I recently read the Summer 2008 edition of Texas Civil Engineer, a quarterly magazine published by the Texas Society of Civil Engineers. It included an article by Melinda Luna entitled, "The Texas Five: Five ASCE Presidents from the Texas Section." We know that Wayne Klotz, our current president-elect, will be installed in early November as president of ASCE. Many of you have heard Wayne’s vision regarding his "ABCs of Civil Engineering," which translate to advocate, benefit and change. But were you aware that Wayne is the fifth in a line of ASCE national presidents from the Lone Star State?
The first was Mason G. Lockwood, who served in 1956. One of his goals was to have the Society establish policies to financially help younger members join ASCE as well as student membership at the national level. While an electrical engineering graduate of Rice, he established his own firm, Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, which after more than 50 years is still going strong within the Leo A. Daly Company. Following in his footsteps was one of his partners, Frank H. Newman, who served as Society president in 1969. Before teaming with Lockwood, Newman worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Highway Department.
The third Texan, and member of the Texas Section, was Jim Sims, who served in 1982. Another Rice graduate, he worked as a consultant to Humble Oil Company and spent the majority of his career at Rice in various positions, including professor and vice president of campus business affairs. As ASCE president, Sims focused on organization, administration and operation of technical activities.
The fourth to serve was John Focht Jr. in 1990. Many of us know John, who is still active within ASCE. He was a graduate of both the University of Texas and Harvard, and worked with McClelland Engineers. He also worked at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Miss. At the national level, he focused on educating the public on how their quality of life was improved by civil engineers.
All of these gentlemen, besides being from the Texas Section, have in common a deep and devout devotion and dedication to service in the civil engineering profession. In their own ways, they all contributed to the advancement of the profession and ASCE. It is also interesting to note that two individuals from the same Texas engineering firm became president, Lockwood in '56 and Newman 13 years later. This is a unique occurrence and shows the dedication that the firm’s founders had to the profession.
I salute the Texas Section for sending forth these five eminent individuals. I also wonder if any other Section can lay claim to having five or more ASCE presidents. Let me know in the comments section below.