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SEAOC Talk - May 2018
May 2018
Vol. 7, Issue 5

SEAOC Legislative Committee Update

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


The following is a summary of SEAOC’s Legislative Committee activity since our last update in February:
AB 1857 (Nazarian) – Functional Recovery Standard for New Buildings
In response to active engagement and suggested revisions from SEAOC (initially expressed in a “support if amended letter”), EERI and others, AB 1857 was amended in early April from its original version introduced in January such that SEAOC was able to write an updated letter of support prior to the bill being heard by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.  One of the biggest changes was to focus the bill on development of a functional recovery standard that might have different criteria for different buildings rather than implementing an immediate occupancy standard for all buildings.  SEAOC was invited to testify in support of the bill alongside Assemblyman Nazarian (author of the bill) and Dr. Lucy Jones (sponsor of the bill).  The committee made some additional minor amendments to the bill (dated April 12) and passed it by a vote of 5-2.  AB 1857 is currently in the process of being reviewed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and a decision should be made by the end of May as to if the bill will be forwarded to the floor for debate and vote by the full Assembly.

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SEAOC Leaders attend DLJCSS Event in April

SEAOC President Janah Risha, Secretary Jeff Ellis, Director Mehran Pourzanjani, and Legislative Committee Chair Ryan Kersting attended the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society Intersection Luncheon on Wednesday April 4th at Universal Studios. The focus of these intersection luncheons is to discuss the role of science in policy-making. At this inaugural intersection lunch, attendees joined Dr. Lucy Jones in conversation with Congressman Adam Schiff about how technical experts can best engage with policy makers to better ensure well thought out, comprehensive and beneficial policy development and implementation. Congressman Schiff has used the science from the USGS, Caltech as well as other sources to help develop policy, including efforts to fund the Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast.


Pictured above (left to right) are SEAOSC I&PR Committee Member Alan Hanson, SEAOSC Member Angel Leon, SEAOC Legislative Committee Chair Ryan Kersting, SEAOC Secretary Jeff Ellis, Dr. Lucy Jones, Congressman Adam Schiff, SEAOSC Member Tim Ellis, SEAOC President Janah Risha, and SEAOC Director Mehran Pourzanjani.

Getting to Know Your SEAOC Leaders

Tim Hart, C.E., S.E., LEED AP 
Civil/Structural Engineer Lead
Berkeley Lab


Current role or positions held in SEAOC or MO: SEAONC Vice President, SEAOC representative to NCSEA Continuing Education Committee, former chair of SEAONC Continuing Education and Construction Quality Assurance Committees
Why are you active in the organization?
Being a leader in SEAONC and SEAOC gives me the opportunity to help my profession help my community live, work, and play in safer, more resilient buildings. It also provides me the opportunity to mentor the next generation of structural engineers and future leaders of our organization, in much the same way that I have been mentored by our past and current leaders. I am inspired by the creativity and brilliance of many of our members, and being an active member of the association gives me greater exposure to these engineers than I otherwise would have if I were not as active or even a member.
What’s one interesting thing no one knows about you? 
My first experience with SEAOC leadership was serving on the Cal Poly SEAOC student chapter board as Poly Royal Chair in 1989. Our Architectural Engineering department display that my committee organized that year won second place in the College of Architecture and third place in the College of Engineering, though we had to give back the third place prize once we told the judges that ARCE was not in the College of Engineering.

Above I've shared a photo of me taken in Nepal while I was there for a post-earthquake reconnaissance survey.


Congratulations SEAONC Structural Engineering Award Winners

SEAONC celebrated their 2018 Excellence in Structural Engineering Award Winners at the annual awards dinner on May 1 at The Green Room in San Francisco. The fusion band Rusty Groove, which includes longtime SEAONC members Erik Kneer and Philip Bastiao provided live entertainment during the reception. Here are the winning projects:

  • Special-Use Structures - Award of Merit: Skybridge at 1355 Market Street / 875 Stevenson Street - Murphy Burr Curry
  •  Special Use Structures - Award of Merit: UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Laboratory Mammals Pool Expansion and Renovation - Rutherford + Chekene
  • Special Use Structures - Award of Excellence: Swing Arm Isolation - Maffei Structural Engineering
  • Historic Preservation - Award of Merit: Historic Goodman Library - ZFA Structural Engineers
  • Historic Preservation - Award of Merit: San Francisco Pier 70, Building 113/114 - Nabih Youssef Associates
  • Historic Preservation - Award of Excellence: Congregation Sherith Israel Seismic Strengthening - Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates 
  • Retrofit/Alteration - Award of Merit: Oakland International Airport Terminal 1 Renovation - Rutherford + Chekene
  • Retrofit/Alteration - Award of Excellence: 425 Market Street Staircase - Holmes Structures
  • New Construction - Award of Merit: Stonefire, 2010 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA - IDA Structural Engineers
  • New Construction - Award of Merit: Intuit - Holmes Structures 
  • New Construction - Award of Excellence: 111 Main (Salt Lake City, UT) - Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 
View Photos from the Ceremony

Follow the Fellows

The SEAOC Fellows include seasoned and dedicated members of the profession and the association. Periodically we will ask them a question that may be technical, career-oriented, or simply fun. Enjoy!

