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Mehran Pourzanjani, SE
Culmination of Culture of Change: Relevancy of SEAOSC
June marks the last month of the SEAOSC calendar. The year has sailed by faster than expected. It has been a privilege and honor to serve as SEAOSC‘s 90th President. I am particularly proud to be part of the association’s a rich heritage, history, and traditions. In these dynamic times communities and cultures are changing at an unprecedented increasing rate. To survive associations must remain relevant. This realization has driven our vision and activities over the past year. An association must continually be changing, adapting and modernizing at an ever faster pace to remain relevant. This year our motto has been to question every tradition and way with SEAOSC in favor of a new refreshed approach. I am pleased to report that with the support of the Executive Committee, the board, and you the members, we have managed daring transformations in the Association which will continue to serve future generations of SEAOSC. In the process we have managed to instill a culture of change and adaptability in the Association. It is only through our collective efforts, beliefs, and volunteerism that we can continue to transform and modernize. What follows is a recap of some of the major events and transformations we managed together over the course of last year.
SEAOSC 2018-2019 Transformations:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Executive Committee members, President Elect Ken O’ Dell of MHP Structural Engineers, Treasure Matt Bernard of Degenkolb Engineers, and Past President Bob Lyons of Risha Engineering for embracing the vision of change for the Association, owning it and expressing a willingness to continue with it. The current board has been tremendous in brainstorming and supporting changes and in the development of the “Disaster Response Plan”. Thank you Donny Harris SE, John Labib and Associates, Garrett Mill,SE, Taylor & Syfan Consulting Engineers, Massoud Abolhoda, SE, Santa Barbara County Planning & Development, Patti Harburg-Petrich, SE, BurroHappold Engineering, Annie Koa,PE, Simpson Strong-Tie, Truong Huynh , PE, City of Long Beach, Bryan Seamer, SE, LPA, and Wayne Chang SE, Structural Focus .
I would also like to thank all the committee chairs and members for their service and dedication to SEAOSC and for advancing various missions and causes. The committees are the spine of the Association without which we could not exist.
Welcome New Board Members:
Welcome new board members; Treasurer Kelsey Anne Parolini, PE, SSG Structural Engineers, Henry Burton, PhD., SE, University of California, Los Angeles, Kim Caravalho SE, Brandow & Johnston, Victor Cuevas, PE, Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, Tom Harris, SE, California Code Check. I encourage you all to initiate and support more changes to the association during your tenure.
Up Coming Events:
The “President’s Luncheon and Achievement Awards”, a new event this year, will be held on June 19th at the LA Grand Hotel. This event will be devoted to recognizing and celebrating SEAOSC’s members that have distinguished themselves in various capacities; the Engineer of the year, and will include the transition of the Presidential gavel to incoming president Ken O’ Dell. We hope that you will attend this luncheon to celebrate and recognize our distinguished colleagues and their accomplishments and welcome the new President. The yearend technical summit will also be held in the morning at the same location. The summit will be a multi-track event providing interest based choices for the attendees. You can find out more about these events on the website.
The Safer Cities Gala and President’s Dinner will of course be held on June 5st. at the Biltmore. This event will feature “Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards” (EISE) and will include a New “Safer Cities” awards category. This award will recognize leaders in the industry, or public arena that have made outstanding contributions towards Safer Cities or the advancement of the industry. The gala is emceed by ABC 7 Anchor David Ono. We are anticipating a broad representation from the industry at the event including various city representatives and officials. I hope to see you and your guests there. You are able to register at the door if you have not yet done so.
Congratulations to all the Awardees in advance!
I envision an Association that is relevant, active, modern and embracing of change. An Association that strongly advocates for our profession, serves the needs of our members, the wants of our communities with the built environment, and advances the science of Earthquake Design. I believe we are collectively achieving this vision; but we need to continue to work and push together. It is important to appreciate the 90 year history of the Association and how it has grown to afford us the dream of bigger goals today. It has been on the backs of the countless active members, board members, and past Presidents who dedicated time and effort to serve the Association for the benefit all that we have succeeded. So, in the spirit of this noble tradition of service I call on you to please get involved and support the Association in future endeavors, give back to your profession and future generations of earthquake engineers. Let’s make a bigger impact together!
Thank you for your support. It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your President for 2018-2019.
SEAOSC: New Awards and Events
Traditionally, the yearend President’s Dinner has included different award recognitions and the transition of the Presidential gavel. The Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards recognizes outstanding projects that are unique and innovative. The various individual awards recognize the contributions and accomplishments of SEAOSC members that have gone above and beyond the call of duty in giving to the association and the profession. This year we will be expanding our awards program by starting a new tradition with a change in the format of our President’s Dinner and year end events. The new Safer Cities Gala and President’s Dinner will feature the “Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards” and the “Safer Cities Awards” which will recognize leaders in the industry, or public arena that have made outstanding contributions towards Safer Cities or the advancement of the industry. This new format will provide an opportunity to broaden the scope of the event by inviting architects, contractors, owners, policy makers, and building officials to celebrate the recognition of a colleague or share in the award for a project that they participated in. The long term vision for the President’s Safer Cities Gala is to build it into a premier industry event with an expanded scope of attendees. Members are encouraged to invite industry associates to celebrate their award winning projects and share in their accomplishments as part of a team. We will be hosting the Safer Cities Gala and President’s Dinner at Biltmore’s Gold Room. This year ABC 7 Anchor David Ono will serve as the emcee.
