Log in

Log in
  • Home
  • Leadership Symposium
  • Home
  • Leadership Symposium


7:15 AM
Doors Open

7:30 AM

8:20 AM
Welcome & Introduction with SEAOSC President-Elect Craig Chamberlain and Event Chair Snehal Kadam, S.E.

8:30 AM
Panel Discussion: Believe in You- How Mentorship Shapes our Career Path

Panelists: Brad Owen, P.E. (LA Metro), Traci Wong, P.E. (Miyamoto International), Ileana Holguin (VP for Clayco Inc), Diana Nishi, S.E. (Englekirk), and Taylor Funk, S.E. (Structural Focus). Moderated by Michelle Kam-Biron, S.E. (Boise Cascade Commercial Solutions)


Michelle Kam-Biron, P.E., S.E. is a California licensed structural engineer and recently joined Boise Cascade Commercial Solutions where she utilizes her expertise in mass timber as Commercial Business Development Manager. Her mass timber experience includes working as a Mass Timber Specialist at Structurlam, a mass timber manufacturer and supplier, Vice President of Education with American Wood Council (AWC) and Senior Director with WoodWorks. Prior to joining the wood industry, Ms. Kam-Biron has several years of experience as a consulting Structural Engineer. She graduated from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Architectural Engineers and now serves as a volunteer on the Cal Poly CAED Dean’s Leadership Council. She also has volunteered her time on NCSEA, SEAOSC and ASCE-SEI committees in addition to being a Past-President and Director of SEAOSC and Director of SEAOC. Recently, she has received the Susan M. Frey NCSEA Educator Award and was inducted into the SEAOC College of Fellows.

As a Senior Executive Officer for LA Metro’s Program Management Department, Brad Owen is responsible for overseeing State of Good Repair and Capital Construction. With projects ranging in size from $1M to $3.6 Billion, his team of project managers and construction experts maintain and expand LA Metro’s system towards the future. Projects currently under his purview include an extensive expansion of LA Metro’s Bus Rapid Transit network, multiple state highway projects constructed in partnership with Caltrans, Active Transportation Corridors throughout LA County, and repair and expansion of Metro’s rail network.

Traci Petcoff Wong, PE, is a Principal at Miyamoto International where she serves as one of the Southern California firm leaders. Her efforts focus on company leadership and strategic vision, small and large project management, team building, and building new and existing client relationships. She enjoys applying her 23+ years’ experience to a wide variety of building types and market sectors to include Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12, Commercial, Civic, Institutional, Mixed-Use, High Density Residential, Parking Structures, Aviation, Entertainment, Hospitality, Retail, and Government. Traci is passionate about earthquake resiliency and supports her Company’s mission of global engineering expertise with a humanitarian focus. She is also active in the AIA OC Healthcare Committee and SEAOSC Women in Structural Engineering (WiSE).

Ileana Holguin is a respected professional in the construction industry.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering and Construction Management Minor from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  During her 25 years in the industry, Ileana has worked on a variety of successful projects in California. In her current position as Vice President – Institutional Business Unit with Clayco Inc., she oversees new and existing client relations, provides business development, recruiting, leadership and strategic vision to create high performing and collaborative teams through the pursuit, design and construction phases projects across California. Ileana is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and is a mentor, supporter and advocate for women and minorities in the construction industry.  Ileana an active member of NAWIC LA Chapter #42 and WiOps organizations.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and wine tasting.

Diana Nishi joined Englekirk in 1988 and has worked on numerous projects in Southern California. Ms. Nishi's professional interest and expertise is in the area of the design of concrete and steel structures. She has been responsible for a diverse range of projects including the design of hotels, regional malls, parking structures, office buildings, mixed use and institutional facilities. She is a registered Civil and Structural Engineer in the State of California. 

Taylor Funk is a licensed Structural Engineer working at Structural Focus in Gardena, CA. Taylor began working at the firm as an intern in 2012, rejoined full-time in 2013 as a Structural Designer, and is now a Project Engineer. In her career, she has worked on several historic renovations, structural design, and seismic upgrades including work at Sony Studios, the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, and the Culver Studios among other projects. She is currently serving as Co-Chair for the SEAOSC Women in Structural Engineering (WiSE) committee.

