As I am reflecting on writing this President’s message, I am thinking about how fortunate we are as structural engineers during these challenging times. For instance, many of us are in a position to telework and keep our businesses running smoothly. Of all the clients I have called, most still answer their phones, and many times our issues are resolved through videoconferencing.
The extra two hours I have gained in “commute time” per day goes a long way in keeping my stress level down, increasing my productivity and boosting my immune system. I even have time to watch videos that I receive from family and friends who post on social media. One of the videos I watched recently was pretty revealing and so funny that I could not stop laughing. I thought I would share it with you.
A rich woman gets a phone call from her maidservant. Her husband asks her, “Who was that?” The wife replies that it was the maidservant and that she will not be coming in that day to clean the house as she is teleworking. The husband says, “How can she telework?” The wife responds, “The maidservant will instruct us via videoconferencing on how to clean the house and we will deposit her salary into her bank account.”
This video was meant to give us a few laughs, but it brings a bigger picture into focus. The livelihoods of many people have been lost as their work depends on them being able to go to their workplaces to do the jobs they were hired to do. seriousness, how will you INVEST the time you’ve gained from teleworking or a shorter commute in your profession? The way to inoculate against future “Black Swan” events is to anticipate, be flexible and prepare in advance. In the words of a Roman philosopher, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
What We Build Matters
The coronavirus pandemic has taught us the importance of sheltering in place. As structural engineers, we design and construct buildings and houses that are functional but we often are not recognized for the positive things we provide. For instance, buildings and structures that performed well after an earthquake or a damaging windstorm rarely become models for case studies. It’s the building that collapses that makes the evening news, and involves lawsuits and finger-pointing.
I was watching a welding seminar sponsored by NCSEA by renowned welding subject-matter expert Duane Miller. As part of his talk, he referred to the collapse of the Hyatt Regency walkway on July 17, 1981, in Kansas City that killed 144 and injured 216. There was a lot of forensics done to understand why the structure collapsed. A change order that looked like the original design intent was approved but altered the load path resulting in the load to the connection being doubled.
Another famous building which I was personally involved with that experienced a partial collapse and had to be subsequently demolished, was the newly constructed Royal Palm Resort in Guam, which occurred during the 1993 Guam earthquake. Due to contractor changes, the finished structure was not built in conformance with the approved construction documents even though the building design met current seismic code standards. The absence of rebar ties and the creation of short columns were the prime reasons for the failure.
The reason I bring up these examples is to emphasize the importance of our work and the consequence of what happens when there is a lack of understanding of how the physical building will behave when subjected to prescribed loads and lack of proper quality control and inspection.
In the words of Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Our work goes a long way into building our reputation as a profession and as a leading professional association. Also, our work protects the public from natural and manufactured disasters by creating built environments that are resilient and sustain shock with minimum disruption. Following disasters, communities depend heavily on the structures we design and build to remain standing and functional at the same time.
Too Much or Not Enough (Safety Factor)
As some of you may know, the ASCE 7-22 committee is wrapping up its work and the opportunity (“Ballot Train”) to submit substantive ballot change proposals to the seismic subcommittee for this code development cycle has ended. One proposal was to permit a building type to be constructed (currently prohibited by code) with an R factor of 0.67 so that an elastic response could be guaranteed. So, I ask how much safety protection is enough? What is an acceptable level of risk and damage that we, as design professionals, are comfortable with? In all my years of earthquake engineering, this is a first.
I am sure this concept may be appealing to some but is this the right thing to do? What size members would you need to achieve this? Would this cause rebar congestion that could lead to other problems in the field and result in structures being built that are not in conformance with the design intent? Does the contractor omit rebar because it does not fit? Are the sizes of the steel that are being welded so thick that residual stresses get locked in and the actual capacity to resist the load is but a fraction of what is required to resist the design loads thus guaranteeing failure?
Another pet peeve of mine is the factor of safety applied to the capacity of post-installed anchors in concrete for the anchorage of nonstructural components. Should the factor of safety be 5, 10, or 8? How does the anchor perform in cracked versus uncracked concrete? What should the crack width be for anchor qualification? A statement that post-installed anchors attract cracks was made. So, is it better to have more anchors closely spaced with the potential for more cracking or fewer anchors with a lesser factor of safety?
