Popular, Passionate ASCE Leader for 50 Years, Nelson Dies at 74

headshot of Dale Nelson

Dale Nelson, an extremely dedicated ASCE member from Anchorage, AK, who rose to serve as Region 8 Director from 2015 to 2018, has died. He was 74.

A Life Member, Nelson, P.E., F.ASCE, served ASCE in a number of different roles over a half-century.

From his terms as Anchorage Branch president in 1975, to Alaska Section president in 1978, to Region 8 Governor (2007-10) , to his time on the ASCE Board of Direction (2015-18), Nelson’s kind, generous, and thoughtful leadership style was never far from ASCE.

“I first got to know Dale when he served on the Member Communities Committee, and it was obvious that he was passionate about ASCE and the civil engineering profession,” said ASCE 2019 President Robin Kemper.

“Those of us who had the honor of knowing Dale and being able to call him our friend remember him as a consummate gentleman who was always gracious. Dale had the ability to solve difficult situations with thoughtfulness and finesse.”

Nelson graduated in 1967 from Washington State University, where he first joined ASCE. He went to work in Anchorage, which he would call home for the rest of his life. Over the years he rose to become a leader in the area’s construction industry.

In 2002, he left private practice to take a leadership role with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Alaska District major construction projects. Most recently, he’d served as a reservist and public assistance project specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

Nelson was immensely popular around ASCE, particularly in Region 8, where he was a familiar face among members for decades.

“He has been a great ASCE leader,” said Diana Hasegan, Seattle Section past-president. “He always saw the best in people and contributed to solving many leadership puzzles with his thoughtful assessments of issues. He’s been a great help to the Seattle Section.”

Nelson completed his term on the ASCE Board of Direction last October in Denver.

“Dale was a wonderful ASCE friend, colleague and leader,” said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith. “We will miss him terribly but are grateful for his friendship, generous contributions and legacy of service to the Society and profession.”


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  1. Saddened to hear of Dale Nelson’s passing. I knew Dale for many years through my own association with ASCE and our activities to promote engineering education at University of Alaska Anchorage. Dale was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He will be sorely missed.

  2. Dale was a passionate ASCE leader, who was always witty and responsive. The Inland Empire Section felt well-represented by Dale, and his enthusiasm will be missed.

    Region 8, Inland Empire Section


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