President’s Message: Strong Start

January was a busy month for the Western District!  The San Diego LAC has been hard at work getting ready for the June 2017 Annual Meeting.  Cal State Fullerton hosted the Student Leadership Summit over  MLK weekend.  And the Mid-Year Board Meeting was held in Oakland on January 27.  Look for a summary of each of these below.  Also, be sure to check out this month’s spotlight article featuring the Southern California Section, as well as announcements about District Board changes and election updates.

2017 Western District Annual Meeting, San Diego, June 17-21, 2017

The deadline to submit an abstract has been extended to February 10.  All topics are welcome, and the LAC is looking to highlight a few topical areas including:

  • dealing with the NACTO guide in real life
  • smart cities
  • SB 743 and the change from LOS to VMT
  • implementing vision zero
  • complete streets planning, design, and funding
  • emerging trip generation
  • traditional and mini roundabouts – where and why

You can submit your abstract online here.  Be sure to look for the Annual Meeting registration, sponsorship, and vendor packet announcements coming out soon.  Discounted hotel reservations (GSA and conference attendee rates) are now available here.

Student Leadership Summit, Cal State Fullerton, January 13-15, 2017

The fourth annual ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit (SLS) was held at Cal State Fullerton.  There were 97 students from 17 schools in attendance.  At least two dozen professionals participated in the speed interviews, and about 12 of us judged the group projects.  ITE International President Shawn Leight and International VP Candidates Ken Ackeret and Bruce Belmore attended the SLS.  Zaki Mustafa and his wife Loretta cooked a BBQ lunch for the students and professionals, with some of us serving as burger artists.  The Western District Board was well-represented with Secretary-Treasurer Neelam Dorman speaking during the opening session and International Director Walter Okitsu speaking on Saturday morning.  Former Western District Board alums Carlos Ortiz, Rock Miller, and Monica Suter also gave presentations to the students.  Ken Ackeret spoke during the banquet about the need to keep current (he actually pulled out an 8-track tape and a slide rule to make his point, so props to Ken!).

Congrats go to Emilio Murga and his Cal State Fullerton team (above) for delivering a great SLS!  For a full recap, see here.

ITE Western District Mid-Year Board Meeting, Oakland, January 27, 2017

The Mid-Year Board Meeting was held January 27 in Oakland.  A more detailed summary will come out in the Spring 2017 edition of WesternITE, but I wanted to share with you my perspective.  The District Board, District Administrator, and Committee Chairs are a group of about 20 volunteers who work hard on behalf of our 3,942 members.  Every one of us brings something unique to the table, and when we get together twice a year, there is a spark that is lit.  The energy in the room fuels ideas that lead to initiatives; new questions are raised while older ones are put to rest.  It’s eight hours in a windowless room.  Caffeine alone can’t keep us sustained, so there are snacks, lunch, and occasional quips.  Through it all, there is one thing that stands out:  this is a great group of people to spend a day with.  Our eight-hour meeting flew by quickly, and when we finished, most of us gathered in a local bistro to spend even more time together!  And those that didn’t have a flight to catch right away stayed for dinner.

For years I have witnessed the camaraderie of previous boards, and I now see how these same people have remained friends to this day.  It’s their reward for years of hard work together, toward common goals, on behalf of all our members.  I believe in the work we do and our mission.  And being able to do it with this wonderful group of people makes it that much better.

Mark Spencer, P.E.
Western District President