If you take away Eau Rouge, you take away the reason why I do this. -Ayrton Senna
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
-John A. Shedd
Whatever it takes
'Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
'Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains
Whatever it takes
“If you take away Eau Rouge, you take away the reason why I do this.” Ayrton Senna said this in the aftermath of Stefan Bellof’s fatal crash at a section of race track known as Eau Rouge. This message isn’t about racing, but I used Senna’s quote because it brings together the balance between thrills and safety, motivation and challenges.
First, how did you get here? I don’t mean “what do you like about your job”, I mean “what made you start on the path to become a structural engineer?” When (and how) did you first decide that you wanted to be a structural engineer? Maybe it was a bridge, a skyscraper, a stadium, or other building that first woke you up to the idea of helping to create more such spaces. Or maybe you remember a time when an earthquake or hurricane or tornado came along and destroyed some buildings, leaving others behind; in that moment you knew you wanted to devote your life to keeping people safe.
Although many of us have practical reasons for the decision to study and become a structural engineer, we don’t usually get here without experiencing a certain level of awe, wonder, enchantment. Asking how you came to be a structural engineer is a little bit like asking how you and your spouse came to be married. For me, I was a kid in a rural church with tie rods across a barrel vault. I came to love architecture, but felt intimidated by art. Midway through high school, my math and science skills had taken off, while my artistic skills were stuck at a level that would embarrass a caveman.
Still, I came here with awe and wonder…and love. A love for spaces and places, majesty and monument. For me, that is my “Eau Rouge”, the fundamental experience that gives this job meaning. But is that enough?
Just as with human relationships, the longer you are together, the more that you grow (and change); and the deeper you dive into this, the greater the chance that you will eventually encounter something that erodes or outright strips away the visceral emotional drive that brought you here. Consider that balance between thrills and safety; between motivation and challenges.
There are many things that can upset that balance. Sometimes it is a mistake we make. Or a lawsuit that we are a party to. Or a massive change order that we have to fight against. Perhaps it’s an actual failure of something that we worked on. Maybe it’s just a figurative glass ceiling, or certain emotional fatigue that settles in when the demands of the job increase faster than our skills or tools can adapt. Whatever the reason, we sometimes find that we have lost “the reason why I do this”.
I seriously considered leaving structural engineering last year. As I was struggling through my response to the challenges I was facing, the Principal of our San Diego office reminded me about Stefan Bellof and Ayrton Senna. I found Senna’s quote, and the little bit of my own truth therein: there are many ways to respond to a challenge, and if I responded in a way that took away the passion, the satisfaction, the opportunity to participate in something both beautiful and daring, I would be taking away the very reason that I ended up here in the first place.
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
Rern Koolhaas opined that “architecture is a dangerous mix of power and importance”. Renzo Piano reminds us that “one of the great beauties of architecture is that each time, it is like life starting all over again.” That is what we are built for: the power of the human will to change lives by design. It is powerful, it is important, and it is beautiful.
And yet…there’s no denying that our passion must be tempered, matured, informed; that with great power comes great responsibility. That’s part of why we have SEAOC, why we undertook to update the Blue Book, why Steve Kerr pushed so hard to complete the Wind Design Manual, why we bother to bring speakers in every month, why we have an annual convention, why we asked Jenn Ciofolo to revive the Continuing Education Committee. Thank you! And thank you to all of our speakers, like Bernard Cruz of Hilti, who joined us in January to present on “Epoxy Anchor Do’s and Don’ts”.
Once again, thank you to Jacqui Le, Daniel Jardel-Menno, and Lenard Tran for putting together the program for this year’s Student Night event. And thank you to all of our sponsors, who make it possible for students to attend for free. To all of the students who will be joining us for Student Night, a benediction: May you find your “Eau Rouge”; and no matter what challenges your career throws at you, may you remember what you are made for, and pursue it with courage.
Reminder to everyone else: share your knowledge (and represent SEAOSD)! The 2019 SEAOC Convention Committee is extending the deadline for the Call for Papers to February 18th. I’m working on an abstract, I hope you will too.
Please check out our website for announcements and other important information, like nominations for next year’s Board. If you would like to nominate someone, please contact Curtis Patterson at [email protected] or me at [email protected].
Steven Crook, S.E.
New Members for February
Sanket Anturkar ~ Associate
Muhammad Zayed ~ Student
Anne-Sophie Roobol ~Student
The SEAOSD chapter has purchased a table of 8 for the Engineer's Week Awards Banquet. We have 6 seats left and would like you all to have the opportunity to go if you wish. If you would like to attend please email Heather Caya at [email protected] She will be able to take the first 6 people. Thank you and we hope you can attend.
