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An experienced MSA officer and member of the Los Angeles Chapter, Bill Brumley, moved from Chino to Vista around 1970.  While at Vista, MSA members who attended meetings with Bill in the Los Angeles Chapter started discussions to form a chapter in the southern area of the state.  Brumley discussed with agency Superintendents in the area, along with several vendors, resulting in a group of 12 to 15 potential members to form a chapter in the MSA. Some of those people in attendance were Phil Studebaker, Ralph Lewis, John Hindberger, and Bill Morris from the LA Chapter.  Others attending were from San Diego County and the Cities of Chula Vista, Escondido, Vista, La Mesa, Coronado, Oceanside, and Del Mar, who met at the Rancho Bernardo Inn.  After some discussion, it was wondered why the concept of forming an MSA Chapter was not brought up earlier.

The first official meeting of the Southern Area Chapter of the Maintenance Superintendents Association of California was held on May 6, 1971 at the Ox Bow Inn in Spring Valley, California.  Ralph Minga, County of San Diego, outlined the need for a chapter and the type of organization necessary to become a chapter of the statewide association. The group in attendance, twenty-four, was then polled. It was unanimously decided to proceed with the formation of a chapter.  Officers and an Executive Committee were then elected by nomination and those attending voted and approved.  The Officers and Executive Committee were as follows:


It was suggested that they meet again in one week to continue with the formation and by-laws that the association will operate under.  Regular meetings were recommended and approved for the second Wednesday of each month.  The meeting location was to be in the same area that the Committee members work.  Officers and Committee members discussed by-laws and possible programs for the following meeting, June 9, in the Oceanside area.

The upcoming statewide association meeting on May 21 and 22 in Paso Robles was also discussed.  Dues were established at $15/member for the first year, to be reviewed after the first year, and $50/year for sustaining members.  Eligible members decided upon were Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, or General Foremen, depending on the terminology used by different agencies.

In addition to Chapter Officers and Executive Committee Members, Charter Members included: 

In September of 1971, the Chapter received their Charter from the Maintenance Superintendents Association of California.

The boundaries of the Chapter covered San Diego and Imperial Counties.  It was anticipated that a new Inland Empire Chapter would eventually form, and Imperial County members would transfer membership to the Inland Empire Chapter.  The Southern Chapter’s Boundaries extend northerly from Oceanside, south to the Mexican Border, and easterly to El Cajon.  It is interesting to note that this Chapter did not require financial assistance to start their Chapter, other than from within.  Specifically, the vendor members contributed.

In the beginning, the roster held 18 members and as of 1986, the membership consisted of 52 regular members, 7 retired and 43 sustaining members, for a total of 102.  The drive for new members was focused on agencies not participating by advising their City Manager of the benefits of participation in the MSA.  New members received a membership badge, certificate of membership, roster, and by-laws.  The general meetings are held at Miramar Naval Air Station, each month.  The lunch cost was $8.00 per member and was at times, subsidized by the Chapter.  The meetings consist of a business section, a guest speaker, an equipment or product demonstration by a vendor and a raffle.  The vice President handled the agenda for each meeting.

A retired member was eligible to become a life member by a vote of the membership and receives a badge so stating.  The Chapter Board consisted of a President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, four Directors, and two MSA Executive Board members.  In 1986, the Past Presidents became the historian of the Chapter.  Prior to 1986, this Chapter operated under one officer as Secretary/Treasurer.  There is no vendor or retired members sitting on the Board.  Officers change office on a fiscal year basis, and did so at a special Installation Dinner Dance.

There were no educational programs offered by this Chapter due to the long-distance travel required to attend an educational institution that will conduct public works classes.

The Scholarship Program will start soon, going through San Diego State College, pending the MSA Executive Board approval of their $200 contribution upon request.  Chapter contribution is being considered in the immediate future.

The only two social events that take place are the installation of officers in June and the Christmas party, whereby the spouses and friends are welcomed to these functions.  For the first time, 1986, the Chapter selected an outstanding member and gave an award called the Bill Berry Award.  This award is given annually to recognize the member of the year.


The 1990’s proved to be difficult times for the San Diego Area Chapter.  It was difficult to recruit new members, especially new Board Members.  The following members went through the chairs several times and their loyalty and dedication to the San Diego Area Chapter of the MSA should not be forgotten.

  • Greg Clavier, City of Carlsbad; Executive Board President and nominated for the Peter Walsh Award several times.


  • Steve Kessler, Sweetwater Authority; Chapter President 2004-2005 and nominated for the Peter Walsh Award in 2006.


  • Ted Larson, City of Chula Vista; Nominated for the Peter Walsh Award in 1999 and served in all Board Positions including Chapter “Comedian”.


  • Frank Pedersen, City of La Mesa; Awarded the Peter Walsh Award in 1997 and served as Treasurer (Comptroller) for many years.  Frank is credited for keeping the Chapter in good financial standings and being the guardian of Chapter funds for many years.  His integrity and character were of the highest order.


In 2004, attendance at monthly meetings was sparce and most of the Board Members stopped participating.  Steve Kessler, Sweetwater Authority, continued attending and served as President for two years.  He assisted in communicating past Chapter practices and traditions to the newly formed Board and his enthusiasm was endless.  Jim Howell, City of Poway, joined the Board and recruited all of the new Board Members and played a key role in the revitalization of the Chapter.  Jim had served for many years on the LA/OC Board and the Inland Empire Chapter Board. He understood that the success of the Chapter was directly related to the benefits provided to the members. In 2005, the following new Board Members were elected, installed, and together formed a cohesive new Board of Directors focused on reinventing the San Diego MSA Chapter.

In the first months, the Board worked together to institute new and more meaningful meeting programs, offered several popular education classes, and computerized the membership database, invoicing and finances. Attendance at monthly meetings immediately increased and averaged fifty per meeting.  Many of the traditional events held each year by the Chapter were changed to better serve the members and increase participation.  As an example, competition events were added to the Annual Equipment Show at Lake Poway.  Member agencies were allowed to compete for a large, perpetual trophy that is presented each year to the winning agency.  By adding the competition and expanding the short training classes, attendance at this event increased dramatically.


The establishment of a new Public Works Education Program began in 2000.  Jim Howell, City of Poway, brought together a committee comprised of MSA and APWA members to co-sponsor the program.  This program was designed for lead workers, first level supervisors and managers. Initially, the curriculums for eight, three-unit classes were approved.  The first classes were taught by Jim Howell and Bud Oliveira and held the classes at the City of Poway.  Class curriculums were aligned with existing Public Works Programs at Santa Ana College and Citrus College in order to allow students the flexibility to transfer and in order to take online classes from any of the three colleges.  In the spring of 2008, six online classes were offered by the three schools.

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