Yakima Branch

History of the Yakima Branch

2014 is the 25-year anniversary of the Yakima Branch which was formally founded in 1989.  What follows is a history of the branch as remembered by its members: 

Onni Perala wrote a letter to ASCE headquarters August, 1988, with a petition from 16 Yakima area engineers requesting to start a Branch of the Columbia Section.  We believed we could get a good sized group from our area to come to local meetings, and not have to travel to the Tri-Cities area.  Our proposal included ASCE members from Yakima and Kittitas County to be involved with the Branch.  (There were several WSDOT employees active in ASCE and did not want to travel to Seattle for their Section meetings).  With Kittitas involved, the name ”Yakima” was not meant for our normal meeting location, but really the river that tied us together, and made us a “Branch” of the Columbia (River) Section.

Initially, one evening branch meeting a year was scheduled in Yakima.  It was well attended, including most member spouses.

OnniPerala was the first President of the Branch, Denny Covell was the second, Rick Gifford was the third and Don Schramm the fourth.

Besides the four presidents listed above, others who were involved in getting the Branch started were: Jeff Davis, Tom Coleman, Bob Barwin, Carl Julius, John Mayo, John Poston, and Ted Pooler.

The branch membership has remained steady in numbers with approximately 60 members in 2014.  The branch meets once a month primarily at the local WSDOT headquarters building in Union Gap.  In 2008 then president Natalie Martinkus spearheaded a volunteer partnership with Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC) to promote Engineer’s Week through an “Engineering Day for Kids” (E-Day) activity day at YVCC.  The event has continued to grow and is a highlight every year for the Branch.

The branch is looking forward to 25 more years.

History compiled by Dustin Posten with a special thanks to Rick Gifford and Ted Pooler.

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