Time to Invest in our Profession
In my last President’s message, I sent out a plea to each of you to get involved with your member organization by joining a SEAOCC committee, task force, or workgroup. From my personal experience, as well as from the experience and testimony of notable structural engineers, actively participating in a committee is an effective way to show up as a leader, enhance your career, and build your professional network.
Committees under the SEAOCC umbrella organization provide opportunities for members to collaborate with colleagues from California, as well as NCSEA, on cutting-edge research and critical issues affecting our profession. Beyond the obvious benefits, members in many cases have seen their investment of time working on committees, task forces, and working groups become a pathway to leadership positions within SEAOCC and have earned them greater “name recognition” and professional opportunities. I have therefore requested that all committee chairs explore how they can energize their committees by getting more of our SEAOCC membership involved.
Please consider how you can support SEAOCC by being involved in a committee where you can interact with your peers by sharing your ideas and knowledge. Invest a little of your time, share your thoughts on a technical issue or problem, and learn from the experts serving on these vital committees. The future of our organization depends on your active participation! We look forward to your continued membership, contributions, and support!
Roy Lobo, Ph.D., S.E.
2020-2021 SEAOCC President
Calendar of Events
August Board of Directors Meeting - August 11th
August 13th - Engineered Wood Products Detailing and Specification in Multi-Family/Light Commercial Construction: Best Practices for a Better Build
SE3 Covid-19 Virtual Work Discussion - August 20th
SEAOCC SE3 is excited to present our first event. During this webinar participants will have an opportunity to discuss a few of the many topics relating to our changing work environment due to COVID-19. The discussions will occur via Zoom with the choice of the following 3 topics:
Office Space Changes in a Virtual World
- Career Growth in a Virtual World
- Office Culture, Engagement, Morale, and Mentorship in a Virtual World
Click here to see our calendar for the most up-to-date information!
Laura Rice, S.E. - Chair
The membership committee is responsible for serving our members needs related to their membership, processing member dues renewals, and processing new member applications. This year, thanks to the addition of our new Executive Secretary, the Membership Committee would like to branch away from administrative tasks related to dues renewals, and work on engaging our members and serving your needs. Our goals are to:
Have more avenues for members to reach out to us with any and all membership questions and concerns.
Create processes to onboard new members and help them engage with the existing membership via dinner meetings and special events.
Attract new members to the organization and its many benefits
Help the committee chairs to engage with the membership and maintain active committees.
Encourage the Board to host a committee night event where members can meet with committee chairs and get involved.
We generally meet 3-4 times a year with the exception of during dues renewal, when we meet much more often for that purpose. We are open to any input from the membership on how we can restructure the committee to better serve you. Please reach out to our committee with your recommendations!
Younger Member Forum
Matt Quan, P.E. - Chair
The SEAOCC YMF (Young Member Forum) is a committee dedicated to providing emerging professionals in our industry with opportunities to meet fellow engineers, attend site/plant tours, discuss relevant topics related to engineering, and attend fun mixer events and activities. Typically, we have an event every 1-2 months. During this time of working from home, we plan on having virtual happy hours to check in with our group in lieu of in-person activities.
Anna Tekautz, S.E. - Chair
Our mission is to raise awareness and promote dialogue on issues impacting practicing structural engineers in our local community in an effort to positively impact work environments, increase employee satisfaction and retention, and create a more engaged and diverse workforce
We meet monthly via Microsoft Teams, with additional meetings near event dates as needed. Our first event is a Zoom discussion on August 20. We hope to have two more events this FY. At least one event will be on the subject of diversity and equity. The second event is unknown, but may be a panel discussion on engagement. To keep SE3 on the top of people’s minds, we provide an update in every newsletter, even if it is just a link to an article of interest.
Disaster Emergency Services
Steven T. Hiner, S.E. - Chair
The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Safety Assessment Program (SAP) utilizes volunteers and mutual aid resources to provide professional engineers, architects, and certified building inspectors to assist local governments in the safety evaluation of their built environment in the aftermath of a disaster, such as a major earthquake. The program is managed by Cal OES, in cooperation with professional organizations such as SEAOC, AIA, ASCE, CALBO and ACIA. Cal OES issues Disaster Service Worker (DSW) registration ID cards to all SAP Evaluators that have successfully completed the SAP Evaluator training requirements.
