcome change that can accelerate schedules and reduce project costs.
This unique time in history provides us with an opportunity to reconsider what it means to be a human being, and what it means to be an engineer. This is an opportunity to redefine "growth" and “innovation.” COVID-19 proves that the world can take massive collective action when the perceived threat is dangerous enough. The question moving forward is how seriously will we take other threats to our way of life, and what will we be willing to do about them?
“Out of adversity comes opportunity.” - Benjamin Franklin

Ryan Amato of Brizaga co-authored this article.
Branch Updates
The ASCE Broward Branch held their annual Engineer for a Day Event on February 12 th. More than 60 students from 5 county high schools attended. Students heard during the morning session from three different speakers and learned what it means to be an engineer and the different paths one can take. In the afternoon session, students visited different engineering consulting firms in the County where they shadowed engineers doing their day to day activities and learned hands on what civil engineers do. To attend the event, the students participated in an essay competition in which the students who wrote the top three essays received a scholarship award.
The Jacksonville Branch recognized the Annual UNF Scholarship Recipients: Nicole Miller , Caryle Capuyan , and Nicholas Perez . All are ASCE Student Members who demonstrated outstanding achievements among a highly competitive pool of applicants. The awards were presented at the Northeast Florida Engineers’ Week Scholarship Luncheon in February. The Branch would also like to take this time to say that we’re operating as smoothly as we possibly can, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our work and daily lives. The Branch is currently focused on finding ways to keep the member base engaged during this time. They hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, and they look forward to seeing our members again soon!
The Miami-Dade Branch hosted its 8th annual Field Day event at Zoo Miami which benefited the branch’s scholarship program. With the assistance of about 20 student volunteers from UM and FIU, the committee hosted more than 250 participants for a day of fun at the Zoo. Participants played a variety of games in the morning including cornhole, water conservation challenge, mini golf, and pocket passer to try to qualify for the semi-final. Teams from Chen Moore & Associates, HDR, Pevida Highway Designers, and M2E Consulting Engineers competed in the leaky pipe semi-final challenge which resulted in a final volleyball match between HDR and M2E. HDR came in first place overall followed by M2E Consulting Engineers in second place and Chen Moore & Associates in third place. The event was sponsored by Advanced Drainage Systems, Atlantic Environmental Systems – MOPS, BCC Engineering, CES Consultants, Chen Moore & Associates, EAC Consulting, HDR, Hydra Service, Kimley-Horn & Associates, KEITH, M2E Consulting Engineers, Nova Consulting, Pevida Highway Designers, Universal Engineering Sciences, WGI, and 300 Engineering Group.
The Pensacola Branch recently held a lunch and learn on Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Kirk Kassebaum from ISS gave a presentation on GPR’s benefits, limitations, and explained when is the right time to utilize it as a resource. After the presentation, attendees were able to try out the GPR equipment for themselves so they could see how it works.
Suncoast held their 3 rd Annual SunCoast Engineers Awards Banquet in February. Ms. Lee-En Chung received a well-deserved award for her construction engineering contributions to the immensely successful St. Armand's Parking Garage – an extremely needed facility. Her positive attitude, cooperative nature, and professional demeanor are an incredible asset to the engineering community. Suncoast Past President Norm Robertson summed up the event by saying "From my perspective, this is an opportunity to recognize the individuals and projects that best represent our industry. Many engineers tend to keep to themselves and our work, which is typically done in the “background”, is often overlooked and unappreciated. This event helps to bring these otherwise reclusive engineers together to celebrate our profession. It is a reminder that what we do is important. It is a chance to have a few cocktails, interact with other like-minded people, and otherwise enjoy ourselves."
Student Chapter Updates
University of Central Florida
