Northeast Florida History
The Northeast Florida Section was chartered in 1995, under the leadership of Bob Goehring, P.E.
John McDowell, P.E.
Dave Metcalf, P.E.
Vince Howard, P.E.
Bill Warden, P.E.
Nancy Buchanan, P.E.
Dave Evans, P.E.
Mary Holm, P.E.
Shane Rixom, P.E.
Nina Sickler, P.E.
Len Pappalardo, PMP, LEED AP
Kenneth Kelley, P.E.
In 2001, the local community’s activity in ASHE had deteriorated and the Section was on the brink of dissolving. At that time it was realized that the strength of an organization lies in the membership. Under the leadership of Bill Warden the Northeast Florida Section Board was formed. The Board met monthly, created its goals, and began to strategize as to how to achieve these goals, thus creating a strong and viable Section. To this day, the Section Board meets monthly. The commitment and dedication of the 2001 Board Members has proved to be contagious throughout the local community.
At its peak, the Northeast Florida Section Board in 2010/2011 was comprised of 13 members and 17 Committees: Audit, Budgets, Community Outreach, Ethics/Constitution/By-Laws, Golf Tournament, Historian, Membership, Member Involvement/Committee Development, Nominating, Programs (Monthly-Technical), Public Relations (Newsletter, Sponsorships, and Website), Scholarships/Endowment, Student Chapter, and Strategic Planning.
Since 2001, the Section has increased its membership to nearly 300 at its peak, with approximately one-third of the membership active in Section activities. With the addition of numerous committees and new members’ interest in serving the Section, it became clear in 2007 that we needed a single point of contact for our new members. Our Member Involvement/Committee Development serves that need. However, with the economic downturn in 2008, membership fell off dramatically but is slowly rebounding. Competition is also increasing from other professional organizations for membership and participation.
With a concern for membership as well as ASHE participation, then Section President Pappalardo held two strategic planning sessions, one in 2013 and another in 2014. Goals established in 2013 were to increase revenue, increase membership engagement, and increase membership diversity. In 2014 the goals were reviewed, noting progress and further refining. While engagement and diversity were moving forward, revenue was redefined by its core values – improved operations and increase value to the membership.
In 2004, the Section created a Perpetual Endowment Scholarship at the University of North Florida (UNF). The Endowment, funded by the Section’s monthly 50/50 raffle and the Section’s Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament, provides funds for two annual scholarships. Scholarships are honored in February during Engineers Week, although actually awarded the previous Fall Semester. Through the increasing success of the Annual Golf Outing (2014 was the 13th annual event) the Endowment has grown to a self-sustaining level. In 2015, the Board resolved to increase the amount of the two scholarships to $2,500 each, one to a transportation engineering student and another to a construction engineering student. The Board will be monitoring proceeds of the Golf outing with an eye on presenting a third scholarship for a construction management student. The success of the very popular Golf Outing can be measured in the fact that it has sold out four of the last seven years.
Continuing our Section’s interest in the profession’s future and UNF students, we combined with the local chapter of Design-Build Institute of America Florida Region, Inc. (DBIA) to raise scholarship and competition travel funds for the construction management department. Although 2015 saw the 5th Annual Clay Shoot, it was the second year as a fund raiser for DBIA/ASHE. The event allows teams to pay to have local functionaries on their team for the competition. In just two years, the event raised the needed $25,000 to create an endowment for a scholarship.
The local community’s support of ASHE is evident through the Section’s Sponsorship Opportunity Program. Without the generosity of local corporations, many Section activities would not be possible. The Section’s Annual Corporate Sponsors are recognized through the local website and a projector at each luncheon. In the past the First Coast Interchange (the Section’s quarterly newsletter) was also a vehicle for recognition.
Programs are the heart of our Section. The Programs Committee meets monthly to provide the Section with educational and informative programs throughout the entire year. They include field trips, socials, and technical programs which allow attendees to earn PDHs. Over the past years, our luncheon programs have featured excellent presenters, including: James Bennett of the FDOT, Bob Burleson – President of the Florida Transportation Builders Assoc. and a City of Jacksonville Mayoral forum. These events have provided excellent revenue streams for our chapter, allowing us to provide many more exciting opportunities for our membership.
