NSPE-CA member Lt. Cmdr. Garrett Chun, P.E., was named as the US Department of Interior National Park Service 2020 Federal Engineer of the Year. The award honors the best and brightest engineers employed at federal agencies.
Chun is the Design & Construction Branch Chief at Yosemite National Park. At his duty station in Mariposa, California, he serves as a Public Health Service officer, holding positions as a technical engineer, project manager, and supervisor.
One of Chun’s most notable achievements was the completion of a $1.6 million decentralized wastewater treatment system to replace an outdated, malfunctioning setup. Complementing his planning, design, and construction manager duties for that project, he facilitated research using student interns to perform hydraulic modeling, groundwater monitoring, and soil profiling.
He was also park coordinator for the recent construction of $17 million in sewerage infrastructure improvements that accommodate two communities and visitors traveling to Yosemite Valley.
In addition to his professional duties, Chun volunteers on a management team aimed at improving staff housing conditions and promoting sustainable practices. Timothy Sullivan, Ph.D., P.E., of the US Department of the Air Force, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, was named the 2020 Federal Engineer of the Year at the national award ceremony on February 14 in Washington, D.C. Chun was recognized at the ceremony as a top 10 finalist.
Photo Credit: NSPE and Christie’s Photographic Solutions
By Joseph Quinn
NSPE-CA Vice President
NSPE-CA and the International Society of Automation–Los Angeles sold out their first open engineers meet and greet event on January 28.
More than 30 people attended the lunchtime event at the Rock & Brews in El Segundo. Members of the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers were among the attendees. NSPE-CA Vice President Joseph Quinn coordinated the event with ISA-LA President-Elect Nand Khidkikar.
As an ice breaker, attendees were asked to share their most memorable moments as an engineer. Among the (censored) stories that can be shared here:
- Hiding under a blanket from guerrillas while being locked in a caged facility.
- Organizing and attending an event with several engineers in an exotic location.
- Conducting a failure investigation of a large fountain while a hundred jets and robots were in operation.
Who ever said engineers are boring?
Watch your email for more events this year from NSPE-CA or follow NSPE-California on Eventbrite. If you’re not yet a member, you can be sure to hear about our events by joining our mailing list.
View the photo album from this event.
Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent letters to the governors of 31 states named in its final report on the Merrimack Valley gas pipeline explosions, including California. The letter requests an end to the engineering license exemption for gas pipeline operators in these states, and asks for governors to provide an update to the NTSB with in 90 days.
When the NTSB began its investigation of the Merrimack Valley gas pipeline explosions, investigative staff reached out to NSPE seeking information about licensing exemptions. Through a series of conversations and emails, NSPE shared report data, information on the licensing process and requirements, and its Position Statement on licensing exemptions. Consequently, NSPE was successful in getting the NTSB to adopt a policy of addressing and eliminating engineering license exemptions within the gas pipeline industry.
NSPE’s national staff continues to be in conversation with NTSB staff, and will continue to share updates as they happen. We are happy to support state efforts at eliminating this exemption.
Read the full report from NTSB.
A BURNED-OUT MASSACHUSETTS HOME AFTER THE GAS EXPLOSIONS
NTSB has released an abstract of its forthcoming final report on the fatal Merrimack Valley pipeline explosion from September of last year. Final revisions are being made to the report, but in the report’s synopsis/executive summary, NTSB states that “requiring a licensed professional engineer to stamp plans would illustrate that the plans had been approved by an accredited professional with the requisite skills, knowledge, and experience to provide a comprehensive review.” Acknowledging the importance of the role of the PE in preventing an event like this from occurring, NTSB recommends the elimination of the licensing exemption on natural gas pipeline projects in the 31 states that have the exemption in place, including the state of California.
Read the synopsis of the report.
NSPE-CA welcomed NSPE 2018–19 President Michael Aitken and his spouse Pamela to Northern California for the society’s end of the year board meeting and strategic planning workshop. The event was hosted in June jointly with the Education Foundation (CSPEEF.org)
We were graciously hosted at Google’s main campus in Mountain View with a day filled with talking linkages between NSPE-CA to NSPE’s Strategic Plan, recognizing our leadership, and working on succession planning.
Aitken provided input throughout the meetings and installed our incoming officers. We enjoyed locally crafted sandwiches and salads and then ended our day with a walking tour of Google’s main campus.
> View the entire photo album.
Congratulations to the outstanding mathletes who represented California in the 2019 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition that took place May 11–14 in Orlando, Florida. Eighth graders William Chen, Alan Lee, Eric Shen, and Andrew Wen and Coach Peta-Gaye Robinson placed third in the team competition.
In addition, three of the California team members ranked among the top individuals:
- William Chen was a quarterfinalist
- Eric Shen was a Countdown Round participant
- Andrew Wen ranked 27th overall.
Coach Robinson, William, and Andrew are from Hopkins Junior High School in Fremont. Alan is from Fletcher Middle School in Palo Alto, and Eric is from Miller Middle School in San Jose.
Daniel Mai, an eighth-grader from Acton, Massachusetts, placed first among individuals during the Countdown Round on May 13. He won by answering the question, “What is the quotient of 5040 divided by the product of its unique prime factors?” He gave the correct answer of “24,” in less than 23 seconds. Mai’s win garnered him the $20,000 Donald G. Weinert College Scholarship.
More than 200 finalist mathletes from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and State Department and Department of Defense schools compete for the top prize.
MATHCOUNTS of California is made possible through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations. It is sponsored by the California Society of Professional Engineers Education Foundation.
If you would like to volunteer for MATHCOUNTS of California, please email CSPEEF Executive Director Jeanne Marie Tokunaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate funds to support MATHCOUNTS of California, you may send a check to:
MATHCOUNTS of California
333 University Ave., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95825
For more information on MATHCOUNTS of California, visit http://cspeef.org/.
California team receiving their medals after finding out they placed 3rd. From left to right: Tracey Gray (Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs, Space & Airborne Systems, Raytheon Company), William Chen, Andrew Wen, Eric Shen, Alan Lee, Peta-Gaye Robinson (coach), John Daegele (Chair, MATHCOUNTS Board of Directors) Credit: Damian Strohmeyer