ASPE Rio Grande 

Chapter 40


     The history of the Rio Grande Chapter can be considered a little unusual or unique due to the location of our City of El Paso, Texas.

     Prior to the formation of our Chapter, there were only four members at large and only one, Mr. Kenneth Schwenke had been active in attending national conventions and getting acquainted with the rest of the national membership; however, the joint effort of the members at large, Ken Schwenke, Adolf L. Martinez, Eddie Solis, Ricardo A. Baca as well as Ron G.· Gowrie was successful in attracting and motivating people of different disciplines to our first meeting that was held at the meeting room of a local hotel on February 23, 1982.  The attendance to this informative meeting was 36 people of which 16 have joined our Chapter. 

     Our second meeting, held on March 23, 1982 was highlighted by the attendance of Mr. Fred Freshley, ASPE National President at the time, whose presentation motivated some undecided attendees and clarified some doubts in our minds.  During this meeting, the membership elected the following interim officers: President, Ricardo A. Baca; Vice-President, Ken Schwenke; Secretary, Eddie Solis and Treasurer, Adolf L. Martinez.

     Ken Schwenke, our delegate to the National Convention held in Atlantic City, N.J. on June 1982, received the charter for our Chapter.  Our charter members were: Adolf L. Martinez, Ricardo A. Baca, Ken Schwenke, Eddie Solis, Ronald G. Gowrie, Jose A. Gutierrez, Hector R. Contreras, Dean Rothbardt, Charles E. Anderson, Elias Bonilla, Oscar L. Valverde, Sergio Aazo, Stephen W. Hannaway, James P. Richardson, Howard F. Funk, Bill F. Means, Luke A. Rampy, Ernesto Limon, Elias Chaires, Jr., Tomas V. Lopez, Arnulfo G. Ayala, Frank Gamboa and Edmund Beek.

   Mr. Don L. Short II, Rocky Mountain Governor, presented the Charter to our membership and installed the first permanent officers of our Chapter on our monthly meeting of August 17, 1982 which was held at the Plaza-Juarez Hotel in our neighbor City of Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  This event was enhanced by the presence of wives and other guests.

   The first duly elected officers were: President, Ricardo A. Baca ; First Vice-President, Ken Schwenke; Second Vice-President, Dean S. Aothbardt; Treasurer, Adolf L. Martinez; Secretary, Ronald G. Gowrie and Board Members, Elias Bonilla, Steve Hannaway and Jim Richardson. 

   The objectives set by the incoming officers were: A) enhance the education and professional status of the membership of our Chapter, B) encourage the membership to become certified so that by the end of the term, at least 30% of the members would be certified, C) increase membership to cover all different disciplines stressing the precedence of quality of members over the quantity. 

     Due to the kind of members in our Chapter in conjunction with the high quality of programs presented to the membership, we feel that our primary goal is getting accomplished; furthermore, on December 11, 1982, eight members took their certification examination, thus increasing our certified estimator membership.

     Our Chapter met for eight months at a private room of a local cafeteria every third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m., with buffet dinner at a cost of $5.00 per person; however, our regular monthly meetings had been changed to the second Tuesday of the month at the meeting room of a local hotel in order to have more privacy, a larger room, the option of cocktails and an overall better facility.  Even though the cost was doubled, the membership was in agreement that this change would create a better atmosphere for our meetings.  Our board meetings were set for the first Tuesday of the month. 

     Our Chapter is currently trying to work closely with the University of El Paso (UTEP) and with El Paso Community College in order to incorporate and upgrade their construction management and estimating programs.  We are also working with other construction related associations such as C.S.I., National Association of Women in Construction, etc.

     We at the Rio Grande Chapter are very optimistic of the future of our Chapter as well as the future of ASPE in general and we are looking forward to the opportunity to participate in the growth of our society.