9:25 AM

Speed Mentoring

Join our mentorship panelists along with additional mentors with varying backgrounds and years of experience in the AEC industry for a series of short, focused conversations on topics such as career goals and development, leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion, plus more. Attendees will be placed in breakout rooms with 6-8 other mentees for a 20 minute session with one of our distinguished mentors, after which everyone will be placed into the main room again prior to another 20 minute breakout room with 6-8 new mentees and a new mentor. Suggested questions to begin each session will be provided. This session is joined by speed mentors: Snehal Kadam, S.E. in CA and TX (HNTB Corporation), Richard Chen, S.E. (Labib Funk + Associates), Michelle Kam-Biron, S.E. (Boise Cascade Company), Kim Caravalho, S.E. (Brandow & Johnston), Diana Nishi, S.E. (Englekirk), Ken O'Dell, S.E. (MHP), Barbara Kotsos, MBA (Giroux Glass), Erica Hay, S.E. (Shawmut Design and Construction), Susendar Muthukumar, S.E, Ph.D., (Walter P Moore), Russell Kehl, S.E. (Structural Focus), Liz Mahlow, P.E. (NOUS Engineering), Amber Freund, P.E. (RISA), Araceli Abanilla, P.E. (STV)

Speed Mentors

Snehal Kadam is licensed Structural Engineer and Structural Engineering Manager at HNTB Corporation, with over 17 years of experience on high-profile variety of iconic and large complex buildings totaling $7 Billion, ranging from sports, aviation, commercial to transit. Through innovative solutions and commitment to quality work, she delivers projects that have differentiated her and has received numerous awards across the nation, including ENR California & Northwest Region 2022’s Top Young Professionals Under 40, and multiple AISC’s IDEAS2 awards. Kadam leads all phases of projects and worked on several complex staged construction design including 500-foot-long-span steel roof trusses spanning over 500,000SF. On Fiserv Forum arena, she led the signature steel design of 8000 tons including 2-way curved long-span roof trusses, 120ft tall curved exterior façade, and 120ft tall glass curtain walls supported 2-directional sloping columns.

Kadam believes in giving back and growing the profession by reaching out to youth by being mentor through programs such as ACE and served as youngest President and Director of the Structural Engineering Association of Kansas and Missouri board. She is member of SEAOSC and its WiSE (Women is Structural Engineering) committee and currently chair of its 2023 Leadership symposium.

Erica Hay is director of project development for Shawmut Design and Construction, a national construction management firm with ten offices nationwide. Her national relationships span architectural, commercial and institutional firms which allow for strategic design/build partnerships to be formed under her leadership. Prior to joining Shawmut, she was the managing principal of RL Studio – an architectural lighting design and procurement studio that focused on hospitality, luxury retail, and commercial developments around the nation. A designer by training and practice, she safeguards the client’s and designer’s vision ultimately bringing it to fruition through the building process. Throughout her fifteen years in the A/E/C industry, she fosters a collaborative approach and carefully curates the best local and national resources based on individual client and project needs.

Erica holds bachelor’s degrees in Interior and Product Design from The Master’s University and The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM). She is a frequent industry speaker and presenter for industry organizations including ICSC, IALD, and CenterBuild and is apart of LAHQ leadership which supports careful and conscious development of Los Angeles. In her spare time, she loves to ride horses in the Hollywood Hills, try new restaurants, and host dinner parties bringing new friends together.

Susendar Muthukumar, PhD, SE, is a Principal at Walter P Moore with over 18 years of industry experience. As office design manager in Los Angeles, he provides technical leadership, engineering guidance and design oversight on structural projects in Southern California. His experience encompasses a wide range of sectors including mixed-use, higher education, high-rise, sports, aviation, parking structures, and themed entertainment. Susendar enjoys mentoring younger engineers across the firm regarding technical design aspects, structural load paths, building code interpretations, and career development.

Russell Kehl joined Structural Focus in 2001, after working for three years at another structural engineering firm in Los Angeles. He is a licensed California Structural Engineer with over 20 years of experience in ground-up design, tenant improvement, retrofit of existing structures, historic preservation, structural analysis, computer modeling, and seismic evaluation. Some of Russell’s representative projects include Amazon Studios at The Culver Studios, The Reserve, other office buildings, several adaptive reuse projects, and numerous renovations.

Araceli Abanilla is a Senior Engineer working for STV, Inc.’s Los Angeles office, with over 15 years of experience in the design and construction of various building and infrastructure projects. Araceli has worked on a broad range of projects, including bus, light rail, heavy rail, airports, consulates, embassies, municipal buildings, schools, libraries, medical facilities, and roadway and bridges.

Araceli began as an intern at Caltrans, before for working as a bridge design engineer. She had a brief stint doing FRP and structural design in the Antiterrorism Force Protection industry. She then transitioned to focus on structural design of buildings for the commercial, residential, educational, and medical sectors, before transitioning again to working on infrastructure projects in rail, mass transit, highways and bridges.

