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  • 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

  • January 30, 2023 4:16 PM | Anonymous

    The Applied Technology Council (ATC), in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is seeking licensed U.S. civil and structural engineers from a range of experience levels to serve as trial users for the forthcoming Guidelines for Post-Earthquake Assessment, Repair, and Retrofit of Buildings. Currently in the later stages of development under the FEMA-funded ATC-145 project, these guidelines are intended to serve as the state-of-the-art standard in post-earthquake repair decision-making once released to the wider structural engineering community. The overall framework is applicable across all structural materials, but parameters are only available for reinforced concrete at this time.

    Trial studies are designed to improve the clarity and usability of the methodology and confirm the consistency and reasonableness of the results. Trial users will provide feedback that improves the future effectiveness of the Guidelines and be provided with an early look at this forthcoming document.

    Interest form submissions are due on February 8, 2023. Visit this link for important information about the opportunity, including minimum requirements for eligibility, scope of services, benefits for trial users, and a link to the interest form.

    ATC-145 Guidelines Trial Users - Interest Form Due 2023-02-08.pdf

  • January 25, 2023 6:39 PM | Anonymous

    This morning’s 4.2M earthquake off the coast of Malibu and Santa Monica rattled a few out of our sleep but had little to no significant impact. These are the “good” earthquakes, they keep us on our toes without keeping us out of our homes. They are also great reminders that we need to be prepared to respond to bigger events. That preparedness includes effective plans for response and communication whether between family members, business teams, or those who may be called upon to respond and support their communities.

    To this end, SEAOC has empowered their DES committee, in collaboration with our own DES committee (and other MO DES committees), to refine our statewide disaster response and communications plans to allow consistent response throughout the state when the need arises. The success of these plans lies within the ability to bring engaged members together quickly across the state. In accomplishing this, we encourage our members to reachout to our local DES Committees or the Board to express interest in joining the efforts.

    Current contact information can be found on our website at

  • December 30, 2022 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members,

    As we ring in 2023, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year! We will be celebrating the beginning of 2023 with our annual Trivia Night on January 26. Sign up your team - up to 8 people - and join this friendly competition for fun, refreshments, and prizes.

    I’d also like to congratulate all the participants of the first annual SoCal Gingerbread Challenge. This was one of the most fun events of my SEAOSC career – I can still smell the gingerbread and sugar in the air! All teams did an amazing job showcasing Structural Engineering creativity to non-engineers and engineers alike. The event drew thousands of visitors and was featured by a number of local news outlets. Thank you to all our volunteers who made this event a success:

    Aileen Santos-Redman, Aleeta Dene, Andrew Yu, Bernard Cruz, Claudia Zapata-Kraft, Dan Fox, Dragos Ursu, Gaetano Bologna, Jamie Garza, Jeff Ellis, Kelsey Parolini, Maria Mohammed, Matt Michnewich, Shirin Kiani, Steven Shepherd, Susan Dowty, and Traci Wong.

    I can’t wait for next year!

    In the coming months, keep an eye out for programs on the 2023 updates to the California Building Code. This year also brings our next Leadership Symposium, hosted by the WiSE Committee. We have many other interesting programs coming up, which you can see here:

    Warmest Regards,

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

  • December 12, 2022 9:32 PM | Anonymous

    This week, thousands visited SEAOSC’s first SoCal Gingerbread Challenge in person and online to see revel in the festive creations made by more than a dozen teams from across the region. (If you weren’t able to make it, you can visit the structures online here.) On Thursday, dozens of engineers and industry professionals assembled at the Burbank Town Center where they had only five hours to create (and decorate) their structures. The results were impressive, as many of the in-person attendees reacted to seeing the structures with gasps of awe and disbelief: “These were built in only 5 hours!?”

    From Friday through Sunday, the public was invited to see what Structural Engineers do when it comes to making buildings stand up. From the youngest “future engineer” to retirees who were interested in seeing the spectacle, all ages came to the exhibit to see the structures. While judges, including an architect and building official, evaluated the structures on Friday morning, all attendees and online visitors were invited to cast a vote for their favorite structure – the most votes being crowned the people’s choice award. And as a way to give back this season, every structure was paired with a nonprofit organization; and every vote was a donation to that partner organization. By 5pm on Sunday, when the voting had closed, more than 3,000 votes had been cast in person and online.

    With the competition closed, teams returned to the location where they had spent an intense five hours just days before for an awards ceremony and reception. The results were in; the judges and public had spoken. The winners were:

    1. People’s Choice: Union Station (Structural Focus/Architectural Resources Group)

    2. President’s Award: Union Station (Structural Focus/Architectural Resources Group)

    3. Best in Show: Once-ler’s House from The Lorax (SGH)

    4. Tallest: Eastern Columbia Building (Structural Technologies)

    5. Most Creative Original Structure: ICC 'Elf-valuation' Service Certification Workshop (ICC-ES)

    6. Best Replica Building: Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts (IMEG)

    7. Best Decorated: Casita from Encanto (Buro Happold)

    The reaction from participants and the attendees alike will make this an annual tradition. With some improvements from this year, the SoCal Gingerbread Challenge will return in 2023, and every SEAOSC member should consider forming or joining a team to compete! Teams were able to deepen bonds within their companies and even create deeper connections with clients and partner firms (like architects) as they planned and executed their structures. Ultimately, this was an opportunity to promote the profession and reach new people on what structural engineers do and how essential their work is to the existence of our cities and communities. You can see more on this in news reports from local papers and TV news.
  • December 05, 2022 5:58 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members,

    I hope each of you had a happy and restful Thanksgiving weekend. This year has felt incredibly busy, and I think we all needed a break! 

    As we move towards the end of the year, I’d like to invite you to attend our first annual SoCal Gingerbread Challenge this week, December 9 – 11 at Burbank Town Center. This event is designed to help non-engineers understand what we do as structural engineers in a fun and memorable way.  Our teams have come up with creative and exciting designs that I can’t wait to see created out of gingerbread!  We’re also using the Gingerbread Challenge as an opportunity to give back to our community.  Each gingerbread team is partnering with a local philanthropy, to which SEAOSC will be donating a portion of the proceeds. Bring your friends and family – kids who attend will be able to build their own gingerbread structure and test it on SEAOSC’s shake table. Hope to see you there! 

    Warmest Regards,

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

  • November 11, 2022 3:43 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members,

    We have all seen a lot of change the last three or four years - change in our homes, communities, and professional industry. The way we do business, the way we connect with one another, and the cultures of our work environments have all been rethought. The operations of SEAOSC are no exception, and we are excited about the direction the association is headed in service to our members and the profession as a whole.

    The SEAOSC Board of Directors feels this is the right time to reevaluate the association bylaws to bring them in alignment with the trajectory of the industry and to better reflect the way we do business. A lot has changed since the last set of amendments were made over 20 years ago, and there is no time like the present to dig in and do the work.  For those of you eligible, please take a moment to review the first round proposed amendments and take part in the democratic process. It's one of the main roles of a voting member of the association: to help decide on the future of your association. The bylaws are the foundation of that future. We ask that you login in and vote today on the proposed changes.  If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you are interested in joining the committee for future conversations, please reach out to the SEAOSC office at


    Kelsey Anne Parolini, S.E.
    2022-23 SEAOSC Bylaws Committee Chair

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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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