Statewide, the SEAOC Disaster Emergency Services (DES) Committee is charged with:
coordination of SEAOC volunteer Safety Assessment Program (SAP) Evaluators during a deployment
acting as SEAOC liaison to the Cal OES SAP Steering Committee
provide information to other organizations regarding SEAOC’s Disaster Emergency Services and the Cal OES SAP
Because of the close proximity of Cal OES headquarters to most of the SEAOCC membership, the SEAOCC DES Committee typically refers the SEAOCC membership to Cal OES SAP Evaluator trainings offered several times a year at the Cal OES headquarters building in Mather, CA. This full day training is free to attendees and as a result, is much more economical to the attendees as compared to a SAP Evaluator training were it to be offered through SEAOCC directly. Cal OES posts SAP Evaluator training opportunities at the bottom of their webpage at https://www.caloes.ca.gov/cal-oes-divisions/recovery/disaster-mitigation-technical-support/technical-assistance/safety-assessment-program which includes the free Cal OES sponsored SAP Evaluator training as well as SAP Evaluator training (for a fee) offered by other professional organizations such as AIA, ASCE, CALBO, NCSEA, and the member sections of SEAONC, SEAOSC, and SEAOSD. Some of the SAP Evaluator trainings are available online (for a fee).
Currently, the SEAOCC Safety Assessment Volunteer (SAV) roster consists of only 58 Cal OES certified SAP Evaluators. This number is significantly lower in comparison to the other DES Committees of SEAONC, SEAOSC and SEAOSD. Engineers that are listed as Cal OES approved SAP Evaluators, that are noted as an "SEA" resource on the Cal OES SAP database, but are not on any SEAOC member section DES callout roster will not be utilized in a major earthquake disaster because they were not on a SEAOCC, SEAONC, SEAOSD, or SEAOSD callout roster.
During fiscal year 2020/2021, the SEAOCC DES Committee will be attempting to increase the number of SAP Evaluators on our SAV roster by posting upcoming SAP Trainings periodically in the monthly newsletter, and by contacting Cal OES approved SAP Evaluators (assigned to SEA) who reside in the SEAOCC area but are not currently on the SAV roster.
Matt Melcher, S.E. - Chair
The SEAOCC Business forum will continue to meet on a monthly basis via video conference for discussion, guest speakers, and information exchange. If you wish to be added to the email distribution list please email [email protected] or [email protected].
The Business Forum was formed as a venue for the principals and key employees of member firms to share ideas and interact on professional and business issues common to the practice of structural engineering. Different from other SEAOCC Committees, the Business Forum is financially self-sustaining through dues paid by member firms. All interested SEAOCC member firms are encouraged to send a representative to the Forum’s monthly meeting where discussion topics often include business, management, financial, and legal issues.
Existing Building Committee
Eric Fuller, S.E. - Chair
I am taking this opportunity to attempt a resuscitation of our efforts from last year. In 2019, the committee met in August as preparation for a discussion of an initiative to reengage the statewide EBC in the update and further development of the SEAOC CEBC Commentary which was originally published for the 2010 CEBC. As part of that effort I spent time researching the IEBC Commentary developed by ICC. While relatively sparse, it is a still a useful document. I discussed this aspect at the convention meeting along with our current state and hopeful direction. While the response from the State meeting was positive, it really focused on how this document could be a repository for all things related to existing buildings that need a home in order to become legacy material. A place where members can go to find the institutional knowledge of our Association. This was discussed by our central committee in September as a debrief from the state meeting and there was general consensus (as I recall) that a CEBC Commentary was not the appropriate format for what would really become a collection of articles based on existing building topics. So, I am looking forward to a new adventure to try and develop a document that can stand as a legacy element on the SEAOC website that represents the current state of thought regarding the evaluation and retrofit of existing buildings. Join me.
I will be starting monthly meetings in September at the same time as last year on the SEAOCC zoom platform. First Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm.
Joyce Copelan, P.E. - Chair
Thank you to members of SEAOCC for participating in our outreach activities, inspiring Girl Scouts and the college age helpers who have volunteered along with us at the big events. We will need to be creative in our efforts to find new ways for outreach, moving activities from crowded centralized events with shared materials to small remote family groups in locations such as home gardens, parks, and in home schools. We can continue to connect with the people who we have connected with before, such as the staff and leaders of Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, sharing our ideas and feedback for new activities using commonly found items which most people might already have in their homes, and alternate items which work too. Personal interactions and communications, including remote availability to respond to questions by phone or email, will continue to be as important as organized stations which are set up with fun hands-on activities, activity information sheets or listings of websites. The current challenges present great opportunities to find new ways to be creative in outreach to our communities.
