President’s Message
The Minnesota section of ASCE formed a task force last year to
develop a Minnesota infrastructure report card and received a
small grant to support it. The Minnesota report card task force has
collected data and is starting to write it up, with a plan to release
the report card next fall. The ASCE Duluth section has also been
working on a Twin Ports report card and plans to release it on
March 12.
It has been a decades-long struggle to educate decision-makers and
the public about the need for infrastructure investment. ASCE national
and state infrastructure report cards have been successful in creating an understanding of
the need for infrastructure investment, and now the discussion at the Capitol has shifted to
guring out how to pay for it. Beyond nding the money, we will need to come to grips with
the planning process. This type of planning is much different than the business planning that
civil engineers and business owners are familiar with.
Civil engineers are continuously innovating in the areas of design, materials and, construction
to improve results and reduce life-cycle costs. We can now design and build highway bridges
with a 100-year service life. We understand the current needs of travelers but it requires a
lot of planning assumptions to forecast the needs of the public 100 years in the future. We
do have a much better understanding of long-term planning than we did 50 years ago in the
Interstate construction era.
A local infrastructure project currently in planning is the transit link between downtown
Saint Paul and the MSP airport/MOA area. Many people see this missing transit link as an
opportunity to create a cohesive core for the Twin Cities, but it is not an easy route to add
additional infrastructure. The planning process identied a modern streetcar line as the best
alternative for this corridor. The plan must make its way through a gauntlet of reviews to be
forwarded to FTA as the locally-preferred alternative and enter the competition for federal
funding. Some opponents of the project have a vision of the future where self-driving cars
will be available to everyone and they believe transit systems will become obsolete, so this
one should not be built. I can’t agree with that futuristic thinking if it is used as an excuse to keep our transit system stuck in the past.
The FTA actually has a pretty good planning process for transit projects, and that is where the funding is available, so we should be
trying to get our share of the money.
Innovation in civil engineering design and construction will certainly continue. We also need more innovations in the way we do the
planning part of infrastructure. One innovative idea for educators would be to include infrastructure planning as a civil engineering
discipline, in addition to the traditional focus areas, to better prepare engineers for a role in planning. A masters degree in urban
planning is another possible choice for civil engineer graduates. We will need some good “plan-gineers” and they will be rewarded in
their careers.
Bruce Holdhusen, P.E.
Minnesota Section President
Volume 52, No. 2
Winter 2017
n e w s
Upcoming Events
March 28. ASCE MN Section Meeting with SAME. Grumpy’s in Roseville. Transportation Technology: The Gateway to Our Future
Transportation System.
April 19. ASCE MN Awards Banquet. Science Museum of Minnesota. The April section awards dinner meeting will be held at the
Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul. Registration will include a ticket to the Science Museum and “Dream Big:
Engineer Your Future” showing in the Omnitheater. ASCE National President-elect Robin Kemper will be the featured speaker.
April 28. Civil Engineering Day. Science Museum of Minnesota.
May TBD. ASCE MN Section Meeting. Update on the Infrastructure Report Card.
Minnesota Section ASCE
Board of Directors
Bruce Holdhusen, PE
First Past President
Jim Hall, PE
President Elect
Jason Staebell, PE
Tim Lamkin, PE
Dr. Jia-Liang Le, PE, PhD
Director of Awards
Andrew Nordseth, PE
Director of Communications
Michelle Williams, PE
Director of Events
Jeremy Walgrave, PE
Director of Outreach
Lisa Breu, PE
Bruce Holdhusen
Presidential Trio Makes History at Board Meeting
George A. Ghareeb, P.E., F.ASCE, your Region 3 Director, is a member of the Central Illinois Section.
George represented you at the January Board meeting in Las Vegas, NV, leading up to the weekend’s
Western Multi-Region Leadership Conference.
