In 1890, American Society of Civil Engineers records indicate that there were 6 ASCE members residing in Nebraska. By 1910 the list had grown to 19. The Nebraska Section was organized in 1917 by a small group of members, who petitioned the Society requesting a charter for a state organization. At that time there were 40 members residing in Nebraska.
Unfortunately, the official records of the proceedings of the Section prior to 1961 have been lost. If you are aware of any of these records please contact any member of the Board. Surviving records and papers and presentations prepared in the 1960’s and 1970’s give a good early history of the Section. (These resources are cited below.)
Issues addressed in the early years of the Section include:
Engineer’s Registration Law – There was interest very early in the history of the Section to enact a registration law for engineers. Unsuccessful bills were proposed in the Nebraska Legislature in 1919, 1921, 1925, and 1935. Finally, after much work drafting a bill in conjunction with the Nebraska Architects Association, and a grassroots campaign to enlist the support of nearly 1,400 persons, L.B. 14 was passed in 1937, which established registration provisions and the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects. (The Engineers and Architects Regulation Act of 1997 replaced the 1937 provisions.)
ASCE Decentralization – an effort spearheaded by local sections in the early 1920’s to shift Society activities away from New York City and across the country.
Personnel Study – Reduction of state employees’ salaries by the 1935 Legislature led to organization of an AFL union representing engineers, architects and draftsmen, chiefly employees of the Highway Department. During the depression years, ASCE advanced programs to dissuade sub-professional engineering staffs from organizing unions. One of these programs furnished expert guidance in formulating a systematic and logical personnel job classification with corresponding job descriptions. Upon a request from the Section, Allen P. Richmond of ASCE Headquarters came to Lincoln in 1941 and completed such a study. Soon after the system was adopted, the union began to lapse and become inactive.
Adverse Legislation – A 1953 bill was introduced that, among other details, proposed to place a business manager in charge of the Department of Roads. The Section opposed the provision and appeared at the committee hearing on the bill, which was defeated.
United Engineering Center – An ASCE campaign to construct the United Engineering Center in New York near the United Nations Center. Under the chairmanship of Kenneth B. Lucas, the Section met its assessment during a drive from 1959 to 1962.
The 1962 Water Resources Engineering Conference of ASCE – Preparations began in 1957 to bring a national conference to Omaha. The success of the conference was the result of cooperation of many members of the Section, especially Gen. Chairman L. E. Miller and Section President Sidney L. Price.
Issues such as collective bargaining and continuing education were addressed in the Seventies
The Section has had four men who have served on the board of directors of ASCE:
Frank T. Darrow (1921-23) – influential in the decentralization effort.
Theodore C. Leisen (1935-37) – served on the Board Committee on Zones and Sections.
D. L. Erickson (1947-49) – vice chairman of the Committee on Qualifications.
Roy M. Green (1962-64) – served on the Committee on Education and the Committee on Student Chapters.
“Historical Relationships of ASCE and Civil Engineering in Nebraska” by Charles F. Fowler, M.ASCE, December, 1977
“First 50 Years of the Nebraska Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers” by Roy M. Green. Given before Section Meeting of the Society on May 17, 1967
“A Little History” by Roy M. Green. Given before the Annual Meeting of the Professional Engineers of Nebraska on May 13, 1967.