She is currently the Structural Design lead on the Newhall Yard and Maintenance Facility, which consists of 12 structures that include a Train Maintenance Facility, Fueling Stations, Maintenance platforms and the Yard Control Tower for Valley Transit (VTA) and Bay Area rapid transit (BART).

Ken O’Dell, SE is a principal at MHP Structural Engineers where he serves as the human resources manager in addition to supporting engineering teams on simple to complex projects. With projects including due-diligence assessments, seismic strengthening and design for national retail chains, multi-family housing and educational facilities he has had the fortune of being able to stay with a single firm since graduating in 1989 from Cal Poly, SLO with a degree in Architectural Engineering. Ken has had the opportunity to travel to several countries including Nepal, Haiti and Mexico to support communities in the aftermath of significant earthquakes. His experience has impacted his career and support of staff development by instilling the idea that engineering is about more than beams and columns; it is about building community where people can live, work, play and thrive.

A founding Partner of Nous Engineering, Elizabeth Mahlow is a Licensed Engineer with 17+ years of professional experience in the construction industry. Based in Los Angeles, she has managed large-scale, fast-track projects in the US and internationally. Liz works alongside architecture firms big and small to bring sensible solutions to complex or otherwise unique structures. Liz has also taught and lectured at various institutions including University of Southern California (USC), California Polytechnic State University, Woodbury School of Architecture, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Liz has served on Cal Poly’s Architectural Engineering Advisory Council and the Advisory Board of the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.

Barbara Kotsos’s introduction to the construction industry started with Giroux Glass in 2014, following what she thought would be simply a “practice” interview. She was immediately drawn to the creativity she saw in Giroux’s projects on that first visit. Meeting the talented women who held top management roles at Giroux sealed the deal. She hasn’t looked back, and is thrilled to be a part of our dynamic industry.

Barbara gleaned her best marketing and public relations practices from over 30 years of experience in diverse industries that include high tech, office automation, and industry services. She enjoys merging her marketing expertise with her passion for design and architecture. Barbara credits learning quickly about the industry to her involvement with NAWIC LA, at first as a member, then serving as an officer and president. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UCLA, and an MBA in Marketing from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate Management Center.

Kim Caravalho is Vice President of Brandow & Johnston. She has developed long-standing relationships with a number of clients throughout her 25+ years of structural design experience. Working on a wide array of building types and materials, she has experience in design of new structures, seismic retrofit, modernizations and tenant improvements, as well as DSA plan review. Kim’s portfolio includes K-12 schools, higher education, public facilities, student housing, laboratories and tenant improvement projects, among others. She is comfortable taking on challenging projects and providing safe, high-quality and award-winning design solutions for her clients. In addition to being a leader in the office, Kim has also been working with the Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists on various aspects of the exam development for more than 10 years. She earned a Master of Science from the University of Southern California and is licensed in over 15 states.

Richard Chen brings over 20 years of engineering experience to Labib Funk + Associates (LFA), where he provides growth, mentorship, and project diversification as Principal. His vast portfolio includes peer review, commercial, civic, retail, office and residential urban-infill projects, as well as various institutional and essential services developments. His depth of design experience focuses on cast-in-place, precast, prestressed, and post-tensioned concrete as well as steel, modular, metal stud, wood

and masonry structures.

Richard received his bachelors and masters in structural engineering from UC San Diego (B.S.,’00; M.S.,’01) and was honored with the SEAOC Young Engineers Award, and the ACI International Workshop Award shortly after in his early career. His commitment to structural engineering excellence and seismic design experience led him to work on many notable developments including the AEG Conference Center Expansion Project, Hilton Canopy Sacramento, West Edge, St. Andrew Lofts, Modera Pomona Phase I Student Housing, Universal Pedestrian Bridge, UCSD Structural Material Engineering Building, the University Southern California Gateway, the Citizens Business Bank Arena and several major projects for Los Angeles International Airport. Known across the industry for his expertise and ability to inspire, Richard has shared his thoughts on leadership and various engineering topics for Walt Disney, ASCE, ACI, SEAOC, UCSD and CCA. He is currently on UCSD’s Advisory Board for the Structural Engineering Department and is a mentor for the school’s WISE mentorship program, through which he’s deepened his passion for earthquake engineering and frequently serves as a lecturer. Outside of the office, Richard is a fourth-degree black belt in Shorinji Kempo, a practice that has helped influence his mentorship style and pass down many valuable lessons to his students.

