November 2019

NACE Update from President Tim Hens

Looks like Mother Nature took a nap in September and woke up in bad mood in October. We had fires in California, several early blizzards in the Rockies and Upper Midwest, hurricanes and tropical storms with crazy rain along the Gulf Coast, and wind storms and major flash flooding in the Northeast. Hopefully things will settle down as we move into November so we can spend time with family, or to simply reflect on things that we are thankful for.

October was a busy travel month for me. I made trips to Illinois to visit the Illinois Association of County Engineers (IACE), hosted the Board of Directors here in New York and then traveled to visit the Texas Association of County Engineers and Road Administrators (TACERA).

IACE hosted their annual meeting in East Peoria, IL. For those who were at NACE 2009, you may remember the Par-A-Dice Casino along the Peoria River. Sticking with the theme of an angry Mother Nature, the river was running right at flood stage. However, this did not put a dent in attendance. The IACE Fall Meeting was very much a success. NACE Past-President Duane Raterman was sworn in as the IACE President, which was interesting in the fact that Duane was President of NACE before he assumed a similar role in his state affiliate. IACE roasted Duane pretty good. Prior to the Annual Meeting, Duane was known as “Nature Boy”. This of course in reference to Professional Wrestler Ric Flair—“Wooooooo!” Upon accepting the IACE gavel, his nickname was traded in for “Governor” and then in classic Illinois fashion, the “Governor” was quickly handcuffed by a security detail and promptly removed from the podium for corruption. Special thanks to North Central Vice President Jeff Blue for hosting me at his home and allowing me to attend my first Big 10 football game. The Illini had Big Blue on the ropes, but they ran out of time!

The NACE Board of Directors travelled to Syracuse, NY for the Fall Board Meeting on Oct 22nd. Prior to the meeting, I was able to host several of the Executive Committee members at my home outside of Buffalo and we were able to attend a Buffalo Bills game and see my beloved team hold on to defeat the Miami Dolphins (who seem to be having a mid-season awakening of sorts). Besides the usual approval items, the Board adopted a budget for 2020 and listened to Executive Director Kevan Stone provide a strategic update. Items of emphasis for NACE are building relationships, and increasing membership, corporate sponsors, and influence in Washington, D.C.

I rounded out the month with TACERA in San Antonio along the Riverwalk. This is the second year in a row I have been able to make a visit to their annual conference and the second year in row it has been cold and rainy. Maybe it’s just me? It took me about two concurrent sessions to figure out what Caliche is and how it is different than a Kolache. For those as unfamiliar as I was, Caliche is basically weathered limestone that gets excavated and crushed for road base. Kolache is a wonderful breakfast treat. However, I’m still not sure whether it’s a Bar Ditch or a Borrow Ditch. It sounded the same, but it’s a just a ditch all the same. The TACERA conference had great technical sessions, plenty of BIG Texas hospitality, and an impactful keynote speaker who encouraged us to focus on the “dash in between” and not the deadline. She had tremendous takeaways on being present and that our goal in life should be a “story collector”.

I’m thankful to be part of the big NACE family and hope that you can find time to be present with loved ones, and that you can find time to collect a few stories. Happy Thanksgiving!

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