SEAOSD October 2018 Newsletter Print

President's Report

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Half your life you struggle
Half your life you fly
Half your life makin' trouble
Half your life makin' it right

-Dierks Bentley

Just outside the city limits of my hometown, about halfway between the western-most cross street and what was my grandparents’ house, lives this very old tree.  When I was in high school, my cousin Bruce and I would take long walks around town, and we frequently saw this tree at the beginning and end of those walks.  The canopy was a welcome bit of shade and diversion.  On one such walk, we sat down to talk about the future.  I don’t remember what it was I said, but I remember his challenge to me: “you better figure out what you’re about”.  I chafed at that, but he was more right than either of us knew.

Unlike my best mentors, I didn’t come into engineering with passion; I came into it from a place of fear.  Fear that I couldn’t make a living at architecture, history, or humanities.  Fear that after years of being the best in my small-town school, I’d be average or worse at the university level.

I thought I was playing it safe, but it took three years of gradual academic collapse before I confronted my fears and found a passion to change the world.  Self-doubt remained, but by that point I’d failed in almost every way I could, personally and academically.  To borrow from Janis Joplin, I found freedom when I had nothing left to lose.  Freedom to throw all of myself into something.  I figured out what I was about and let that guide me.

I wish I could say I’ve not known failure and challenges since then.  I can’t count the number of times I made mistakes.  I made user errors with analysis programs: defining loads but not locating them on members, setting the deck span direction incorrectly, and inputting properties with the wrong units.  I made math and spreadsheet errors.  There were times when the calcs were right, but the drawings didn’t match.  Most mistakes were caught by me, others by my managers, and still others were caught in plan review.  I’m ashamed to say some had to be fixed in the field.  There were a lot of times I wondered if I should be an engineer anymore.  I still do.

Engineering in general is hard; being at the intersection of math, science, and technology.  Structural engineering is more intense than most, because we hold lives in our hands.  Losing sight of our core mission can have disastrous consequences.  The mantle we carry is heavy, but it need not drag us down. 

It shouldn’t always take a mistake or catastrophe to prompt us to re-think what it is that we’re about.  Sometimes the circumstances around us change, and we need to figure out where we fit in.  That’s true for individuals, companies, and entire professions, and society at large.  Last month’s presentation by Dr. Lang reminded us of that. 

You don’t have to look far to see this kind of introspection among structural engineering organizations.  I opened the September edition of Structure magazine, and saw an editorial written by SEAOC Fellow David Cocke: “Updating the Vision for the Future of Structural Engineering”.  Maybe you didn’t know (or forgot) that SEAOC also has a mission/vision statement, as do all of the member organizations, including ours.  Check it out on our website; it’s all correct, but…if you’re like me you get about three lines in and forgot what you’ve read (or don’t feel connected to it), so you quit reading. 

Last year, SEAONC made a brilliant re-write of their mission and vision statements.  Both statements are less than two lines long, easy to relate to, positive, and inspiring.  Before handing over the gavel to me, Curtis Paterson shared this re-write with the board last year, and we’ve started the process of re-defining and re-stating “what we’re about”.  Be a part of that!  Volunteer, participate, or communicate.  Either way, change is coming. 

If you’ve read the SE3 report, you saw that (like me) more than half of survey respondents considered leaving the profession.  This job isn’t for everyone; but for too long those of us who survived allowed ourselves to say that we were simply more fit, rather than committing ourselves to improving the environment in which we all serve. 

If you’re a younger member who wouldn’t mind having someone like me as a mentor, drop a line to Rachelle Habchi or Sarah Witt.  Or show up at a YMF event and tell Jacqui.  If you’re an old timer like me, who wouldn’t mind sharing inspiration with someone who doesn’t see you as “the boss”, you’ve got nothing to lose.  Find your freedom.  Do you want to get in on the ground floor of the Resilience movement?  Casey Whitsett can put you there.  Feel passionate about sustainability, but don’t know how to get involved?  We need you!  You are not too young.  You are never too old.  You are definitely smart enough.  I’ll take a line from Teddy Roosevelt, and say that “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

This is your monthly call to arms.  We will be an agent for change.  If you would like to get involved in a committee or project, please contact me at [email protected] or our Executive Director, Heather Caya at [email protected].   

Come to October’s lunch meeting, with a presentation by Amir Bonakdar of Euclid Chemical.  He’s seen it all, and I’m excited to hear about it.  Want to know what all the buzz is about on the SE3 project?  It is the profession’s effort to apply our “clever, practical, problem-solver” principals while taking a look in the mirror.  November’s meeting will be awesome.  Come see it, you won’t regret it.

I hope to see you around. 

Steven Crook, S.E.

SEAOSD President


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President Cup

Brawn, Brains, and Victory!

