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  • May 25, 2023 7:19 PM | Anonymous

    Jamie Garza is 2022-23 SEAOSC Communications Committee's co-chair and currently a principal at The Design Collaborative. As an incoming SEAOSC board member, Jamie is most excited about the challenge to get our industry to design and build ecologically appropriate buildings that are part of the solution to address the climate crisis. "I believe this is going to require structural engineers to do what they do best: figure out the puzzle of ecologically appropriate structural materials, ecological development, and reducing the environmental impact of construction."

    For future generations of structural engineers, Jamie's advice is to remain true to themselves and their passion for structural engineering. Jamie encourages young structural engineers not to shy away from challenging the status quo and proposing innovative solutions that are resilient and ecologically forward. She also emphasizes the importance of advocating for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Additionally, Jamie urges future generations of structural engineers to be allies for women and LGBTQIA+ visibility, parity in leadership positions, and company ownership.

    Jamie's vision for the future of the structural engineering industry is one of sustainability and inclusivity. By staying true to their ideals and actively working to address the challenges of climate change, structural engineers can make a significant contribution to a more equitable and sustainable future.

    We are thrilled to have Jamie join the 2023-25 SEAOSC board!

  • May 22, 2023 8:30 PM | Anonymous

    Manny Morden (April 9, 1933- May 22, 2023)

    After twelve days in hospice, Manny (Manuel) Morden passed away from stage IV pancreatic cancer at home on May 22, 2023. He was surrounded with love by his adoring family and the love of his life, wife Suzanne.

    Born in Brooklyn, Manny moved with his parents to Los Angeles at the age of 8 to Boyle Heights. At 16, he became friends with Suzanne Sarah Szwarc, who would become his wife and lifelong love for 70 years. Even in his final days, he kissed Suzanne’s hand and told her how much he loved her. Together, they were fabulous parents to Darryl (deceased) and Barbara (Seals), Ilyanne and Mike (Kichaven) , and amazing grandparents to their three grandsons Gregory, Jeremy and Declan.

    Manny was a brilliant, award winning, expert with over fifty two years of structural engineering experience with Brandow & Johnston as a Structural Designer, Licensed Civil and Structural Engineer, Department Manager and Project Supervisor. He became a Principal, and was responsible for management and supervision of all phases of project development, construction administration, structural design and system selection and seismic design of major projects. Areas of expertise included: building evaluations, peer reviews, forensic engineering, consultation and expert witness services for litigation, earthquake studies, and retrofit strengthening; pre-stressed concrete design development and review for all company projects; development of alternative structural systems; specifications for construction material. Manny served as President (1997-1998), board member, and as chair of the code committee for SEAOSC. In 2009, Manny was commended by proclamation by LA Mayor Garcetti and the entire LA City Council for his 50 + years of service to the profession, the City of Los Angeles and Southern California. He received a Certificate of Recognition for 52 years of Service to the engineering profession and the State of California from and was an Honorary Lifetime Membership, of SEAOC & SEAOSC. In 2014, Manny was awarded for his outstanding achievement by the California Preservation Foundation for his work on the renovation of The Forum. Manny served as a key member of the1994 Northridge Earthquake Taskforce and consulted on a 9/11 structural commission. His countless projects include the Rose Bowl, Kaiser Hospital, Bradley Terminal at LAX, Universal studios (CA and Florida), the NASA space shuttle, Sheraton Hotel (Qatar) USC, First AME Church, The Convention Center, 400 South Hope, numerous parking structures and the soon to be opened MSG Sphere in Las Vegas. He mentored many by not just giving directions, but by teaching and explaining to educate and enrich his peers.

    Manny enjoyed travel and, together with Suzanne, visited all over North and South America, Israel, Japan, China and extensively in Europe. His favorite city was Paris. A lover of superb wine and fine cuisine, family was most important to Manny. His unwavering support and love will always be remembered. He never missed a game, recital, talent show or event for his children or grandsons. He answered every call for assistance and insisted on family celebrations.

