By Linda Kaplan.P.E., Gregory Holbrook, P.E., and Karen Mueser, P.E.
On February 12 & 13, 2016 the Pittsburgh Younger Member Forum hosted the 2016 Eastern Regional Younger Member Council (ERYMC) at the Multi-Region Leadership Conference (MRLC) for Regions 1, 2, 4, & 5.
The MRLC also included the Workshop for Section and Branch Leaders (WSBL) and Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders (WSCL).
The entire conference brought over 450 leaders from across the nation to the Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh to attend business meetings, leadership training, and networking events. We also had the pleasure of hosting ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith, 2016 ASCE President Mark Woodson, P.E., 2016 ASCE President-Elect Norma Jean Mattei, P.E., and two ASCE 2017 President-Elect nominees, Kristina Swallow, P.E., and Robin Kemper, P.E.
Highlights of the conference included a Presentation on Professional Ethics by ASCE Legal Counsel Tara Hoke, who used case studies to illustrate multiple ways in which conflicts of interest can come up and best practices to address them. Following Tara’s presentation an Order of the Engineer Induction Ceremony was held. Seven Pittsburgh Section members, including 3 students, participated in the ceremony, vowing to maintain the highest of ethical standards in all engineering pursuits. Other presentations included “Digital Etiquette,” discussing proper e-mail and cell phone usage in the workplace, and “What Makes a Leader?” which discussed how ability and motivation must be used together to successfully lead. Roundtable sessions and Best Practice breakouts rounded out the technical program.
The Conference also included the Annual ERYMC Business Meeting, a time when the Council comes together to make proposals to ASCE National, discuss industry issues, and make recommendations for future conferences, including location. This year’s meeting included a lively discussion on ASCE’s “Raise the Bar” initiative to require 30 credit hours past the Bachelor’s Degree before obtaining a Professional License. Younger Members were split on their support of the initiative, with some feeling strongly that more education is required and would bring us in line with other respected professions, while others felt that the cost was prohibitive and working experience applying the sciences was more important towards licensure. The meeting also included a vote to add a new award next year to recognize a younger member who has done outstanding work in government relations and advocacy. Finally, the council was charged with deciding the location of the 2018 conference - in a vote between Orlando, FL and Buffalo, NY - Buffalo was selected.
Two off-site networking events were included with the conference. The largest event, the joint social, was held at the Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36, www.jeromebettisgrille36.com, on the North Shore and was attended by over half of the conference attendees – nearly 250 people! Food and drinks were included, and attendees as they were able to mix and mingle in a less formal setting that also included a photobooth by which to remember the conference! The more formal ERYMC Awards dinner took place on Saturday night at the LeMont Restaurant on Mt. Washington. The evening began with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and the presentations of six awards. The award winners were:
- Outstanding Practitioner Advisor: Mr. Alex Hinkle, E.I., Florida Section, East Central Branch
- Outstanding Young Civil Engineer in the Private Sector: Mr. Brett Manzie, P.E., Florida Section, Jacksonville Branch
- Outstanding Young Civil Engineer in the Public Sector: Ms. Sarah Missenda, P.E., Pittsburgh Section
- Outstanding Younger Member in Community Activities: Mr. Jesse Gormley, P.E., Philadelphia Section
- Outstanding Younger Member Group Project: Nashville Younger Member Group, The Salvation Army Angel Tree Activity
- Younger Member Peers Group Award: Pittsburgh Younger Member Forum
Section member Lauren Dziagwa, EIT attended the conference and said, “Overall, the ERYMC conference was a great networking and leadership event. I had the opportunity to meet and reconnect with younger engineers from across the eastern U.S., learn more about ASCE and its operations, and develop professional and leadership skills that will help me throughout my career.”
Conference feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the YMF is proud to say it was a resounding success! It was possible with the hard work of the planning committee and the generous support of our sponsors including:
Thanks to the support of the Pittsburgh engineering community we had a fantastic and memorable conference!