So far, 2019 has been a busy and productive year. ASCE is doing great things to promote and protect the Civil Engineering profession. We have great leaders and incredible members. I feel honored to work with the section, branch, YMF and student chapter leaders, and continue to learn from each of them. This week I learned that ASCE’s Past President, Kristina Swallow, was named as the new Director of the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). Those of you that have met or worked with her will agree that she is a great leader and will lead NDOT to continue to enhance and strengthen Nevada’s transportation system. Join me in congratulating her on this new chapter in her career.
I am also saddened at the loss of our past Region 8 Director, Dale Nelson. Dale conducted our most recent ASCE Region 8 Workshop in Spokane, WA last fall. John Diamond and I attended that workshop and had the opportunity to learn from and work with Dale. He has been involved with ASCE since graduating from Washington State University in 1967 and has served in many capacities within ASCE. His passion for our profession and service to ASCE has benefited our members for many years. We will miss Dale. ASCE posted a tribute to Dale and his service at https://news.asce.org/popular-passionate-asce-leader-for-50-years-nelson-dies-at-74/.
Getting to know Kristina and Dale have been one of the many benefits of serving in ASCE leadership. I recently read through a memo from the 2015 ASCE Region 8 Winter Workshop that discusses five reasons to volunteer for ASCE leadership positions. I want to share these benefits with you. I have made some minor revisions to match current ASCE initiatives and benefits.
1 - Professional Development: Engaging in ASCE leadership activities promotes the growth of professionals on several levels. While ASCE membership on any level affords members the opportunity to attend meetings, leadership meetings are specifically focused on making decisions which affect the individual chapters, branches, sections, and the region. Necessarily, involvement in those types of meetings puts leaders in contact with other leaders, expanding the professional’s network in a meaningful way. Where large, national meetings might produce contacts of relatively low potential for utility, the contacts made at local leadership meetings are nearby, geographically speaking.
In addition to expanding the professional network, one’s own professional image is greatly enhanced by involvement in ASCE leadership, setting the professional apart from other members of ASCE who may not be actively involved with the Society. The opportunity to serve and influence the Society on a national scale is easily accessible to competent members who choose to serve in a leadership role, even if they choose to begin serving at the local level.
2 - Improvement of Leadership Skills: The responsibilities of ASCE leadership positions at all levels improve the leadership skills of the member. Members are exposed to a variety of tasks and decision-making opportunities that they might not be afforded in their day-to-day job. The professional’s skill set will be developed in areas such as writing, public speaking, strategic thinking, and organization planning, to name a few. The experience of serving on a board for ASCE is directly translatable to serving on any organization’s board of directors, whether private or public. Members are exposed to the types of information and thinking required to give an organization meaningful, sound direction. Being in contact with other leaders of high caliber also tends to encourage the development of good leadership qualities in the professional.
3 - Opportunity to Directly Influence the Profession: The Society has arguably the most significant effect on the daily operations of the profession of civil engineering and has a substantial presence in steering the future of the industry. Through its future planning documents and initiatives, such as Raise the Bar or ASCE Grand Challenge, the Society will have a tremendous bearing on the path of our industry going forward.
For individuals with passionate opinions on such issues, ASCE leadership is the best avenue to pursue and affect changes to the profession. It is a metaphorical loudspeaker for the professional’s opinion. A professional seeking to promote his or her opinion will encounter intelligent debate and new information that other members who choose not to be active may not encounter. Such debate and discussion will contribute not only to the industry as a whole but to the professional’s own stance and critical thinking skills.
4 - Continuing Education: Engineers in Utah can earn some credit toward the state’s continuing education requirements by participating in ASCE leadership activities. In 2019, ASCE is also providing 10 free PDH’s as part of membership in the Society. This is a significant cost savings to professional engineers as they work to meet the state’s requirements.
5 - Personal Fulfillment: The committee noted that the opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment are too great to not be recognized in its analysis. It is our collective opinion that the majority of individuals will find the opportunities afforded by a leadership position satisfying on a personal level. Aside from the satisfaction of knowing that he or she has contributed in a meaningful way to the profession, the professional will find that being actively involved in ASCE leadership presents him or her with opportunities to travel to new places, meet new people, and generally encounter new situations than he or she may not have otherwise.
I have personally experienced all five of these benefits and have gained career growth that I could not have received otherwise. I strongly encourage all the ASCE Utah Section members to consider volunteering for leadership positions. Elections are coming up in April for several positions. We are currently looking for nominees for the following positions.