    Manny got dressed himself, walked and had a long conversation with doctor when he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer on May 9th. His health drastically, declined and within two days was in hospice, until he passed ten days later. He will always be in our hearts. Manny is survived by his loving wife Suzanne, daughter Ilyanne, son-in-law Michael, grandsons, Gregory, Jeremy, and Declan and daughter-in-law Barbara. His son Darryl passed away from cancer in 2011.

    If you wish, in lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to weSPARK ( in Manny’s memory.

    (The above is provided by Manny Morden's family)

  • May 19, 2023 8:30 PM | Anonymous

    Jillian van Enckevort's structural engineering journey began when she was a young girl accompanying her father, a general contractor, to his work sites. Her exposure to the construction industry at an early age ignited a spark within her, and she found herself drawn to the structural aspect of building design. She pursued this interest in college, initially starting as an architecture major. However, by her second year at Cal Poly SLO, she was more interested in the “bones” of a building versus the finishes and was drawn to buildings with exposed structures. She ended up switching majors in her third year, and she hasn’t looked back since, remaining active in structural engineering and in the San Luis Obispo community.

    It was during her time working with Fred Schott that Jillian first joined SEAOSC. Over the years, Jillian attended the Tri-Counties events and technical sessions in Los Angeles, appreciating not only the technical aspects of the events but also the opportunity to meet and network with other engineers. Jillian's involvement with SEAOSC was temporarily put on hold when she became a mother, but she has since returned to the organization with renewed enthusiasm. "Our culture at FTF Engineering really pushes for staff to be involved in the structural engineering community, and I am excited about stepping up to the next level of involvement in the coming years as part of the Board of Directors as well as representing the tri-county community," she elaborated.

    Jillian will be bringing valuable insights, ideas, and direction to the SEAOSC board, helping guide our organization into the future. We are so excited to welcome Jillian on board!

  • May 15, 2023 8:46 PM | Anonymous

    Araceli Abanilla's path into the SE industry started with a BS in Civil Engineering from UC Irvine. Her first job after college was working at a civil and water resources company. She realized it was not for her and went back to grad school to get her Master's in Structural Engineering at UCSD. Her first job after grad school was working for a small company that did bridge design engineering. After that, she worked for firms that specialize in structural consulting, structural anti-terrorist force protection design, and transit and rail consulting. She currently works in the structures team at STV, Inc. and supports the transit and rail industry in their building and facilities department.

    Araceli initially joined SEAOSC after a friend encouraged all the female engineers in her office to join SEAOSC's Women in Structural Engineering committee. It was through her activities in the WiSE committee that she became more active in SEAOSC in general. Araceli has continued since then to be a member of SEAOSC because she has gotten a lot out of being part of this community, and she has learned a lot through the webinars, dinner events, and other activities.

    What excites Araceli most about the future of the Structural Engineering industry are the advancements in technology and fascinating research happening now that the future SEs are working on in universities and other organizations including the tools that are being used now and are developing for future widespread uses such as A.I., structural health monitoring, or full-scale 3D printing - all are expected to help problem-solve and optimize designs and processes.

    For future generations of Structural Engineers, Araceli sees the varied approach to the profession: "There are may different types of work and roles within the Structural Engineering industry. Follow your passion and get to know your professional peers. Being part of your engineering community not only helps you make informed career and work decisions, the engineering community benefits from having a wide variety of view points and experiences. Find mentors, whether its through an organized program, like the SEAOSC Mentorship Program, or an informal mentor who you can talk to for advice and guidance. These things can really help you tailor your career to be what you want it to be."

    Araceli values the community of peers outside of her organization with various roles such as engineers, researchers, educators, etc. that come together through SEAOSC. There are so many things she has learned through the SEAOSC community that have helped her within her own organization.

    Araceli's appointment to the SEAOSC board brings with it a wealth of valuable insights, ideas, and direction, which will be instrumental in guiding our organization towards a successful future. We are thrilled to have Araceli join the SEAOSC board for the 2023-25 term!

