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June 2017 E-Newsletter
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June 1, 2017

Table of Contents

Outgoing Chairman's Message

President's Year End Review

Advocacy in Action

Minuteman Grant Supports Transportation

Leadership Institute Class of 2018

Leadership Institute Intent to Enroll Survey

ACEC WI Events - Save the Dates

2017-18 Event Sponsorships

Annual Meeting Recap

Member News

NASECA - WI Event: Equations for Success

Upcoming Events

Civil 3D Webinar
Thursday, June 29

Various Locations


Transportation Quarterly Meeting

Tuesday, August 1



Civil 3D User Group Workshop

October 18-19

Wisconsin Dells


DFD Collaborative Conference

November 7



For more information, visit our calendar.

Committee Meetings

Transportation Leadership Committee

Wednesday, June 7


DNR Liaison Committee

Wednesday, June 7



Public Relations Committee

Thursday, June 8

GRAEF, Madison


Transportation Leadership Committee

Tuesday, June 13

Conference Call


Civil 3D Workshop Planning Committee

Thursday, June 15



Transportation Steering Committee

Thursday, June 29

EMCS, Madison


For more information, visit our calendar.

Board of Directors
Les Fafard, PE
Short Elliott Hendrickson 

Randy Van Natta, PE
Becher-Hoppe Associates

Kim Lobdell, PE
KL Engineering 

ACEC National Director
Jan Zander, PE
Ayres Associates

Carrie Bristoll-Groll, PE, CFM
Stormwater Solutions Engineering

John Kissinger, PE

Dave Way, PE
Mead & Hunt

Past Chairman
Gil Hantzsch, PE
MSA Professional Services

ACEC WI President/Executive Director
Chris Klein

Outgoing Chairman's Message

Reflecting upon my time as Chairman, I experienced a wonderful opportunity and challenge continuing the mission of designing and protecting Wisconsin’s future with professional engineering solutions. We have made great strides in our key areas: engaging our volunteers from member firms, improving communications, increasing the number of organizations we work with and promoting our message.


Our organization is fortunate to have professional, engaged volunteers willing to take on activities in committees, participate in conferences and involve themselves in grassroots advocacy. The future of ACEC WI depends upon the efforts of our members to enhance our professional business environment. 


Our committees have done a tremendous job of continuing and building upon the relationships developed with state agencies through the years. Efforts to improve cooperation and communications continue with the Department of Administration, Division of Facilities Development, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation. The volunteer committee members from our firms take on activities providing opportunities for future leaders, promoting communications and advocating for an improved business climate for our industry in Wisconsin.


I want to thank the ACEC WI staff—President/Executive Director Chris Klein, Chief Operations Officer Kelly Veit, Advocacy & Membership Coordinator Andrew Heidtke and new Administrative Assistant Renee Gonzalez for making this past year successful. Our successes in our industry and state are in many ways due to their support, efforts, teamwork and dedication.


Best of all my bucket list is now a little shorter, what an opportunity and honor to join the list of ACEC WI chairmen.  Above all, I need to extend as well a warm felt thank you to SEH Inc. for their crucial support in allowing me the time and resources to serve as the ACEC WI Chairman. Even in my wildest dreams, I did not think this possible; what a remarkable experience this has been.


I want to thank Past Chairman Gil Hantzsch for his leadership, support and energy for ACEC WI.  His efforts have been of great value to this organization.


Welcome to the helm Randy Van Natta as you take on the
leadership role of this great organization.  


Great success to you!  Go ACEC WI!


Thank you,



Les J. Fafard, PE

ACEC WI Chairman of the Board



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President's Year End Review

Last week we held our 2016-17 Annual Business Meeting. After months of gloomy budget discussions, I had the opportunity to talk to membership and provide my perspective on our growth as an association in the previous year. I believe we developed an ambitious vision for the year and we are right at our stage of progress where we had hoped. Undoubtedly, the business of engineering in Wisconsin needs to improve, but as an organization, I feel like we are growing stronger each day.


This past year we made it a priority to advance and improve our advocacy efforts.  At last year’s Annual Meeting I laid out a plan to accomplish this by prioritizing three areas I felt there were untapped opportunities: our stakeholder partnerships, legislative relationships and political giving. I couldn’t be more pleased at our progress on all three.


We have talked all year about the importance of partnerships and improving those relationships with organizations that support businesses. We have built strong partnerships with transportation stakeholders, business stakeholders, government reform advocates, trades and university leaders.


These are just some of the partnerships we have strengthened but working together on issues and having others have our back on issues is a great accomplishment. It is refreshing to have the opportunity to not only lobby government alongside our partners but also to have them carry our message on their own as well. Several partners identified maximizing private sector engineering work as a legislative priority. This is an issue, historically, we have fought alone.  


We have worked to make bigger and bolder investments in these partnerships as well. Just last week we contributed $30,000 to TDA and their current media campaign on infrastructure funding. We were just awarded a $25,000 Minuteman Fund grant from ACEC National and we will kick in another $5,000 of our funds to contribute $30,000 to their campaign. This is a significant investment from ACEC WI and one we are proud to contribute.


