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SEAOC Talk - February 2018
February 2018
Vol. 7, Issue 2

A Message from SEAOC President Janah Risha

SEAOC and the four MOs run on volunteer power!  It never ceases to amaze me to see the commitment and dedication of the committee chairs and members. This was very evident over the last two months with the flurry of legislative activities that required swift and focused efforts, lead by the Legislative Committee with input and support from the Existing Buildings Committee and the Resilience Committee. The members of all three committees rose to the challenge led by Daniel Zepeda, chair of Existing Buildings, Josh Gebelein, chair of Resilience, and Ryan Kersting, chair of Legislative. They all worked so hard to develop SEAOC’s recommendations and amendments to AB 1857 and AB 2681; and for that we should all be very grateful. Then, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ryan Kersting went the extra 5,486 miles and continued to work on behalf of SEAOC on his way to Paris and while he was vacationing with his family there. If this is not the ultimate example of dedication and commitment, I don’t know what is. So Ryan, a heartfelt thank you on behalf of the rank and file of SEAOC.


The SEAOC Board of Directors has been quite busy tackling a multitude of issues; Here are a few of the items that we are considering, with updates…

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SEAOC Legislative Committee Update - AB 1857 and AB 2681

By Ryan Kersting, S.E., Chair of SEAOC Legislative Committee


The SEAOC Legislative Committee has had a very busy start to the 2018 California legislative session. Before diving into the specifics, it is worth starting with a little background.

The SEAOC Legislative Committee consists of voting members from each SEAOC region and is charged with monitoring legislation and regulations at the state level (and sometimes federal level) in order to provide recommendations to the SEAOC Board for the Board to consider what action and/or formal position SEAOC will take, if any, and what assistance might be requested from the SEAOC technical committees. (Any formal positions on statewide legislation are taken by the SEAOC Board, and not by any SEAOC technical committee, any regional board, or any regional committee.) The SEAOC Legislative Committee arrives at recommendations to the Board by considering input from the appropriate technical committee(s) and coordinating that input with additional non-technical, public policy, and/or political aspects of the issue under consideration. When a position is taken by the SEAOC Board, the SEAOC Legislative Committee is usually then also charged with disseminating, implementing, and advocating for that position. The SEAOC Legislative Committee also seeks collaboration with other professional organizations as much as possible.

At this point in the 2018 legislative cycle, the SEAOC Legislative Committee has been following a number of bills, most notably AB 1857 and AB 2681 which both represent significant opportunities for SEAOC to provide expert opinion regarding improving seismic safety as well as related opportunities for public outreach and education...

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Engineers Week 2018

ENGINEERS WEEK - SEAOCC Vice President Ali Sumer (fourth from left) and President Todd Kemen (second from right) joined colleagues from ASCE, ACEC, CalGeo and PECG in the Capitol on Feb. 22 to be honored by resolution on the Senate Floor as part of Engineers Week.

Getting to Know Your SEAOC Leaders

Ashley Zautcke

Project Engineer

Coffman Engineers


Current role or positions held in SEAOC or MO:

SEAOSD EiSE Awards Chair, SEAOC 2017 Convention Finance Chair


Why are you active in the organization:

A friend convinced me to take the position of EiSE Awards Chair.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but it ended up reminding me why I chose to be a structural engineer.  One of my favorite things about organizing the awards is sitting in on the judging session and hearing what the judges find exceptional about each project. Working with judges from varying backgrounds, including NAVFAC, DSA, and private consultants, offers a unique perspective on each project.

This past year, I served as the 2017 SEAOC Convention Finance Chair, which was a huge growing opportunity for me.  I learned to balance budgets, negotiate, and pay vendors.  I realize that while we are all structural engineers, we’re also part of a business.  It’s important that we understand how our business works, and being Convention Finance Chair helped me better understand that. Plus, I met a lot of great people.


What’s one interesting thing no one knows about you?

I’ve not spent much time out of the country despite growing up in an active duty military family. I decided to do something about that.  This summer I’m spending 2 weeks traveling through Europe on a castles and landmark structures tour to see the structures that fascinated me as a child and led to my decision to become a structural engineer.