The students at the UCF Student Chapter were very excited to host the Southeast Student Conference at our campus this year. While it was unfortunately cut short due to public health concerns, it did not diminish their gratitude for all of the very hard work their Younger Members Forum put towards organizing the event and all participating schools put towards their competitions. In the meantime, the chapter is currently focusing on selecting its new leaders and transitioning temporarily to effective remote operations so that our chapter doesn’t miss a beat as we prepare for an outstanding 2020-2021 school year!
Florida International University
The ASCE FIU Student Chapter have worked diligently on all their competition projects and although unable to compete due to the current pandemic, are beyond proud of their students' accomplishments and dedication. They are confident their golden aspirations will one day come to fruition, and hope that next year they will return even stronger, representing all those whose efforts weren't able to shine this year. Currently, they are preparing to transition to the Executive Board for 2020 to 2021 by hosting elections via virtual meetings. Moving forward, the focus has shifted to how to best serve and aid their student members during these tough times. The plan is to provide online opportunities for students to continue expanding on their professional development, networking skills, and more, from the comfort and safety of their home.
Florida Institute of Technology
Florida Tech ASCE continues to aid the local community. Students helped secure and clean workspaces on campus prior to the start of online classes. Relay for Life is currently hosting a virtual event through the university and the ASCE student chapter helped to fundraise and organize the event. The unfortunate cancellation of conference failed to dampen the determination of students and the student chapter is eager to tackle next year’s events. Thank you to UCF for the immense amount of time and resources devoted to organizing a spectacular event.
University of Florida
The University of Florida ASCE chapter is currently using this time to update their ASCE website and our Canvas page. They have been holding E-Board and General Body Meetings online to keep the chapter informed about events being moved and any other ASCE material. They have also used a combination of Canvas and Zoom to hold exam review sessions and will use those platforms for the officer elections coming up soon. With the Southeastern Regional Conference being canceled, they will be highlighting some competitions over social media and our website page.​
University of South Florida
The USF-ASCE Chapter finished the Spring Semester by working diligently to compete in the Southeast ASCE Student Conference in Orlando. Their concrete canoe team was successful in their design and build of their canoe - GloBull, pictured left. The Chapter moved all events to a digital platform allowing them to still serve their community, and will continue to do so with new exciting ways to accommodate for the recent changes in the world. At the end of April, the new Executive Board will be sworn into their positions and they are looking forward to the 2020-2021 Term.
University of North Florida
The University of North Florida’s Student Chapter has had an eventful spring semester! The chapter took part in the FES Race for Relevance, Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders, and their annual Beers with Engineers Trivia Fundraiser, all within the same week! The students worked incredibly hard and created some amazing pieces for the 2020 Student Conference, and are already excited about planning for the next year. They are currently working towards a change in officers and to continue their senior banquets/summer outreach projects.
Despite the hard times they are living through, the FAMU-FSU ASCE-FES Student Chapter has managed to squeeze in quite a few events before the closure of our university. In February they had the opportunity to assist both the ASCE and FES Tallahassee Branch parent chapters in hosting the area Mathcounts student math competition. In addition, they hosted Gift of Life, a charity organization that spreads awareness about leukemia, and signed up many of their members to be potential bone marrow donors should they be a match for someone in need in the future. Even though conference did not happen this year, the members all put great effort into all their individual competitions and have tried their best to submit their competitions remotely. They are still keeping the spirit of the chapter alive remotely, and plan to elect their new executives in a first ever online election in the coming weeks. As always, we thank everyone who supported the chapter this year! 
Civil Engineers as Essential Services
Rachel Haeseler, PE, Supervising Utility Engineer, Water/Wastewater Engineering, Gainesville Regional Utilities

