Section History

The Lake Erie Section was founded in 1984 by charter members Richard Overmyer, George Hadden, Frank Belanger, Tom Kreczko, and Ken Carney.  Pat Welsh and Chuck Love of the neighboring Cuyahoga Valley Section provided support for the newly formed chapter. The Lake Erie Section received its charter on May 8, 1985.

Technical Programming – The Lake Erie Section has focused its mission on providing quality technical presentations to its members, along with networking opportunities with peers in the transportation industry.  We have partnered with other local professional organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Association of Bridge Construction and Design (ABCD), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) to co-sponsor events.  We have found that the groups have many common members and these joint meetings lead to significantly increased attendance.

Our approach to our monthly meetings includes a great deal of variety to provide the members with flexibility for meeting attendance.  We vary the location of our meetings around Cuyahoga County and schedule lunch and dinner meetings.  The yearly meeting schedule typically includes one construction site visit, guest speakers outside the local chapter, our annual joint Christmas party with sister organizations (typical attendance between 100-200 guests), and technical sessions on new technology, materials, or procedures.  We also host the local Ohio DOT Districts in a discussion on upcoming design and construction projects in the area and the prognosis for future jobs.  Our approach to meeting content is to provide continuing education credits when possible.  The Lake Erie Section feels that it is our responsibility to provide the members with opportunities to achieve the credit goals required by the State licensing board.

Communication – In 2002, the Lake Erie Section launched its own website, www.ashelakeerie.org.  This website, along with email distribution of our meeting notices, is our section’s approach to provide timely information to our members.  In 2011 our section initiated simplified invoicing/payment procedures for our members through the use of PayPal for meeting attendance. In 2012, our section invoiced and received dues payments through email and Paypal.  During 2014 & 2015 the Section transitioned it’s website to http://lakeerie.ashe.pro/ using the template provided by Nationals to align the online presence of the sections around the country.

Project of the Year – The Lake Erie ASHE Project of the Year award was started in 2014 by ASHE Board of Director Chris Preto. The initial award was presented for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 12’s Lakefront West Pedestrian Tunnels project designed by Michael Baker and City Architecture and constructed by Great Lakes Construction.

Each year in January, competing projects are scored and reviewed to meet ASHE’s POY core goals of: importance to the traveling public, complexity, innovation, aesthetics and sustainability. A team of 5 volunteers scores each application. The highest average score from the 5-member group is declared the winner of the award. Projects were initially grouped into two categories to encourage competition, under $5M and over $5M in construction cost. In 2018 the award categories were changed to under and over $10M in construction cost.

Leadership – Since 1985, the Lake Erie Section has been led by a diverse group of Section Presidents that include engineering consultants, public officials and contractors.  The following is a listing of the Section Presidents that have volunteered their services:

Richard Overmyer 1984 – 1986 Dave Lastovka 2000 – 2002
Tom Kreczko 1986 – 1987 Alysia Lorincz 2002 – 2003
Richard Ball 1987 – 1988 Matt Wahl 2003 – 2005
Ken Carney 1988 – 1989 Vickie Wildeman 2005 – 2007
Charles Dulic 1989 – 1991 Bonnie Teeuwen 2007 – 2011
John Motl 1991 – 1993 Bill Baker 2011 – 2013
Jim Marszal 1993 – 1994 Joseph Shaffer 2013 – 2015
Lynn Egensperger 1994 – 1996 Jamie Scott 2015 – 2017
Nick DiGeronimo 1996 – 1998 Jim Shea 2017 – 2019
Don Bierut 1998 – 2000 Sean Milroy 2019 – 2021

Because of these dedicated leaders, in 2015 the Lake Erie Section was awarded the Terence D. Conner award which recognized the Section for holding the highest percentage of membership retention during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Student Engagement – In 2009, then section president Bonnie Teeuwen tasked new board member Jamie Scott to develop a scholarship program to support education, innovation, and fellowship of local college students. Since many ASHE sections already had scholarship programs, Jamie was able to tap into their efforts and pull together pieces from different section’s programs to best fit the Lake Erie Section.

After receiving feedback from the board of directors, the scholarship committee, comprised of Jamie Scott, Bill Crowley, Scott Piazza, Russ Critelli, Amy White, Stephen Goodreau, and Ryan Smalley, finalized the criteria for the student eligibility. College students who live in or attend schools within the section boundaries (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina Counties) would be eligible. Although the scholarship is available to students in a civil or construction related program, the successful applicants often displayed an interest in the transportation industry.

At the time, the section was carrying a modest surplus of funds from year to year but recognized the scholarship would not be sustainable without fundraising. The committee saw an opportunity to step up 50/50 raffle ticket efforts at the monthly meetings to help meet the financial demand of the scholarship. Through the generosity and support of our local membership and public and private partners, the Lake Erie Section has awarded over $10,000 to students since 2010. We look forward to continuing the program and hope to expand it in the coming years.  Lake Erie Transportation Engineer Scholarship Winners include:

In addition to the Section’s annual Scholarship program, in 2016 and 2017 the Lake Erie Section received grant funding from National to promote student involvement by providing free attendance for students to many of the Section’s monthly meetings.  The grant was also used to participate in career fairs to promote and expose students to ASHE.  Through the awarding of the grant, student participation is increasing and ASHE Lake Erie’s relationships with local universities including Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University are strengthening.

Sponsorship – The Section decided in 2016 to implement a Corporate Sponsorship program after hearing of interest in the industry. The committee of Kathy Johnson, Dave Lastovka, and Ryan Smalley researched similar programs with other organizations in Northeast Ohio and came up with a suggested plan. The Section offered one new Section membership and the company’s logo displayed on the Section website for a donation of $100. The first year was considered a success with ten companies joining as Corporate Sponsors and seven new members added to the roster. The Board voted to continue for the 2017-2018 program year but revised the Sponsorship to include one new or one renewal membership. The Corporate Sponsorship has continued with great success.

National Conference – The Lake Erie Section has had a long history of participating in the ASHE National Conference.  In 2003, the Lake Erie Section assisted the Cuyahoga Valley Section with the planning and execution of the 2003 National Conference that was hosted in Akron, Ohio.

On January 17, 2015, the Lake Erie Section was notified by the ASHE National Conference Committee that it had been selected through a competitive proposal process to host the 2018 National Conference in Cleveland, Ohio under the chairmanship of Jim Shea and Kirsten Bowen.  The 2018 National Conference was the 60th anniversary of the National Organization and was held May 17-20 at the Westin Cleveland Downtown.  The event was attended by over 575 public and private sector design professionals, vendors, contractors, and guests. Notable conference activities included: a Friday night off-site event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum followed by a reception at the Corner Alley; informative technical sessions and tours highlighting local and national infrastructure including a Cuyahoga River Boat Tour, NEORSD Southerly Treatment Plant Tour, Port Tour, and Veterans Memorial Bridge and Subway Station Tour; a guest program highlighting Cleveland area attractions including the museums in University Circle, the Pro-Football Hall of Fame, local breweries and our Metroparks system; culminating with the annual banquet where the 2018-2019 ASHE National Board was installed. Planning for the 2018 National Conference provided networking and volunteer opportunities on 11 conference committees and 45 ASHE Lake Erie members assisted in the effort.