September 2020 Print

President's Message

Last month, I attended the SEAOCC Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Committee event and am happy to report that it went extremely well.  It was also the first webinar they hosted using the new Zoom platform. There were three simultaneous topics from which participants could choose.  The topics were related to our changing work environment due to COVID-19. The three choices were:

  1. Office Space Changes in a Virtual World
  2. Career Growth in a Virtual World
  3. Office Culture, Engagement, Morale, and Mentorship in a Virtual World

I attended the “Office Space Changes in a Virtual World” event hosted by Krista Looza and Kayley Efstathiu and was impressed to see how fast structural engineering firms have adapted to our new reality while at the same time providing valuable service to their clients.  During this event, it was evident that the issues all structural firms are facing are similar. In addition, our changed work environment is especially a challenge if there are new employees where the relationship between the new employee and the rest of the office staff has not yet been developed.  There is also a sense that employees and engineering firm principals want to get back to the office and experience the sense of community they built over many years.  

I am told that the other two sessions also were equally well attended with a total of about 30 of our members participating in the three events. This is encouraging as SEAOCC is encouraging participation in its various committees.  If there are new ways you think that SEAOCC can benefit its members, please let me know.

The SE3 Mission

For those of you who are not familiar with the Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Committee, its mission is to study and promote engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession primarily by conducting a nationwide biennial survey of structural engineering professionals.  The biennial report documents the findings from each survey and notes recommended best practices that stem from the findings.  The SE3 also hosts topics that promote mentorship, gender equality, employee satisfaction, career planning, and work-life balance which are topics addressed in the survey.  More recently, SE3 has advocated for racial justice in light of the events happening in our country.  SEAOCC supports and promotes SE3 efforts.  If you can help or need help in the areas where SE3 is focused, please contact the SE3 chair Anna Tekautz.  

Diversity Equality and Inclusion (DEI)

In the Editorial of the August 2020 edition of Structure Magazine, “United in Action,” author Emily Guglielmo makes a plea for our voice and active participation to advance Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and fight racial injustice.  Emily states that our profession does not reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. However, Emily is speaking from a national platform that represents NCSEA and her statements may not be entirely true at least here in California.  But let’s assume that her statement is accurate that reminds me of a quote by John Pavlovitz: 

“Diversity will always err on the side of the marginalized and always be an inconvenience to the privileged because diversity seeks justice. It demands benevolence for those who are not experiencing it.”

The means for breaking down barriers for diversity and being more inclusive is communication. When we interact with people of different ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, religions, races, and regions, it creates understanding. We realize that we have a lot in common and we can all benefit from our shared diversity.   

Communication: What Can We Do Better?

One of the great advocates of our profession is Ashraf Habibullah, the President, and CEO of Computers and Structures. He made a statement at the SEAOCC convention that still sticks with me. I am paraphrasing here but he said we are only earning 15% of our potential because we are not communicating our true worth.  We are not in front of the cameras touting our successes and how buildings will perform in a natural or man-made disaster.  Unfortunately, this is true.  Structural engineers do a less than adequate job in explaining to building owners how they should expect their building to perform using the different approaches possible for structural design.  For example, are owners told that moment frame buildings have certain advantages, wider bay spacing that accommodates architectural design better, but also has certain limitations, such as more non-structural damage to gypsum board than other more rigid building types because it is more flexible?  We are getting better at communicating our message with the new push towards functional recovery.  See the treatise of past and upcoming articles in SEAOC Talk on “Structural Engineer’s Guide to Become Leaders in Community Resilience.”  

Don’t Stay Hidden!

To get our ideas to bear fruit, we need to champion those ideas.  Without championing, our ideas will die on the vine.  Are we willing to step out of our comfort zone and grab the opportunities that are available to us? Are we going to be that champion?  There are numerous avenues to get your message out and many opportunities to display your talents!  And, this can all be accomplished through the SEAOCC platform.  Our Continuing Education Chair, Sonia Eliseo, is looking for presenters on topics of interest to our members.  Do not stay invisible! 

Roy Lobo, Ph.D., S.E.

2020-2021 SEAOCC President

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Calendar of Events

Sep 8

SEAOCC Board of Directors Meeting

Virtual Meeting


Sep 18

se3 Commitee

Analysis and pitfalls in concrete collector design.

Sep 24

SEAOCC Webinar: Cast-in-Place Concrete Slab Collectors

Analysis and pitfalls in concrete collector design.

