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News: SEAOC News

A message from SEAOC President Joyce Fuss

Friday, February 22, 2019  

By Joyce Fuss, SE, SECB, LEED AP
SEAOC President 2018-2019

This month I am reminded why I love structural engineering:  we save lives and make life better for our communities by improving performance of structures in our design and contributions to standards and resources for the industry.  One of the best opportunities for sharing knowledge and the exchange of ideas is coming up in just a few months. We are looking forward to a great 2019 convention at the end of August in the Squaw Creek Resort at Lake Tahoe and I would like to remind our members and associate to submit an abstract for papers to be considered for the technical program by February 18th (see link in this newsletter). 

As we continue to raise awareness of ways in which SEAOC is influencing the practice of structural engineering and the evolution of industry standards across the United States and even beyond, it is important that we look at our relationship and collaboration with NCSEA.  NCSEA is an organization that SEAOC was instrumental in helping to form and develop in the early years, and has continued to be one that we support and look to for resources to strengthen our association as well as work with to elevate the status of our profession over the past 25 years.

We had an opportunity to re-evaluate what the give and take of this affiliation between SEAOC and NCSEA involves at the board meeting held before our convention in Southern California last September, and I’d like to share with you some of the highlights of that discussion:

- NCSEA is also an organization of member organizations which are the SEA’s from 44 states

- SEAOC MOs received $6,000 of the $10,000 in NCSEA grants awarded in 2018, in support of projects that cover a range of needs in our profession including SEAONC for the SE# Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, SEAOCC for an on-line snow load mapping project for California, SEAOSC for support of the Strengthening our Cities Summit/Safer Cities Survey/Northridge Anniversary event, and SEAOSC for “Stand out From the Crowd” leadership training.  Congratulations to all who worked hard to submit the applications!

- There are over 45 SEAOC members serving on NCSEA committees, including Communications, Code Advisory, Basic Education, Continuing Education (webinars), Existing Buildings, Publications, SE3, SEER, Structural Licensure, SUMMIT, and Young Member Group Support.

- We are working to coordinate and collaborate with NCSEA, to further develop the exchange of ideas and shared value, as well as to avoid duplication of effort especially on topics of critical interest to SEAOC members and focus on initiatives that will elevate the profession.

- The conversation has been started regarding Wind Design Manual webinars and how reaching a national audience can be mutually beneficial, and how can we develop an agreement for these.

We also had an unprecedented SEAOC delegation attend the NCSEA summit in Chicago in October to further this conversation and raise the level of interaction between our organizations.  With the support of all four SEAOC member organizations, we sent alternate delegates from each MO in addition to our delegate Norm Scheel: Dick Dreyer from SEAONC, Darron Huntingdale from SEAOCC, Michelle Kam-Biron from SEAOSC, and Michael Braund from SEAOSD.  SEAOC members on the NCSEA Board were also in attendance including Past President Bill Warren, Secretary Emily Guglielmo, as well as NCSEA communications committee member Ryan Kersting and SEAOC Seismic and Resilience Committee Chair Kevin Moore was also in attendance. See below for a summary of the reports they brought back to their respective boards and to the SEAOC board.  I also attended the Summit as it is customary for the SEAOC president to be there as well as our delegates.

Some of our observations and key take-aways from the summit:

- There were many amazing opportunities to interact with delegates from across the nation, and develop a deeper understanding of our profession and collective initiatives on a national scale

- The delegates enjoyed presentations and shared their successes and biggest problems in the breakout sessions.  We all face the same challenges and share the same goals, and by exchanging ideas everyone benefitted from the conversations regarding membership engagement and growth/value, non-dues revenue generation and management, communication, and annual meetings/conferences

- NCSEA provided a session summarizing the MO reports regarding membership growth, dues and revenue sources, continuing education and free webinars for MO support, membership meetings, annual conferences, and highlights of the MO Toolbox available free to all member SEA’s

- The Thursday evening gala event “A Celebration of Structural Engineering” at Navy Pier was hosted by CSI, and the Friday NCSEA Awards banquet included the Excellence in Structural Engineering awards ceremony and the special awards.  Two SEAOC members were honored during this event: Ryan Kersting received the Robert Cornforth award for “exceptional dedication and exemplary service to a Member Organization and to the profession”, and Ronald Hamburger was presented with the Susan M. Frey NCSEA Educator Award for “an individual who has genuine interest in, and extraordinary talent for, effective instruction for practicing structural engineers… to honor the memory of one of NCSEA’s finest educators”.

- The Summit concluded with the annual business meeting on Saturday October 27th, with elections and introduction of the incoming board members.  Committee reports were presented as well as summaries of the delegate collaboration sessions over the previous two days, and new opportunities for involvement in student competitions.  These are also available from your alternate delegates.

I also had the privilege of attending a meeting of the CASE/ASCE-SEI/NCSEA Joint Coalition during which the discussion included a vision to “make a case for change” and look at the big picture of “The Future of Structural Engineering”.  The group started out by creating a outline of initiatives important to all three organizations, and is working to determine the best organization(s) to lead and channel the effort for each project, with efforts ranging from tracking and influencing legislative issues and licensure/models tracking on a national scale to professional development and support for emerging professionals.

I encourage all our members to check out the NCSEA website for more information and resources, all of which are available to us as SEAOC members.  If you need assistance with your login please contact us.

Next month look for an update from the legislative committee, and some highlights of the work being done by the Applied Technology Council with our SEAOC members serving on that board.