We have also featured excellent technical programs including:
- an overview of concept design and RFP development of the $136M I-95 Overland Bridge Replacement project (our section’s first PDH offering),
- fiber-mesh concrete beam repair,
- engineering estimates for professional engineers,
- a follow-up overview of the actual Design Build design of the I-95 Overland Bridge Replacement project by the contractor and designer,
- Matthews Bridge truss Emergency Repairs.
Our technical programs provide a vital means for our membership to maintain a number of professional certifications and licenses as well as keeping them informed on the latest information on new technologies and upcoming projects.
Our programs committee has also provided guided field trips to FDOT’s I-95 over Trout River Bridge Replacement, the new Atlantic Blvd. over the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge, SR 9B project, and the San Sebastian Bridge project in St. Augustine, which have provided our membership with exclusive access to projects which they wouldn’t have had otherwise. Lastly we have sponsored and co-sponsored social events with other local professional society chapters, which have allowed our membership to connect with colleagues and friends. These events have also exposed the membership of those other societies to our organization, providing our board and committee chairpersons’ access to potential new members.
Our Student Chapter, at the University of North Florida, was established in 2004. The Chapter elects its Board annually, and continues to grow and become more organized each passing year. Student members routinely participate in the Section’s activities. The Student chapter has 6 to 8 annual “lunch and learns” conducted by Professional Engineers to further their education. Some of these include construction field trips.
The Community Outreach Committee has coordinated Toys for Tots during the holiday season for several years. The Committee spearheaded the partnering efforts with the Annie R. Morgan Elementary School to provide tutoring, mentoring, and financial support. Most recently, they organized teams to help prepare and serve meals at the Sulzebacher Center for the homeless, serving meals to over 300 men, women and children. In addition, volunteers have gone into classrooms (all three grade ranges) to introduce the students to our industry and the opportunities it can provide them in the future.
Northeast Florida Section continues to participate in Engineers Week. Past years activities and support include the hosting of the Awards Banquet, Casino Night, Corporate Sponsorships, and Jacksonville’s local Engineers Week publication, “Engineering the First Coast”.
2006 National Conference Awareness: By selling raffle tickets, the Section was able to send two of its members to the 2006 ASHE National Conference held in Atlantic City, NJ. The Section’s Awareness Program was generously supported by Section members, program attendees, and corporate sponsors. At that time, the Board of Directors voted to send two officers or directors to each national conference to represent our section. In 2015, the Board decided to increase to three attending the National Conference in Baltimore.
Members of Northeast Florida Section are becoming more involved in the region and national level of ASHE. Donna McQuade, section treasurer for 8 years is now the Southeast Region Treasurer as well as a member of the National Committee. Greg Dutton, our former chapter director and regional representative was recently installed as 2nd Vice President at the 2015 Conference. Our recently departed board member Jen Yoder relocated to Dallas and was able to start a new ASHE section within eight months. Jen also was presented with the 2015 National President’s Award, at the National Conference in Baltimore.
Northeast Florida Section National Awards
Gene G. Smith Award (Largest Number of New Members)
2004 – 34 New Members
2005 – 62 New Members
George K. Hart (Largest Percent Increase in Membership)
2002 and 2005
History of ASHE National
The realization of the enormous growth of the highway industry in the mid-20th century, in particular, the inauguration and implementation of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highway Act of 1956, and the recognition that the knowledge for such a program could only be consummated by the whole-hearted and integrated efforts of all persons associated with the highway industry, led to the formation of the American Society of Highway Engineers, with the intent and determination to assume its responsibility for the development of the rapid growing demands of the highway industry.
The Society was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1958 with the conception and inception of the first Chartered Section (Harrisburg Section) credited to a small group of dedicated engineers from the Pennsylvania Department of Highways, in association with a group of outstanding contractors, material suppliers, and consulting engineers in the Harrisburg area.
Both the National and Section Board of Directors consists of representatives of contractors, consulting engineers, government agencies, materials producers, utility companies, and other highway related agencies being duly elected Officers to serve the Society.
The many and diverse benefits of a mutual desire among the members to cooperatively approach and solve the common concerns that must be faced has become manifest. The direction of the Society is presented by the goals in the Strategic Plan. The spirit of professional and personal fellowship has added to the strength of all.