In a neat bit of ASCE serendipity, the Board of Direction opened the 2018 calendar with a meeting in
President Kristina Swallow’s hometown of Las Vegas. This after we closed 2017 with a Board meeting
in Past President Norma Jean Mattei’s hometown of New Orleans. It’s funny the way stars align
It was Kristina’s rst meeting as president, running the agenda, which means it also marked the rst
time in ASCE’s 165 years that all three presidential ofcers at the head of the Board table were women – Kristina, Norma
Jean, and President-Elect Robin Kemper. ASCE is certainly in good hands as we look forward to an exciting 2018.
Highlights from the Board meeting:
• The Board of Direction Nominating Committee met Friday morning, Jan. 11, and selected Louis C. Aurigemma, P.E.,
F.ASCE, and Kancheepuram (Guna) N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, as the ofcial nominees for 2019 ASCE
president-elect. The Society’s election will be conducted May 1 through June 1 via online ballot. (Read the ASCE News
The Board of Direction heard presentations from leaders of three ASCE institutes – the Architectural Engineering Institute,
the Engineering Mechanics Institute, and the Structural Engineering Institute. Board members also were able to engage
the leaders in a valuable question-and-answer session to learn more about their programs and better align their individual
activities with those of the Society. (Learn more in the ASCE News story.)
Similarly, the Board heard from a panel of Younger Members who provided an important perspective on the ASCE
experience: that of the young professional.
The Board voted to authorize the ASCE Industry Leaders Council to further pursue a new strategic approach called Future
World Vision. Whether that means creating a new group dedicated to consider the profession’s future with this innovative
framework for analysis remains to be seen, but we look forward to a progress report from the ILC on this topic at the
March Board meeting.
Finally, the Board continues to work on its strategic plan. Last fall, we approved six goals. This winter, the Board Strategic
Advisory Council is collecting feedback on different strategies that can accomplish those goals. BSAC will present
recommendations at the March Board meeting.
The next Board meeting is scheduled for March 16-17 in Arlington, VA.
To share your views or provide ideas on how ASCE can better serve its members and the profession, please email George.
Returning to the Job Market: How to stay sane
The growing labor shortage is making a lot of folks take stock of their situation and contemplate returning to the job market.
Whether you’ve been away from the job market a long time or are jumping into it to nd a different job, there are some
things to consider and some things you can safely ignore.
First things rst, the job market and all the online possibilities can and will drive you mad if you let them. It can be
confusing, overwhelming, exhausting and dehumanizing. There are so many job boards, so many resume templates, so much
advice about how to do it right that it can freeze you in your tracks.
Here’s the good news. The skills that have always led to nding the right job haven’t really changed that much. What used to
work in a job search still works. There are new online tools to help you, but it will keep you sane if you look at them as tools
and not requirements or burdensome responsibilities.
Dan Urke returned to the job market last year after 31 years at the same rm. He got another job, but some cancelled
construction projects will be putting him back in the job market at the end of February. Of his recent experience, he says “it
was like, in the rst couple of months, I was sending my application and cover letter to a black hole.” The online application
system that most companies now use can feel just like that…a black hole. You never know if anyone is looking at them
or if some program is doing a keyword search on your resume and cover letter and casting them into the abyss when your
documents don’t match the keywords 100 percent.
Useful Online Tools
Rather than using the spray-and-pray method of putting your resume and cover letter everywhere, here are the tools that the
folks we talked to use regularly.—There are a lot of job boards out there, so it’s hard to know which one to check regularly. Indeed was
mentioned by everyone we talked to.
3—For researching companies that you might be interested, and for preparing for interviews, Glassdoor is easy
and useful.
LinkedIn—We will talk about the importance of networking later; just remember that LinkedIn should be one of your
primary networking platforms. Anthony Fasano, professional development coach and author with The Engineering
Management Institute, says that spending an hour on your LinkedIn prole is time well invested. Research says that 64
percent of employers check the LinkedIn proles of job seekers.
ASCE Career Connections—There was also agreement among everyone that the ASCE site is vital for civil engineers
returning to the job market.
Networking Still Works
Fasano, who writes a blog for ASCE and authored one titled How Do I Return to a Civil Engineering Discipline After a
Hiatus? says “There are a lot of distractions. I mean, listen, if you have experience, you must have some kind of a network.
