I’m going to tell you right now that hosting a conference is fun, exciting, exhausting, and fun. It’s a conference Travis and I have attended for the last five years as it’s moved around the Western U.S. and we have met so many young engineers in that time. I can’t believe all our planning (and I mean the planning of our entire San Diego group) is over, and at the same time I am so glad. Coming back home on Sunday, my mind was just exhausted and all I wanted to do was sit down and not think (I also ended up taking a nap).
You may think an engineering conference is boring and you would be correct in most cases. This conference, though, is a conglomerate of chapter officers and leaders and the sessions are targeted to learning more about all the different groups. An insider networking event, you could say. This year, I came back with the realization that Younger Members are the middle child of the ASCE family. There are general Section members and staff, and there are the college students – each are recognized and easily identified. The Younger Members kind of get forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, people know we’re there, but I’m not sure they know what we do. We’re mistaken for college students by the general members; students think we’re just old. But the truth is that we are a significant group, not just in size but in participation. We are the heart of enthusiasm for ASCE and it’s our members who try to keep the momentum going, who reach out to kids trying to decide if math is really worth learning, and who spend our Saturdays building houses, cleaning up beaches, and setting up events in the rain. We sit on ASCE committees, get involved in policy decisions, and create open communication across the country. And we also know how to have fun.
What impresses me most is the fact that you will see people returning from our socials at 1 am… and then you’ll see them bright and early and the 7 am breakfast. We go to these conferences to enjoy ourselves, but we take the sessions seriously, too. It’s an organization and a group I’m proud to be a part of.
It’ll probably take me a good part of the week to get back into the groove of things, not including all the post-conference wrap up and work catch up I’ll be doing. But we had a completely amazing time and it was really enjoyable seeing people have fun in our city.
· We used Five Star Tours for buses, which we used for a social night in PB, technical tours, the pre-conference tour, and our awards banquet. They had the best quote and did a good job, for the most part. My advice would be to make sure both drop-off and pick-up locations are clearly stated on the contract if they aren’t the same spot.
· For as complicated as they made things right up to the moment we got there, Stone Brewing (and the Bistro) did a fantastic job giving us a tour of the brewery AND treatment plant and accommodating over 40 of us for dinner and drinks.
· Dussini’s Loft Bar was a spectacular location for our Awards Banquet, but you don’t even want to know how much we spent there.
· Going to Farmhouse Café for brunch on Sunday, with good strong coffee and some quiet was outstanding. I also love how everything on their menu is delicious, so I never have to worry about ordering the wrong thing.