November 2017

California Association of County Engineers Staying Strong

 By Brian Keierleber, PE
       NACE President

I sincerely hope all of you and your families had a Happy Thanksgiving and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

While attending the County Engineers Association of California (CEAC) meeting in Sacramento as I write this, it’s evident as always we’re facing many of the same issues. Water rights and water use is a particularly big issue in their state.

Something like 13% of the US population lives in California, yet about 22% of the homeless population are here. Part of this is due to the high cost of housing. So related to their roadway system, it creates a situation where many people are forced to commute farther because they can’t afford housing near their employment.

Now their housing crisis is on steroids due to the recent fires and floods. Two of the CEAC past presidents lost their houses and virtually all their possessions. Max Bridges and Phil Demery, NACE President in 2010, were presented CEAC past president plaques, pins and other memorabilia including CLODS items. Additionally I presented Phil with his NACE president’s plaque, gavel, and pins. These are small memorabilia, but they trigger strong memories. Phil expressed his sincere thanks to us.

As like many of us, their sessions focus on doing more or the same with less funding. But they certainly face more obstacles regarding environmental rules and regulations that I and many of you don’t regularly experience. I was told that in time I’ll be faced with the same rules and regulations. Except I might expect a major backlash in much of the Midwest if that were to happen.

Recently when one of the local farmers was cleaning up a waterway, he was approached by an official from the State Department of Natural Resources who informed him to cease activities because an eagle was nesting nearby. I don’t know what he told the DNR but he told us, "That will not happen again. Next winter I will have those trees removed." That is not what any of us want because habitat is key for a healthy wildlife. A balance must occur. Working together we can develop realistic environmental regulations.

NACE gives a big CONGRATS to Richard Tippett, Director of the Trinity County Department of Transportation, who was awarded the California Engineer of the Year! As you know, this is quite an honor.

The CLODS (California Loyal Order of Dedicated Servants) sponsored a noon barbeque that will never be forgotten and neither will their gracious welcoming of my wife and I. All of the people were very friendly, and I’ll never be able to express my sincere thanks. 

Just like all the NACE state conferences I’ve attended, it has truly been a great privilege and honor to spend some time with you wonderful engineers. I’ve been blessed to be welcomed into so many great affiliate organizations.

As the holiday season is in full swing now, we must be cautious to not become a statistic. Be safe out there and make it home to your families. 


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