The Northwest Ohio Chapter of American Society of Highway Engineers charter date was May 23, 1991. This area, centered around Toledo, Ohio is home to a number of strong consulting engineering firms that serve the region, the nation and the world with quality professional services. Getting those people together with government leaders and contractors on a regular basis would help to prepare the work force for the challenges ahead.
The ODOT Director at the time encouraged ODOT District 2 Deputy Director Randy Germann to establish a chapter in NW Ohio to expand the visibility of the profession in Northwest Ohio. Mr. Germann assembled a group of engineers including Steve Colony of ODOT, Ben Dansard of Dansard Grohnke Long, Jan Mannik of Mannik and Smith, Greg Bieszczad of Poggemeyer Design Group, Tom Uhler of Toledo Testing and John Mekus to organize the chapter. Mr. Colony missed the first organization meeting and was elected our first President.
Our chapter holds lunchtime meetings at the Holiday Inn Express in suburban Perrysburg, Ohio five times per year. Generally the meetings are held on the third Thursday of September, November, January, March and May. Attendance at these meetings is usually in the range of 25-40 people depending on the topic.
Meeting topics are drawn from the various contacts of the chapter board members and the projects in the area. In addition to many consultants speaking on their specific projects, ASHE NW Ohio has hosted Directors and Deputy Directors of the Ohio Department of Transportation, Presidents of TMACOG, the Toledo MPO, and the Ohio Turnpike. In addition, speakers from OUPS, Ohio EPA, the construction industry and suppliers have also provided significant information on requirements, methods and materials that enhance the attendees’ knowledge of the highway industry.
The Director of the Ohio Turnpike was once asked why his road is so boring to drive.
When the Public Information Officer for ODOT District 2 replaced the Deputy Director due to a conflict he was asked why local projects go to out of town consultants when so many good firms are local.
Coming to speak at an ASHE meeting does not mean you will miss the tough questions. In recent years, our chapter has benefited from the construction of the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway. The VGCS is a segmental bridge going in to carry I-280 over the Maumee River in Toledo, replacing a lift bridge that currently carries I-280. The river serves as a port for great lakes shipping which lead to a cable stayed design to establish a landmark for the community. Since its kickoff in design in 1999, the bridge has been the subject of five different meetings.
Staff from the Project Management Consultant, HNTB provided a background on segmental bridges in 1999 with an update on progress in 2000. In 2001, a professor at the University of Toledo spoke on his role on the project task force gathering public input and helping the design team make decisions. In 2003 the bridge designer, Figg Bridge Engineers out of Tallahassee, Florida provided a more detailed look at the design and lead the chapter’s first tour of the project. In May of 2006, ASHE NW Ohio toured the project again as it neared completion.
ASHE NW Ohio has had the Ohio Board of Professional Engineers and Surveyors in to speak. The ASHE NOW Section was one of the first sections to have adopted our meetings to meet the Ohio Board of Professional Engineers and Surveyors criteria for Professional Development Hours credits to provide our members and attendees with PDHs. Currently our meeting provide one (1) pdh per meeting.
Since 2006, the NW Ohio Chapter has hosted a golf outing to raise money for scholarships at the University of Toledo for Civil Engineering students interested in transportation. The event has grown each year and has allowed NWO ASHE to provide significant scholastic help to numerous UT students, who are looking for a career in the highway industry. Including 2010 NOW ASHE has provided over $10,000 in scholarships. In 2010 ASHE joined with the Student Chapter of ASCE and Northwest Ohio Chapter of Professional Land Surveyors to host a combined golf outing that would benefit all three organizations.
© 2013 Northwest Ohio Section ASHE