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A Younger Member's Perspective: Western Regional Younger Member Council

By Chad Drago, P.E., CFM, M.ASCE, WRYMC 2014 Chair

Photos Courtesy of Natalie Owen, P.E., M.ASCE 

WRYMC Group 1The ASCE Phoenix Branch Younger Member Forum (YMF) had the privilege to host the Western Regional Younger Member Council (WRYMC) in Phoenix, Arizona from January 30th to February 1st. Over 100 Younger Members attended the Conference, with attendees coming from most of Regions 8 and 9. Events included a pre-Conference social outing to the Waste Management Open on Thursday. Many of the people that attended were grateful for the 75 degree sunny weather.

On Friday, official Conference activities kicked off with registration and morning sessions. One very unique session hosted by WRYMC was speaker Renate Mousseux, a body language expert. She provided us insight on how to read the subtle signs of you colleague's body language and how to leverage it to your advantage. The WRYMC group then attempted to take their annual group photo, but was escorted off of two private properties before finding the perfect location at a nearby park.The afternoon included the return of the technical project presentation session - a request for presenters was sent earlier in the year. Three presenters were picked and they presented their projects to a group of judges. The judges provided constructive feedback and were awarded a gift bag of local Arizona beer as a thank you at the Awards Banquet. Thank you to the judges and to Bethy Clark, P.E., M. ASCE, Blake Silkwood, P.E., M. ASCE and Diana Hasegan, P.E., M. ASCE for presenting.

Friday night started off with a happy hour for Students, Younger Members, and Section and Branch Leaders hosted by the Arizona Section on the terrace of the hotel. Later on, a joint scavenger hunt was held between the Students, Younger Members, and Section and Branch Leaders. Points were awarded for items found and actions performed as the participants made their way from downtown Phoenix to Tempe via walking and using the light rail. The winners of the scavenger hunt blew the competition away when they showed up with one of their members with a Mohawk (200 points). In the end, the winning team took home $100 worth of iTunes gift cards to share. After the scavenger hunt was complete, the Younger Members kept the fun going with a light rail pub crawl that took them back through Central Phoenix.
WRYMC Jeopardy
Saturday morning WRYMC sessions included a visit by Alex Trebek (Jeopardy!) look-a-like Serge Trebek (Serge Haddad) with a Committee on Younger Members (CYM) inspired Jeopardy game. Inna Tasmaly (Seattle YMF), Ravi Shah (Orange County YMF) and Kelly Doyle (Truckee Meadows YMF) competed to see who had the most CYM knowledge with Ravi taking the win.

The WRYMC business meeting was then held with some spirited discussion regarding the location of the 2016 WRYMC. After deliberation and consideration, the Anchorage Branch YMF was nominated by the other YMG's to host WRYMC for the first time. Congratulations to the Anchorage Branch YMF for their convincing presentation and video! Another video from Seattle YMF was also shown to get everyone excited to attend WRYMC 2015 next year.
Later in the afternoon, Younger Members went to technical tours that were scattered about the city along the light rail. This was a common theme of the conference to try to reduce the need and costs for charter buses. Technical tours included:

Tempe Town Lake Walking Tour (Pedestrian Bridge and New Dam)WRYMC Registration
Sky Train Technical Tour
DPR Construction NetZero Energy Building
Downtown Phoenix Building Tour

Thank you to our hosts that provided these great opportunities!

The WRYMC Awards Banquet was held on the last day of the conference at the Phoenix Zoo. Guests were treated to an animal experience and traditional Mexican food before the awards ceremony.

Congratulations to the following winners of the official WRYMC Awards!

Outstanding Younger Member Group Project - Seattle YMF  
Outstanding Younger Member Professional Development - Elizabeth Schroth-Nichols, San Diego YMF  
Outstanding Support of Student Chapters - Nick Homerding, Anchorage YMFWRYMC Cocktail Hour  
Outstanding Younger Member in Community Activities - Courtney Davis, Seattle YMF  
Outstanding Younger Member in the Public Sector - Francisco Aragon, Los Angeles YMF  
Outstanding Younger Member in the Private Sector - Chuck Davis, Phoenix YMFOutstanding Younger Member in ASCE Activities - Douglas Knapp, Seattle YMF  
Three unofficial WRYMC Awards were also given out at the Awards Banquet: 
Scavenger Hunt MVP - Guys Hopes  
Light Rail Pub Crawl MVP - Don Adams  
Light Rail Pub Crawl MVP - Inna Tasmaly
A big thank you to all of our sponsors! Without them, this conference could not be what it is as the cost to provide all of these activities is well beyond that of the cost of registration in an attempt to get the most participation out of the YMGs. Another huge thank you to the WRYMC 2014 Planning Committee, CYM Representatives and the ASCE Staff. These wonderful people made WRYMC 2014 fun and well run. Thank you!