The best place to start is your network.” Urke agrees. In fact, when he got fed up with sending applications into the black
hole, he joined a community of job seekers who met at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie each week. There he got a scorecard
that kept him on track in his job search. In addition to the scorecard, meeting with this community of 50-100 job seekers kept
him accountable. He had to stand up in front of everyone regularly to talk about his progress. The fresh ideas he got from this
group, plus the networking opportunities, “equipped me with a whole new set of tools,” says Urke.
Michael Vrtis is a newly minted engineer working for MnDOT’s Materials and Road Research Lab. While he is familiar with
all the job searching technology, he too advocates face-to-face networking as the key to nding the right job. “Don’t be afraid
to talk to people, shake their hand, tell them what your interests are,” says Vrtis.
Finally we asked Lori Troyer, a corporate recruiter for SRF Consulting Group, for her advice to those returning to the job
market. “Leverage your social network and industry connections,” she said. So it was unanimous: the networking skills that
have always been front and center in a successful job search strategy are still vital. You don’t need a video resume. You don’t
need to be on every job board. You just need to communicate with your connections and continue to grow your network.
One nal tip from Troyer—make sure your resume and cover letter are free of typos. One of the best ways to do that is to run
the text of both through a screen reader (we recommend ReadPlease and it’s free) so you can hear what you’ve written read
aloud to you by your computer.
ASCE Mn Section Nominees for
Young Engineer of the Year, Mark Origer and
Distinguished Engineer of the Year, Steve Druschel
Committee Updates
Construction Committee
Anyone interested in being added to our email list can contact Mark Snyder at
Environmental Engineering & Water Resources Committee
Minnesota will be hosting the 2018 World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in June of 2018 and will feature the
Annual Stormwater Symposium. Don’t miss this opportunity to be involved locally in this global event. More information
can be found at
Anyone interested in being added to our email list can contact Brett Staeden at
Geotechnical Committee (Minnesota Geotechnical Society)
MGS holds monthly meetings from October through May. To nd out
more or get involved, visit or contact Joe
Bentler at
History & Heritage Committee
Committee chair, Melanie Fiegen, moved to South Dakota at the end of the
year. If anyone is interested in chairing this committee, please contact Lisa
Breau at
The committee’s mission is to understand and communicate to the section
our civil engineering heritage and history. Past activities have been articles
for the newsletter, preparation of ASCE Historic Landmark designation
applications, and calendars highlighting Minnesota Historic Projects. Here
are links to a couple documents: The Centennial Timeline and Centennial Booklet.
Legislative Committee
If you are interested in getting involved in Legislative Committee and/or participating in future ASCE Fly-ins, contact Seth
Spychala ( of the Legislative Committee for more details.
Structural Committee/SEI Chapter
This winter the ASCE SEI Minnesota Structures Committee is holding two technical seminars to raise money for the ASCE
Minnesota Structures Scholarship. The rst seminar was held on the evening of Thursday, February 22, and covered high
strength steel design considerations. The second seminar will be held on the evening of Thursday, March 29, and will cover
the design of the new parking structures currently being constructed at the MSP airport. Pizza will be provided at both
seminars, and each seminar will be held at the University of Minnesota Civil Engineering Building. Please contact Daniel
Baxter ( for more information or to be added to the Structure Committee’s mailing list. The
committee also has monthly breakfast meetings, and as always, practitioners as well as students are welcome to attend.
