January 2021 Print

President's Message

january 2021 

Every new year brings new hope, new resolutions, and goals for a brighter and more prosperous future. With COVID-19 cases spiking in California and reported deaths the highest in December than any previous month, I sure hope 2021 is better than this last year and a measure of our resilience. I hope my message finds you, your family and friends safe and healthy. As you know, ICU capacity is down to 0% in some places in California, and we all need to do our part to slow the spread and give much-needed relief to our health care workers and frontline essential workers. 

Over the holiday, I was mostly "sheltering in place" and catching up with friends and family on Zoom, doing a little research, and watching good old holiday movies. Like you, I am realizing that the New Year has not even started and my calendar for January is filling up fast with commitments. While this may sound like a complaint, it is not. It means I still have a job when many Americans are out of work. For this, I am grateful and give credit to the career path I chose all those years ago.

Are you in the Profession you Signed up for?

For those of you that read the article, “How Much Respect is Enough?” that was published in the December 2020 edition of Structure Magazine, the question that I have for our community is: Are we as structural engineers saving lives in the same way that doctors do? Or, are we just doing our jobs? To quote David Pierson, 

“Love of Structural Engineering, not fame or wealth, should be your motivation for choosing this profession for your career. Once that choice is made, go earn your fame and wealth.”

To answer the question, “Are we saving lives?”, my response is YES! In fact, we do a lot more than save lives. We build structures and environments that ensure that living is designed to meet our needs, whether it be hospitals, schools, warehouses, performing arts centers, arenas, apartment complexes, residential homes, etc., the list goes on. For example, hospital environments are designed to provide the ability to care for our most vulnerable patients in need of medical attention and to minimize infection. Once we decide what environment we want to create and what function that structure should provide, the sky is the limit in meeting the structure's intended purpose. 

Additionally, there is a lot of chatter about designing beyond code. The design should be carefully weighed between the cost and benefit to society. What are the potential impacts on the owners and tenants and the community as a whole if functionality is lost? Is designing for Functional Recovery really beyond code? Or is it merely paying special attention to those vulnerable elements in a building's infrastructure, failure of which would prevent speedy functional recovery? You may have heard of the old proverb “For the want of a nail…” You know where I am going with this. 

We need to take pride in what we do, and celebrate our profession and our victories, and respect will follow. Ashraf Habibullah, the President and CEO of Computers and Structures created a short video that was presented at the 2020 SEAOC convention to highlight this point. To view his presentation click on this link: www.csiamerica.com/ashrafsfilm.

My few Takeaways from the SEAOC Convention

I am unsure if you had the opportunity to attend the virtual annual SEAOC convention, but in my opinion, it was a great success. While the format was not ideal and we did not get the opportunity to interact with one another, we had great presenters and opportunities to ask questions. Laura Rice, our membership chair, presented a paper on “Seismic Evaluation of Existing Wood Framed Buildings using ASCE 41-17”. Well done, Laura! 

Ron Hamburger from Simpson Gumpertz & Heger gave us an insight into and update on the status of the leaning Millennium Tower in downtown San Francisco. If you did not get a chance to hear his presentation, which he delivered live, it was excellent. Alan Adams from Bentley Systems spoke about the impact of mesh size and properties in the analysis of semi-rigid diaphragms. It was an interesting talk and I immediately put that concept to the test with a problem I was working on. And yes, mesh size matters! How fine the mesh depends on the required accuracy. For more details on these presentations, the 2020 Annual SEAOC Convention proceedings are available for download on the SEAOC website (since your SEAOCC membership includes membership to SEAOC, be sure to log in on the SEAOC website for your free download).

The convention also featured two events that did not require registration. The SEAOC Forum on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: An Open Discussion for a More Open Profession, and the 2020 Excellence in Structural Engineering Award Winners, combined with the 2020 College of Fellows Inductees. Buehler Engineering, Inc. received an award of merit for its innovative and cost-effective retrofit of the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District Headquarters building. And Ryan Kersting was inducted into the SEAOC College of Fellows. 