  • April 28, 2023 6:48 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members,

    Today I’m reflecting on the fantastic Leadership Symposium that was held last week. It was wonderful to see such a diverse cross section of our membership at the Symposium, which was curated by the WiSE Committee. One of the highlights for me was hearing from Susan Kutner Rozakis, Senior Director of Workplace Design + Delivery at Google. Susan shared her journey from her first job in high school at McDonalds to her current position at Google and how her experiences along the way led to a diverse, interesting, and successful career.

    Susan is someone who followed her interest and passion for construction at a time where very few women were in the field. In the face of this, she found mentors and allies to support her, and she now serves as a mentor and ally for others. This resonates with me – I think we all need allies, and we also need to be an ally for our coworkers and colleagues. We have a diverse and talented membership at SEAOSC. Listening to different voices and perspectives leads to better solutions and outcomes. Together we can have a strong voice and we can make meaningful change in our communities – like Susan has. Our diversity is our strength, and it was inspiring to see this in action at the Leadership Symposium.

    Warmest Regards,

    Patti Harburg - Petrich, S.E.
    SEAOSC President 2022-23

  • March 31, 2023 6:10 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members,

    This month I’d like to share some of the initiatives that have been going on behind the scenes in response to the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Although this disaster has faded from the news, we know that the recovery will take years and I want to assure you that seismic safety is in the forefront of mind for the SEAOSC Board.

    First, SEAOSC has not yet been contacted to help with the recovery response in Turkey and Syria. I do know that some structural engineers from Southern California were deployed, but this was through a search and rescue organization. We are prepared and able to help if such a request comes through.

    The SEAOSC Board immediately reached out to our local officials and representatives, including the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s office, and to the Los Angeles City Council. These earthquakes serve as a wake-up call to our community. In addition to the seismic retrofit ordinances that have already been enacted, there are actions our community leaders can take to further improve the safety and resiliency of our building stock and infrastructure. We are now meeting with a number of local leaders to offer our help and advice as structural engineers. If you are interested in becoming involved in future efforts, I encourage you to get involved with the Existing Buildings Committee, the Seismology & Hazards Committee, the Codes & Standards Committee, or the Legislative Action Committee ( We will be asking for volunteers from these committees to participate.

    SEAOSC representatives also met with our technical experts and colleagues to discuss potential action and ensure a unified message. The group was formed quickly and included representatives from SEAOSC, SEAONC, SEAOC, EERI, and the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society. We knew that we needed to act quickly while we had the attention of our local leaders. SEAOC and EERI had already been working together on the EERI-SEAOC Joint Policy Agenda: Legislative Actions Needed to Reduce California’s Earthquake Risk, and this was published on February 23, 2023:

    This agenda outlines three main points:

    1. First, we must identify and retrofit our existing vulnerable buildings.
    2. Second, we must uphold existing laws that require our healthcare facilities to be earthquake-ready. 
    3. Finally, we must adopt building codes that help our communities recover.

    I’ll close with an excerpt from the EERI-SEAOC Joint Policy Agenda:

    “Future large earthquakes will occur in California. How we prepare now will impact how we respond and recover later. Our communities are vulnerable to building collapses, loss of life, and permanent disruption to the way of life. California has led the world in creating a safer built environment by learning from losses over the last century. But we must take the lead again by retrofitting older vulnerable buildings and adopting a new generation of building codes that preserve our communities, our economy, and our future before the next major earthquake strikes.”

    As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.

    Warmest Regards,

    Patti Harburg - Petrich, S.E.
    SEAOSC President 2022-23

  • March 20, 2023 6:11 PM | Anonymous

    On Wednesday, March 15, the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) hosted Emerging Engineers Night at Luminarias Restaurant in Monterey Park. More than 100 people were in attendance at the annual event, sponsored by Computers and Structures, Inc. (CSI)

    The event renewed SEAOSC’s commitment to the next generation of structural engineers, spotlighting the SEAOSC Foundation Scholarships and the SEAOSC mentoring programs.

