Welcome to 2017 everyone! Recently I was able to volunteer with the Future City competition by judging essays and models. The future is bright for civil engineering! The middle school students competing in the Future City competition have great ideas on how to restore brownfield sites, improve our transportation conundrums, and to move forward with sustainable power sources. In addition, it was great to see a diversity of students from differing backgrounds compete. The only way we can improve from where we are now is through a diversification of people and ideas, which will aid in generating the conceptual and technological breakthroughs needed to continue progress into the 21st century.
Recently we honored four civil engineering students from our local universities. On January 31, the Southeast Branch’s Scholarship Dinner honored Brady Mathisen of UWM, Nicole Wellenstein of Marquette, Reid Johns of MSOE, and Sean Casey of MSOE for their efforts in promoting civil engineering at the university level. Each of them was awarded a $2,500 scholarship in recognition of their efforts.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jared Wendt, who was recently named the STEM Forward 2016 Young Engineer of the Year! Jared is a Past-President of our Branch, and was instrumental in petitioning the Southeast Branch Board to add another Director-At-Large position for education. This Director works with STEM Forward to promote collaboration between that organization and the Southeast Branch. This position is also our connection to the Wisconsin professional licensing board and a liaison for Southeast Branch members who have questions on their continuing education requirements. Jared has also been a chair and committee member for various conferences and events, and is now the Wisconsin Section VicePresident.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tony Castle, who was recently named the Outstanding Young Civil Engineer in the Private Sector at the ASCE Central Region Younger Member Council meeting in Minnesota. Tony is the current President of the Younger Member Group, past Co-Chair of STEM Expo, and is continuously volunteering at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center to name a few of his activities.
Lastly, this is the time of year when we start seeking out members to serve as officers of the board next year. If you are interested in being an officer, let us know. If you feel an officer position may be too much of a time commitment, consider serving on one of our committees. While I feel the Branch is a great asset to our members, it still can be improved. This only can be done through diversification, which starts with new leaders joining the board and committees.
Kenneth Mika, P.E
*February 2017 President’s Message