Last night’s awards dinner was a truly excellent event. The food was delicious, the atmosphere convivial, the guests each a delight to know. Conversation was lively, varied, and thoughtful. YMF President and USACE Engineer Rachel Coyner shared insight on the need for evolution in Civil Engineering’s participation in government, at least to the extent that the electorate relies on large infrastructure projects for their health, safety, and livelihoods. My only regret is that my seat at one end of the table prevented me from fully enjoying the conversation down at the other end.
I was particularly impressed with the varied backgrounds of our eight contestants. Men and women were almost equally represented, at least as equally as one could expect at an Engineering event (we had excellent conversation about that, too). So were east and west coasts, young professionals and students, PE’s and EIT’s, government and consultant employment. The one area where we truly lacked diversity was public transportation use: at evening’s close more than half the party walked down to BART together, and I may have been the only person leaving the dinner by personal car.
The contest succeeded by all measures, largely due to Shawna Gates’ persistence keeping me on task and Ally Disch’s extraordinary skills organizing the details. Special thanks go out to San Francisco Section Younger Member’s Forum for sponsoring the event with Atlas, for lending their organizational support as well as doubling the prize money purse. There are minor aspects that we’ll change for next year, of course, but I would be very pleased if future events carried on just like this for many years to come.