Register Now

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Platinum Sponsors


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Committee Reports

SE3 Committee Covid-19 Virtual work Discussion

By: Anna Tekautz, S.E., Chair

SEAOCC SE3 hosted our very first event on August 20. We had 4 topic leaders, 6 committee members, and over 30 attendees spread across three Zoom rooms to discuss challenges related to our indefinite work from home status.  Topics were:

  1. Office Space Changes in a Virtual World
  2. Career Growth in a Virtual World
  3. Office Culture, Engagement, Morale, and Mentorship in a Virtual World

The event was a great introduction to SE3. We hope all attendees found value in the discussion and that they and others will join us at future SE3 events.  

Positive feedback from attendees included:

  • I liked how it was interactive and invited a discussion rather than just a normal presentation.
  • Really liked the interactive format and short surveys. I liked hearing how other offices are handling office culture changes related to stay-at-home workplace.
  • I loved hearing different perspectives of people at different points in their careers. It was nice that it was discussion based, the topics were relevant because we were the ones who came up with them.


If you are interested in joining the SE3 committee to help make an impact or have topics you would like the committee to discuss, please reach out to Anna Tekautz at [email protected].

Updated SEAOCC Sponsorship Offerings – 2021 Coming Soon!

By: Devon Lumbard, S.E.

As you are aware, the challenges and restrictions brought on by COVID-19 prevented some of SEAOCC’s planned events from being realized last year and those challenges continue to exist.  One of the key lessons many organizations are learning from COVID-19 is the need for greater flexibility.  

As such, SEAOCC has made some strategic updates to the sponsorship program beginning in 2021 to enhance the flexibility of the program, creating a base sponsorship level with optional “add-ons”.  The rates for each grade of Firm and Industry sponsorship (Platinum, Gold, and Silver) have been tailored to align with the benefit provided.  The base sponsorship focuses on recognition of our sponsors through the website, newsletter, and dinner signage.  You’ll notice updates to our website and newsletter to give more prominent recognition to our sponsors, as they are a vital source of income to support SEAOCC’s activities.  The base rate for each sponsorship level has mostly been lowered to attract more sponsors, and as additional/specific sponsorship opportunities have been moved from the base sponsorship to “add-ons”.  The add-ons include various sponsorships for specific events including the SEAOCC Golf Tournament at Teal Bend, Student Competition Awards Night and the President’s Award Dinner.  The add-on structure also allows SEAOCC to provide a reimbursement if an event is not held.

SEAOCC remains committed to its sponsors and its membership and strives hard to keep the mission and vison of SEAOCC alive and thriving!  The updates to the 2021 SEAOCC Sponsorships are being finalized now and will be available on the website within the next few weeks.  Hopefully these updates provide our existing sponsors additional flexibility to continue supporting SEAOCC and facilitate additional firms and industry partners to become sponsors.

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Gold Sponsors

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Job Forum

Senior Structural Engineer

PZSE Structural Engineers

Job Posting
Aug. 31, 2020


Job Seeker
Aug. 12, 2020


Associate Civil Engineer

City of Sacramento

Job Posting
Aug. 12, 2020


Aug. 6, 2020

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Welcome New Members

new members posted on september 8, 2020

Tyler Wilfong, Advanced Structural Design - Associate
Christopher Hilson, Degenkolb - Member S.E.
Kale Stiverson, Lionakis - Associate
Rubinjeet Sangha - Student

new members approved on september 8, 2020

John Cooley, Burne Engineering - Student
Lillian Lai, Lionakis - Associate

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YMF - Apply Now for Scholarships for NCSEA Virtual Structural Engineering Submit

NCSEA is offering scholarships to young members to this year's Virtual Structural Engineering Summit, being held November 4–6 (& November 10–24 with the Rebroadcast Sessions).

Recipients will receive free registration to the Virtual Summit which includes all educational sessions, access to the trade show, and the NCSEA Awards Event.

To qualify for a scholarship, the applicant must be:

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Board of Directors

Roy Lobo


Vice President
Devon Lumbard


Tim Piland, S.E.


Past President
Ben Faircloth, S.E.


Director - Central District
Allison Konwinski


Director - Central District
Rachel Leung, P.E.


Director - Central District
Laura Rice, S.E.


Director - Central District
Louay Shamrokh, S.E.


Director - East District
Brett McElhaney, S.E.


Director - North District
Jeremy Kellogg, S.E.


Director - South District
Doug Mayer, S.E.


Nick Herskedal


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Ask SEAOCC Leadership

"I get paid to do that math that other people hated in school so that I can tell people how to attach things togheter to make a building stand." - Amy Hopkins

"I am an architect's conscience reminding them that the sky can fall." - Matt Melcher

"I make sure that your house doesn't fall down when the wind blows or the ground shakes." - Laura Rice

"I take unrealistic concepts for structures from other people and make safe and constructible." - Jeremy Kellog

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