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News: SEAOC News

Regional Update from the Central California Member Organization (SEAOCC)

Thursday, February 23, 2017  

By Darron Huntingdale, S.E., SEAOCC President

The Structural Engineers Association of Central California (SEAOCC) consists of more than 350 members.  Many of our members live and work in the greater Sacramento area, but our membership spans the entire region of the Central Valley and Northern Sierras (from the Oregon border north; Fresno to the south; Reno to the east; and Fairfield to the west). 

SEAOCC Past Presidents, Scott Breneman and Krista Looza were instrumental in developing and starting a transition plan for SEAOCC that the 2016-2017 Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, and Staff have had the pleasure of bringing to fruition.  During the summer and fall months, Danielle Smith, SEAOCC Treasurer, took the lead in creating an online membership database where members can log into their member record, update their information, sign up for committee involvement, and pay dues electronically or by check.  She also completed setting up a new accounting system, created simplified reports for the Board, and standardized processes to make internal operations run more efficiently.  Todd Kemen, SEAOCC Vice President, Lori Campbell, SEAOCC Executive Secretary, and I migrated all of the SEAOCC files to a new shared file structure.  A file permission schedule was created for the Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, Committee Members, and Staff.  Nick Petrarca, SEAOCC Board-Committee Liaison, used this schedule to set up groups and also created a SEAOCC Master Calendar that can be instantly updated and viewed by all.

In August, the SEAOCC Board met for an orientation meeting which was followed by an open discussion session to brainstorm priorities and objectives for the fiscal year.  Each Board Member was given the challenge of bringing in five (5) new members to SEAOCC.  Among other technical items, we identified that it is important to bring younger and mid-level engineers into the fold of the organization so we have cross-mentoring which will strengthen SEAOCC at all membership levels.

The following are a few highlights of SEAOCC’s recent activities:

  • Seismology Committee is doing their part to help update the SEAOC Blue Book.  Each Member Organization is responsible for updating four (4) Blue Book articles.  SEAOCC’s Seismology Committee, led by David Palmer, will also be casting the SEAOCC vote to the National Institute of Building Sciences, Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) for the 2020 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions Update.  David will be attending a BSSC Project 17 Workshop on Seismic Hazard Mapping in the Bay Area on April 11.  The purpose of the Workshop is to gather input from BSSC Members and the earthquake community on the Project 17 Committee Acceptable Risk Work Group’s concepts for redefining exceedance probabilities and other information; and, the Seismic Design Category (SDC) Work Group’s concepts for redefining SDCs.
  • General Engineering Committee (aka Code Committee), led by Doug Krug, has finished their final round of proposed code changes to be considered by the International Code Council (ICC).  These proposed changes, if adopted, could be found in the 2018 IBC, the base code for the 2019 CBC.  This may seem a long way out since we have just adopted the 2016 CBC, but this same process occurred to get us where we are now.
  • Existing Buildings Committee had a change of Chairs at the beginning of the year – Thank you to Ali Sumer for taking over the lead from me as I became SEAOCC President.  The Committee recently met and they heard a presentation from Fred Turner on Earthquake Forecasts and Existing Buildings.  Also on the agenda were updates from Ken Luttrell on the Berkeley Balcony Ordinance, Roy Lobo on the ASCE 41 Design Examples, and discussion of local seismic retrofitting efforts.
  • Continuing Education Committee has held two seminars this year:  “Code Applications for the New Code with a focus on Design Examples” and “Design and Detailing for Concrete”.  A Steel Seminar is planned for May 18, 2017.  Sonia Schink is the Continuing Education Committee Chair.  She is assisted by Committee Members that work as a well-oiled team who do everything from developing the seminars and securing speakers, preparing content for the online registration pages and eBlast messages, and live streaming the seminars to our Districts in Redding, Reno, and Fresno – to shopping for beverages and food, physically setting up the venue, and staffing the registration desk.
  • Getting SEAOCC’s message out to our membership is relentless.  We have Rachel Leung, who has taken on the Newsletter Chair role 100%.  She and her team are doing a great job bringing us meaningful content on a timely basis.

In the fall, SEAOCC focuses on Student Activities culminating with “Student Night” in November.  A Student Competition is held at one of the local universities with design, fabrication, and presentation components; Amy Hopkins is Chair of the Student Relations Committee.  We also award up to six-$1,000 Undergraduate Scholarships and one-$1,000 Graduate Scholarship to students from California State University at Chico, Sacramento, and Fresno; University of Nevada-Reno, University of the Pacific, and UC Davis.  Jim Carlson is the Scholarship Committee Chair.

This past weekend, Joyce Copelan, Public Relations Chair, organized a three-day outreach event at the local Science Center.  Building on the National Engineers Week theme of “Dream Big”, SEAOCC volunteers tackled multiple cardboard build challenges giving children an introduction to structural engineering.

We can barely keep up with the Young Member Forum (YMF)…  Over the summer, the YMF participated in NCSEA’s Trivia Night and SEAOCC came in First Place!  Co-Chairs Matt Quan and Caleb Dunne have become pros at thinking outside of the box in keeping our younger members involved in networking opportunities and activities such as: 

  • The Big ASSociation Party with fellow building/design professional organizations (AIA, ASLA, CSI, et. al.) and the Winter is Coming Party by the Sacramento Inter-Association of Emerging Professionals
  • Manufacturing Plant and Project Tours
  • Participating and assisting other Committee Chairs at SEAOCC Events
  • YMF Happy Hour prior to the SEAOCC Holiday Membership Social where Vice President, Todd Kemen, created a Team Bowling Competition.  Krista Looza and he also orchestrated a successful Toy Drive which benefited the Stanford Settlement, a local non-profit providing community programs and services for children, teens, and seniors.
  • Planning for a Winter Ski Trip
  • Sacramento Kings vs. the Celtics Basketball Game

In summary, SEAOCC is very active and has strong leadership.  Over the next four months, we look forward to more interesting Membership Meeting topics and speakers; receiving and judging the SEAOCC Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards; offering an informative and educational Steel Seminar; awarding a $1,000 SEAOCC Scholarship to a deserving high school student through the CREATE Mentoring Program; conducting the 2017-2018 SEAOCC Board Elections; hosting the SEAOC Board of Directors Meeting in Sacramento; bringing together the Golf Committee to orchestrate our Annual Golf Tournament; and planning the SEAOCC Awards Dinner in June which is an enjoyable evening of presenting SEAOCC Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards, as well as celebrating and recognizing SEAOCC's accomplishments during the year.