By Kimberly Leung, P.E., T.E., Western District President
This year, I have been most excited about reconnecting with our members. I would like to thank our Sections and student chapters who have so generously invited me to join for events as we’ve started transitioning to in-person and hybrid meetings. I am thankful for these opportunities to meet and to support our ITE Western District members.
April started with a road trip to San Luis Obispo for a joint lunch meeting between the Central Coast Section and the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student chapter. The Central Coast Section has been exploring different meeting formats to better engage members in the area, so while this meeting was hosted on the Cal Poly campus with the Central Coast Board and student members in-person, there was also an option for attendees to join via Zoom. Many Sections throughout the District have been testing hybrid options for their meetings, and I hope that we can all learn from one another on how to best host these types of meetings to continue improving the member experience.
The following week, I went on a transit adventure on Amtrak to join the Northern California Section for their in-person lunch meeting to swear in their new officer board. I also visited the Sacramento State student chapter and their faculty advisor on their beautiful campus. Following a tour of the engineering buildings, the students and I sat down to brainstorm some new activities to grow their chapter next academic year, and they are already looking to send many members to the 2024 District Annual Meeting in Sacramento!
To wrap up April, Cal ITE hosted the MiniPac Student Transportation Competition, inspired by the competitions typically held at the ASCE Mid-Pacific Student Conference, on the UC Berkeley campus with students from San Francisco State, Stanford, Oregon State, and UC Davis in attendance. I served as a judge alongside Western District International Director Mark Spencer, SF Bay Area Section Representative Tony Henderson, and UC Berkeley Professor Michael Cassidy. MiniPac’s design challenge was to improve bikeways in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, and ten student teams prepared memos, presentations, and posters showcasing their thoughtful and innovative proposals, including bike gondolas and center-running bikeways. These competitions allow our student members to apply knowledge from the classroom and internships to real-world challenges, and I look forward to seeing how they are incorporated into future ITE events.
May is also filled with trips throughout the Western District, including visits to the Riverside-San Bernardino, Washington, and Southern California Sections, but I’ll share more about that in the next E-news. If I haven’t had a chance to meet with you in-person, I hope that I will see you in Portland for the ITE Joint International and Western District Annual Meeting from August 13th-16th.
The future of the transportation profession depends upon a stable and continuing flow of students who are excited and passionate in the career opportunities afforded by transportation engineering and planning.