Click here for a recording of the DEI event, and here for a recording of EISE award winners and 2020 fellow inductees.  

As we close the chapter on 2020 and look to a brighter 2021 with COVID-19 vaccines being distributed across the country and thus allowing our lives to soon take on a semblance of normalcy, I encourage each of you to actively participate in our SEAOCC activities and committees. Please step up and fill the areas where there is a void. The success of our association depends on you! 

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

2020-2021 SEAOCC President

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Calendar of Events

Jan 8

Sustainability Committee 

Upcoming Carbon Related Code and Green Building Initiatives, Contact Lisa Podesto


Jan 12

Board of Directors Meeting 

Virtual Meeting, Contact [email protected] 


jan 12

Membership meeting

2020 T.R. Higgens Lecture , Virtual Meeting, Contact [email protected] 

Register now! View more information here. 

jan 27

SE3 Career development Panel Discussion Webinar

Contact Anna Tekautz

View event information here.

feb 5

SE3 Committee Meeting 

Contact Anna Tekautz 

feb 9

Board of Directors Meeting 

Virtual Meeting, Contact [email protected] 

feb 10

SEAOCC Webinar 

Top 10 Healthcare Facilities Opportunities for Structural Engineers in 2021, contact Sonia Elisio
Feb 12

Sustainability Committee 

Review SE2050 Challenge, Contact Lisa Podesto

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Platinum Sponsors


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Committee Reports

SE3 Commitee 

By Anna Tekautz, S.E., SE3 Commiteee Chair

Please join us at our next event on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 from 12 – 1:30 pm. The event is a panel discussion with four industry leaders followed by a Zoom breakout room networking session. Panelists will discuss a variety of topics related to work experiences and career development. Panelists will share their experiences during challenging phases of their careers and provide tips and best practices to persist, persevere, and thrive in the fulfilling industry of structural engineering. Topics will cater to engineers with fewer than 10 years’ experience who may be seeking PE or SE licensure, although all members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Attendees will be able to submit questions in advance during registration, or during the session using the chat box.  

The four panelists are well respected leaders in our industry and have a wealth of knowledge to share with you. Join the conversation with panelists:

  • Randy Collins, Principal and Founder of FTF Engineer, Inc.
  • Joyce Fuss, Associate at Lionakis
  • Jason Horwedel, Principal at Buehler
  • Ken O’Dell, Principal at MHP


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.

YMF Ugly Sweater Recap

By Matt Quan, P.E., YMF Chair

SEAOCC YMF hosted its first virtual Ugly Sweater Competition in mid-December. It was great to see everyone bringing on the holiday spirit with fun, festive, and wacky wears. Congrats to our 1st place winner Laura Hernandez-Bassal for her timely COVID mask ugly sweater, followed by 2nd place winner Leticia Valenzuela and 3rd place winners Jeret Buerger and Rachel Leung. Hoping we can resume normal holiday celebrations in 2021, but time will tell. YMF will continue to keep the momentum going with new virtual events this year, keep your eyes on the lookout for our virtual coffee hour at the end of January/early February.

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Gold Sponsors

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Job Forum

Job Posting
Dec. 22, 2020


Job Posting
Dec. 22, 2020


Job Posting
Dec. 22, 2020


Job Seeker
Nov. 25, 2020

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Congratulations to Newly Licensed Engineers!

With the beginning of 2021, we'll like to offer congratulations to all members who earned their engineering licenses in 2020. This past year, restrictions caused the cancellation of the NCEES April paper examinations and the computer test centers also had various closures periods and restrictions.

Chris Des Champs, S.E.

Evan Grey, S.E.

Rachel Leung, S.E.

Gillian Montgomery, S.E.

Matthew Namy, S.E.

Kyle Baxter, P.E.

Emily Jahansouz, P.E.

Daryl Santos, P.E.

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Board of Directors

Roy Lobo, S.E.


Vice President
Devon Lumbard, S.E.


Tim Piland, S.E.


Past President
Ben Faircloth, S.E.


Director - Central District
Allison Konwinski, S.E.


Director - Central District
Rachel Leung, S.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, S.E.


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