We have spent considerable time this past year building stronger relationships with legislative leadership in the Assembly and the Senate. As many of you know, we held many in-district meetings before the legislative session began. We held meetings in member firms offices across the state. It was a great opportunity for legislators to see our members on their own turf and spend quality time talking about issues important to us. These visits laid the groundwork for our discussions that started immediately at legislative session kick-off.


 One of our top goals of strengthening legislative relationships was to have the opportunity to influence legislation on the front-end rather than needing to react and starting from behind. We wanted to be in a position to thank leaders for listening to us. We are proud to thank Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and members of his caucus for their leadership on infrastructure investment in Wisconsin and their support for how to best spend the scarce dollars Wisconsin does have.


One advantage of spending so much time building legislative relationships is getting a solid understanding of which legislators truly support investing in infrastructure and understanding and support the business of engineering. This allows us to develop a much more accurate picture of the political landscape in Wisconsin when developing a plan for political giving.


Our membership’s commitment of supporting candidates who support us is evident. We contributed record amounts to both the Assembly and the Senate last cycle. We went into the election cycle with a bi-partisan contribution plan and executed that plan. And we had a 100% victory record on our supported candidates. As we look ahead to this next year we are going to continue to prioritize these same three facets of advocacy and work to make them even stronger.


We need to recognize our success and be proud of where we are. It is truly unfortunate the timing of the situation of infrastructure funding in Wisconsin. As many engineering firms in the state are looking at the tremendous hole in your businesses’ bottom line, we are, as an organization, at the same time seeing what many argue is our best year ever. 

Everything we do at ACEC WI is to improve the business climate of engineering in Wisconsin and will continue to do all we can to make Wisconsin a great state in which to do business.


Chris Klein,

ACEC WI President/Executive Director

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Advocacy in Action

The state budget process is beginning to experience delays linked to the divide among Republicans on how best to address transportation.  Determining the overall level of state spending and borrowing is complicated by state officials not agreeing on how the larger pieces of the puzzle like transportation and the Capital Budget fit together.


The Joint Finance Committee recently postponed voting on the Building Commission which includes the Capital Budget. The state’s two-year building program within the Capital Budget totals $803 million and includes nearly $450 million in new bonding. The houses differ on how much they are willing to invest in the Capital Budget and those differences are linked to the divide on transportation investment.


As the transportation impasse continues some in the legislature have called for the transportation budget to be taken up separately, apart from the entire state budget.  In response, Governor Walker has pushed back, calling on lawmakers to “get it done” within the state budget without delay. Walker remains opposed to increasing the gas tax or fees to raise transportation revenue. The Governor also took to Twitter, threatening to veto the entire budget if it results in a net property tax increase.


Many budget watchers expect the Senate and Assembly to take a time-out in the budget process as a transportation solution is worked out between the Administration, the Senate and the Assembly. However, each day that goes by with no agreement increases the likelihood that the state budget will not be completed by the July 1 deadline.


Meanwhile, ACEC WI continues to make a case for increasing the level of sustainable investment in both transportation and state facilities infrastructure.


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Minuteman Grant Supports Transportation

ACEC WI recently received a Minuteman grant from ACEC National to support our efforts for transportation funding in Wisconsin. Minuteman funds are given for specific legislative campaigns and help states achieve favorable results. The funds provided to ACEC WI will help TDA in an aggressive ad campaign across the state to rally support for increased transportation funding. Finding a solution to our current shortfall is extremely important and by working together in a coalition, ACEC WI can make a difference by educating and engaging the public on transportation issues.


ACEC WI is continuing its advocacy efforts with politicians as well - to learn more, look to our advocacy updates and stay engaged.


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Don't miss your chance to get involved in the 12th year of Leadership Institute, our popular leadership and career development series. This leadership experience is tailored to launch professionals on a development track for successful project management and principal positions. While the series was designed for individuals with six to 12 years of experience, it is also a tremendous opportunity for current leaders to benefit from top-notch programming focused on the design profession. ACEC WI Leadership Institute Class of 2018 is open to all individuals in the design profession.


Participants gain a well-rounded training on the business side of the profession, the foundation needed to be an effective leader and a network of lasting peer relationships. Approximately 40 PDH credits are available through program completion.

This is an opportunity to invest in the future of your firm and to recognize, reward and retain your top talent. Download the program brochure for program and curriculum details. The application is also available for download. The application deadline is July 12, 2017.


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Leadership Institute Intent to Enroll Survey

The search for the Leadership Institute Class of 2018 is under way. To aid in planning for the Class of 2018, please participate in the Intent to Enroll survey by June 5. Please contact us if you have any questions about this popular leadership and career development program.


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ACEC WI Events - Save the Dates

It's never too early to mark your calendars for our major events of 2017:


Civil 3D Users Group Workshop | October 18-19, 2017 - The second annual workshop will follow up on the success of last year. Attendees will hear from expert Civil 3D users, resellers, Autodesk and WisDOT on tips and tricks for the software. Sponsorship information is available below. Registration will be available in late summer so make sure to look out for our promotional materials.