Report Card Committee
The Report Card committee is hard at work collecting data from various agencies in Minnesota. This fall the committee
members have meet with leadership at MnDOT, Mn Department of Health, MnPCA, MnDNR, and Metro Transit to name
a few. These meetings have been very positive and each of these agencies have been supportive of our goal to publish a
Minnesota Report Card in 2018. Over the next few months, the Report Card Committee will be using the gathered data to
draft initial grades for each category. The draft grades and basis for grades will then be sent to ASCE nationals for their
review and concurrence with our analysis. Once we have the ASCE nationals approval, we will be able to release the Report
Card to the public. Developing and releasing the report card is only part of the process. Prior to the release we will share how
you as an ASCE Minnesota member can help spread the word. If you have any questions feel free to contact Jason Staebell at
Transportation Committee
The Transportation Committee meets for lunch on the second Friday of every other month (through the winter). Future topics
include Dakota County’s Pedestrian Trails planning work and the Edina Bike Trail Study. We look forward to seeing you
there. If you would like to be added to the email list for Transportation Committee events, please contact Kevin Peterson at You can also check out the calendar on our website (
Committee.html) for upcoming events.
Outreach Committee
Civil Engineering Day at The Science Museum of Minnesota
The event will be in the style of the Museum’s Play, Tinker, Make days and
anyone interested in hosting a hands on activity can submit an application
here, by April 6.
If you would like to save on the price of tickets by reserving as a group of
15 or more, call 651.221.9444 or 800.221.9444 in advance. Group tickets
may be purchased either for a specic date and time or as an advance
admission voucher redeemable anytime at the Box Ofce.
Build ‘Em & Bust ‘Em 2018
This year, our annual Build ‘Em and Bust ‘Em event was such a success
with eight schools and nearly 230 students, that we had to add another
day! Build ‘Em and Bust ‘Em was held on February 23 and March 2
where middle school
students come to
the University of
Minnesota for a
half-day toothpick
bridge competition
where they were able to test their bridge by “busting” it. Awards were
given for high efciency, high strength, and aesthetics. The students
also had the opportunity to go on a tour of the civil engineering building
and lab spaces as well as listen to a presentation to learn about civil
engineering. Thanks to our volunteers from the ASCE
younger member group and University of Minnesota
student chapter who helped make this possible. We’d
also like to thank many companies that contributed to
the prizes for this years event Stonebrooke, BKBM,
SRF, SEH, Clark, AET, and Amec Foster Wheeler
(now Wood). We plan to hold the event again, next
year, and are looking into ways to grow the event
to serve the large number of schools interested in
New Video - Careers in Civil Engineering
Explore the world of a civil engineer in this animated video for kids produced by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board
( The video explores what civil engineers do, focusing on what young people today are interested in:
Solving problems
Working with the latest technologies
Making the world a cleaner and safer place
Math and science, but also creativity
It educates students on what civil engineers do such as building skyscrapers and tunnels; designing roads, rail, and air
systems; building transportation systems to get people to work; and developing water purication systems. It also highlights
the various sub-disciplines within civil engineering such as transportation, municipal, structures, etc.
The goal of the video is to get students exposed to the idea of civil
engineering as a career and sparking their interest to investigate more.
A website was built to accompany the video, so students can learn more
about the eld of civil engineering and how to become an engineer.
The LRRB is working with STEM educators to try to get this video into
schools, but we could use more help with getting the word out. Often
times engineers are asked to come to schools to present about their careers.
Please consider using this video and website as
part of your presentation!
Watch the Video Here:
Get more information here:
Student Chapters
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Greetings from the ASCE Student Chapter UMN-TC. New ofcers were chosen in
January which included some sophomores. Last year we had a lack of underclassman as
ofcers. One of our goals moving forward is to have
more underclassman represented in the ofcer ranks
to help keep up the continuity of transition when
upper classmen graduate.
We are also in the planning stages of two
philanthropic events. The rst one is a volunteer
event for Feed My Starving Children. Invitations
have been sent out to all faculty and students of
the Civil Engineering department. One of our goals this semester is to engage in more
community service and include faculty to help build closer relationships. Our second
event is a March Madness bracket fundraiser.
Students and faculty will be invited to purchase
brackets for $5 per bracket and all proceeds will be donated to St. Jude Children’s
Research Hospital. If turn out is good, we will make this a recurring event each
The Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe teams are well underway with construction.
Canoe has poured their canoe and is now in the process of building cross members.
