One year ago, Nicole Baer took the reigns as the chairperson for the Structural Engineering Institute’s Local Activities Division Executive Committee. This was a distinguished position on a committee that is responsible for assisting and monitoring the activities for all local chapters of SEI. But what a year to take over! The flagship event for the committee is running a Local Leaders Conference, where structural chapter leaders from all over the country are invited to collaborate and learn how to serve their members better. Past conferences were held in New York City, Chicago, Phoenix, and Washington, DC, but Nicole got to run this one from her basement where lighting is poor and internet is spotty. Past conferences included trips to the Freedom Tower post 911, and New Orleans Water Treatment Plant post Katrina, but this one included a virtual scavenger hunt in which participants had to find the number one song on the day that SEI was founded. Despite all this, the conference was positively received and well attended.
When Nicole took over the position as chair, she set goals to continue touching base with local leaders through interactive video calls, and each call had a specific objective. She focused on planning, mentorship, diversity training, and reaching out to struggling chapters. All in all, serving as chair of the committee was rewarding.
Throughout the year, she got to see firsthand the ingenuity and adaptability that makes structural engineers so great, from the Oklahoma chapter’s awesome structural engineering posters, to hearing about the Colorado Chapter’s fellowship award ceremony, to learning what “Quizzo” is from the Philadelphia Chapter. She got to welcome new graduate student chapters and see her home chapter in Maryland improve on their web-based programming every month.
Nicole looks forward to serving as past chair of the SEI LAD Executive Committee. She has full confidence that the new chair will do a marvelous job and that our local leaders will continue to wow everyone with their dedication to the structural engineering profession.