February 14, 2014 | By: Brittney Kohler

Winding up the final leg of his cross country Dire States tour, Dan McNichol made a stop at ASCE headquarters in his vintage Hudson today. Dan’s been on the road since last October sharing the message of America’s aging infrastructure. His 1949 Hudson (nicknamed Mrs. Martin after the original owner) is the perfect metaphor to get the message across.  Structurally solid, yet with rust and fading green paint along the edges showcasing years of neglect, you understand that this car has outlived its useful life. It’s functionally obsolete like many of the bridges and roads it’s traveled upon.

“The people in Detroit, they get it.  They’ve seen the decline.” Dan shared stories of some of the memorable moments along the way with the ASCE staff that came out to meet him. He told us of a small town in Black River Falls, Wisconsin,  struggling with a dam that was leaking,  driving the water level seriously low. “The town took responsibility for that dam. They taxed themselves and raised the $10 million they needed for the repair.” During his tour, Dan spoke with officials of state departments of transportation, chambers of commerce and many college and university community members. He quoted statistics  from ASCE's Report Card for America's Infrastructure to help inform his audiences. Dan was inspired by the creativity and enthusiasm of the students, and touched to hear the memories of the old-timers who reminisced about the glory days of America’s infrastructure. He felt strong support to rebuild our infrastructure from everyone he met.

Dan’s story is a great way to help promote the impact of civil engineering in our communities. To learn more about the lessons Dan learned along the way, watch his interview below. It’s the first segment in our new 12-part video series, ASCE Interchange.

Watch for a new episode each month -- see them at asce.org/interchange ASCE Interchange is brought to you by Contech Engineered Solutions, a leading provider of site solutions for the civil engineering industry. Contech’s portfolio includes bridges, drainage erosion control, retaining wall, sanitary, stormwater and wastewater treatment products.  For more info, visit www.ContechES.com or call 800-338-1122

For more tips promoting the Report Card, view the online outreach toolkit.  Interested in doing more with the Report Card but want to speak with someone from the Infrastructure Initiatives team before you get started? Email ASCE or call 202-789-7850.

Have you tapped into the collective memory in your community? Are there local events where you can help share the story of why we need to come together to restore our nation’s infrastructure? Is there a good symbol in your community you can build the story around?

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  1. eugene schneider says:

    Ditto. Each year I drive my ’73 VW from California to Hew Hampshire and New Jersey to visit my daughters. Drive a car like that and you realize that so far as the highways are concerned the suspension on new cars masks the problem. I realize highways are the tip of the iceberg. If what I can see and experience is in the condition it is, I can only imagine the condition of what I can neither see nor experience.