After a long spell of at least 8 years, San Diego has brought home the President’s Cup.  The win was even sweeter as our SEAOSC hosts took home the trophy at last year’s conference hosted by SEAOSD.  Redemption at its best.  Our victorious team consisted of (from left to right): Peter Maloney, Paul Tominna, Ashley Zautcke, Lenard Tran, along with their biggest cheerleader, Past President Curtis Patterson.

The champions beat out tough competition by out swimming, out building, and using on the fly ingenuity. Way to go guy’s, you have made the San Diego Chapter proud!  Thank you to all that attended this year’s SEAOC Convention and cheered on our team.  


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Welcome New Members

New Members for October
Oscar Iniguez ~ Member
Eden Wong ~ Student
Jason Wai Kin Lee ~ Student
Aaron Malatesta ~ Member



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Calendar of Events

Future Meetings

SEAOSD October 23, 2018 Luncheon "Fiber-Reinforced Concrete; a Review on Design, Specifications, and Practice"

October 23, 2018
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Stone Brewery Point Loma
2816 Historic Decatur Rd. #116
San Diego, CA 92106

SEAOSD October 23, 2018 Luncheon "Fiber-Reinforced Concrete; a Review on Design, Specifications, and Practice"

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Register Now

SEAOSD Business Forum Committee Meeting November 2, 2018

November 02, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Cavignac and Associates
450 B Street, 18th floor
San Diego, CA 92101

SEAOSD Business Forum Committee Meeting November 2, 2018

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Register Now

SEAOSD Member Dinner November 13, 2018

November 13, 2018
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Stone Brewery Point Loma
2816 Historic Decatur Rd. #116
San Diego, CA 92106

SEAOSD Member Dinner November 13, 2018

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Register Now

SEAOSD & ACI San Diego Joint luncheon March 19, 2019 "ACI 562-16 – The ACI Concrete Repair Code"

March 19, 2019
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Stone Brewery Point Loma
2816 Historic Decatur Rd. #116
San Diego, CA 92106

SEAOSD & ACI San Diego Joint luncheon March 19, 2019 "ACI 562-16 – The ACI Concrete Repair Code"

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Register Now

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Business Forum

Mr. Tim Corbett of SmartRisk opened our Business Forum Committee's fall series with a thought-provoking presentation on the risks we face in our daily practice of structural engineering. 

Mr. Corbett started with the assertion that a disciplined risk management program has a significant impact on the profitability of a design firm.  In fact, it can often lead to operating profits on net revenue of 20% or higher, with a pre-tax, pre-distribution net labor multiplier of 3.0 or higher.  Moreover, Tim's research showed fewer than 10% of the A/E firms surveyed have a 20% profit margin or 3.0 labor multiplier.  In fact, more than 50% of the firms surveyed realize a profit margin below 10%.

Tim also shared surprising insights into the causes of claims against design firms and how these causes have dramatically changed within the past decade.  Moreover, Tim clearly outlined the most important characteristics that affect a design firm's risk management practices, using real-life examples as powerful and compelling illustrations.

Drawing upon his own experience, Tim described how a risk management consultant can work effectively with a design firm to improve current risk management practices to increase profits.  His examples included very innovative approaches in contract negotiations and management methods-- which reached far beyond changes to a design firm's internal procedures.

To learn more, please contact Tim at 626 665 8150, [email protected]

All members are invited to our presentations.  We look forward to seeing you at our Friday, 02 November, presentation, on the new "Duty to Defend" law in California.  Find out more on the event page of the SEAOSD website.

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2019 SEAOSD Scholarship Application

Student Scholarships

2019 SEAOSD Scholarship Announcement

The Structural Engineers Association of San Diego (SEAOSD) is pleased to announce the 2019 SEAOSD Scholarship.  Undergraduate and graduate students from SDSU and UCSD who are studying and planning on pursuing a career in structural engineering are eligible.

Scholarships will be awarded as follows:

  • One (1) scholarship of $1500 will be awarded to one undergraduate student at SDSU
  • One (1) scholarship of $1500 will be awarded to one undergraduate student at UCSD
  • One (1) scholarship of $1500 will be awarded to one university graduate student at-large from either SDSU or UCSD


The criteria for selection will include academic achievement, involvement in the structural engineering community, leadership, a desire to pursue a career in the field of structural engineering and financial need.  Students must also be official student members of SEAOSD which is completely free!  If you are not a member, please fill out the membership application at:


Students who wish to apply shall provide the following information via an online application before end of day Friday, January 4, 2019 and also meet the minimum requirements noted below:

  1. Resume – including honors, activities, organizations, SEAOSD activities and work experience, (1 Page Maximum).
  2. Transcript (an unofficial transcript is acceptable).
  3. 500 Word Essay - describing your reason for pursuing structural engineering, your professional aspirations for after graduation and brief description of financial need.
  4. Letter of Recommendation – from an instructor or work supervisor. The letter should center on the students character, leadership qualities, career interest in structural engineering and potential for growth. It is highly encouraged to get a letter of recommendation from an instructor other than the faculty advisor to your student organization.