San Diego County Engineering Council (SDCEC)
The Structural Engineering (SE) Department of the University of California, San Diego cordially invites you to attend the SE Research Showcase Day, which will be held on February 15, 2019, in the Ida & Cecil Green Faculty Club, Atkinson Pavilion at UC San Diego.
Please see the event website for more information:
The Structural Engineering Department at UC San Diego is one of the top academic and research entities in the field. Being the only stand-alone Structural Engineering program in the country, we focus on civil as well as aerospace structures, and our research also encompasses biological, marine, and naval structures, with a common emphasis on engineering mechanics, materials engineering, analysis, and design. Our research covers a range of structural materials and structural types, ranging from nano-materials to large-scale structures such as aircraft bodies, ship hulls, geotechnical structures, buildings, and bridges.
We would like to invite you to attend the SE Research Showcase to learn more about our programs, people, facilities, and research activities. The Program includes breakfast, technical presentations, student poster session, lunch, awards ceremony, laboratory tours, and reception & networking.
Reasons to Attend
- Learn about the most recent research happening in UC San Diego's Structural Engineering department
- Interact with Structural Engineering faculty
- See the latest activities in the laboratory
- Network with Structural Engineering alumni
- Technology transfer opportunities
- Provide feedback to the department on new trends in industry
Please register early to secure a seat for this event. Registration will close at the end of this month.
We look forward to meeting with you in La Jolla. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Jennifer Eller, SE Showcase Coordinator, at [email protected] or 858-822-2273. Sponsorship/booth opportunities are also available.
Society of Civil and Structural Engineers
Structural Engineering, B.S. 2019
University of California, San Diego
Ram Jack Provides Stabilization From Downward Movement to North Central
A new set of housing units were to be added in Philadelphia’s North Central Choice Neighborhoods for mixed-income residents; however, inferior soil halted the development. Fill materials from previous construction threatened the future units’ structural integrity. Realizing something had to be done, project managers contacted Ram Jack Tri-States.
Once on site, Ram Jack determined new construction helicals were needed to create a strong foundation for the housing units. Working alongside Larsen Landis, a local engineering firm, Ram Jack successfully performed pile load tests and pre-drilled in some areas before the installation began. In all, 728 helical piles at an average depth of 24 ft. were successfully installed to stabilize the future buildings. Thanks to Ram Jack the job was done as quickly and efficiently as possible, keeping the project far ahead of schedule.
Classified Job Listing
E-Day at the Mall
February 23, 2019
Chula Vista Mall
10 – 4 PM
This is a fun day at the end of Engineers Week. Volunteers build marshmallow and tooth pick buildings with kids and talk about good earthquake design. Schedule is flexible. Come for an hour or stay the whole day!
If you would like to volunteer, please contact:
The SE3 Committee Announcement
The SE3 Project was established in 2015 with the mission of improving engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession. Sponsored by SEAONC, the team completed a national survey of over 2,100 structural engineers and found that more than half of them have considered leaving the profession at some point in their career. The main reasons cited are:
- Work-Life Balance
- Less Stress
- Higher Pay
In response to these results, SEAOSD has created a new committee, "The SE3 Committee", which stands for Structural Engineering, Engagement and Equity, with the mission of addressing these issues to improve employee engagement and the career satisfaction of structural engineers. We will be creating surveys, providing resources and holding events to support these goals.
If you are interested in contributing to any of these efforts, please email Luvelyn Benitez at [email protected] The SE3 Committee welcomes any and all perspectives from within the SEAOSD membership.
For more info, visit www.se3project.org
John Murphy & Luvelyn Benitez
SE3 Committee Co-Chairs
In addition to the objectives listed above, the SE3 Committee is looking forward to contributing informal surveys on the above topics in the SEAOSD monthly newsletter. The first survey for the SE3 Committee on work-life balance was prepared by Hannah Johnson from Degenkolb Engineers.
How did you manage work-life balance while studying for the PE/SE?
- Schedule time to study in advance, and keep those appointments. Don’t study every single day. Give yourself a break. Instead, block out 3 hours windows to study 3-5 times a week.
- It was difficult to manage, and a long time ago, but I think I devoted Saturdays to studying and review classes and some evenings and devoted at least half of Sundays to non-study. The key was starting to study months in advance.
- I dedicated a couple hours most weeknights studying and one full weekend day. This left one weekend day for resting and fun, and 1-2 evenings a week for relaxing.
- Making sure to have firm time deadlines. Schedule both time to study and to enjoy with friends.
- I didn’t. There was not a lot of “LIFE” while studying.
- Take the Spring tests, so you are studying over the winter when it gets dark early and you actually want to be indoors.
“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