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American Society of Highway Engineers
Clearfield
Section History –

 1958 to Present

by

Larry Opalisky

 

Meeting Day

Clearfield Section Dinner Meetings were held on the third Thursday of
the month because Thursday was payday.


Speakers & Programs

Over the years Secretaries of Highways, Bob Bartlett, Dave Simms, and Jake Kassab were speakers at Clearfield Section dinner meetings. The dinner programs were usually topics and speakers that were highway or engineering related. In the early years of ASHE many of the programs dealt with the design or construction of I-80, the Lewistown Bypass, the Bradford Bypass, and the Curwensville flood control dam. The November meeting was usually a sports program featuring football highlights or various hunting or fishing topic speakers. Some Clearfield Section programs were field trips as part of the dinner meetings. They included tours of:

  • Lime Stone mines in Centre County
  • Narco Brick Yard Curwensville
  • Curwensville Cheese Factory
  • Brockway Glass Plant
  • Cero Brass, Bellefonte
  • Shawville Power Plant
  • Penn State Computer Facilities in the early 60's
  • Penn State Weather Station
  • Clearfield-Lawrence Airport
  • Lee Metals Philipsburg
  • Relocated SR 26 (future I-99) in State College
  • New PennState Facilities
  • Wal-Mart Distribution Center
  • Starr Hill Winery, Curwensville



Clearfield Section annual picnics

The first picnics were held at the original Elk's Country Home. At that time State Highway employees were given time off from work to prepare for the picnic and barbecue the chickens. By the time the chickens were done enough beer had been consumed that everything tasted good. As many as 400 people attended some of those picnics. At some point in time, the building at the Elk's Country Home was destroyed by fire and the picnic was moved to the Cooper Grove Picnic Grounds.  During one of the picnics at Cooper Grove several people were struck by lightning (real lightning not the drinking kind). One year, the picnic was held at the Old Town Sportsman Club. By that time, the Elk's Country Home property had been mined and re-claimed.New facilities had been built and the picnics were again held at the Elk's Country Home.   It was about that time that State Highway employees were no longer given time off from work to prepare for the picnic, so Central Catering of Curwensville was hired to prepare the food. During the early years of ASHE the picnics were stag.

National Directors Meetings

The National Directors meetings were held every three months. The first National Secretary was named Ralph Smith who lived near Carlisle , Pa. For a number of years, the National Directors meetings were held in Carlisle at a place called The Embers. (Since there is a small airport near Carlisle this arrangement worked well for me since, weather permitting, I could fly to the meetings.) The National Directors representing the Clearfield Section were Harry Evans, 1958 to 1968; Larry Opalisky, 1968 to 1973;  Ed Nasuti, 1973 to 1978; and Region 2 Director, Larry Opalisky, 1978 to 1984.  Since that time the Clearfield Section has been represented by a Regional Director from the Franklin or Altoona Section.  Originally, all of the Membership was from Pennsylvania except one Section from West Virginia which dropped out after a couple of years. In the seventies, Gene Smith from the Franklin Section was named National Committee Chairman to expand the Society.  His Committee put on a campaign which resulted in Sections being formed in other states. Because of this large number of Sections, National Board of Directors was combined into Regional Directors representing a number of Sections.

Conventions

The National conventions were usually held in May. They would begin on Thursday at noon with a luncheon with various highway related speakers. The Thursday evening program was called the Ice Breaker. There was usually a dance band, food, open bar and a chance for the people to get acquainted. The annual meeting was held on Friday morning where the Society business was conducted which included the election of Officers. There was an award for the Section having the most members attending. The Pittsburgh Section always won this award since they had a membership of over 400. While the convention was going on, a number of vendors and equipment suppliers, as well as Engineering Consulting Firms, had booths set up to display their products. During the day on Friday there were numerous workshops with Highway related information. There would be tours of local interest for the spouses or guests of the members. Friday Evening there would be a dinner meeting followed by some type of entertainment or dance. On Saturday, there would be a tour of some local attraction. Saturday Evening there would be the past Presidents’ dinner meeting and the installation of the new Officers. This would be followed by some type of entertainment or dance. The American Society of Highway Engineers was first charted about 1958. The purpose of the Society was to make it possible for people whose jobs were Highway related to meet as a social, as well as a professional group. The membership came from State Highway Employees, Consulting Firms, Contractors, Material Suppliers, Utility Employees or anyone connected in any way to the Highway Industry. There were several categories of membership which allowed for anyone involved in Highway related work to be a member. Clearfield Section has always had about 100 members.

PennDOT was still known as the Pennsylvania Dept. of Highways when ASHE was started. George Leader was Governor at that time. J.J. Kelmar was Dist. 2 - 0 District Engineer. He and his staff were very much involved in getting ASHE started.

At that time many job titles could legally include the term "Engineer" or "Surveyor" without the person holding the title having a license.

The Clearfield Section was the third Section to receive a Charter. Members of the Clearfield Section were very active in those early years at the National level and had a team of members who performed the installation of several sections including Williamsport and Altoona . The installation team was made up of Donald Conrad, Robert Kepner, Raymond Hughes, Harry Evans, Tom McGovern and Larry Opalisky. One of the early National Conventions was held at the Clearfield Country Club.

Presidents

 

The Clearfield Section Presidents were:

Donald Conrad, P.E. – PennDOT, Asst. Dist Engineer, National President
Robert Kepner – PennDOT, Dist Design Engineer, National President
Raymond Hughes – PennDOT, Dist Construction Engineer, National President
John Hess P.E. – Yost, Bromfield Hess Consultants
Harry Evans – PennDOT, Asst. Design Engineer, National Director
Tom McGovern – PennDOT, Chief of Surveys
Robert  Phileage – PennDOT, Asst. Construction Engineer
William Walker – Beckwith Machinery
Larry Opalisky – PennDOT, P.E., P.L.S.
Duane Berry , P.E. – Lee Simpson Consultants
Nick Sudik, P.L.S. – PennDOT, Chief of Surveys
Joe Waroquier – Waroquier Coal Company
Barry Gunter – PennDOT, Designer
Yvonne Buck, P.E. – PennDOT,  Traffic Engineer
John Morroni, P.L.S. – PennDOT, Chief of Surveys
John Marino – PennDOT
Guy Tiracorda – P.E. PennDOT. .
Ed Nasuti, P.E. – Lee Simpson Consultants,  National Director
Jim Miller, P.E. – PennDOT.
Garry Harrier – PennDOT, Designer
Tom  Ickes, P.E. – PennDOT, Dist Engineer
Bert Kisner, P.E. – PennDOT.

Don Franson, P.E. College Township
A.J. Coval, P.E. – Lee Simpson Consultants
Al Robb, P.L.S. – Consultant
John Hoover – Lee Simpson Consultants
Skip Speiglemyer, P.L.S. – Lee Simpson Consultants

Scott Rhine

Susan Gilliland – PennDOT, Designer

Erik Brown, P.E. – PennDOT District Traffic Engineer - Maintenance

Frank Slezak – Consultant Inspector, Greenman Pederson

Marla Fannin – PennDOT District 2-0

Craig Campbell – Vice President, JMT

(The above list is not in any particular order)

 

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