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An Intermodal ExpERIEnce: ASHE 2002

By: William G. Petit, P.E. and Shirley A. Stuttler; Co-Chairs

Plan on spending some time along the beautiful south shores of Lake Erie next June for the 2002 ASHE Conference. The Franklin, Pennsylvania section of ASHE will host "An Intermodal ExpERIEnce" in Erie, June 5 - 9, 2002.

What better place to talk about new challenges, diverse projects and pro-active intermodal partnerships than in Erie where the Port of Erie is alive with recreational opportunities such as sailing, fishing, or just riding a bike - along with aggressive investment in Erie's future. This includes the planned construction of a new convention center and an intermodal complex, complete with a heliport, a bus terminal, and water and land taxi service directly on the bayfront.

In addition, the capital investment in Erie takes flight at the Erie International Airport/Tom Ridge Field, currently undergoing a renaissance to upgrade the facility, and continues through the development of new roadway link to ultimately connect the interstate highway system to the developing bayfront area.
Some of the conference technical highlights include:

  • A tour of the $160+ million East Side Access Corridor, currently in various stages of design and construction. There are many intricate context-sensitive design features that will be discussed.
  • A discussion from the two project finalists competing for a major federal investment in Maglev technology. The finalists represent proposed initiatives in Pittsburgh, PA and Washington, D.C.
  • Learn what's new at the Erie International Airport/Tom Ridge Field where a master plan will provide insight into future upgrades to the terminal, the tower, and a runway extension.
  • An interactive preview into the locomotive manufacturing process at the General Electric Transportation Systems Learning Center. GE manufactures locomotives that sustain the rail industry throughout the world.

In addition, get a firsthand look at Erie's downtown revitalization and bayfront development; experience a beautiful Lake Erie sunset; and visit Presque Isle State Park, the jewel of Pennsylvania's state park system.

Recreational activities revolve around the waterfront, the downtown theatre community and visits to nearby wineries. Several social and recreational options planned for the conference include:

  • A tour to Niagara Falls, NY, home of one of the seven natural wonders of the world! The tour will include optional adventures aboard the "Maid of the Mist," exploration of the Cave of the Winds, or a visit to Casino Niagara.
  • Charter fishing and boat tours on Lake Erie.
  • A golf tournament at nearby Riverside Golf Course in Cambridge Springs.
  • A "Toast to the Grape Coast" tour that will provide a visit to nearby wineries, a stop at the oldest land lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and a luncheon cruise on the bay aboard "The Princess."
  • Shopping at a retail haven along Erie's Peach Street (remember, there is no tax on clothing in Pennsylvania).
  • Entertainment options that includes a murder-mystery dinner theatre, a comedian who has been seen on the Tonight Show, and a beach picnic at the Erie Maritime Museum, located directly on the bay.

The conference provides excellent opportunities for discussion and information exchange with industry partners including vendors, contractors, and consultants along with federal, state and local transportation officials. If you would like additional details, be a conference sponsor or exhibitor, volunteer or just want to be a part of "An Intermodal ExpERIEnce, contact us at

National Board News
National board members met for a regular board meeting on November 2, 2001, at the Avalon Hotel, in Erie, Pennsylvania. National President Cooper Curtis presided over the meeting. The following are highlights of the committee reports and board actions:

There was a decrease of 62 members since the June board meeting. Secretary Conner noted a slight shift in membership makeup being 20% DOT, 59% Consultant, 11% Contractor and 11% other affiliations. Total ASHE membership stands at 5,921, representing 34 local sections.

President's Report:
President Curtis was pleased to participate in the installation of new officers for both the Tampa Bay and NorthEast Florida Sections in June.

ASHE was contacted to participate in a short PBS documentary on highway safety. After discussion it was decided to focus on the merits of "Safety Audits". President Curtis will seek more details from the producer and in the interim established a committee consisting of Robert Peda, Sandy Ivory and Ron Purvis to provide a national perspective on safety.

New Sections:
Second Vice President Dave Jones reported that officers and a board of directors are in place for the chartering of an Ohio Valley Section in the Wheeling, West Virginia area some time in the near future. Also, a core group is in place for a possible section in Fargo, North Dakota. Jones along with Jerry Krieg (Central Dacotah past president) spoke to the Fargo-Morehead Engineers Club in September and they have the support of the North Dakota DOT Director to begin a section there.

Jones reported that folders have been printed and materials are being compiled as a promotional for the New Sections Committee recruitment efforts. A new power-point presentation on "ASHE and How to Start a New Section" has been developed.

Conference Committee:
Conference 2002: Director Stuttler hosted the board meeting at the Avalon Hotel in Erie, Pennsylvania. A walk through review of the hotel facilities was followed by reports from each of the Conference 2002 committee chairs along with a tour of nearby attractions that Erie has to offer. An expanded two-day program combined with golf, spouse activities and a multitude of local attractions will provide the setting for an excellent conference.

Conference 2003: Director Robert Hochevar reported that Region 1 would host the conference with the Cuyahoga Valley Section being the lead section. A list of committees and their chairs and liaisons has been developed. The conference will be held in Fairlawn, Ohio, a suburb of Akron, at the Hilton Hotel, May 28 - 31, 2003.

Web Site Committee:
Dave Jones noted a 15% to 20% increase in traffic over the past year. Most of the traffic is coming from Yahoo, the Conference Web Page, ASCE, AIEA and other links. Yahoo traffic is mostly coming from searches containing the words highway or engineer.

At a recent meeting with the webmaster, the committee decided to pursue adding the Section's Operating Manual, Strategic Plan, SCANNER pictures, return the list of National Officers, and add the email list generator TOPICA. The committee received requests to link Section Websites from Carolina Piedmont, Old Dominion and Gold Coast.

The committee is interested in providing links to consultant and industry web pages. Initially we will limit to 20 links at a cost of $200 annually. Any interested companies may contact the committee through the SCANNER Advertising Insertion Order. In the interim, the committee will be developing some criteria for approving such links.

Technical & SCANNER:
Director Robert Peda reported on the status of our advertisers and the Section's responsibility to provide technical articles for the continued success of the SCANNER. Guidelines and section assignments were mailed on September 10, 2001 to Section Presidents and Secretaries.

President Curtis asked the committee to include a regular article in the SCANNER featuring each director and officer by offering a biographical sketch and picture so that membership at large can relate better to ASHE's National Officers.

The board directed Peda to begin preparation of a 5-year extension to the Management Services contract with Wanner Associates, Inc. The contract will include provisions to better manage the membership records. However, it was noted that Section Secretaries should be diligent in updating these records to National.
Operations Oversight:

Past Presidents Charlie Flowe and Dominic Piccolomini provided recommendations to update the Strategic Plan regarding operations of ASHE, as follows: 1) National Conference - Requests to host will be reviewed and awarded each year on a regional basis at the January National Board Meeting. In the event of a tie, the region going the longest or special considerations such as ASHE's 50th anniversary, events of significance, etc. will be considered. 2) Profit Sharing - Conference profit sharing will remain the same with the region retaining 100% up to $10,000 and sharing 50% of the amount over $10,000 with National. 3) Section's Operating Manual - Place the Manual on the web site and submit an annual reminder to Section Presidents and Secretaries for operational guidance.

Additional revisions regarding Regional operations will be discussed at the January National Board meeting.

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