- Utah Section President-Elect
- Utah Section Secretary/Treasurer-Elect
- Branch President-Elect (NUB, WFB, CUB, and SUB)
- Branch Secretary/Treasurer (NUB, WFB, CUB, and SUB)
- Younger Member Forum Board
In addition to these elected positions the Section appoints a chairman or representative for each of the following committees or Institutes each year. We also need committee members so please consider serving on a committee as well.
- Utah Engineering Council
- Geo-Institute Chairman
- Structural Engineering Institute Chairman
- History and Heritage Committee
- State and Government Relations Committee
There are many opportunities to serve in ASCE leadership, and the benefits are many. Please contact me or any member of the Section Board if you are willing to serve. We need you in ASCE.
Why do we adopt new codes?
Welcome to the beginning of a new year, and a new legislative session. As usual, lawmakers will be about their duty of modifying existing laws and writing new laws. Fortunately for us in Utah, this only happens once a year. This is also a year where a new edition of the building code may be adopted. This generally creates some grousing about the necessity of adopting a new code. Why can’t we just keep the old one? There isn’t anything wrong with it. Why can’t we just adopt a new code when we think the old one is outdated? There may even be a question of why do we have a building code at all?
These questions are all valid, and the code change cycle is not taken lightly by the code writers. There needs to be a balance between keeping the code current and allowing time for new changes to be properly incorporated. There are several reasons that each edition of new codes should be adopted.
New editions indicate changes
Each new edition of the code comes with revision bars in the margins. These bars indicate changes from the previous code. These revision bars allow the user to quickly identify changes and adjust practices accordingly.
Some of the code changes are minor, such as corrections of typographical errors. The codes have become so complex that some errors can be expected. Codes are written by humans, and humans make errors. There is a process for correcting errors. These need to be corrected reasonably promptly and not perpetuated.
Some code changes are corrections of unintended interpretations of code language. The code writers know what they mean when they write the code, but sometimes that intent gets lost in the language of the provisions. Some of the code writers are not practicing engineers, and the application of the provision needs clarification after it is first codified. New editions provide that opportunity.
New codes incorporate new research
Research into seismic risk is ongoing. A result of this research is that the seismic risk maps are being updated periodically. If the seismic risk in an area increased from that previously understood, it is unconservative and does not adequately protect the public to use the outdated maps. If the seismic risk decreases from that previously understood, it may be to the owner’s economic advantage to use a design more appropriate for that risk level. It is our job as engineers to make efficient use of resources while adequately protecting the public. Use of the current data allows us to do that best.
ASCE 7-16, which is set to be adopted in the next version of the IBC, incorporates risk-based wind speed maps. Those maps are a large step toward properly assessing and designing for risk from high wind events. The same principles apply for wind design as seismic design. The more completely the risk is understood and accounted for in design, the better the public is protected.
The new code sometimes incorporates results of studies of observed event damage. Seismic design provisions changed after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Steel moment frame connection design changed dramatically, and masonry and concrete wall anchorage forces to wood framed diaphragms about doubled as a result of observed damage to code-compliant structures. If engineers were to keep designing using standards that have been demonstrated to be deficient, the public good is certainly not being protected.
New materials and new uses for materials need to be incorporated
The steel industry is in a state of constant improvement. Quality and process control have been steadily increasing. As strength and ductility increase and material variability decrease, new standards are needed to account for those material changes. New code provisions are needed to make most efficient and appropriate use the available materials. Can you imagine using a code written for cast iron to design for current hot rolled steel? Few, if any, code provisions would be applicable. As materials change, the design standards need to change to make appropriate use of the material properties.
The engineered wood industry has been steadily producing new materials designed to make the most efficient use of resources. The progression of dimensional lumber to glulam beams to Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), I-joists, and Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL) has made more efficient use of materials. These materials need updated codes, as engineered lumber properties far exceed those of dimensional lumber. The properties of these materials are still changing as manufacturing processes are refined and lumber is utilized more efficiently. The code needs to keep up.
The performance of adhesives is changing constantly. Adhesives for embedded anchors in concrete are improving constantly, as are testing requirements for these anchors. Adhesives for wood construction are changing as well. The code needs to keep up with current products, with testing and standards to support their safe, adequate, and efficient use.
The use of structural composites is increasing. Reinforcing structures with carbon fiber and resin was unheard of 20 years ago. New standards are needed to allow for the safe and efficient use of new materials.
