Mattei Ascends to ASCE Presidency With Family at Her Side

October 3, 2016
2017 ASCE President Norma Jean Mattei playfully wrests the ceremonial gavel from 2016 President Mark Woodson.  Photo by Jim Tkatch for ASCE
2017 ASCE President Norma Jean Mattei playfully wrests the ceremonial gavel from 2016 President Mark Woodson. Photo by Jim Tkatch for ASCE

ASCE members got better acquainted with Norma Jean Mattei, the dedicated civil engineer, teacher, and mother, at the Society’s annual business meeting Friday during the ASCE 2016 Convention in Portland, OR.

By the end of the meeting, they knew her as their new ASCE president.

“This is really exciting. It’s a dream come true,” Mattei said. “I’m really excited to be entrusted by our membership to lead the profession.”

Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, was installed as 2017 president, taking the gavel from Mark Woodson, P.E., L.S., D.WRE, Pres.16.ASCE, who will serve in the next year as Past President. Mattei’s daughters, Helen and Genevieve, introduced their mother at the ceremony with words of love and appreciation. Both have followed her into engineering careers.

“I cannot express how proud I am of my mom,” said Helen, A.M.ASCE, also a civil engineer. They were joined onstage by Mattei’s husband, Richard.

“To have my daughters follow in my footsteps makes me realize that if you’re a leader you can impact the future, even if it’s one little bit at a time,” Mattei said.

ASCE’s new President introduced herself in a brief video that was screened.

2017 President-Elect takes reins

The meeting also saw the installation of Kristina Swallow, P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, as 2017 President-Elect.

“I don’t think I ever imagined that I’d be here. And being able to follow in Norma Jean’s footsteps, I can’t wait. I’m so excited,” Swallow said. “I believe so strongly in our profession, and my involvement in ASCE helps me contribute not just to what I do as a living but what we do for the world.”

Society award-winners honored

The annual business meeting took place following the 2016 Convention’s Leadership and Society Awards breakfast, where dozens of ASCE’s shining lights were recognized for a wide variety of achievements.

Paul Boulos, Ph.D., BCEEM, Hon.D.WRE, Dist.D.NE, NAE, Dist.M.ASCE, president of Innovyze, served as the keynote, speaking about the importance of outstanding civil engineering leadership.

“Motivated talent is the most crucial competitive advantage any company can have,” Boulos told the audience.

Attendees updated on State of the Society

In his annual State of the Society report, Executive Director Thomas W. Smith III, ENV SP, CAE, F.ASCE, shared highlights of successful activities in the year past, including the new Failure to Act report and the forthcoming movie Dream Big: Engineering Our World.

Blumenauer: Civil engineers need to speak out

ASCE welcomed special guest Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to the stage for a brief talk. Blumenauer has long worked with ASCE as a champion of infrastructure, and he has been instrumental in making Portland a model of the livable city.

“Thirty years ago [Portland] had all problems that most cities around the country had,” Blumenauer told the crowd. “Today we have all the problems that most cities wish they had.”

Blumenauer encouraged ASCE members to “continue to train politicians and people in the media and citizen activists and other people in the business community what questions to ask.”

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