Steel Bridge has been hard at work nalizing the fabrication of their member
connections and will soon being nal assembly and practice before next month’s
University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas American Society of Civil Engineers
student chapter held Executive Board elections. The new cabinet
consists of (pictured from left to right) Tom Negaard, president;
Lauren Bearrood, vice president; Amanda Birnbaum, treasurer; Kao
Soua Yang, archivist; Chloe Weber, secretary; and Dr. Travis Welt.
Not pictured are Alex Reyes, Event Director and Dr. Rita Lederle,
ASCE Advisor. The speaker for the February meeting was Minnesota
Department of Transportation Assistant Commissioner, Nancy
Daubenberger, who shared a presentation on critical infrastructure in
Minnesota which is the MnDOT Chapter 152 Bridge Program. This
program was established after the I-35 bridge collapse and after ten
years is coming to a close.
Minnesota State University - Mankato
TH 99 Bridge
This past October, the MSU-Mankato ASCE student chapter and MnDOT coordinated a eld trip to visit the TH 99 Bridge
in St. Peter, MN. This historic bridge was last renovated in 2009 and was in need of renovation now because of the 2010 fall
oods. The bridge before the renovation had a rating of sufciency of 47.1 out of 100.
Summary of work
Strengthening of truss oorbeams • New concrete bridge deck and sidewalk
Abutment and pier rehabilitation • Complete sandblasting and repainting
Riprap around pier abutment • New lights
What was shown on the tour
What is being repainted • What older features must remain on the bridge
What is being done under the bridge • How the water levels rise depending on the season
Gave us tips on working at MnDOT
Hurricane Harvey
When hurricane Harvey occurred, Dr. Druschel spoke at our ASCE Student Chapter Meeting. He discussed what actions are
taken when there is a natural disaster, how civil engineers can help the community, and how long it takes to completely clean
up the mess. After he was done explaining these subjects he held a short question and answer.
Canoe team hard at work batching concrete.
New ofcers: Keane Nowlan, Margaret
Oppold, and Joey Hynes
Our rst general meeting with guest
speakers from American Engineering
Younger Member Group
The ASCE MN Younger Member Group (YMG) is open to ASCE members
age 35 and under. Our goals are to provide opportunities to make connections
in the civil engineering profession, grow your careers, and develop leaders
in the communities where we live and work through events tailored to young
professionals. Whether you’re new to the area or have been practicing in the Twin
Cities for years, all are welcome at our events.
We hope to see you, your coworkers, signicant others, friends, etc. at all of
our upcoming YMG Events! If you’ve never been to a YMG event and you are
looking for more motivation to attend, mention this article and your registration
for the next event is on us! (Please email to redeem your free
This winter our YMG had several events, including our annual bowling event
at Bryant-Lake Bowl on December 5, where around 50 YMG members, family,
and friends networked over pizza and bowling. We also held a PE exam info
session at Summit Brewing
Co. on December 12 to answer
questions and provide tips to
all taking the exam in the next
year. Finally, we helped judge
the Future Cities competition
on January 20 at DCTC
in Rosemount. This year’s
competition challenged middle
school students to focus on
how to adapt cities for an aging
population, and ASCE presented
the award for Best Infrastructure.
Upcoming Event
Midwest Regional ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition: Saturday April 14 (approx. 9am-3pm)
Hiniker Pond, Mankato, MN
MSU, Mankato is hosting this years Midwest Region Concrete Canoe competitions! Feel free to come out and support our
regional student chapters on race day. Please contact if you are interested in carpooling from the Twin
Cities metro.
YMG Board
Alysa Johnson
Ariel Christenson
Vice President
Neil Ramdhan
Jacob Mitzel
Katie Zadrozny
Media Chair
Robert Lee & Peyton Gibson
Neil Ramdhan
Networking Chairs
Prateek Sangal & Matthew Hardegger
Education & Outreach Chair
Marie DesHarnais
The Minnesota Section ASCEnews is published four times a year by the Minnesota
Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Michelle Williams, Editor Teresa Kes, Assistant Editor