DFD Collaborative Conference | November 7, 2017 - This is the must-attend event of the year for those who work with the DFD or on state building projects. DFD and private sector speakers provide education and network with attendees. Registration will open in late summer with early bird discounts on registration if you move quickly. The event will be held at beautiful Monona Terrace. Sponsorships are now available.


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2017-18 Event Sponsorships

ACEC WI member and affiliate firms play vital roles in creating a winning team for professional engineers. To help our team grow and to build your own potential, participate in our sponsorship opportunities. As with any good baseball team, everyone benefits from commitment by both the organization and the players.


Signing bonuses are available through the Bat the Cycle program. Affiliate members are also invited to participate. Check out the opportunities and packages today. The first two event sponsorship opportunities, the Civil 3D User Group Workshop and the ACEC WI|DFD Collaborative Conference, are quickly approaching.


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Annual Meeting Recap

Another successful Annual meeting was held on May 23. Attendees engaged in roundtable discussions about a variety of business items before delving into the world of cyber-security. Byron Franz from the FBI showed attendees about the many threats that face unprepared companies. Andy Knauf of Mead & Hunt provided tips for how to prepare for cyber-attacks and how to minimize the risk.

At the Annual Business meeting, attendees heard from ACEC WI leadership about the healthy state of the organization and where it is headed. Finally, everyone wrapped up with a great networking reception.

Thank you to all of our members who continue to support and strengthen ACEC WI.

Attendees discuss business issues at roundtables over lunch.
Andy Knauf of Mead & Hunt discusses how engineering companies can protect themselves from cyber-attacks. Byron Franz of the FBI educates attendees on cyberthreats facing Wisconsin companies.


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Member News

R.A. Smith National is pleased to announce that John Elkin has been promoted to director of transportation. They are also excited to announce that they have been named a "Best Firm to Work For" by Zweig Group. Finally, they would like to announce that Michael Bach has received the Young Engineer of the Year Award from the Milwaukee Metro Chapter of WSPE.


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While our direct giving will quiet down during the budget season, it is critically important to remain involved. We will continue to work with legislators and our grassroots advocacy is ramping up. This is also an excellent time to start building your conduit so you can react when our funding requests come through.


Conduit and WisPAC contributors will receive more frequent updates on the state budget and our advocacy efforts this year from Executive Director Chris Klein. If this interests you and currently are not participating in the Conduit and PAC please do so here:


2017 Conduit Contributors
Contributors as of May 29, 2017


Chairman ($1,000 or more)

John Boldt, Clark Dietz Inc.

Dave Brose, EMCS Inc.*

Phil Budde, Strand Associates Inc.

Stephanie Christensen, EMCS Inc.*

Les Fafard, Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.

Gil Hantzsch, MSA Professional Services Inc.

Jeff Kronser, Strand Associates Inc.

Rose Morgan, EMCS Inc.

Sadhu Singh Rikhiraj, Singh & Associates Inc.

Raj Sheth, Mead & Hunt Inc.

Stan Sugden, Ruekert/Mielke Inc.*

Paul Tarvin, Terracon Consultants*

President ($500 or more)

Rusty Chesmore, Mead & Hunt Inc.

Mike Felker, Strand Associates

John Kissinger, GRAEF

Chris Klein, ACEC WI

Kim Lobdell, KL Engineering Inc.
Amy Squitieri, Mead & Hunt Inc.*
Jill Treadway, JT Engineering Inc.
Ken Ward, Ruekert/Mielke Inc.*
Ken Williams, Ruekert/Mielke Inc.*

Jan Zander, Ayres Associates Inc.

Principal ($250 or more)
Joe Bunker, Strand Associates Inc.
Brian Chlopek, JT Engineering
Harry Farchmin, Bloom Companies
Chad Halverson, KL Engineering Inc.
Scott Hasburgh, Mead & Hunt Inc.*

Tom Ludwig, Foth

Brent Pitcher, GRAEF

Josh Straka, Strand Associates Inc.
Dave Way, Mead & Hunt Inc.*


Professional ($100 or more)
Ryan Amtmann, Ruekert/Mielke Inc.*
Mustafa Emir, Clark Dietz Inc.*
Terry Genske, Strand Associates Inc.
Robert Harley, R.A. Smith National Inc.*

Brandon Herbert, Strand Associates Inc.*

Sean Sullivan, Ruekert/Mielke Inc.*
Pat Wohlers, Ruekert/Mielke Inc.*

Steve Wurster, Ruekert/Mielke Inc.

* These individuals are participating in the automatic withdrawal program.

2017 WisPAC Contributors
Contributors as of May 29, 2017

Contributors ($100 or more)
Rusty Chesmore, Mead & Hunt Inc.
Jeffrey Kronser, Strand Associates Inc.

Sadhu Singh Rikhiraj, Singh & Associates Inc.

Paula Schultz, Strand Associates Inc.
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NASECA - WI Event: Equations for Success

The North American Stormwater and Erosion Control Association of Wisconsin is hosting a continuing education program in La Crosse that focuses on stakeholders can work together to improve stormwater management in communities. This full day event will be held on Friday, June 23. PDHs are available for attendees. To learn more or to register, visit the event page.


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