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News: SEAOC News

A President's Message from SEAOC President Rafael Sabelli

Tuesday, September 29, 2020  

By Rafael Sabelli, SE, SEAOC President 2020

I would have liked to close out my year as SEAOC President with some camaraderie, humor, and celebration at our annual convention. Such good times await us in another year. For the moment I can share some of the good news of this year.

SEAOC continues in good shape financially. The board of directors has closely monitored both revenue and expenditures. Not surprisingly, expenditures have been reduced as California has been under lockdown, while changes to revenue will likely be slower to manifest themselves. The board has developed strategies to address financial changes in the coming months. Brad Lowe, who has served as SEAOC Treasurer for many years, has provided us with an excellent framework.

As part of our adjustment to restrictions on large gatherings, SEAOC is emphasizing continuing education through webinars. Look for many opportunities to learn in the coming year, including the roll out of our Structural/Seismic Design Manual set. Thank you to Kelly Cobeen and Tim Hart for making lining up excellent speakers and making this happen, and to Katy Briggs for managing that publication. 

The SEAOC Policy Committee had a busy year.  Roughly a dozen bills were tracked within the California Legislature and the US Congress. The California legislative schedule was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and legislative action has been delayed. Nevertheless, the forging of connections and the engagement with the process positions SEAOC well for the future efforts, including our long-term goal for a practice act. Thank you to Ryan Kersting and Devon Lumbard, for leading this work.

The goals of diversity and inclusion have been a special focus. Casey Whitsett led a group of directors to provide recommended actions to make good on our pledge to be a leader in countering injustice and bigotry in our profession. Actions on this will begin this year, thanks to Casey’s leadership.

The Professional Practices committee has also been busy, publishing the Recommended Guidelines for the Practice of Structural Engineering in California earlier in the year and providing guidance and information on a number of new COVID- and lockdown-related challenges. Thank you to Mark Gilligan and the committee for this work.

The Communication Committee and its chair, Ken O’Dell, have been an indispensable resource for SEAOC this year. Steve Kerr and the Wind Committee were able to produce the PV-3 Gravity Loads white paper.  The Sustainable Design Committee, under Megan Stringer, is working on the California Concrete Life Cycle Assessment study, which we will hear about at the SEAOC convention.

The Seismology Committee (under Meaghan Halligan) and the Structural Standards Committee (under Kevin Moore) had a busy year with their formal review of the NEHRP Provisions. 

(Please see my previous newsletter message for details on the convention committee.) 

Thank you to all the committees, and to the chairs for helping SEAOC continue to thrive.

I would like to formally thank our board of directors for their dedication to seeing SEAOC through an eventful year. Ali Sadre, Janiele Maffei, Emily Guglielmo, Ben Faircloth, Brad Lowe, Ali Sumer, Ken O’Dell, Matt Barnard, Casey Whitsett, Mehran Pourzanjani, Tim Hart, Joyce Fuss, and Steven Crook all made time to increase our meeting frequency in order to address multiple novel and pressing issues that faced our organization. Their dedication has put SEAOC on a stable footing to face the coming years. Ali Sumer, Mehran, Tim, Joyce, and Steven are retiring from the board this year, and SEAOC owes them its thanks. We will celebrate their tenure at a future convention.
I join our new SEAOC President, Ali Sadre, in welcoming our new Board members: Roy Lobo, Kevin Moore, Kelsey Parolini, and Steve Spence. I know SEAOC is in good hands.

I would like to thank our SEAOC office. Allison Shapiro made sure the trains ran on time, even if I was occasionally late (or, more accurately, despite my only occasionally being on time). Executive Director Don Schinske kept the board informed and helped identify much-needed resources, which is great, but his humor and good spirits were one of the highlights of my year.

I would like to give one final thank you to the SEAOC membership for allowing me the privilege to serve as President.