    The evening started with traditional networking and reconnecting of many members and guests prior to the official start of the event. 

    The formal program was kicked off with the scholarship portion of the evening complete with a video reel interview with each of the 13 SEAOSC Foundation scholarship recipients. Kevin O’Connell, president of the SEAOSC Foundation,  then presented checks to this year’s recipients, who represented such local universities as: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona, California State University Northridge, California State University Los Angeles, California State University Long Beach, Loyola Marymount University, USC, UCLA and UC Irvine. A special thanks to the SEAOSC Young Members Committee for promoting and organizing this year’s scholarship program with the SEAOSC Foundation.

    Dinner was followed by keynote speaker Dana Taylor Old, a Communication Coach and Trainer, which was sponsored by the National Council of Structural Engineers Association (NCSEA). Key takeaways from the presentation were speaking with intention and the importance of choosing your tone prior to beginning a conversation. She also firmly stressed how it is important to listen to understand rather than listen to respond in being more collaborative. Her presentation was truly interactive with everyone practicing techniques in pairs, volunteers demonstrating tone from the stage, and even a worksheet that allowed attendees to apply what they learned as soon as the next component of the evening!

    The evening concluded with the pairing of emerging engineers with a mentor who was an established engineer. This program allows students, recent graduates, and working engineers seeking to develop professionally to pair up with a mentor who will guide them through their careers and through the world of structural engineering. 

    SEAOSC thanks this year’s event sponsors for their generosity, especially CSI, and to those volunteer members for making this event a success and supporting the next generation of Structural Engineers.

    See all event photos here.

  • March 08, 2023 4:18 PM | Anonymous

    A Joint Policy Agenda from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC)

    February 2023

    As members of California’s earthquake engineering and structural engineering communities, we have dedicated our professional lives to reducing impacts from earthquakes through research, design, code and policy development, and advocacy. We are unfortunately too familiar with the devastation that earthquakes can cause to our built environment and the toll they take on society. But it does not have to be this way. While earthquakes are inevitable, the disaster can be prevented.

    For decades, California has led the world in developing, adopting, and enforcing building codes and laws to improve seismic safety. We have learned from past losses. Large and impactful earthquakes in California and around the world have led to updates of our laws and codes accordingly. The first seismic legislation in California was the Field Act, enacted in the wake of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake that toppled unreinforced masonry schools and crippled the region’s recovery for years. As a direct result of the Field Act, our State’s public schools have the strictest building code requirements and enforcement in the nation. Since then, dozens of additional state and local laws have been enacted that further improve the safety of our state’s buildings.

    Yet these measures are not enough. Despite our global leadership on seismic safety, California’s cities remain at risk—of collapsed older buildings, significant economic and social disruption, and prolonged recovery times. We have identified three priority actions that are critical to improving our community safety and resilience.

    First, we must identify and retrofit our existing vulnerable buildings. California cities are plagued with thousands of buildings at risk of collapse, many of which provide affordable housing. Communities across California are taking action to protect their residents, but many others need help. Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, San José, and others, including some tribal communities, are working hard to identify and retrofit some of their vulnerable buildings. We applaud these proactive efforts and encourage other jurisdictions to similarly work to improve their community resilience. A new state-funded seismic retrofit program for vulnerable multi-family housing (California Government Code Section 8590.15 et seq) was approved in 2022 with $250 million that would help these efforts, but the Governor’s initial 2023 budget proposal eliminated that funding. The California Residential Mitigation Program must be preserved to help jurisdictions identify and retrofit their vulnerable buildings and protect housing.

    Second, we must uphold existing laws that require our healthcare facilities to be earthquake-ready. Hospitals play an essential life-saving role in post-earthquake response and recovery for their communities. The Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act (Alquist Act) of 1983, along with amendments such as SB 1953 (1994), require that acute care hospitals and supporting facilities remain operational immediately after an earthquake. Hospitals are to comply with retrofits or replacement by 2030. While most of California’s hospitals have complied, some have not. Our current laws must be upheld so that critical hospital facilities are retrofitted by 2030.