Plastics are becoming more common. The world of civil engineering has been revolutionized by plastics. Plastic piping is becoming more common, with PVC, ABS, CPVC, PEX, among others being used in a variety of applications. New and updated codes and standards are needed so that these materials can be used economically, appropriately, and safely.
New methods of analysis are becoming readily available
Computer programs becoming more sophisticated. The complexity, ease of input and speed of analysis are increasing rapidly. The ability to model and analyze systems is getting easier all the time.
Computers becoming more and more capable. The computer capability is increasing in tandem with the computer programs. The ability to analyze quickly and accurately allows more efficient and safe use of materials. The code analysis methods have moved beyond simple approximations to a more robust analysis of entire systems. The code provisions need to keep pace, and provide an appropriate level of analysis given the increased design capabilities.
We live in an age where the ability to analyze data and the amount of data are increasing exponentially. It sometimes seems that the number of pages in the code are increasing exponentially as well. There is a (legitimate) criticism that the code is becoming too complex. This is a natural product of all of the issues discussed above. If we fail to adopt each standard as it is published, we lose the advantage of the revision bars, may fail to incorporate an appropriate level of risk management, and certainly fail to properly use new materials. It is in the best interest of engineers and the public we serve to keep pace with these changes.
-Conrad Guymon, P.E., S.E., M.L.S.E.
Wasatch Front Branch Update
This past month the Wasatch Front branch had our legislative update at our luncheon. We appreciate Michael Smith coming and giving us an update on all the things of the world impact engineering with in the state for the next year. This next month we will be up at the University of Utah on February 22nd and then at Holly refinery in March. We look forward to both of these luncheons. As the weather starts warming up we will be doing a couple of field trips and look forward to everybody joining us. These are great opportunity to network and to get you continue education credits, as well as learning about some very interesting topics. We are continuing to work to improve our offerings of these luncheons and would love input from any of our members. If you know anyone who would be willing to present or are interested in hearing about a specific topic, please let us know and we will work hard to make sure these functions are beneficial for all of our members.
Northern Utah Branch Update
This past month we enjoyed a presentation from Dayton Crites, the Cache County Trails Planner. He showed us the importance of having well planned trail systems in the local community and how it can greatly enhance future developments and the enjoyment of all. He also helped us understand some of the issues that the current trail system and bike routes are facing. We, as engineers, can help make our future projects “trail and bike friendly” in order to allow expansion from the current trail system to new locations and points of interest.
In January, the ASCE NUB Board had the opportunity to help recruit volunteers for the VEX Robotics tournament at a local high school. The USU ASCE Student Chapter was able to get several engineering volunteers to the event to help with judging, inspecting, etc. The event was a success and many people enjoyed the competition.
For the month of February, we do not have a luncheon presentation planned. Instead, we are inviting all of our Northern Utah Branch members to attend a joint event at Utah State University on February 11 from 12:00-3:00pm. This event will include a networking lunch with students and also presentations by two guest speakers. Mark Nielsen from Logan City will be presenting on the new Logan City Wastewater Treatment Facility which is currently under construction. Craig Friant, the ASCE Utah Section President, will also be addressing the group. The USU ASCE Student Chapter is going to pay for lunch and parking for any professionals who register and attend. We are excited for this event and hope that we can have a large representation of our professional group in attendance.
Younger Member Forum
The holidays are over, but the season of giving hasn’t ended for the YMF. We are excited to be joining the rest of the Section at Liberty Elementary on February 19th to help with the E-Week activities. We will also be preparing and serving a dinner at the Ronald McDonald House on February 28th. If you would like to participate, please RSVP to [email protected].
Know anyone taking the PE Exam this April or October? The YMF just kicked-off its bi-annual PE Review Course and it’s not too late to join.
When: February 5 – March 7, 2019
Tuesday/Thursday evenings 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Where: UDOT Region 2 Office, Hurley Room
2010 South 2760 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Cost: ASCE Members - $310
Non-Members - $410
We are excited to announce the latest addition to the YMF leadership team: Jenna Jaye of Jacobs Engineering. Jenna will be our new Webmaster and has already begun revamping our website. Continue to follow www.asceutahymf.com for upcoming events and original content in our new blog.
Jenna has worked as a civil engineer for 5+ years and recently took and passed the PE exam (with the help of our course). Her career began in Oil and Gas in a structures team before working as a roadway designer which she continues to do. She relocated to Utah from England last year and loves the snowboarding out here. In addition to developing the ASCE website Jenna is also working on her personal blog, Where the Road Begins, which is targeted toward young women and men, encouraging early career starters to pursue careers in civil engineering. Go to www.Jenna-Jaye.com to find out more.