Many of our ASCE Florida Section members work or provide services that are considered essential by the Governor’s Stay-At-home order. This can mean very different things for people in the Civil Engineering profession. Many private industry professionals are finding that some work is continuing at record pace while other work is crawling. In either case there has been a heightened level of awareness for on-site activities. This is unfamiliar territory for all of us - except for all the great zombie shows and movies that seem present in our minds. Utilities have the responsibility of providing service to their customers no matter what we are faced with. For this reason we have developed substantial response plans to hurricanes and other natural disasters. Many of the emergency planning and response principles apply, but planning for a pandemic has really revealed many new challenges. The utility’s main goal is to keep our services operating … providing clean drinking water and collecting and treating wastewater and returning it to the environment in a responsible and compliant manner. This goal doesn’t change in a pandemic, but how we approach it does. A pandemic isn’t an attack on our physical equipment assets like weather events, it’s a threat to our personnel. Equipment doesn’t run unless it has an operator to tell it what do to. It is for this reason licensed operators find themselves at the heart of the Essential Services. Many utilities employ other staff in support of operations such as capital improvements, environmental compliance support, and review of expansions to the current piping systems. In the end, to turn water out the door and treat wastewater coming in, operators are among the most essential staff. For this reason many utilities have been taking preparations to isolate their operations staff from others on the treatment plant sites. In Gainesville we have switched to split shifts that further divide the operations staff into redundant groups so that only certain groups of staff are working together. This has been working for the current status of the pandemic, but as it progresses it’s possible that we will see our operations staff go into reverse quarantine, where they will live on the plant site for a period of time with highly controlled interaction with the outside world.
For those of us who are not licensed operators, but support the facilities, it’s a case of treading a fine line. I personally lead capital improvement projects for our water treatment plant and our water reclamation facilities. Some of the biggest considerations we currently have involve what we allow our contractors and consultants to do on our sites. We have currently requested that our vendors minimize the number of people on-site to only what is necessary. We are not allowing people on-site unless they have a very specific purpose that helps us complete the critical capital work that is happening. We have provided security personnel to guard our gates and screen people coming on our sites, and if someone appears to have symptoms of any kind, they are not granted access. Contractor and consultant personnel are not allowed to enter certain spaces that we have designated as Operations Staff only. If operations staff has to access equipment within the designated job site the Contractors must recede until the operator has cleared the area. Operations staff is equipped with disinfection precautions as well as PPE, such as mask and gloves to isolate them as much as possible. This makes for a very interesting “dance” on construction sites, but I will give credit, our Contractors have handled this with great patience. Their continued cooperation with these procedures means we can keep them working. There may come a time where reverse quarantine is necessary, and if it is, we may have to stop work on construction. This means critical utility projects will be delayed as well as job loss and struggles for so many of the people who come to our sites every day. It’s heartbreaking to know this will be the result, so we are taking these decisions very seriously.
Many of the engineers at the utility are capable of working from home, however many of our field personnel are not, their job requires them to be hands on. This creates its own challenges with how you manage personnel and expectations. Everyone’s personality is heightened and revealed in times where fear of personal health is in play. Every employee is affected in a different way depending on their personal family situation. I have a 10-year old that had a heart defect and currently has pulmonary hypertension, therefore she is significantly susceptible to respiratory illness, in fact she is just getting over pneumonia and bronchitis. My daughter is almost guaranteed to be hospitalized if she is infected with COVID-19. Many families are also faced with the struggle of child-care while schools are closed down. When we are talking about social distancing and staying at home, we all start to significantly think about our choices of where we go, and with whom we interact. I am a person that does love social interaction, I love being on construction sites, I love that my kids go to school and get afterschool care. I am a better parent because I am able to work during the day, that is just who I am. Many of my friends and colleagues are enjoying this time of working at home. I am fortunate to be able to work from home and isolate myself from others, to protect her.
In the end, this pandemic will leave a very different impression on all of us. I know for me, I will be a little more tech savvy, more appreciative of what our teachers do every day, and will appreciate the routine and interaction my traditional role at the utility provides. I am proud to be serving our community during such a stressful time. Our utilities provide the clean drinking water that is required to stop the spread of disease as well as the collection of wastewater that keeps our customers safe. Being an essential service is a privilege in so many ways and I am so thankful to be able to be employed and contribute in such an unprecedented time.  Rachel Haeseler is the Immediate Past President of the ASCE Florida Section.
ASCE Awards Ruchti 2020 Bechtel Award