2018 SEAOC Convention Update

Call for papers is due March 16. To submit your abstract click HERE.

J W Marriott has opened up SEAOC’s 2018 Convention room block. Our room rate is $190/night. You may reserve your room directly at the following website: or by calling their Passkey Reservations @ 877-622-3140.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. The Registration Form and information regarding the various events can be found on the Exhibitors Registration website at


SEAONC Launches "Deconstructed" Podcast

SEAONC’s Public Outreach Committee has been busy the past few months developing a podcast about structural and earthquake engineering. Their goal is to help people be more informed about the built world they live in and the professionals who helped to build it. The target audience is non-engineers with a interest in science and engineering, so they focus on explaining our field in an easy-to-understand and approachable way. You can find the first episode on wood framed buildings with expert Kelly Cobeen here. We are only just beginning, so this is the most important time for you to send us constructive feedback to help us improve; feedback can be provided using this form.

To volunteer or find out more, please email us at

Listen Now

Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards 2018

Through their respective Excellence in Structural Engineering (EiSE) Awards programs, each regional Member Organization (MO) recognizes members and firms that demonstrate excellence in structural engineering practice and project work.

At the state level, the SEAOC EiSE Awards bring together a cross section of projects completed by California Structural Engineers, recognized by their local MO in receiving an Award of Excellence in a celebration of “The Best of the Best.”

Project entrants for 2018 will submit projects through SEAONC, SEAOSC, SEAOCC, or SEAOSD, as appropriate for project location and MO affiliation. The MO Awards will be recognized as part of the end of the year monthly meeting and Awards ceremony. Projects receiving an Award of Excellence at the regional MO level will be eligible for and automatically entered in the SEAOC Awards program to be held at the Annual SEAOC Convention.

Please watch for announcements and updates from your MO for your local 2018 entry packet and applicable deadlines.

Call for NCSEA 2018 Summit Abstracts

The 2018 NCSEA Structural Engineering Summit Committee is seeking 60 minute presentations on best-design practices, new codes and standards, recent projects, advanced analysis techniques, management, and business practices. Abstracts are due March 30th.

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Upcoming Events

March 1 - SEAONC ATC-45 Seminar 


March 7 - SEAOSC LA Dinner Event


March 8 - SEAOCC Wood Design & Detailing Seminar


March 13 - SEAOSD & ACI San Diego Joint Luncheon: “ACI Reference Specifications: Unraveling Concrete Specs


March 14 - SEAONC Mini Seminar: Structural Optimization


March 15 - SEAOSD Professionals Mixer for AIASD/ASHRAE/SEAOSD

March 22 - SEAOCC Steel Innovations Stockton Steel Plant Tour and Lunch-and-Learn


March 27 - SEAONC Business Forum: Strategies for Successful Negotiations


March 29 - SEAONC Building Appendages (Balconies, Stairs, Etc.): Updates for Structural Engineers


April 4 - SEAOSC LA Dinner Event


April 9 - SEAOSD Post-Disaster Safety Assessment Evaluator Training Workshop


April 30 - SEAOSD 17th Annual Golf Tournament


In Memoriam: Steven A. Mahin

We are saddened to announce Stephen A. Mahin, the Byron L. and Elvira E. Nishkian Professor Emeritus of Structural Engineering in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, passed away on February 10, 2018. Dr. Mahin served as a SEAONC Board Director from 2009-2011, became an Honorary Member in 2011, and was awarded SEAONC’s Helmut Krawinkler Award in 2017 for his outstanding leadership in implementing state-of-the-art research into structural engineering practice. Steve was an active member of SEAONC since 1983, and touched many of our lives as a professor, colleague, and mentor. He will be deeply missed.

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 2015 IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual Volumes 1-3

The 2015 IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual provides a step-by-step approach to applying the structural provisions of the 2015 International Building Code and referenced standards.

This collection of the IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual contains the following:


  • Volume 1: Code Application Examples
  • Volume 2: Examples for Light-Frame, Tilt-Up and Masonry Buildings
  • Volume 3: Examples for Concrete Buildings


SEAOC members save 20% when they use the ICC discount link.

Learn More and Order Now


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