Local News & Announcements

June 2020 Print


Welcome to the ASCE Houston Branch Newsletter of upcoming events, articles, jobs and more from our membership.  


President's Message

Dear members,

Have you heard the saying, “we’ve always done it this way, so why change?” Well, how many of you remember the video giant Blockbuster? This company was one of the largest companies in the mid-1980s through the 2000s. It went bankrupt because it failed to change its operation. Having the willingness to change can be very scary, but if we do not change, we can not grow to improve ourselves. For me, I noticed several years ago that I needed to improve my listening skills when having conversations with others. Therefore, I took the initiative by becoming a member of Toastmasters in 2016 to help me become a better listener. I’ve seen improvements in my listening skills, and I plan to continue improving these skills. Take a moment to think of areas in your life where you can take small steps to improve yourselves.

The ASCE Houston Branch took steps to determine what changes are needed to improve the organization. The branch launched the 2019-2020 Membership Survey in November 2019, and you (our members) provided several suggestions for improvement. The top two suggestions are we should revamp our monthly newsletters, and we should offer online educational content. We’ve changed the layout of our newsletters this fiscal year, and several members have sent me congratulatory e-mail messages about our revamped newsletters. I give special thanks to Daniel Gutierrez, E.I.T., our Newsletter Editor, for his efforts in improving our newsletters. In early 2020, the Board held discussions on what we could do to offer online educational content to supplement our in-person meetings. Once the era of the novel Coronavirus began, the Board took action to offer free virtual branch meetings from April through June 2020. We had, on average, 200 plus attendees each at the April and May Branch Meetings. Moving forward, our organization will likely continue to offer online educational content at a nominal fee to attendees as part of our normal operations.

Please join us for our June Branch Meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, from 12 – 1:15 pm. This is a free virtual branch meeting, and our keynote speaker is Professor Jean-Louis Briaud, ASCE President-Elect. At this meeting, we will recognize our 2020 Student Scholarship Recipients from our local ASCE Student Chapters. This year, we are fortunate, with the assistance of our 2020 Annual Branch Sponsors, to award scholarships to nine students from the following universities: Rice University, Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, and the University of Tyler at Houston Engineering Center.

I am available for any questions or comments about the ASCE Houston Branch, so do not hesitate to contact me.

Julia P. Clarke, PE

[email protected]


Featured Articles

ASCE Houston Branch Officer Elections Now Open

Dear ASCE Houston members,

The ASCE Houston Branch Nominations Committee received officer nominations in May and has completed the nominations process. The ASCE Houston officer election for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is open now through June 26, 2020. Please click on the link below to access the ballot.

ASCE Houston Branch 2020-2021 Officer Elections (click here to access)

The following positions are up for election and part of this ballot.

Note - Login to the Houston Branch website to read the biographies in the Branch Officer Elections webpage.

Proposed ASCE Houston Branch 2020-2021 Officer Slate:

President-Elect - Mahsa Arastoo, PE

VP Administration - Uttam Karmaker, PE

VP Communications - Anna Theiss, EIT, CFM

VP Education - Alexa Nichols, PE, CFM, ENV SP

VP Technical - Michael Bloom, PE, ENV SP, CFM, BCEE

Branch Director - Tim Smelcer, PE, ENV SP

Secretary -  Aaron Orozco, PE

Section Director - Luis Gonzalez, PE 

Treasurer-Elect - Johnny Kim, EIT, CFM

Returning Board Members (the following positions are not eligible for election and are not included in the ballot):

President - Sarah Alvarez, PE, CFM (progressive position)

Past President - Julia P. Clarke, PE (progressive position)

Treasurer - Connor McBride, PE (progressive position)

Ballot closes: June 26, 2020


Calendar of Events

Future Meetings

June Technical Webinar

June 11, 2020
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM


Title: Geotechnical and Environmental Considerations for the Design of Civil and Transportation Engineering Projects, Part II

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June 16, 2020
12:00 PM to 1:15 PM

Free Webinar

Free Webinar- June Branch Meeting

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June 2020 Keynote Speaker

Professor Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E.,D.GE, ASCE President Elect,Distinguished Professor, Texas A&M University, Bio

Title:Technical Communications: Humor and Philosophy 

The webinar link for the June Branch Meeting is https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2698975997674255115 .


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June 2020 Technical Speakers

June 2020 Member Spotlight

June 2020 Membership Report

June 2020 Treasurer's Report

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