The Akron-Canton Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) was founded in 1947 by Wendell R. LaDue. Prior to formation of the Akron-Canton Section, civil engineers in Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, and Wayne counties were parts of the Cleveland and Central Ohio Sections. Seeking closer representation and a more centralized location to serve members of the eight-county area, informal discussions of beginning a new section aimed at serving the southern portion of Northeast Ohio began in 1943. In 1946, Mr. LaDue led a group of 38 members who petitioned ASCE National requesting the establishment of a section in Akron. This motion was formally approved by ASCE National at the January 1947 Board of Direction meeting.
Much of the Akron Section's activities during 1947 centered around developing a Section Constitution. Development of a constitution is a prerequisite to becoming a fully-vested section in ASCE. The writing of the constitution was the group's most important task, and much assistance was provided by the Cleveland Section leadership. It should be noted that the separation from the Cleveland Section was done on amiable terms, and much of the early Section correspondence refers to the Cleveland Section as the "Parent Section." An equally important goal of the group involved generating interest not only with prospective members, but also the difficult task of redirecting the allegiance of current Cleveland Section members who would be impacted by the creation of a new section. This second group of people would be the core of experience the fledgling Section would need to draw upon to ensure its success. Mr. LaDue proved to be the expert organizer as the Akron Section membership grew to approximately 80 in the first year. This led to the Akron Section gaining full membership in ASCE.
Through the years, significant support of the members in the Canton area warranted the renaming of the Section to the Akron-Canton Section. The Akron-Canton Section's service area was expanded to include Harrison and Coshocton Counties. The Section's historical ties to the Cleveland Section are still memorialized with the Annual Joint Section Meeting held every November. In addition, very strong ties between the Akron-Canton Section and the University of Akron were developed. During the early years of the Section, the University provided significant assistance through faculty support and use of the facilities for meeting locations.
Today, the Akron-Canton Section provides local support to approximately 350 members. The benefits and services provided by the local section are best identified in its outstanding emailed newsletters, section meetings, scholarships, technical seminars, and social functions. Meetings are held monthly from September through May, providing technical presentations, general interest topics, and facility tours. There are very strong ties between the Section and the University of Akron, providing benefit to the students and their future employers. This relationship reflects Akron-Canton Section's objective to promote professionalism and advancement of the engineering profession.