Welcome to the ASCE Alabama Section website!

The Alabama Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers has a rich history and offers a variety of services, resources, and programs in support of our members. Alabama Section members come from all disciplines of civil engineering, from all types of backgrounds, and from all corners of this great state. They seek to be involved in the Alabama Section of ASCE for benefits geared to meet the high standards of the profession and to stay on the cutting edge of industry technology. The resources of this site and the individual webpages of each Branch will assist you in staying up to date on upcoming events, Branch information, Section news, Society programs, and much more. We appreciate your interest in our organization and look forward to your participation in the Alabama Section of ASCE.

Alabama's Infrastructure Report Card

Alabama's Infrastructure Report Card

To raise awareness about Alabama’s infrastructure needs, ASCE released the inaugural Report Card for Alabama’s Infrastructure, on December 10th modeled after the ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Using a simple A to F school report card format, Alabama’s Report Card provides a comprehensive assessment of current infrastructure conditions and needs, assigning grades and making recommendations for how to raise the grades.

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Dream Big to Premiere....

Dream Big to Premiere....

All around the world, engineers are pushing the limits of ingenuity and innovation in unexpected, imaginative, and amazing ways. Dream Big: Engineering Our World, a giant-screen film about engineering, will take viewers on a journey of discovery from the world’s tallest building to a bridge higher than the clouds. Along the way, the audience will witness how today’s engineers are shaping the world of tomorrow.

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Alabama Dam Safety - Where Is It?

Alabama Dam Safety - Where Is It?

Alabama is the only state without a dam safety program. Unfortunately, that means we do not know where and how many dams there are in Alabama and what their conditions are. Here is what you should know about Alabama's dams. Although we do not have an accurate count of how many dams are in Alabama today, the 2200 plus dams we do know about continue to age and the size of the population downstream of these dams continues to increase, placing more people at a greater risk from dam failure.

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Alabama Section Visits Legislators on Capitol Hill and Awarded the 2017 Outstanding Advocate Team of the Year

Team Alabama receiving the 2017 Advocate Team of the Year Award from ASCE President Norma Jean Mattei

March 16, 2017 – The 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Legislative Fly-In was attended by over 200 ASCE Members representing 49 different states. Many of the attendees were impacted by the Winter Storm Stella, which dropped over four inches of snow on the U.S. Capital.

The 2017 Legislative Fly-in program was conducted on March 14-16, 2017, and featured a day and half of in-depth briefing sessions on the recently released 2017 Infrastructure Report Card and key legislation action in Congress, training on raising awareness and influencing elected leaders, networking with ASCE peers from across the country, a Younger Member Program, tips on continuing relationships with elected officials once we return home, and culminating in one on one meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and staff.

On Tuesday, at the Awards Dinner, the Alabama Section was awarded the “2017 Outstanding Section Civil Engineer Advocate Team of the Year.” The Section was recognized for their advocacy efforts on the State and National level for the past 15 months, including raising awareness about dam safety needs, efforts in protecting QBS language, organizing a Legislative Drive-in at Montgomery, and the development of the 2015 Alabama Report Card. The award was presented by the Society President Norma Jean Mattei.

The delegation from Alabama included Mr. Joe Meads, Alabama Section Legislative Captain; Mrs. Shelia Montgomery-Mills, Alabama Section Past-President; Mr. Lawren Pratt, Region 5 Governor; Mr. Ben Russell, Mobile Branch Past-President; Dr. Kate Leonard, Alabama Section Past-Secretary/Treasurer and Mr. Brad Williams, Montgomery Branch President.

The ASCE Government Relations staff scheduled meetings for each of the attendees with their Senate and Congressional Representatives within a short window on Wednesday afternoon. The meetings were very productive and informative and lasted around 30 minutes each. A leave behind packet was given to the staff containing an overview of current issues, so that they could review it with the Senator or Representative. The Alabama Team even had the opportunity to traverse the tunnels within the Nation’s Capital while traveling between the different Congressional Buildings.