10:25 AM

10:35 AM

Track A - The Project Business Plan: How to run your project like a business and create value for yourself, your firm, and your clients. Presented by Justin Smith, P.E., S.E.   

Justin Smith, SE, PE, MBA is a subject matter AEC leadership and project management expert with a proven track record of business growth and profitability in diverse and highly technical programs. Having led teams successfully completing high pressure projects throughout the country and internationally, he is no stranger to the challenges that organizational leaders and team leaders in the AEC industry face.

Having held nearly every role that exists in a modern AEC firm, Mr. Smith brings a practitioner’s eye to consulting and training and regularly offers his expertise to firms, universities, and professional organizations looking to develop skills and offerings that provide a competitive advantage for talent. Mr. Smith has consulted on projects and with companies on matters including workplace culture improvement, leadership development challenges, business system implementations, and project leadership for highly technical subject matters.

10:35 AM

Track B - Leadership Lessons Learnt in Construction Litigations Presented by Heather Frisch, J.D.

Heather Frisch, J.D. is an attorney at the construction law firm of Pierce Kavcioglu Espinosa & Cesar, LLP who focuses her practice on the representation of general contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals in construction related matters involving schedule delay impacts and time extensions, defective specifications, design changes, and payment disputes on both public and private projects. Heather has also been involved with a number of design-build projects for federal, state, and local entities and understands the unique challenges those projects face.

12:00 PM


1:00 PM

Track A - Leading at Any Level Presented by Emily Brown

If you’re new to the construction industry, or even a seasoned veteran, having influence in your organization can make it easier to achieve goals, improve your ability to lead, and increase your confidence. However, establishing credibility as a professional can take time.

As a construction industry Project Executive turned Learning and Development professional, Emily Brown has a unique perspective into the daily challenges faced by those in the AEC industry.

With an emphasis on construction excellence and professional development, Emily works with McCownGordon associates across the Midwest to ensure they have relevant, timely, and engaging learning opportunities to continue building their technical and interpersonal skills. After spending 15 years in project management, Emily earned a master's degree in Adult Learning from Kansas State University, as well as a coaching certificate from the Association of Talent Development. In addition to learning and development, Emily is passionate about her teenage son, her rescue dog, and getting cozy with a good book.

1:00 PM

Track B - Career Paths in Engineering: How Do You Get There, and Where Is There Anyway? Presented by Mark D. Aden, P.E., S.E.

Mark Aden, S.E. started his career in 1985 with a very small engineering company in Seattle, designing a variety of small commercial projects. After working for two other small companies in Seattle, he joined DCI Engineers in 1998. He opened their first branch office in Spokane, Washington, then became President/CEO in 2007 at age 44. He served in that capacity until stepping back in 2021 and is now Chairman of the Board. DCI Engineers has averaged 15% year on year revenue growth for the 25 years Mark has been with the firm and now has 20 offices and 400 total staff around the country. He opened their downtown Los Angeles office in 2016 and the Southern California market is now his primary focus.

Mark will discuss the reasons for firm growth, organic and M&A growth techniques, costs and financing, and how to define and ensure success. Additionally, in this presentation, he will discuss the various career paths in engineering firms, the types of opportunities and employers to seek at each stage of your career, critical skills to acquire, and how to assess your own ambition and sensitivity to risk when setting long term personal career goals.

2:35 PM


2:45 PM

Panel Discussion: You and Your Firm Can Thrive Together! Retaining engineers from underrepresented groups and advancing to leadership roles.

A panel discussion with leaders in the AEC industry to highlight the benefits of a diverse workforce and diverse leadership to the health of firms and their employees. Discussion topics will provide guidance on how firms can achieve this diversity, retain employees, and train them to be the future firm leaders. Firm employees and leadership should find this panel discussion interesting and informative.

Panelists: Liz Mahlow, P.E. (NOUS Engineering), Amber Freund, P.E. (RISA), Angela Harris, MS.ED. (Corgan), Eugenio Bonet (VP of HNTB Corporation). Moderated by Priscilla Chavez (Manager of Business Development PCL Construction Services)


Priscilla Chavez is manager of business development for PCL Construction Services – California Buildings in Los Angeles and has been with the company for 7 years. In her previous role, Chavez was the architect for the region’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. Her leadership in the DEI space has contributed on the success of many: PCL’s California region and its clients, small and diverse certified firms, and the local workforce, which includes individuals from marginalized communities. From her new vantage point of business development, Priscilla is uniquely positioned to continue acting as an agent for change in diversity and inclusion by assisting and consulting with clients how they can be impactful in the space. She can simultaneously speak to how community investment impacts lives while connecting it to the bottom line.