If you had not gone into structural engineering, what other profession or occupation might you have pursued, and why?

“My second career would have been as an attorney. I like the give and take of presenting arguments on issues and there are many avenues for that within the law profession. “ - Ronald L. Mayes, Ph.D.

“I did not know much about money and have thought that might have been a good career. Even as Structural Engineers we were making money with our work.” - Jim Willis

“A Wine Critic because ----  “Wine is the answer”  (and who gives a s*** what the question is).” - Manny Morden


2018 SEAOC Convention Update

A reminder to potential Exhibitors that there are only a few booths still available inside the Exhibit Hall. The prices for booths will increase on July 1st, 2018.
Sponsors and Exhibitors can learn more and register at


The J W Marriott is now taking room reservations @ their passkey Reservation # 1-877-622-3140 or at

The online Early Bird Registration for the Convention is anticipated to begin in early June. Keep an eye on your inbox for details!

2018 NCSEA Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards

Entries Due Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The NCSEA Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards annually highlights some of the best examples of structural engineering ingenuity throughout the world. Structural engineers and structural engineering firms are encouraged to enter. Projects will be judged on innovative design, engineering achievement and creativity in the following categories:

  • New Buildings under $20 Million
  • New Buildings $20 Million to $100 Million
  • New Buildings over $100 Million
  • New Bridge and Transportation Structures
  • Forensic/Renovation/Retrofit/Rehabilitation Structures up to $20 Million
  • Forensic/Renovation/Retrofit/Rehabilitation Structures over $20 Million
  • Other Structures


Chosen projects will be honored during the NCSEA Structural Engineering Summit in Chicago on October 26 at the NCSEA Awards Banquet. Selected projects must have a representative present at the banquet in order to win the award. An outstanding project will be chosen from each category and then featured in STRUCTURE Magazine. 

Learn More and Submit


CASE: The Business of Structural Engineering Workshop –
SEAOC Member Discount

The Council of American Structural Engineers (CASE) is part of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and represents the business and risk management interests of structural engineering firms. The Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) seeks to advance, serve, and promote the worldwide structural engineering profession and related industry.  The efforts of CASE and SEI complement all of the great work being done by SEAOC and our member organizations.
Because a close and cooperative working relationship between SEI, CASE, and the NCSEA / SEAOC member organizations is essential for the betterment of the structural engineering profession and its service to the public, a memorandum of understanding between these organizations was signed at the national level in the end of 2017. 
In this spirit, SEAOC is proud to be able to offer the CASE member rate to any person or firm interested in attending the June 7th and 8th Business of Structural Engineering Seminar being held in Anaheim, California. 


A proper risk management program can reduce your chances of being sued and allow you to take on more risky projects – which can generate substantial profits for your firm. Developed by the Council of American Structural Engineers (CASE), The Business of Structural Engineering can help reduce your rate of claims against structural engineering projects, increase profitability and enhance management practices.

Learn More and Register Here


PEER News: HayWired Scenario Rollout

The HayWired earthquake scenario, led by the USGS, anticipates the impacts of a hypothetical M7 earthquake on the Hayward Fault, with epicenter in Oakland. The fault is considered the most active and dangerous in the US because it runs through a densely urbanized and interconnected region. The scenario methodology is very similar to PEER’s performance-based framework: a hazard is postulated and defined, engineering is applied to determine consequences to buildings and lifeline networks, and social impacts are explored.

Read More


Upcoming Events

May 23: SEAONC May Short Course: Wind Analysis and Design: ASCE 7-16 and Recommendations for the California Engineer


June 1: SEAOSC Spring Education Program - Updates in the Wood Code and Design Innovations and ASCE 41-17 Updates and Examples

 June 6: SEAOSC Annual End-of-Year Awards & President's Dinner


 June 7: SEAOCC Golf Tournament


June 19: SEAOSD Awards Dinner


June 28: SEAOSD Young Professionals 101: Creating Your Career Path + Happy Hour


Useful Links
Contact Us

Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC)
921 11th St, Ste. 1100 • Sacramento, CA  95814
p (916) 447-1198 • f (916) 444-1501 •

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