Senior Structural Engineer
The Division of the State Architect in Sacramento is accepting applications for a full-time Senior Structural Engineer. DSA is responsible for the plan review and construction oversight for schools, K-12, Community Colleges, and state-owned essential service buildings in California. DSA offers very competitive benefits, including a defined benefit retirement plan, and monthly salary range of $10,220 to 12,789.
Eligibility to apply for this position requires completing a short online examination at the link below and selecting “Take the Senior Structural Engineer examination”:
If you have questions regarding the Sacramento Regional Office, please contact Dan Levernier ([email protected]) at 916-323-3013.
City of Sacramento
Aug. 12, 2020
summer ymf virtual happy hour
By Matt Quan, SEAOCC YMF Chair
Things have been quiet on the YMF front this summer while we collectively look to work through the ongoing situation with the pandemic. While YMF typically hosts a variety of social, networking, and educational events in person, we are looking to the virtual realm to be our guide during this time. Last week YMF hosted its second virtual happy hour during the pandemic in a “small” showing of members (I’ll be looking to add calendar invites so it’s on everyone’s radar in the future, thanks Leticia!). I’m looking forward to chatting with more of you over the next few months, be that in a SEAOCC YMF event setting, or if you are looking to have a beverage with someone on a random Tuesday night (or any night, virtually of course), feel free to reach out to me and we can set something up. With that said, keep on the lookout for our events and feel free to reach out me or the Board if you have any questions about SEAOCC and the path forward for our organization. I leave you with this photo, no caption necessary:
Welcome New Members
NEW MEMBERS POSTED ON August 11, 2020
Lilliann Lai - Lionakis - Associate
John Cooley - Burne Engineering - Student
NEW MEMBERS approved ON august 11, 2020
Jennifer Elwood, Jacobs Engineering - Member S.E.
Amaya Davis, Miyamoto - Associate
Timothy Tsukamoto, Miyamoto - Member S.E.
Ryan Petucci, Advanced Structural Design - Associate
Membership Dues Reminder
Membership Invoices Sent
By Laura Rice, S.E., Membership Chair
Hello SEAOCC!! It’s July, and along with the sweltering heat of summer comes a new fiscal year. As such, your membership renewals were emailed on July 2nd to the address on file for those paying as individuals, and to firm representatives for companies participating in firm renewals. If you have not done so already, please check your status and renew your membership dues by loging into your Starchapter account available via the seaocc.org website under "Member Area". There you can find the links necessary to pay via credit card or check. Please note that per our bylaws, a late fee will be applied beginning October 15th.
If your membership grade is incorrect, please notify us as soon as possible via email sent to [email protected]. Please also review and update your membership profile. Updating your member profile will allow us, SEAOC, and NCSEA to better serve you. If your firm participates in the firm renewal program, please check with your firm administrator that your name and correct email address is on email list sent back to SEAOCC with the payment so that there is no interruption in your membership. We look forward to your continued membership, participation, and support!
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Scheduled for December 2, 3, and 4th. Registration to be announced.
Ask SEAOCC Leadership
You're about to get into a fight, what song comes on as your soundtrack?
"Toby Keith - As Good As I Once Was." Jermey Kellogg
"Physical fights don't interest me, but I must get into a lot of mental fights because three songs come to mind immediate to prepare me for battle: Andra Day's Rise Up, Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down, and Kalie Shorr's Fight Like a Girl." - Anna Tekautz
"The Will Ferrell version of Por Ti Volare from Step Brothers." - James Langelier
"I would like to think my soundtrack for entering battle would be some majestic classical music. But with my luck it would be some cherry Disney song." - Amy Hopkins
"I can't imagine getting pushed far enough to fight someone, but if I was...T. Swift - Look What you Made Me Do" - Laura Rice
"First song that comes to mind is Eminem, Lose Yourself." - Matt Melcher
"Under Pressure, Queen & David Bowie." - Sonia Eliseo
"We're Not Gonna Take It - Twister Sister." - Jerry Yee.
"Gimme Three Steps by Lynyrd Skynyrd." - David Palmer
"I have no idea, I'd have to Google it." - Devon Lumbard
Board of Directors
Tim Piland, S.E.
Ben Faircloth, S.E.
Director - Central District
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.