The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference..... And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference. Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies.
When the wind picked up,
The fire spread,
And the grapevines seemed left for dead.
And the northern sky, looked like the end of days,
The end of days.
-Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie)
This time of year should not be a time of shock and mourning. Thanksgiving, New Years, and everything in between are all about being home and spending time with those you love. Last month in Paradise, not only were thousands of homes lost, dozens of people who would have shared meals around the tables of those homes died as well. Although the Camp Fire was a long way from San Diego, it’s still California; wildfires can happen anywhere, and who is to say that it won’t happen here next? Many of us were here during the mandatory evacuations of 2007, and I for one remember the fear and uncertainty of that time.
Whether it happens again here or not, that’s no reason for us to remain on the sidelines. Although structural engineers aren’t firefighters or forest management professionals, I don’t buy into the idea that there’s nothing we can do about preventing loss of life and property. Dam failures and building collapses were not uncommon in the days before engineers started applying principles of science and math to construction. Even then, there was a point in time when the power of earthquakes and hurricanes was still seen as being so far beyond our control that people were resigned to the devastation they brought.
Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.
It didn’t happen overnight, but engineers are by definition “clever, practical problem-solvers”. Engineers and academics worked together to challenge the mindset of passive resignation, and sought ways to break down the problem (of designing for these forces of nature), and build up solutions.
If you missed it back in September, the farewell message from outgoing SEAOC President Janah Risha announced the formation of an ad-hoc committee on Fire Hazard. I support his belief that we should partake in the societal aspects of fire hazard. It’s important to do more than watch the news, donate to relief efforts, and pray for healing. Do those things too. But if we really want to step away from passive resignation, away from indifference, we need to educate ourselves and engage with other stakeholders. Forgive me for quoting Psychology Today as a source, but I think it applies: “it takes a huge amount of fortitude and motivation to accept what is—especially when you don’t like it—and then work wisely and effectively as best you possibly can with the circumstances you find yourself in and with the resources at your disposal, both inner and outer, to mitigate, heal, redirect, and change what can be changed”. We will. I’m proud to announce that we have appointed Ian Mellor to represent SEAOSD on the ad-hoc committee. Not only does Ian have a deep knowledge of structural fire damage investigations, he has been part of the post-disaster response to earthquakes, hurricanes, and the 2011 St. Louis tornado.
Maybe we have to accept that fires will start, but we don’t have to accept this kind of outcome. We can find leverage somewhere. We can create, collect, and distribute knowledge. We can advocate for changes in public policy at the local and state level (as individuals, companies, and as an organization). If we “zoom out” from the traditional field of structural engineering consulting, and we take into consideration what we’re learning about resiliency, we will see that the root causes of the fire are a separate matter from the root cause of the devastation of the community. We are stakeholders, and we need to have a seat at the table; it won’t be given to us if we don’t take some initiative, so I look forward to hearing about the progress of Past-President Risha’s ad-hoc committee.
It always seems impossible, until it is done.
In the meantime, please join us in growing our knowledge and re-engaging with our peers every month. If you haven’t noticed the announcement emails, consider this your invite to our December 18 luncheon, a joint meeting with ASCE, where you can get an up-close look at an excellent example of clever, practical problem-solving, the Emergency Wharf Repair at North Embarcadero”. Matthew Martinez, a Vice President at Moffatt & Nichol, will present.
If I don’t see you at the meeting, Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a prosperous year. May we all close it out in the company of people we love.
Steven Crook, S.E.
New Members for December
Huanming Cong ~ Associate
Allen Markoem~ Student
Abigail Manriquez ~ Student
Julia Panian ~Student
Alissa Gonzalez ~ Student
Renalynn Gamboa ~ Student
David Maestas ~ Member
Kelly Potter ~ Industry
Aaron Fortier~ Member
The Stabilization of A Nine-Story Condo Building
A nine-story condo building in Philadelphia was threatened when fill soil was detected underneath the structure. Since this kind of soil would threaten structural integrity, Larsen Landis, the structural engineering company working on the condo project, contacted Ram Jack Tri-States to provide helical stabilization. Working alongside engineers, Ram Jack decided to install 276 helical piles to secure the building’s steel columns and concrete footings, using both 3 ½” and 5 ½” diameter piles. In four months’ time, Ram Jack helped to put in pile caps and grade beams, and ultimately installed their custom-designed and manufactured helical piles to support the building. Thanks to Ram Jack’s ability to create unique solutions to foundation problems, Larsen Landis was able to trust that the condo would remain stable for years to come.
Classified Job Listing
“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!”
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.
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS ASSOCIATION OF SAN DIEGO
Non-Profit Organization 501(c)(6)
Tax ID #23-7016819