ASCE has awarded Southwest Branch member George R. Ruchti, Jr., M.ASCE, the 2020 Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award. for “his many contributions in the field of pipe material engineering, research and evaluation, pipeline engineering and construction and for his work on national committees and organizations.” The plaque is currently slated for presentation at the Pipelines 2020 Conference in San Antonio, scheduled for August 11, 2020.

The Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award recognizes outstanding achievements by a member of ASCE who, through research, planning, design or construction, has advanced the art, science and technology of pipeline engineering.
George R. Ruchti, Jr., M.ASCE is the winner of the 2020 Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award for his many contributions in the field of pipe material engineering, research and evaluation, pipeline engineering and construction and for his work on national committees and organizations. 
Along with a lifetime of service, one of Mr. Ruchti’s most valuable contributions to the Pipelines industry has been his unique ability to educate owners, engineers, and contractors on the pipeline design and installation process in a manner that everyone could understand – success through simplicity.
This approach created major pipeline projects that could be implemented in the field with minimal complications. Through this focus on collaboration among all stakeholders early in the process, George has delivered superior pipeline design work, and helped to facilitate manufacturing and construction on many high-profile projects. His willingness and dedication – and taking the time necessary to insure success throughout all aspects of the project – is what built George’s impeccable reputation in the Pipelines industry.
As a steward for the profession, George has many accomplishments across a full spectrum of the industry, including pipeline enhancements that were patented in the 1970’s and still utilized today. He blazed a trail for the adoption of the use of steel pipelines, leading to installation of hundreds of miles along the East Coast. His influence was extensive and included design, manufacturing, installation and long term protection.
Along with authoring and presenting many technical papers, Mr. Ruchti volunteered thousands of hours on numerous committees and served 5 years on the ASCE Pipelines Executive Committee, chairing it in 2004. He was the Co-Chair at the 1999 ASCE Pipeline Conference in Denver along with being on the Steering Committee for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 ASCE Pipeline Conferences. Mr. Ruchti’s outstanding performance within the industry has shown through with the receipt of multiple industry awards through the years.
Meet Our Members

Welcome to our newest section of the Communique focusing on our Members. Every quarter we focus on one of our outstanding active current members and one student member to highlight the benefits of ASCE and our profession. As a result, if there is someone you know that has made a great contribution to our field, please feel free to nominate them to be featured in our new section .
Judy Hayden, PE
President, EGS - USA

Why did you join ASCE? I first joined ASCE as a student member while attending Oklahoma State University. I joined primarily to socialize with other engineers and the faculty in settings other than classrooms. It provided me with a sense of unity with both the University and the community. I have continued to join the local Chapter of ASCE with each move throughout the years.

What would you say has been the best benefit of being a member? The best benefit of being a member of ASCE is the opportunity for networking with other Civil Engineers. It provides its’ members with wonderful speakers and classes, opportunities to participate in community and state projects, and opportunities to “give back” to the profession.  

What advice wold you give to other students/professionals on the benefits of joining a professional society and participating in the organization? I always advise the students I meet to join their professional organizations while a student and to continue their membership after graduation.  It will become your primary source of new information outside of your work environment.  

What do you like best about being an engineer? There are two things I like about being an engineer. First, engineering has taught me to look at each challenge as a collection of problems to be solved. While you may not see the solution immediately, you always know that by taking each issue at a time there will be an end result that you can be proud of. Engineering has reminded me that solutions take team work.

