Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI., M.ASCE, and Thomas R. Walther, P.E., F.ASCE, have been selected by the Board of Direction’s Nominating Committee as the 2 official nominees for the position of ASCE president-elect.
ASCE’s election, which will also include Region directors and governors, begins on May 1 and closes on June 1. This year marks the first time the election will be conducted exclusively electronically; paper ballots will no longer be sent to the membership.
Norma Jean Mattei
Mattei, professor and past chair at the University of New Orleans Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and past interim dean of the university’s College of Engineering, was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012 to serve a 9-year term as one of 3 civilian commissioners on the Mississippi River Committee (MRC), which advises Congress and the Administration on matters pertaining to the watershed from its headwaters in Minnesota to the Louisiana delta. A graduate of Tulane University, Mattei also had the honor of being appointed by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco in 2007 to serve a 6-year term on the Louisiana Licensing Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (LAPELS). As a member of LAPELS, she served as chair, secretary, and on the Executive Committee.
Actively involved in ASCE at the national, local, and state level since 1997, Mattei has a long and distinguished service, serving nationally on the Society’s Executive Committee (2011), as Region 5 director (2009-2011), as chair of the Region 5 Board of Governors (2009-2011), as a member of the Region 5 Board of Governors (2006-2011), as secretary of the Region 5 Board of Governors (2007), and as vice-chair of the Region 5 Board of Governors (2008). A member of the ASCE Foundation Council of Trustees, she also was president, secretary/treasurer, and director of the Louisiana Section Board and delegate to the District 14 Council. Locally, Mattei was president, vice-president, treasurer, and director on the New Orleans Branch Board.
“I envision that ASCE will lead the profession to a more sustainable world and enhanced global quality of life,” wrote Mattei in her vision statement. “The future that I see is one where civil engineers are the go-to people when it comes to enhanced infrastructure for a growing economy, wise use of our natural resources, well thought-out mitigation and recovery from disasters, and public policy that makes sense.”
Focusing on membership and what it means to be an ASCE member, Mattei writes, “I envision a future where ASCE will, through [its] members, lead the Society to a future where the public knows that civil engineering as a profession safeguards society’s health, safety, and welfare; top high school students of all ethnicities, genders, and races choose civil engineering as a career; student members continue on as engaged members once they graduate and begin practice; global membership increases because all members (U.S. and foreign born) see and get value in membership; and the Institutes and ASCE, as the mothership, interact regularly and share resources when it is economically beneficial.”
A member of various ASCE committees, Mattei has served on the Committee on America’s Infrastructure, the Engineering Education Committee, the Program and Finance Committee, the Committee on Licensure, the Leader Training Committee, the Program and Finance Committee, the Audit Committee, the Task Committee on Region-Student Relations, the Policy Review Committee, and the Committee on Licensure and Ethics. She also volunteered on numerous activities, such as spearheading the ASCE Kid’s Area Civil Engineering activity at the New Orleans Jazzfest (1999-2012) and being a judge at the Greater New Orleans Engineering & Science Fair (1996-present).
“Years ago, as a student, I was blessed to have ‘fallen’ into civil engineering as my chosen major,” she wrote. “I now get great pleasure as an engineering educator in sharing my passion for civil engineering by teaching the next generation of civil engineers. As an outspoken leader, I will continue to be a role model in promoting diversity not only of gender, but of culture, ethnicity, nationality, and thinking. And I sincerely hope the next phase of my life is to lead the American Society of Civil Engineers into a bright future.”
Thomas R. Walther
A utilities coordination engineer with the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, office of Ayres Associates, Walther has spent his entire career in public works engineering. Working 9 years with the Iowa Department of Transportation and the following 25 years as highway commissioner of Eau Claire County, he had oversight of the regional airport, managed the county landfill, and currently manages operation of the county highway department. In addition, Walther managed all operations of the county highway department, covering all work on county highways, all maintenance work on State highways, and contract work for various local governmental units.
An ASCE Fellow since 1996, a Life Member since 2013, and charter member of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Student Chapter in 1967, Walther has held every office within the Wisconsin Section Northwest Branch. Recipient of the Wisconsin Section Engineer in Government Service Award (1998) and the Wisconsin Section Distinguished Service Award (2008), he has served on the Section’s Board of Directors with terms as Section president, branch director, director at Large, vice-president, chair of the History and Heritage Committee, Section Report Card Committee, Section Awards Committee, Section Nominating Committee, and Spring Technical Conference Planning Committee.
On the national level, Walther has served as District 8 director (2004-2006), chair of the Region 3 Formation Team (2005), Region 3 director (2007-2009), chair of the Region 3 Board of Governors (2006-2009), and member of the At-Large Director Review Subcommittee (2008).
“[I’ve been] a continuous active member for over 45 years, [and] ASCE has continuously helped me advance my career and knowledge base,” wrote Walther in his vision statement. “I have tried to reciprocate by serving the Society. This service ranges from holding multiple positions at Branch and Section levels up to serving two terms on the national Board of Direction with service on 13 national committees covering a wide spectrum of Society activities. The knowledge acquired through this broad scope of activities helped me [to] form my vision for the Society.”
Walther says the first step is to guide and lead the Board and the Society in implementing current Board strategies, plus developing updated strategies to move the Society forward.
“I will strongly support and be a forceful advocate of the ASCE strategy to emphasize infrastructure improvements and, where necessary, expansions,” he wrote. “High-quality infrastructure does more than anything to achieve the ASCE vision of building a better quality of life for the citizens of America and the world. The water and wastewater systems civil engineers created have done more to overcome epidemics than [have] many medicines. The transportation systems civil engineers created, from railroads to highways to waterways to pipelines to electrical distribution systems, are the bloodstream that keeps the worldwide economy functioning smoothly and efficiently. We civil engineers must continue to educate the public and politicians about how critical a high-quality and, when necessary, an expanding infrastructure is to the quality of life of everyone on the planet.”
Walther envisions the second step as enhancing and maximizing service to its members.
“With today’s technology ASCE should be able to better show its members what the Board, Board Committees, Institutes, and other organizational entities are doing,” writes Walther. “I will strive to have summarized minutes of the above entities readily available on a members-only sector of the ASCE website. I firmly believe this will allow members to better comprehend what the Society is doing for them and with their dues money.
“To conclude, while following the vision and strategies set by the Board, my vision seeks to strengthen and expand upon these issues to move ASCE forward, and most importantly to enhance the ways the Society serves its members.”