"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past"
– Machiavelli

In February 1846 a man made a decision that changed my life. In search of a better future in which to raise his family and live his faith, Jefferson Hunt left an established home in Illinois to walk across the central plains of the United States in a covered wagon with his 11 children, two of which were seven month old twins. This trek would eventually lead him to the heart of the Rocky Mountains, but not before he enlisted with the Army at the request of the U.S. government for volunteers to support the Mexican-American War. Commissioned as a Captain, he and 500 other men participated in one of the longest marches in U.S. military history that took them down from the plains, through the southern deserts of Arizona (then Mexico) and finally into San Diego, California. Honorably discharged, Hunt later help establish San Bernardino, California, was elected a member of the California State Assembly, and was appointed as Brigadier General in the California State Militia, before finally settling in southern Idaho. Hunt was a man who literally left everything but a wagon behind, to forge a new life full of family, service, devotion, and hard work. Jefferson Hunt was an explorer, a veteran, a leader, and a pioneer. He is also my fourth great grandfather. As I've pondered his life and looked for the lessons that apply to mine, I wonder if he ever looked back and questioned his decision to leave Illinois. I don't believe he did. 

Not all pioneers, however, are made up of dusty trails and spoiled rations. In fact, there are modern pioneers all around us today who are forging their own trails into previously unknown territory. Many of you in the Sacramento Section are pioneers in education, as the first of your families to go to college. You are pioneers in your technical fields, as highlighted later in the newsletter by people like Ross Boulanger of the Capital Branch who has received the ASCE National Geo-Institute award for his outstanding contributions to soil liquefaction assessment methodologies. You are pioneers in your businesses, as start-ups and new engineering firms who compete to serve their communities with an array of fresh, efficient and new ideas. You are pioneers as you support and mentor the upcoming generations of engineers, paving the way for them to have a career as fulfilling and successful, if not more, than the one preceding them.

Here in the ASCE Sacramento Section, we too are trying to live up to our pioneer heritage and leave a legacy that will continue on after we have served our terms. We are currently striving to reach a goal of $100,000 in scholarship donations and matching your personal donations (www.asce-sacto.org/catalog.php). We are continuing to develop and create a consistent system by transitioning our award nominations, event registrations, newsletters, and donations online (see left column). Our Branches and Institutes continue to provide luncheons, seminars, service, and events for their members.

The Sacramento Section has been in existence since 1922 and is still active, alive, and well. There is nearly a century-worth of engineering history in our area from which we can look to and learn from. The engineers and their projects are what have made the area we live in available. But the Section still needs pioneers like you to keep it going, to keep its lessons present, and to keep making it better. So we invite you to come take a seat next to us in our wagon, join us in our ASCE journey and don't look back.

Do you have questions, comments or thoughts, or are you looking for a way to get involved? Please contact us at: asce@asce-sacto.org.

Kyle Sanford