Thu, June 28th 5pm – 7pm: Young Professionals 101: Creating Your Career Path + Happy Hour

June 28, 2018
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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57 Degrees*
1735 Hancock Street
San Diego , CA 92101

Where: Private Room, 57 Degrees, 1735 Hancock Street, San Diego, CA

TOPIC: You’ve started your career, but where do you go from here?  What’s the structure at your firm?  Is it the same at every office?

Let’s chat.  We’ll have a panel discussion with some distinguished practicing professionals to share what their respective roles and responsibilities are and have been, and how they’ve gotten where they are today.

Distinguished Panel including Curtis Patterson from Patterson Engineering, Loni Spence from KPFF,  Ryan Turner from DSA, and Steve Crook from LPA.

It will be a casual setting where the experienced engineers can speak about their experiences, of how their careers came to be, what the different titles mean in different firms, etc.  Discussion topics may range widely.  We will leave it open so that members can take the conversation where they need it to go, but we will have some questions to start.  Some sample questions:

  • What does it mean to be a project manager, associate, principal, associate principal, vice president, etc.?
  • How did you get there? How do I get there?
  • Is an SE necessary?
  • Did you always know you wanted to be an Associate/Principal?
  • What’s structure/ hierarchy at your office/firm?
  • Do I have to do business development?
  • How have you dealt with burn out between work responsibilities, family responsibilities, and studying for the PE/SE?
  • What are some of the reasons why you chose to leave your previous company?



Curtis Patterson, S.E. – Principal and Founder, Patterson Engineering, Inc.

Curtis Patterson founded Patterson Engineering, Incorporated (PEI) in 2006.  PEI specializes in high-end custom homes, urban in-fill, and brewery projects.  PEI has worked on some of the highest priced homes in San Diego county and has been involved in over 100 brewery projects across the United States.

Curtis enjoys being active in the Structural Engineers Association of San Diego.  Currently, he serves as the President of SEAOSD, and participates locally in the Business Forum and Golf Tournament.  As a past SEAOSD board member and Vice President, Curtis has had the privilege of facilitating the Business Forum Committee’s educational presentations and monthly luncheons, participating in regularly meetings, and assisting with annual golf tournaments. Currently Curtis also has the privilege of being on the Structural Engineers Association of California’s (SEAOC) Board of Directors.  In that role, Curtis is a liaison between the State’s Professional Practices Committee and the Board. It is Curtis’ ambition to further advance recognition of the structural engineering profession by public outreach and community involvement.

In Curtis’s spare time, he is a new dad and a husband to his wife Audrey.  Curtis enjoys being outdoors via skiing, hiking, surfing, and recently has taken on golf.


Loni Spence, S.E.  -  Associate, kpff

Loni Spence, SE is a Project Manager and Associate at the KPFF San Diego office.  She has been with KPFF since 2004, when she started as an engineering intern after receiving her Master of Science degree from the University of California, San Diego.  Loni has worked on the vast majority of the OSHPD work in KPFF’s San Diego office for the past 12 years.

She loves the business aspects of engineering and the challenges of working with the design team to make sure projects are coordinated, timely, and on budget.  One of her career passions is mentoring engineers, as well as providing support to other female engineers.

Outside of work, Loni enjoys cooking, listening to vinyl records, nerding out with her husband (another structural engineer), and “building” with her two young boys.


Ryan Turner, S.E.  -  District Structural Engineer/Codes & Standards, Division of the State Architect

Ryan Turner is a District Structural Engineer with The Division of the State Architect (DSA), where he has worked since 2015.  After receiving a master’s degree in structural engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 2003, Ryan moved to San Diego to work for KPFF Consulting Engineers where he served as a Project Manager for 12 years before accepting a position at DSA.  He is a licensed Structural Engineer with a broad range of professional experience focused on the structural design and analysis of concrete, steel, and masonry buildings.  While at DSA, he has performed structural plan review for public schools and community colleges as well as developing building code regulations and structural guidelines.  Following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, he also volunteered and traveled to Haiti to teach local masons how to build confined masonry buildings more safely.  Ryan served as President for SEAOSD in 2016 as well as Treasurer the previous four years.  In the past, he was also an active member of the SEAOSD Public Relations Committee, served on the 2013 SEAOC Convention committee, and has won awards for Excellence in Structural Engineering at both the local and state levels.

On the weekends, you might find Ryan playing volleyball, working on a house project, or teaching his daughter how to say “da da.”


Steven Crook, S.E.  -  Senior Project Manager | Structural , LPA

Steve grew up in a little farm town in the San Joaquin Valley.  He left to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he graduated in 1998.  Steve has lived and worked in San Diego County ever since, spending 18 of those years at Wiseman + Rohy; where he was involved in both renovation and new work, on projects covering a wide range of materials, as well as markets: including education, healthcare, commercial, and retail.  In 2016, Steve took the opportunity to establish and manage the structural team for the San Diego office of LPA.  Steve has designed projects in a variety of building materials, from light-frame wood to multi-story steel.  Steve’s story is all about the teachers and mentors who helped push him to the next level, and he’s recently started to pay that forward by coaching FIRST Lego League at his local elementary school.

A fun fact about Steve is that he has been an amateur racer – bicycle and motorsport.



Have a question for the panel?  Submit your question here

Link to form:



$0.00 SEAOSD Member Ticket

$5.00 Non-Member Ticket