What does ITE look like when our state is 1/5 the size of the entire lower 48 combined yet we only have 740,000 people living here? Well, it looks very impressive! The Alaska Section is based in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska with a population of 301,000. We have a satellite Chapter in our 2nd largest city of Fairbanks, which has a population of 32,000. Even though we have a small population, we have a strong Section with over 120 very active members!
While our land base is large, our population small, and our percentage of paved roads even smaller (only 20% of our roads are paved), our transportation needs are immense. As a Section, we focus on educating our members on multi-modal transportation including air, barge, container ships, trucks vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians to create a cohesive network across the state for moving goods and people.
We don’t just sit around and solve transportation problems though; we are a fun and active Section! Each month, we have a Member Spotlight where we randomly select a member to highlight at the meeting. This helps us to get to know each other better and put a face to the name at the end of those emails. We also include an Activity Spotlight at each meeting to highlight a paper, project, or any other activity that provides valuable information to our members but isn’t big enough to warrant a full presentation. The Member Spotlight and Activity Spotlights were implemented just a few months ago but we’ve received great feedback about the benefit and personal connection they’ve added to the members.
Our biggest social event and fundraiser of the year is our annual Beer & Wine Tasting Silent Auction Scholarship Fundraiser. This is our 5th year for this event and it’s grown every year. In our first year, we raised enough to give away a $2,000 scholarship. Last year, we gave away over $5,000 in scholarships! While this event is successful in raising scholarship money for deserving engineering students, it has also become a well-known and anticipated event throughout the engineering community. Every November, in a sold-out event, we spend the evening together laughing, talking, getting to know each other better, and of course, supporting the scholarship fundraiser!
Alaska Section President