Team Alabama meeting with staffers from Senator Richard Shelby.

After being dropped off at Capitol Hill, Team Alabama was off to the races to meet with every Senator and Representative on our list.  As the afternoon progressed,  the group had an opportunity to engage in spirited and encouraging discussions with the staff of Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Luther Strange, Representative Terri Sewell, Representative Gary Palmer, Representative Mo Brooks, Representative Martha Roby, and Representative Bradley Byrne. Adding to the experiences of the day was the opportunity to meet briefly with Senator Richard Shelby, Representative Gary Palmer, Representative Mo Brooks, and Representative Bradley Byrne.

Most discussions began with a brief overview of the results and conclusions of the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, which gave a grade of a D+ unchanged from 2013 and indicating the continuing needs of America’s infrastructure.  The Report highlighted the benefits seen in seven categories where investments were made, three categories that continue to fall resulting in a lowering of grades and the remaining categories just holding steady.  The focus of all discussions was the need for funding, consistent and sufficient, requiring bold leadership from all.

One of the key items discussed was the FY17 and FY18 Spending/Appropriations Bills so that the FAST Act’s increased funding can take effect during this fiscal year and next. Congress passed the five-year surface transportation act in December 2015 and included an increase in funding to help improve the nation’s highways bridges and transit systems.  Most of the legislators were on board with the appropriations, however there was a lack of commitment without knowing what the Administration’s Budget would contain.  If a Continued Resolution (CR) is passed, then Alabama will miss out on over $50 million dollars for FY17 alone due to the lack of a Fast ACT Appropriations Bill ($732 million up to $785 million).

Additionally, the team discussed several water issues with the Representatives and Senators that included the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. We asked the Representatives and Senators  to reauthorize the Clean Water  and Drinking Water SRF’s which hasn’t been done since 1990 and 1994. With most of America’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in need of repair and many areas dependent on these funds, the team advocated for both SRF’s to be tripled in appropriation from $1.39 Billion to $4.17 Billion for the Clean Water SRF and $863 million to $2.58 billion for the Drinking Water SRF in accordance with President Trump’s commitment to triple SRF.

In 2016 after years of work the Water Infrastructure Investment for the Nation (WIIN) Act passed both sides of the Hill and was signed by the President.  WIIN supported previous pieces of legislation but Congress has yet to appropriate the promised funding in any of them.  In 2014, Congress reauthorized the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP) in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) and established new High Hazard Dam Rehabilitation Program to provide grants to high hazard non-federal dam rehab repair or renewal. The NDSP program is authorized at $13.9 million a year until 2019 and the federal rehab program is authorized at $445 million over 10 years though neither have received any funding. Even if funding is appropriated Alabama would be unable benefit from the funding due to a lack of a Dam Safety Program in the state. In addition to dams, the team discussed the Levee Safety Program. With the WRDDA Act of 2014, Congress established a new levee program to promote consistent safety standards, create levee guideline, and provide funding assistance to the state for establishing participating levee safety programs. The program is authorized for $395 million dollars over 5 years however it has not received any appropriations for funding.

Lastly, with the push for tax reform and the discussion that is forthcoming including all tax exemptions, ASCE took the opportunity to remind legislators that the Tax Exempt Municipal Bonds are often relied upon for municipalities to complete infrastructure projects.  The team discussed the importance to maintaining these as just one of many ways to trim our infrastructure deficit.

This has been a great year for the Alabama Section Government Relations Team, and we look forward to making it even stronger. If you are interested in participating in the future, please contact the Alabama State Advocacy Captain Joe Meads at joemeads@sain.com.

For more information concerning the Fly-In please visit http://www.asce.org/legislative_fly-in/ and also become a Key Contact at http://www.asce.org/keycontacts/ to stay engaged with advocating for infrastructure public policy.

