May 2020 Print

President's Report


I hope everyone is continuing to stay healthy and adjusting to all the changes associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  This is usually an exciting time of year when student members are graduating and transitioning into their careers and into the YMF and professional branches.  It seems really strange this year not to have traditional commencement ceremonies to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of this year’s graduates.  I hope we will all make an extra effort this year to congratulate graduates of the class of 2020 on their accomplishments.  We have hired several new graduates in my office this year and we are excited to see them begin their careers in Civil Engineering. 

The ASCE Utah Section and Branches held their annual elections last month and we are excited to announce the new ASCE officers for 2020-2021.  They are as follows:

Utah Section President-Elect: Mark Chandler

Northern Utah Branch President Elect: Weston Bellon

Wasatch Front Branch Secretary/Treasurer: Chad Kitchen

Central Utah Branch President Elect: Mitchell Smith

Southern Utah Branch President Elect: Dane Hurst

Southern Utah Branch Secretary/Treasurer: Trinity Stout

YMF President Elect: Taylor Hall

YMF Secretary: Abraham Lopez

YMF Treasurer: Krista Riester

Please congratulate these newly elected officers.  We appreciate their willingness to serve and look forward to supporting them as they keep ASCE moving forward.

Work on the ASCE infrastructure report card is continuing to move forward.  Each of our groups are wrapping up the writing on their sections and we have started to review the sections of the report card as they are completed.  Our goal is to roll the report card out prior to the start of the 2021 legislative session in order to keep infrastructure funding in the forefront as lawmakers evaluate how tax dollars will be allocated within the state. 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the Utah Section Board has decided to delay the annual section meeting that was planned for June 5 until August or September this year.  There will be additional details coming out soon about the date and venue when we get the meeting rescheduled.  The Utah Section and branches are continuing to follow the direction from ASCE national and have canceled all in person events.  Each of the branches are in the process of setting up remote meetings so that we can continue to hold monthly events to benefit the members.  The ASCE Utah Board are still holding our monthly meetings by conference call.  We will continue to keep all ASCE members up to date with the ongoing situation. 

As always, if you have questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of the other branch or section officers.  Thank you.

John Diamond

ASCE Utah Section President


March was certainly an interesting month this year.  I hope everyone is staying healthy and adjusting to all the changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.  I wanted to share with everyone the guidance that has been put out for ASCE Activities and Events during this difficult time:

In keeping with Canon 1 of the ASCE Code of Ethics (Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public….), ASCE has been closely evaluating the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is a challenge for us all, and we have been working to provide certainty to our volunteer leaders, members, and participants wherever possible. We appreciate your patience and support.

ASCE recognizes that the various national, state, local, university and company mandates related to travel and group gatherings have made it all but impossible for our various entities to continue operations as normal.  Moreover, ASCE believes that the circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak have evolved to the point that decisive action is needed to reduce the risk of adverse COVID-19 health impacts to the thousands of ASCE members, guests and staff that participate in ASCE committee meetings, conferences and events.

To that end, we advise that all in-person ASCE Region, Section and Branch events and activities be cancelled until further notice. We urge you to explore options to postpone planned meetings or to offer alternate offerings, such as virtual events. Please share this guidance with your related units, such as Younger Member Groups, Committees, Institute Chapters, etc. 

If you have concerns about contractual obligations related to contracted events, you may find it helpful to refer to the resource prepared by Tara Hoke, ASCE General Counsel, entitled “What are force majeure clauses, and how should they be used?”  Tara may be contacted at  [email protected] for additional consultation regarding specific contractual issues.

Additionally, please be aware that we have cancelled all remaining ASCE Student Conference activities for the academic year and the following competitions:

  • ASCE 2020 National Concrete Canoe Competition
  • Sustainable Solutions Competition
  • Blue Sky Competition
  • ASCE Surveying Competition and Society-wide finals
  • Student Regional Innovation Contest

We have taken these measures so that faculty and students may focus fully on completing their semesters remotely and in full consideration of their health, safety, and welfare while doing so.

We recognize that this is a serious and evolving situation and will continue to provide updates at COVID-19 ASCE Event Cancellations and Updates.

Thank you again for your understanding and support as we tackle these unusual times together.

 Best wishes to all for healthy navigation of these challenges,                                                   

K.N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, D.GE

ASCE President

 Thomas W. Smith III, ENV-SP, CAE, F.ASCE

Executive Director

In keeping with this direction all ASCE Utah Section and Branch events have been cancelled until further notice.  The ASCE Utah Board will still hold our monthly meetings by conference call and we will do our best to keep all ASCE members up to date as the situation evolves and we are able to get back to normal with meetings and activities.  In the meantime, we will be sending out section updates and information on how to be more effective in working from home.  As always, if you have questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of the other branch or section officers.  Thank you.

John Diamond

ASCE Utah Section President

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Wasatch Front Branch Update

Due to restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wasatch Front Branch March and April luncheons were cancelled.  We are working on determining a date and speaker for a late May virtual meeting and will send out information via email.  Don’t forget about the 10 free on-line PDHs available on the Society website:  Hope that you are staying safe and well.

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Northern Utah Branch Update

The Northern Utah Branch has definitely felt the influences of COVID-19 over the last month.  Our last official board meeting was held March 12, 2020 just one day prior to the proclamation on declaring a national emergency issued by the United States.  Its hard to belief is been only 48 day since that meeting.  It’s felt much longer.  As we try and find some normalcy in our day to day lives we hope all are safe and well.  

Due to current situation all luncheons and other activities for our branch have been suspended until further notice.  Our next board meeting is May 14, 2020 and will be held via zoom or similar virtual platform.  The main topic of discussion will be preparing for next year and how we will conduct luncheons and other activities.            

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Central Utah Branch Update


The CUB March and April luncheons were cancelled due to conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. To accommodate Utah social distancing guidelines, and all of our general safety, we plan to host May’s luncheon virtually. On May 21st at noon, Trent Parkill (Kleinfelder) will be presenting on Microsoft Teams or another web conferencing software. More details will be sent out in the near future. He will give a very brief refresher on geotechnical design in the northern Utah valleys and then cover case histories that show very small changes in geotechnical scope that can have very large impacts on the final project total costs.

Utah Section Annual Meeting

The annual section meeting is scheduled to take place at the Utah State Capitol from 11 a.m.  to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 5th, 2020. Any changes to the location, date, and time, associated with COVID-19 pandemic, will be provided by the Utah Section ASCE Presidency.

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Southern Utah Branch Update

This month’s luncheon was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  We hope to provide a webinar this month.  Still in the process of organizing this.  We look forward to the results of the voting for new officers to join us next year.

Todd Gardner

President ASCE Southern Utah Branch

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Utah Geo-Institute Chapter

Utah Geo-Institute (G-I) Chapter By Ryan Maw, PE and Brian Peterson, PE

As we move towards the Summer, we wanted to share the following updates:

  • Given continued elevated COVID-19 risks, we regret to inform you that the planned Structural and Geotechnical Engineering Seminar on seismic earth pressures, liquefaction and deep foundation performance, and follow-up panel discussion to the Seismic Workshop last year will have to be rescheduled for later this fall.
  • ULI Utah Webinar: Building Earthquake Resilient Communities (May 14, 2020): In the aftermath of recent earthquakes, how can Utah go beyond repairing the damage, and begin to prepare for bigger earthquakes ahead? How can buildings, owners, and communities take action now to avoid a future disaster, and get ready for the 'Big One'?


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