    Finally, we must adopt building codes that help our communities recover. New buildings are built to code, but that does not mean they are built to last. Our current building code ensures that a new building is unlikely to collapse, but it does not mean the building will be usable after an earthquake. Our communities rely and thrive on basic services—schools, grocery stores, apartment buildings, assisted living facilities. When these services are lost, even temporarily, their absence can delay recovery and permanently alter the fabric of a community. Developers, designers, and owners are not currently required to consider “functional recovery”—how quickly a building will recover its function after an earthquake. In 2021 the Legislature came close to requiring California to start the process of updating our code for functional recovery, but the bill (AB 1329, Nazarian) failed to make it to Governor Newsom’s desk. California must lead again and adopt a functional recovery building code to help our communities recover faster.

    Future large earthquakes will occur in California. How we prepare now will impact how we respond and recover later. Our communities are vulnerable to building collapses, loss of life, and permanent disruption to the way of life. California has led the world in creating a safer built environment by learning from losses over the last century. But we must take the lead again by retrofitting older vulnerable buildings and adopting a new generation of building codes that preserve our communities, our economy, and our future before the next major earthquake strikes.

    Read the full statement here.

  • February 27, 2023 7:01 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members,

    This month I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our volunteers and highlight a couple new volunteer opportunities. 

    If you have experience in Wind Design and are interested in participating on the SEAOC Wind Committee, please reach out to Kelsey Parolini at by Wednesday, March 1. This is a great opportunity to participate at a state-wide level. 

    We are looking for ten additional mentors to participate in SEAOSC’s Mentorship Program. All levels of experience are welcome to participate. Many of our mentees are looking for mentors in the 5 to 10 years of experience range. It’s a fantastic program, and from personal experience, it’s a beneficial experience for both the mentor and the mentee.  You can find more information here: SEAOSC has resources and training available to make sure your experience is a success! 

    We have some big events coming up: 

    Emerging Engineers Night is a sit-down dinner meeting that will be held on March 15. We’ll be back at SEAOSC’s old haunt, Luminaires!  You’ll have the opportunity to celebrate this year’s scholarship recipients, participate in the Mentorship Program, and hear from keynote speaker Dana Taylor Old, a Leadership and Communication Coach and Trainer who will speak about taking communication and leadership to the next level. This is going to be a fantastic event and I would like to thank the Younger Members Committee and all of the volunteers who are working to make Emerging Engineers Night one to remember. 

    The theme of the 2023 Leadership Symposium is “Seize Your Opportunity!” This event will be held on April 27 in Downtown LA. The Leadership Symposium is open to all. You will have access to training, tools, and tactics needed to be an effective leader at all career levels. This inspiring day-long event will include panels, workshops, and interactive learning experiences, as well as breakfast and lunch.  I’d like to thank the WiSE Committee for curating this diverse and inclusive event. 

    On June 22, the Existing Budlings Committee will host a Technical Summit. We are hoping to include sessions on the recent events in Turkey and Syria. Please keep an eye out for more details to come. To that end, I’d like to thank the Structural Engineers who are responding, many of whom we count among our members. Our hearts are with those affected by this disaster.  

    Warmest Regards,

    Patti Harburg - Petrich, S.E.
    SEAOSC President 2022-23

  • February 06, 2023 5:40 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members,

    The powerful earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on Monday morning are a sobering reminder of why we do what we do. I’m devastated to learn of the loss of life. So many people have been impacted, this event will certainly have wide ranging effects across the region.

    As Structural Engineers, we can take actions to help communities stay safe during earthquakes and recover afterwards:

    Stay safe, be prepared, and remember our time together is precious.

    Warmest Regards,

    Patti Harburg - Petrich, S.E.
    SEAOSC President 2022-23

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The Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) is a professional association with a rich history and a commitment to shaping the future of structural engineering. This legacy continues to affect the field, as SEAOSC remains a dynamic platform for knowledge sharing, professional development, and community engagement.

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