Photos from the Fly-In

2017 Alabama Section Winter Meeting Rides to Success

On Thursday, March 2, the Birmingham Branch of ASCE hosted the Winter Section Meeting for engineering professionals from across the State of Alabama. The meeting was held at the Barber Motorsports Park Museum, which provided an exciting backdrop and offered beautiful views of the track during the day’s events.

Speakers from across the state, including one from Washington, D.C., were on hand to educate attendees on a wide range of topics. Presentations included an overview of the Barber Motorsports Park, an update on Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS), a discussion on dam safety and efforts to establish a Safe Dams Program in Alabama, a project update on the new Mobile River Bridge, a lesson on using drones in construction, an update from ALDOT regarding the Central Business District and other projects, a session on large scale runoff and erosion control practices at the Auburn University Erosion and Sediment Control Testing Facility, and a 1.5-hour Government Relations University presented by Aaron Castelo, Director of State and Local Government Relations with ASCE in Washington, D.C.

Presentations

More than 20 door prizes, from gift cards to drones, were awarded, and a select group of early registrants also had an opportunity to participate in Hot Laps around the track once the meeting concluded.

The meeting was a resounding success with over 120 professionals in attendance, 9 exhibitors, 7 additional corporate sponsors, and one title sponsor. There was representation from all 6 branches within the Alabama Section. Over $2,500.00 was raised for The Dan Turner Scholarship Fund from profits from the meeting.

The Alabama Section would like to thank all of the exhibitors and sponsors: Ready Mix USA (Title Sponsor); Alabama Asphalt Pavement Association; Forterra; Sain Associates; McGiffert and Associates, LLC; Mott MacDonald; Alabama 811; Alabama Graphics; Sunshine Supplies, Inc.; Belgard; Wildland Services; Walker Associates, Inc.; Tensar; Parrot Structural Services, LLC; Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc.; ADS; Geopier; and Westervelt Ecological Services. Thank you also to the Winter Section Meeting Planning Committee for all of their hard work toward making this a successful and informative meeting.

>>> 2017 Winter Meeting PDH Certificate <<<

The Alabama Section looks forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming Summer Section Meeting on July 17-19 in Orange Beach and next year’s Winter Section Meeting in Montgomery!

Photos from the Event

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Photos were provided by Michael Hora, Alabama Section Photographer

Video of a Hot Lap

Video provided by Eli Borrelli, Alabama Section Videographer

Successful Alabama Civil Engineer Legislative Day Drive-In

On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, the Alabama Section of ASCE held its 1st Annual ASCE Civil Engineer Legislative Day Drive-In at the Alabama State House.  The event was attended by over 40 Civil Engineers from across the State of Alabama.  The group included multiple Alabama Section Members, several County Engineers, Renee Casillas, Executive Director of American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Alabama, and additional representatives from other organizations that represent the Engineering Community.

Senator Clyde Chambliss, P.E.  who represents Alabama Senate District 30 was the main speaker. Senator Chambliss gave the group an overview of the legislative process and how bills progress through the legislature.  Also, Senator Chambliss discussed his Senate Bill 171 for Anti-Trust Immunity for the Board of Licensure for Engineers and Land Surveyors and Senate Bill 174 for Qualification Based Selection (QBS).  Senator Chambliss stated that QBS is the most important issue he has seen in his 25 years of practice as a Civil Engineer.  Other speakers included Senator Phil Williams of Senate District 10 (Cherokee, Dekalb, Etowah, and St. Clair Counties), Senator Trip Pittman of Senate District 32 (Baldwin Co.), Senator Gerald Dial of Senate District 13 (Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Lee and Randolph County), and Representative Joe Lovvorn of House District 79 (Lee County).  Senator Dial gave the group a historical perspective of transportation funding and discussed the status of gas tax legislation for this session.  The afternoon concluded with multiple Engineers meeting with individual legislators about issues affecting infrastructure and the Civil Engineering profession.

Photos from the Event