The ASHE 2002 National Conference
The Franklin Section recently hosted the National Conference
in Erie, PA, along the shores of Lake Erie. There were 506 individuals
who took advantage of the opportunity to share time, information,
and the overall "ExpERIEnce."
With the exception of the first day, the weather was a friend
and provided the attendees with the opportunity to shop, dine,
or simply walk the downtown area and the many local amenities
that Erie has to offer.
The conference started on Wednesday, June 5, with 45 exhibitors
entrenched in the Presque Isle Ballroom at the Avalon Hotel.
An icebreaker reception, complete with hors d'oevres and an
open bar, coupled with the opening of the Hospitality Room proved
to be a worthy start to the conference.
Thursday and Friday were extremely busy days, allowing the
roll out of a technical program that supported the conference's
Intermodal theme. The general session was well attended and
included a welcome from two new leaders in Erie, Mayor Richard
Filippi and County Executive Rick Schenker. The session concluded
with Tom Gage, as Doctor Usher Parson, enlightening all about
the hardships of battles fought, in years past, on the Great
The Maglev Technical Session included a dialogue with representatives
from Maglev, Incorporated, the Pennsylvania Project, and their
competitors at the Baltimore/Washington Project. More than 120
guests participated in the session. The Executive Director from
the Erie International Airport then shared insight into the
master planning process currently under way. The attendees were
next treated to a sneak preview of the soon-to-be completed
Intermodal Complex located on Erie's Bayfront. The tour was
hosted by the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (the providers
of the shuttle service throughout the conference).
The technical sessions concluded Thursday with four bus loads
of people reviewing the new Erie East Side Access project. This
transportation initiative will link Erie's bayfront and downtown
area to Interstate 90, approximately seven miles to the southeast.
A spouse tour, "Country Culture," also was rolled
out on Thursday.
The Thursday Mystery Diner Theatre provided the backdrop for
some unusually embarrassing moments for some (we won't mention
names) and comedic relief for all. The Mayhem, Incorporated
production was woven into the buffet dining experience and five
participants actually figured out "who dunnit."
After an early breakfast on Friday morning, 127 golfers descended
on the Riverside Golf Course for a shotgun start, four-person
scramble. Still others participated in the Erie Shipyard &
Freighter Tour and the General Electric Transportation Tour.
The spouses had two additional venues-"Toast to the Grape
Coast" and the "Unique Boutique," which included
a luncheon cruise on Lake Erie.
At the Past President's Luncheon, a formal presentation was
made for this year's Robert E. Pearson Award winner for Person
of the Year, Governor Tom Ridge, now Director of Homeland Security.
Ann DiTullio from the Governor's Northwest Regional Office was
on hand to receive the award.
The highlight for the sunny Friday evening was the Beach Party,
replete with a DJ, a buffet dinner, and the Erie Maritime Museum
and bayfront surroundings. More than 250 conference goers attended
the event, danced to the music, and toured the museum. The night
concluded, as always, with a Hospitality Room visit for additional
Saturday was reserved for many to tour Niagara Falls/Casino
in New York. The tour started early and, for some, ended late,
as several buses took the opportunity to stop at the duty-free
shops at the U.S./Canadian border. Casino goers reported some
gains, some losses, but all seemed to have memorable experiences
to share from their day. Upon their return, a reception was
held complete with hors d'oeuvres and an open bar to set the
stage for the grand finale at the Annual Banquet Dinner.
Preceding the dinner and the entertainment, new officers were
installed by Gene G. Smith, including Sandra K. Ivory, from
the Altoona Section, the 2002-2003 ASHE National President.
We offer our congratulations and wish all good luck during the
coming year. In addition, Past-President Cooper E. Curtis, took
time to recognize Russell E. Horn, Sr., P.E., for his many contributions
to the industry and to the ASHE organization. The gregarious
Mr. Horn accepted the recognition and offered some heartfelt
thanks to all. Again, we offer our congratulations and sincere
thanks to Mr. Horn.
After dinner, "Mr. Physics" entertained us with his
unique flair for teaching physics through dramatically visual
and dynamic experiences. The presentation was well received
by the 200 participants and concluded the formal part of the
ASHE 2002 ExpERIEnce!
The conference committee felt privileged to offer this conference
to ASHE and would like to thank all the exhibitors, sponsors,
patrons, volunteers, and, of course, the participants for making
the 2002 event so memorable. We look forward to seeing you at
the 2003 National Conference in Akron, OH; it promises to be
a very special event.
Back to the Top