There will also be a President’s Luncheon and Achievement Awards this year which will be devoted to recognizing and celebrating SEAOSC’s members that have distinguished themselves in various capacities, the Engineer of the year, and include the transition of the Presidential gavel to incoming President Ken O’ Dell. This event will be held on June 19th at the LA Grand Hotel. We hope that you will attend this luncheon to celebrate and recognize our distinguished colleagues and their accomplishments, and welcome the incoming SEAOSC President, Ken O’ Dell. The yearend technical summit will be held earlier in the morning at the same location and will include the luncheon at a discounted rate. The summit will be a multi-track event providing interest based choices for the attendees.
The Women in Structural Engineering Committee is presenting a Leadership Symposium on May 8th at the Biltmore. This event is generously sponsored by CSI. This full day event is focused on leadership and soft skill topics, tools for success in any field. The details for the symposium are on our website.
On Saturday May 4th we will hold our member appreciation event, a walking food tour of Historical Downtown LA for members. The tour will emphasize the history and architecture of LA buildings and is integrated with a Cinco de Mayo theme which includes food stops along the way. You can find out more about this tour on our website.
The OC Dinner event will be held on Wednesday May 22, please visit the website for more information.
Suffice to say that May and June will be busy months for SEAOSC! Please invite your industry friends, architects, owners, and contractors to these events; particularly to the President’s Safer Cities Gala that will recognize industry leaders of the year and Excellence in Structural Engineering. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events!
Lastly, it is with great sorrow that I share news of the passing of SEAOSC Past President Brian L. Cochran (1999-2000). Brian passed away from complications due to surgery. Condolences to his son, Past President Michael L. Cochran (2009-2010), and the Cochran family.
SEAOSC Has An Investment Plan
I am pleased to announce that SEAOSC has started an Investment plan! The purpose for the investment plan is primarily to build-up reserves to ensure financial viability of the association during the lean years. Beyond that, the vision for the investment plan is to grow the reserves optimally to finance further association activities including membership benefits from the proceeds. The activities and the benefits can include research, scholarships, advocacy for the profession, public service announcements, outreach programs, and community support programs in the event of catastrophic occurrences.
The investment plan was inspired by my experience as a member of the “SEAOSC of the future” Ad Hoc committee in 2011. At that juncture the association was recovering from the recession and struggling on many fronts, including financially. The Ad Hoc committee was tasked with the mission of devising a plan for the viability of the association. The “futurists” as the five members of the Ad Hoc committee were called, developed a “Vision and Mission” for a viable SEAOSC into the future. This “Vision and Mission” is featured on the SEAOSC website under the “About SEAOSC” tab should you be interested in learning more about it. The most challenging aspect of the plan was directing SEAOSC back to financial stability which involved many difficult decisions. That experience served as the inspiration for the development and implementation of the investment plan to ensure the viability of the association through challenging times.
A key factor for the success of the investment plan will be to build up the reserves over time; particularly when the economy is healthy. This requires discipline and commitment; tapping into the plan must be resisted unless absolutely necessary. It is my hope to instill this discipline and culture in the association with a focus on the vision for the plan. As the last of the “futurists” to serve as president; my aspiration is to insure proper resources are available for the future generations of SEAOSC leaders so they can realize their vision for the betterment of the association.
I look forward to seeing you at the next dinner event on April 3rd.
Inspiring the next generation
In February SEAOSC hosted the annual scholarship and career fair night. It was an opportunity for us to meet and recognize the next generation of earthquake engineers, and reward those who have achieved scholastic excellence with scholarships. It is important that students strive for excellence as they embark onto their careers. The candidates for scholarships are selected and recommended by the SEAOSC Younger Member Committee, co-chaired by Michael Daciolas and Cheng Song. The scholarships are awarded by SEAOSC foundation, chaired by-Past President Kevin O’ Connell and the funding is by firms and individuals. This year the SEAOSC Foundation had a significant donation by CSI Inc. Nine $1,500 scholarships and one $2,000 David and Margaret Narver Memorial Scholarship were awarded to 10 students. The students represented various universities in Southern California. Congratulations to all the scholarship recipients!
I was delighted to see many friends and colleagues representing over 14 different Structural Engineering firms at the event discussing career opportunities with the students and inspiring them. I hope that all of us in the Structural Engineering community can appreciate our responsibility and role in cultivating future generations in our profession. This starts with the students in our institutions pursuing state-of-the-art academic knowledge; however, they also require mentoring, fostering and inspiration towards a future in the profession. This is particularly important now as the profession faces more alluring competition for the students from other engineering studies. The career fair provided the opportunity to offer internship positions for the students to experience the profession first hand. This is a win-win proposition as students experience on the job training and the gratification of experiencing a building form shape from drawings to reality, while a firm is able to evaluate and invest in a potential future candidate. I hope most of you will consider offering internship opportunities to students in this spirit.
