Fresno is located in heart of the San Joaquin Valley just south of Sacramento, CA. The Fresno YMF is part of the San Francisco Section and is located in Region 9. According to their chapter president, the group was established “way back when,” but was inactive for a time between “way back when” and 2009. The YMF came back to life when Ken Frank and Greg Gross began leading the group. They expanded to four members by the end of 2009 and grew to eight members in 2011. That year four people attended WRYMC in Costa Mesa, CA, and they have been back every year since. Over the past five years the group has continuously participated in social events, student outreach, outdoor excursions, and community service, and their group has grown to about 30 active members.
ASCE Made Me a well-rounded engineer. Without joining ASCE I never would have escaped the comfort zone that too many engineers work and live in today, and unlock the door to the best connections in the business, employment opportunities in all directions, great exposure, and a tight knit community of colleagues and friends that are second to none.
What does your group do well?
Communicate: Fresno YMF is (for now) small enough that many of us know people from firms all around the area, regardless of discipline. Most of our members graduated from Fresno State, which provides a level of continuity from student member to younger member to professional member that isn’t always seen within ASCE.
Integrate: Our YMF helps break down the walls that typically exist between the student and professional worlds by successfully organizing events with both the students and parent branch. We hope to create an atmosphere where students recognize that their efforts in school are appreciated well before they enter the workplace. This helps reduce the stress level when transitioning into the professional world upon graduation.
Stay Active: Fresno YMF has events planned every month ranging from socials to volunteering to business meetings. We try to give our members many opportunities to get involved and interact with each other to develop relationships that go far beyond the professions and create a tight knit, inviting environment.
In my opinion, “ASCE Made Me” refers to how important ASCE is in shaping our educations, careers, and lives in general. Joining ASCE was one of my best decisions in college because it set me up for success both in school and in the workforce. It connected me with other hard working, involved, and motivated students and led me to my first internship. After college, YMF has kept me involved in the community and has provided a unique, tight knit group of friends. From the lasting friendships, to the leadership experience and job opportunities, “ASCE Made Me” the person that I am today.
What does your group need help with?
We need help with membership. Since our YMF is on the smaller side, attendance at events can be problematic. There is a core group of members who participate in most events, but we’ve had difficulties getting other members to come. This has caused some of our consistent volunteers to get burned out and fade away because it’s tough to balance personal life, work, and a growing YMF.
In addition, it’s difficult to draw in new members who are from outside the area to our group. Most of our members are either from Fresno State or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. We realize that there are other ASCE/YMF members from around the country that come to Fresno and just disappear, not having an outlet into our engineering community. We need to do a better job to get in touch with these individuals and make them feel welcome in our organization.
Is there anything else you want the ASCE community to know about Fresno YMF?
We are open and fun because we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We recognize that we don’t have the membership numbers of larger branches, and we try not to put unnecessary pressure on our board. If an event is planned and then doesn’t come together due to lack of interest or scheduling issues, then it’s just something to note moving forward. We check the egos at the door and strive to be a group focused on what each of us consider fun, regardless of what that may be. Any of our members can propose an idea at our meetings and have it be considered for a future activity.