As the CEO of RISA, Amber Freund is passionate about the structural engineering industry.  She believes software should make engineer’s lives easier while enabling them to create new and innovative structures. A native of California, Amber received her bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from the Cal Poly, SLO and her master’s degree in Civil Engineering from UC Irvine.  She has experience in building design and is a licensed PE in California

Amber believes strongly in supporting women in her community.  She is actively involved in Girl Scouts of Orange County as well as The Teen Project, who provide healing and hope to young women who have survived human trafficking and homelessness. She is happily married with two daughters and two dogs. She enjoys boating and spending time outdoors with her family. 

Eugenio Bonet is a vice president at HNTB Corporation, an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors. Eugenio currently serves as the Operations Director for HNTB’s national Architecture practice.  In this role, he is focused on supporting the strategic growth and development efforts of this thriving practice supporting the aviation, transit, tolling and sports markets across the continental U.S.      

Eugenio has over 25 years of experience, the last 18 of which have been spent in various progressively increasing leadership roles with HNTB.  Eugenio provides senior level strategic support and works closely with leadership and project teams to ensure they are organized to win and deliver the largest and most complex projects for the clients and communities HNTB serves.  He promotes a collaborative and empowering environment such that behavior, activities and decisions are fully aligned with strategic objectives and the practice’s vision and philosophy. 

Prior to his employment at HNTB, Eugenio served multiple roles across different industries, countries and company types.  From managing the commercial aspects of a power generation and distribution project for Siemens in Colombia, to a start-up operation of a U.S. subsidiary for another German multinational corporation, Eugenio’s passion has been to add value to the projects and organizations he has supported, while developing others to create sustainability and opportunities for growth for himself and others.     

Eugenio holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics from Campbell University. He is also active in mentoring activities at work and outside.  Eugenio serves on the Board of Directors for Latinos in Transit where he promotes the advancement of Latinos and other minorities in that industry.  He has lectured Project Controls Management at the University of California – San Diego a couple of years in a row.  Eugenio is also a devoted father and husband who is actively involved with his kids’ school and sports activities. 

Angela Harris is a  creative and innovative architectural project manager with 29 years of experience in the architectural field and currently employed at Corgan located in Culver City, California. She explored multiple building types throughout her career including a 15 year focus in healthcare facilities coordinating all phases of project approval and construction administration process with OSHPD. Other points of interest include commercial retail centers, recreational park facilities, courthouse design development, and data center testing structures. Also, she managed the Los Alamitos Battery Energy Storage Systems project which earned three esteemed titles: the Engineering News Record “2021 Best Energy/Industrial Project”, (ENR) “2021 Best Project of the Year”, and the highest honor given in the electric power industry the “2021 Edison Award”.

A founding Partner of Nous Engineering, Elizabeth Mahlow is a Licensed Engineer with 17+ years of professional experience in the construction industry. Based in Los Angeles, she has managed large-scale, fast-track projects in the US and internationally. Liz works alongside architecture firms big and small to bring sensible solutions to complex or otherwise unique structures. Liz has also taught and lectured at various institutions including University of Southern California (USC), California Polytechnic State University, Woodbury School of Architecture, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Liz has served on Cal Poly’s Architectural Engineering Advisory Council and the Advisory Board of the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.

3:35 PM


Moderated by Priscilla Chavez

3:50 PM

Building Upon Leadership in Issues of Social Equity

Presented by Susan Rosakis (Google)

Susan Rosakis leads the Design and Construction of GOOGLE work spaces in Silicon Valley. Her Bay Area Real Estate Project Executive team is responsible for the design and delivery of innovative and forward-looking work spaces from San Bruno to San Jose that embody GOOGLE's incredibly unique culture. Prior to joining GOOGLE, Susan spent 17 years at Stanford University leading projects including the GSB Highland Hall, Stanford Law School's Neukom Building & the McMurtry Art & Art History Building. Before Stanford, she was vice president/manager of an engineering & construction industry consultant specializing in construction management. Susan started her career as a cost estimator for a San Francisco Bay Area general contractor and as a cost/schedule engineer at Bechtel. Susan earned a bachelor's degree in Construction from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's School of Architecture and a masters degree in Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering & Management from Stanford University.

5:00 PM

Happy Hour & Networking


Contact Us

10945 Burbank Blvd. 
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Phone: (562) 908-6131
Media Relations
Advertise With Us


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.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software