President's Message


"Whatever good things we build end up building us" - Jim Rohn

If you wanted to develop a love for the principles of engineering in a young child, what would you give them? Well, my son celebrated a birthday last month and 5 of the 6 presents he received were the perfect answer. Can you think of a better engineering kit to get a young mind rolling than Star Wars Legos?!  With the preciseness of the interlocking block system and the provided instruction booklet, coupled with the infinite possibilities of creating anything but what’s on the box, his adolescent cognitive abilities and imagination were kept stimulated for hours on end.  And the even more amazing thing (besides seeing a mini Storm Trooper helmet for the iconic yellow Lego head or a 97-piece mini Millennium Falcon) was watching how his enjoyment of the Lego experience spilled over to his siblings.

I witnessed a very similar pattern on February 25th, 2015, at the ASCE Project Awards Banquet held at the DoubleTree Hotel near Cal Expo. The banquet hall was filled with over 225 students, professionals, contractors, and city/county representatives who have also developed a love of engineering and who worked for hours, weeks, months, and maybe even years to find the precise answer to some of Sacramento’s problems. Their answers were the spotlight of this banquet and these 17 projects of the year encompassed nearly every facet and discipline in civil engineering.

The evening started with a keynote address by Raphael Torres, the past Director of the California Department of Water Resources who was responsible for the California State Water Project.  He gave a great overview of the system that has been built to transport water throughout the state and how the recent ongoing drought is forging new problems that we as engineers will have to solve.  Following his remarks, the Scholarship Committee for the Sacramento Section proceeded to award $37,000 in scholarships to 9 outstanding students from the four universities in our area. A tremendous thank you is definitely in order to the individuals and businesses that donated so generously to the Golze Scholarship Fund this year to make this possible!  Scholarship contributions have increased nearly 5 times in just the last 5 years and I hope we will continue to support those who will be the next generation of engineers working along side us.  One student even came up to me after the program and excitedly recounted how each class she had taken was in some way represented in one of the awards.  She and her friends are near graduation and being able to see such devotion, dedication, and excellence through your completed projects was igniting their passion to one day contribute.

As I reflect back on this wonderful event, and the many others that kept the Section so very busy during February (Discovery Days at the Children’s Museum, Resume/Interview workshops at UC Davis and Chico State, Capital Branch Luncheon, YPT launch, NextEd partnership, and many other Engineers Week activities) I am drawn to the fact that many of them start with giving.  Someone had to first give the Legos to my son for him to enjoy the experience that continues to today.  Someone decided to give some time and nominate a project for an award. Someone chose to volunteer at the museum, or to speak at the luncheon, or help plan the event. Someone willingly gave to the scholarship fund.  Your giving is what makes ASCE happen, and for that I thank you, and humbly ask that you continue to help build the future, one block at a time.

Do you have questions, comments or thoughts, or are you looking for a way to get involved? Please contact us at:


Kyle Sanford