October 2023 | Jeff Blue, P.E.

 

What a whirlwind 2023 has been for me as your NACE President. Since I last communicated with you in June, I have been in Tacoma, Washington for the Washington State Association of County Engineers meeting which also overlapped with the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices meeting in Tacoma as well. So that was a two for one for me in late June. The NACo annual meeting was in Austin, TX and as you may know we have many NACE members on the Transportation Steering Committee of NACo, including all our Executive Committee members. Rich Sanders did a nice job of recapping that meeting in our August NACE News. The Association of County Engineers of Alabama welcomed me with open arms to their meeting in August, which was held in Perdido Beach. From the Pacific Northwest and Mount Rainier in Washington to the Gulf Shores of Alabama you won’t find better people more dedicated to their professions and to NACE than the County Engineers and Road Officials representing Team NACE.

As an added benefit to our NACE members, in September we were invited to the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance meeting in Denver. Ten NACE members, including myself were able to attend the meeting and learn more about steel bridge technology. On the last day of the three-day event the SSSBA hosted a Steel Bridge Workshop for local engineers where we talked about simplifying steel bridge design for locals and leaned about the economics, performance and innovations in the steel bridge industry. We wrapped up the workshop with a very enlightening discussion about how counties are using steel in their bridge projects, how some counties are building DIY bridges and what the needs and wants are for local agencies in the bridge industry. Below is a picture of some the County Road Officials who attended the SSSBA meeting.

In October, my home state Illinois Association of County Engineers met in Moline, Illinois where we began to prepare for hosting NACE 2025 in Cook County, Schaumburg, Illinois and heard from our state DOT representatives and other industry professionals about new and exciting ways to do our jobs better as local road officials. Our promotional logo for NACE 2025 has been developed and we look forward to hosting Team NACE in the Chicagoland.

The Executive Committee and Board of Directors meeting in Chattanooga was in concert with the Tennessee County Highway Officials Association. I want to thank Bart Walls and Brett Howell from TCHOA for their hospitality. While in Chattanooga the Board of Directors approved the 2024 budget, learned about the plans for NACE 2024 in Palm Springs, and heard from Scott Butler, Executive Director of the Good Roads Association of Ontario, Canada.

The BOD was given a task to poll their state members as to whether they could or would be able to attend a NACE conference in 2027 if it were to be held in Toronto, Canada. The BOD recognized that there are opportunities for our members and our Canadian counterparts to learn from each other by hosting a joint conference, but we also know that travelling to Canada can be challenging for our members and we want to do what is in the best interest of our delegate members and corporate members. So please respond to state director when they ask if you would be able to attend.

To close out I would encourage everyone to register to attend NACE 2024 in Palm Springs. The County Engineers Association of California has an exciting conference planned for us and I’m quite sure the weather will not disappoint you. Look for the registration to be open here in November. Get your airline tickets early before the Coachella Music and Arts Festival (held in Palm Springs the weekends before and after our conference) announces their lineup, as we expect ticket prices to be much more reasonable prior to their lineup announcement.

I look forward to seeing everyone in California.

                 


 

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