And secondly, but more importantly, being an engineer has provided me an opportunity to work with both of my children as adults. My son, Tom (Past President, Florida Section) and daughter, Audra, are both amazing civil engineers and have been very active in the professional organizations. I am very fortunate to have had this experience.
What is the most interesting thing about yourself that you can share? Prior to becoming an engineer, I had a degree in Education. I did my student teaching at the Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, Ohio - an Outdoor School where we worked with 4th - 7th grade students. Each day we would each take a group of 7 kids and venture out into the 1,000 acre outdoor classroom investigating different eco systems with an emphasis on cooperation, teamwork, as well as conservation.  Each week was a new adventure, with different kids, different weather, and unpredicted surprises. I am sure this experience is the reason that I gravitated towards engineering into doing environmental permitting. Upon graduating, I went on to teach in a Special Needs classroom in northern Indiana for four years. My “indoor” teaching experience taught me humility, patience, and communication skills, all characteristics that have been helpful throughout my career.  

What was your first experience joining ASCE? My first experience joining ASCE was attending a student chapter meeting at Oklahoma State University. I believe I was one of their first female members.   
What was a time your felt most accomplished as an engineer? It would be the first project I worked on as the Engineer of Record shortly after I received my PE. When my supervisor gave me the project, he told me that even though he had studied for months to pass the PE exam, just as I had just done, he had found he learned even more after receiving his PE because he knew he was putting his name on the plan set.

The project involved designing three miles of paved roadway for an existing rural gravel road. I was responsible for every aspect of the design, from the foundation and pavement design, to the alignment and stormwater design. My supervisor was right – when your name goes on the plan set you never stop learning.
Meet Our Members
Saul Bilancieri
Student, Florida Atlantic University

Why did you join ASCE? I joined ASCE because I have always had a passion for civil engineering, and when I found out that there was a club for civil engineers, I was compelled to join it. I joined FAU’s Student Chapter early in my college career but was not involved until recently.

What would you say has been the best benefit of being a member? Being an ASCE member has its benefits, from the events, people, and experiences, but to me the greatest benefit is the networking aspect. I have made countless friends and connections that I know I will have for a lifetime.

What advise would you give to other students/professionals on the benefits of joining a professional society and participating in the organization? If you are on the fence of getting involved, I would 100% say go for it, it is critical to make these lifelong connections and friends, you never know what the future entails and this is an opportunity that should not be passed up .

What do you like best about being an engineer?   What I like best about being an engineer is that it is a field based around problem solving. I love solving problems, and as a civil engineer we are faced with many problems that have to be solved, from sustainable solutions, to managerial tasks, it is an involved field that takes some thinking, and I love a challenge. Wrapping your mind around a problem and achieving a goal is something I take pride in.

What is the most interesting thing about yourself that you can share? I would say that the most interesting thing about myself would be that I am a licensed skydiver, I have been jumping since I turned 18.

What was your first experience joining ASCE? W hen I first joined my school’s student chapter there wasn’t much going on, but in summer 2019, I became a board member and I was in charge of events. I remember volunteering at last year’s Broward Branch bowl-a-thon and meeting all the faces that I keep seeing in our quarterly body meetings and ASCE events.

What was a time you felt most accomplished as an engineer? I feel most accomplished when I complete a challenging task, I remember in my first internship, one of my tasks was to create hundreds of insurance claims, and while It was something I have never done, and as challenging as it sounds, I managed to complete them all and they totaled out to be over $1,000,000.

Coronavirus will change how we shop, travel, and work for years - Every economic shock leaves a legacy. The deadly coronavirus will be no different.

Florida accelerates $2.1B of DOT projects during state coronavirus shutdown - Continued work on transportation-related infrastructure projects is deemed an essential activity under the Florida stay-at-home order issued last week, along with residential construction, utility projects and other construction projects related to vital functions.
Resources available through our partners at SCA:

SGA can also be a resource to your should there be questions on slag cement use and they offer a number of different presentations for industry groups.  These presentations can also be given in a webinar/virtual meeting format:

Participate in UF Project on Problem Solving

My name is Elliot Douglas, a Professor within the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida conducting research in Engineering Education. My current research focuses on engineering problem solving. While working as an engineer I am sure you have encountered many different kinds of engineering problems. I am interested in learning about the ambiguous problems you have had to solve. It is important for us to hear from a variety of people to get a broad view of ambiguity in engineering problem solving. If you are interested in being interviewed for about an hour, please email me. If you are interviewed, you will receive a $75 gift card. To be qualified to interview you must be a Civil Engineer and have at least 10 years industry experience. This study has been approved by the UF IRB, protocol #IRB201801819.
Excellence in Project Management

A Start 2 Rise, LLC | Zweig Group Collaboration, is offering a seminar designed to improve the effectiveness of Project Managers. The seminar will be offered on August 12, 2020.