Minimum Requirements:

  • 3.0 Undergraduate GPA
  • 3.2 Graduate GPA if applying for the Graduate Student Scholarship and have completed Graduate coursework
  • Be involved in at least one extracurricular activity. These can include service groups, professional/engineering organizations or clubs, social societies, volunteer programs or other noteworthy extracurricular involvement.  Activities related to the SEAOSD Student Group will be more heavily weighted.


The scholarship awards will be presented at our annual “SEAOSD Student Night with Industry” dinner meeting being held on February 19, 2019. The scholarship winners must be present at Student Night in order to collect their award!

We at SEAOSD are proud to continue our tradition of supporting local Structural Engineering programs and look forward to receiving your applications! 

Please apply via the following link: Click here                                        

For all questions please contact Lenard Tran the SEAOSD Student Liaison for 2019 at: [email protected]    



Lenard Tran and the SEAOSD Board of Directors

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Job Forum

Classified Job Listing

  • SEA News charges $100 ($150 for non-members) for “Job Posting” ads for 2 months in SEAOSD Newsletter.

  • In addition, the advertisement will be posted at under “Job Forum” for 2 months.

  • Please limit ads to 100 words and one graphic that may include company logo (4” x 2”).

  • Advertisements may be renewed or extended for $50 ($75 for non-members) per each additional month.




Job Posting
Oct. 5, 2018


Senior Structural Engineer

Division of State Architect - State of CA

Job Posting
Aug. 31, 2018


Experienced Structural Engineer (3+ years)

KPFF Consulting Engineers

Job Posting
Aug. 31, 2018


Structural Engineer - Experienced

The Consulting Engineers Group-NM, P.C.

Job Posting
Aug. 23, 2018


Structural Engineer - Entry-Level

The Consulting Engineers Group-NM, PC

Job Posting
Aug. 16, 2018


Project Engineer

Qualls Engineering

Job Posting
Aug. 8, 2018



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SDSU's Professional Development Day

The ASCE - SDSU chapter has invited SEAOSD to participate in their Professional Development Day from 9:00AM-3:00PM on October 23rd at SDSU campus.

The Student Liaison Committee is looking for volunteers who can attend the event for 1 to 2 hours to help promote SEAOSD’s benefits to students. All materials will be provided.

For more information, please contact Lenard Tran at [email protected]

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SEAOSD Mentor Program

“Share your passion for Structural Engineering with budding college students! Sign up to be a mentor for a day and introduce your mentee to the world of structural engineering. Take part in an opportunity to show the next generation of structural engineers the different aspects of this industry and what it entails. Truss us. It’ll be fun!”

Click here for the application

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Advertisement Policy

September 5, 2018


Dear Potential Sponsor/Donor:


The Structural Engineers Association of San Diego (SEAOSD) incorporated as a non-profit corporation on October 2, 1967, and has been serving San Diego Structural Engineers and the community ever since.  Our mission is to advance the structural engineering profession through the improvement of the quality of design and construction; to assist the public in obtaining professional structural engineering services; to promote natural hazard mitigation; to provide continuing education and encourage research; to provide Structural Engineers with the most current information and tools to improve their practice; and to maintain the honor and dignity of the profession. 


On behalf of SEAOSD, I would like to formally invite you to participate in our advertising and sponsorship program.  Attached is our updated Advertising Policy that outlines a wide variety of options to choose from to fit your specific needs.  Given our association comprises over 300 members, this is an excellent opportunity to promote and reach out to the local engineering profession.  This includes job forum postings, displaying your business card in our Professional Directory, adding your company logo to our website, sponsoring one of our monthly member meetings, or participating in our annual golf tournament each spring.  There are also several sponsorship packages you may want to consider that offer discounted rates with a packaged deal. 


I would like to emphasize that as a non-profit organization, your continued support is vital for our association to uphold our mission and advance the structural engineering profession.  This includes the ongoing work of our local and state committees ranging from structural standards development, sustainable design, public relations, advising local government, and business forum activities.  SEAOSD has also been heavily involved with student organizations, including job shadowing programs, awarding student scholarships, as well as hosting an annual “Student Night” that provides a unique opportunity for local college students to meet design professionals and learn more about the structural engineering profession.


If you would like to take advantage and benefit from these opportunities while also helping to strengthen our association, please contact our Executive Director, Heather Caya, at (619) 733-2734 or [email protected].  Please note that the Annual Sponsorship Program extends during SEAOSD’s fiscal year from July 1 to June 30, and a 10% discount is available for all sponsorship payments received by September 30, 2018. 


Thank you again in advance for your support of our association. 





Steven Crook, S.E.

President 2018-2019



Non-Profit Organization 501(c)(6)

Tax ID #23-7016819


Click here for the 2018-2019 Advertising Policy


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