The YMF is always looking for new faces. We are open to fresh ideas and there are many opportunities for personal and professional growth in our group. Come hang out with us at one of our monthly socials, pop into a meeting, shoot us an email, or invite us to lunch and learn more about what the YMF is all about and how you can get involved.
-Heather Hamilton, ASCE Utah YMF President
Central Utah Branch Update
Dan Goodrich, a structural engineer at CKR Engineers, presented on the challenges faced in upgrading the scoreboards at BYU. In 2012, BYU decided to enlarge and upgrade the existing scoreboard displays for the football stadium. The old scoreboards were outdated and undersized for a modern stadium experience expected by fans. The original plan was to nearly double the size of the original scoreboards, along with increasing the height. This presented some unique and challenging structural issues. The solution included driving micro-piles to increase the strength of the beams, adding additional structural members, near the top of the stadium, and improving bracings.
The CUB will be meeting with the BYU Student chapter on February 21, 2019 to celebrate Engineers Week. The luncheon will be held at 12:30 pm in the Hinckley building on the BYU campus. We are excited to announce that the speaker will be Tom Holmoe, the Athletic Director for BYU.
Call for Presentation Ideas
CUB is still looking for presentation ideas for the upcoming months. We are interested in having presentations on projects, research, historical information, and ethics discussions from across the civil engineering spectrum (geotech, transportation, water, structures, etc…). Please contact Ben Willardson at [email protected], or call him at (801) 310-6153 if you are interested in presenting to the group. We would love to hear from you.
Southern Utah Branch Update
In January, we organized a field trip of the newly renovated St. George Tabernacle. The local consultant that worked on the structural upgrades for the building was there to provide a tour for the ASCE group. The activity had a great turn out.
February is here and it’s time to kick-off the conference season! We will be holding our annual Southern Utah APWA/ASCE Conference from February 13 – 15. This is a great conference that many of us are looking forward to. With the conference being held this month, ASCE will not be organizing any other activities in February.
We are also working on organizing an effort to deliver copies of “Dream Big” to several schools here is Southern Utah. We have several volunteers that we will assign to the schools around the area to hand deliver a copy of the film. Sounds like we will be receiving the DVDs this month.
Aaron Anderson, Southern Utah Branch
Structural Engineering Institute Chapter
We’re 1/12 of the way through the new year already. We have some snow this season, and the water year is off to a good start. Hopefully it will continue and we can get some skiing and snowshoeing done before spring hits and construction season gets into full swing.
There are some important events coming up to put on our calendars. Foremost is Structures Congress 2019. It will be held April 24-27 in Orlando, Florida. . The conference will three Plenary Speakers, three Special Sessions and numerous networking opportunities. This is a great opportunity to learn about structural events and practices worldwide and talk with our peers from across the country. Visit the official conference website for all of the up-to-date information. There are options to livestream from the conference for those not able to attend in person.
I hope this year is off to a good start for everyone. It’s looking to be another busy year.
Structures Congress 2019
April 24-27, 2019
Premier Event for Structural Engineers
Reasons to Attend:
- Learn from the experts, including those that develop ASCE/SEI Standards
- Use the interact tool to see details about all the great sessions offered technical sessions
Earn up to 14 PDH’s
- Network with over 1,200 friends old and new
- Attend the Evening Reception Celebrating the Future of SE hosted by CSI- make sure you purchase your additional ticket
- Students and Young Professionals, Apply for the SEI Future Fund Scholarship
Consider all the registration options-Flex Registration might interest your company.
Utah Geo-Institute Chapter
Utah Geo-Institute (G-I) Chapter By Ryan Maw
As we move forward towards Spring, we wanted to provide the Utah G-I updates on the upcoming activities:
- International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 24-27th. This GeoCongress is unique in that it focuses on bringing together researchers, practitioners, students, and policy makers from around the globe to share their lessons learned and case histories. Additional information and registration information can be found at the following website: https://www.geocongress.org/
- The Utah Chapter was awarded a guest lecture from the ASCE Geo-Institute’s Cross USA Lecturer Program this year. Dr. Paul Mayne will be lecturing to our membership on April 24th, 2019. As part of the event, we are looking for sponsors to support refreshments and other event expenses. If you are interested, in being a sponsor for the event, please email [email protected] for details.