Lastly, we also celebrated the 90th Birthday of SEAOSC at the event by ceremoniously blowing out candles on a cake featuring our new logo. This was a celebration of the vision, dedication and volunteerism of the twelve Structural Engineers that started the Association in February 1929 and that of SEAOSC members, and officers who have since served the association.
I look forward to seeing you all at the next dinner event on March 6th.
In last month’s Presidents message SEAOSC was declared as the oldest Structural engineering Association in the world, based on the history reflected on the Associations website. Peter Maranian S.E. was kind enough to bring to our attention the existence of a group in the United Kingdom who in 1922 renamed themselves “Institution of Structural Engineers”. The group consisted of various building industry factions including engineers, architects, chemist, manufactures and surveyors. The Institution received its Royal Charter in 1934. Established in 1929, SEAOSC remains as one of the oldest Structural Engineers Associations in the world with the distinction that it was created by and for Structural Engineers exclusively.
The association was formed at a meeting at the University Club in Los Angeles on February 20, 1929. The founding members were a group of 12 structural engineering consultants; two of whom were also architects and one was a professor at the California Institute of Technology. You can read more about the history of SEAOSC on our website. As I was scrolling through the names of the 89 Presidents that have served since the inception of SEAOSC, I could not help but to reflect on our history and rich heritage. Many of the presidents, board members, and members of SEAOSC are well known today for their contributions to the science of earthquake engineering. SEAOSC is the only structural engineering association in the world that can showcase such a long history and rich heritage as we are oldest structural engineering association in the world.
As we celebrate this anniversary it is important to appreciate that the association was built on the foundation of volunteerism with its members, committee participants, officers and board members, donating time and effort for the good of the group and for future generations. Now, it is our generation’s turn to carry the torch and give back to the profession, our communities, and the future Earthquake Engineers. I invite you to get involved and join us on this important mission.
In honor of our 90th year we are delighted to present an updated image for the Association. Specifically, the SEAOSC and strengthening of our cities logos have been updated and a new color palate has been adopted for the association as reflected on this newsletter and on our website. The updated logo and the new colors celebrate the vibrancy of the modern SEAOSC while honoring the rich heritage of the Association and representing the Golden State of California from which we hail. There are two versions of the logo, one with a tag line that will be used for occasions when our expertise as Earthquake Engineers will need to be highlighted and emphasized, and the other without the tag line. We hope that you find these updates pleasing.
The strengthening of our cities technical summit that was held on January 19th was a success, with 125 attending, as was the Orange County Dinner event held on January 22nd. The Annual Career Fair & Student Scholarships Awards Night will be held on February 6th. SEAOSC Foundation will be awarding grants to students pursuing a degree in Civil and Architectural engineering. There is also an opportunity for companies to showcase career opportunities at their firms to potential candidates. I encourage you to join us.
Happy Birthday SEAOSC! We look forward to seeing you at February dinner event!
Mehran Pourzanjani, SE
Happy New Year!
The holiday party at the Maggiano's Little Italy at the Grove was a tremendous success. It was a sold out event with 117 registered guests and a waiting list with many more eager to attend. By all accounts folks had a great time. It was an excellent way to close out 2018 and transition to the New Year with momentum and energy. Photos from the party are posted on the SEAOSC web site. An informal poll of attendees at the end of the evening confirmed that the new venue was the most enticing factor for attendance, although pricing was also inviting for many. I would like to once again thank our sole sponsor for the evening, Computers Structures Inc. (CSI) for their continued gracious sponsorship of the event. Their sponsorship along with funding from SEAOSC allowed for the partial financing of this member appreciation holiday event for all, particularly for the younger members who responded in kind by attending in unprecedented numbers. Hopefully, this and future events like it, can serve as catalysts for increased camaraderie amongst various generations of SEAOSC members. The combination of fresh new ideas from younger members fueled by energy paired with the experience, vision and foresight of the seasoned generation is a sure recipe for a grander association. The real success of this event was that it simply brought these different generations closer together towards this end. Let's hope that this event was a spark that will ignite this process.
2019 is a significant year for SEAOSC as it marks our 90th anniversary. I will have more on this in the February newsletter which marks the month that the first SEAOSC meeting was held.
In January, we will be commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake with an all-day seminar. This will be held on January 19th in place of the Winter Education Event that SEAOSC has held in years past. This will be a dual track event, a new format for a SEAOSC seminar. The participants will be able to choose different sessions from either track depending on interests. We will also be unveiling a documentary film titled "Quake Heroes" at the seminar. This is a documentary about the Northridge earthquake which SEAOSC actively campaigned to be part of and participate in. Our esteemed president-elect Ken O'Dell was selected to represent SEAOC in this documentary to reflect upon the Northridge earthquake and how the structural engineering community in California can help in mitigating the types of disasters experienced in that earthquake.
The monthly dinner meeting will be held on January 9th at the Double Tree Hotel. I hope to see you all at the event! Wishing everyone good health, prosperity, happiness, and peace for the year ahead. Happy New Year!
437 S. Cataract Ave., #4-B
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