This one-day training course covers the critical focus areas every AEC Industry project manager should be familiar with and is presented in lecture, tutorial, and case study workshop sessions. Attendees will leave armed with a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics, skills, and techniques successful project managers must have to flourish in their role.

Each team member brings their own unique experiences and skillset to project teams. Effectively leveraging the talents of your team can optimize team effectiveness. Excellence in Project Management provides people-focused, science-driven practical skills to help team leaders harness the power of their team. By addressing the most important aspects of any project – the people – this course will provide practical techniques that can be immediately implemented for a positive impact on any AEC team or business.

AEC Professionals are extensively trained on technical skills and less so on how to manage a team. However, with rapidly evolving technology, increasing fee pressure, multi-generational teams, and many other challenges, effective team leadership in project environments has proven to be the key to thriving in the high-pressure AEC environment. These challenges, coupled with the fact that project managers are often left to learn on the job, leaves new and seasoned leaders left to use a trial and error style team leadership that is prone to missteps. Each decision made can impact profit, risk, and client-relationships.

This course will take the guesswork out of leading your team and develop project leaders who are
equipped with practical, science-backed skills to empower their teams to achieve and surpass their goals.

8:30 AM - 4:30PM
This dynamic course uses a blended format of didactic training on the most relevant research to address foundational knowledge related to intrapersonal (e.g., time-management, self-awareness, overcoming distractions), interpersonal (e.g., personnel management, communication, motivation, empowerment), and project-specific skills (resource management, budgeting, scheduling). Each module includes immediately implementable strategies for participants to take to their business. After each skill is taught, participants will be asked to reflect on how these skills could be used in their settings.

Finally, a series of dynamic, interactive cases will provide opportunities for attendees to understand how these new strategies, skills, and methods can be implemented with a walk-through by expert trainers. Topics to be discussed include:
  • Role of the PM: Managing vs. Leading
  • Competencies of Successful Project Managers
  • Tools to Improve Effectiveness
  • Neutralizing Common Issues
  • Leading Temporary Teams: Competency
  • Alignment in Dynamic Projects
  • Project Leadership Mini Cases
  • Q&A and Discussion

Contact Justin Smith for more information.
Job Opportunities
Civil & Resilience Engineer (EIT)
Fort Lauderdale
Brizaga is seeking a creative and self-driven team player to join our team working at the forefront of the flood resilience industry. Founded in 2017, we are focused on improving the lives of others by creating products, processes, and tools that reduce the impact of rising seas on our environment, our economy, and our society. We were recognized by the Miami Herald as one of four startups working to save the planet, and we are continuously
engaged in local, state, and national discussions surrounding engineering and environmental policy.
The ideal Civil & Resilience Engineer/EIT candidate will have outstanding communications skills, a demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks and perform high quality work, and a strong desire to learn by doing. The position requires a working knowledge in stormwater, water resources, structural engineering, and a degree in Civil Engineering from an accredited institution.

The City of Hollywood has a number of jobs posted on the fla-asce.org website including:

  • Engineering Support Services Manager
  • Senior Project Manager - Design and Construction Management
  • Senior Engineer
  • Project Manager - Design and Construction Management
  • Project Manager
  • Engineering Specialist

Articles Needed

We are always looking for articles to include in the Communique. Please send your Word document and photos to Judy Nichols by July 1, 2020. The next issue is schedule to go in August 2020.
ASCE Florida Section | www.fla-asce.org