A Message from the SEAOC President - Kelly Cobeen

By Kelly Cobeen, SE, SEAOC President 

The SEAOC Board met in Oakland on June 18, 2016. The following are a few highlights of the board meeting:

  • The SEAOC Legislative Committee has remained very active, with a number of bills followed, coordination with other interested organizations, in-person testimony, and letter writing campaigns. At the June 18 board meeting, Past President Ryan Kersting was appointed as the new Legislative Committee Chair. A big thank you to retiring chair Carl Josephson who will remain on the committee. Carl will also be continuing in the role of Licensing and Certification Chair; in this role Carl represents SEAOC in engineering registration related areas, including the California Board of Registration for Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists (BPELSG) and National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), where he follows preparation of and grading of exams, model laws for engineering licensing, and related issues. More information on legislative activities is provide in the article below by Executive Director Don Schinske.
  • As preparation for the 2016 SEAOC Convention continues, the Convention Committee and SEAOC Board are working together to get all of the convention-related programs in place. These include travel stipend awards and the state and local level (see article below), Excellence is Structural Engineering Awards, and nominations to the SEAOC College of Fellows. We hope you will be at the convention to help congratulate all of the awardees. There will be a convention app this year, similar to last year but better. Stay tuned for news on the app.
  • Progress continues to be made on implementing the new SEAOC Long Range Plan. Ad-hoc committees are being formed around two groups of topics. One is stewardship/efficiency/alignment of state and local associations. The second is education/ publications/ webinars. Also being worked on in the background is the topic of advocacy. Stay tuned for more information as these efforts progress.
  • The SEAOC committees remain very active and thinking about future directions. Among the committee related items discussed were proposals for new and improved SEAOC publications; these proposals are currently with the Publications Committee to determine next steps. Also discussed were position papers being developed by the communications committee to inform broad audiences on issues related to structural and seismic engineering; development of these is ongoing. The Seismology Committee has significant activity occurring regarding concrete structures, and is exploring setting up a state level concrete subcommittee.

A few other things of import to keep in mind:

  • For the 2016 SEAOC Convention, we are bumping up against the limits of the hotel room block that is set aside at the special convention rate. If you have booked more nights than you will be using, please adjust your reservation now so that other members can fill up the rooms at the convention rate. Please note that the room cancelation penalties apply for cancelations within approximately one month the convention, so if you know adjustments are required, we would appreciate your making them now.
  • The end of the SEAOC calendar year (September 30) is not that far off. In preparation for the New Year the SEAOC board will be soliciting proposed charges from all of the SEAOC committees. For many of the committees the best way to communicate thoughts on activities is through your Member Organization (MO) local committee. A few of the state level committees, however, do not have corresponding MO committees. If you would like to provide input regarding the committees that do not have local MO committees, please provide your input to Don Schinske and me.

The SEAOC Board will be having a web based meeting September 24 and in-person meeting immediately prior to the convention in October. If you have something that you would like to bring to the attention of the board for their consideration, please contact Executive Director Don Schinske dschinske@seaoc.org or me kcobeen@wje.com.


Warming up Your Aloha for the 2016 SEAOC Convention

The Convention Committee continues its hard work planning the 2016 SEAOC Convention in Ka’anapali, Maui. A schedule is now posted on the home page of the convention web site (scroll down to bottom), and more information on the technical program will be provided in the August edition of SEAOC Talk. Continuing from the last SEAOC Talk, here is a short snippet of information about Hawaii.


Heiau - A Hawaiian temple

Kapu - A law or rule, a place that is prohibited (as in “keep out”)

Keiki - Child. It is not uncommon to see things labeled as for keikis, or to have keiki menus or specials at restaurants

Pu’uhonua - A place of refuge in ancient Hawaii

Hawaiiana: Ancient Hawaii was a place of many laws or prohibitions (kapus). Many of the kapus served to separate the common people from the chief, including kapus that you could not walk where the chief had walked, cast a shadow on the chief, or enter an area reserved for the chief. Others had to do with foods, who could eat them, and when they could be harvested. Many other kapus existed. Breaking of the kapus was taken very seriously, in many cases resulting in swift death for the perpetrator, if caught. The only alternative was for the perpetrator to flee to a pu’uhonua (place of refuge), where the priest would conduct a ceremony of cleansing and the perpetrator could then walk out and resume normal life. While getting to a place of refuge may sound easy, it was anything but. Anyone who saw you on the way and knew of your breaking a kapu would be charged to put you to death, or would be similarly considered to have broken the kapu, and also have to flee. There are harrowing tales of kapu breakers choosing to swim shark-infested waters, rather than risk over-land routes to get to the pu’uhonua. While there were pu’uhonuas in many locations in the islands, the best preserved is on the island of Hawaii, at the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park. This site also has a grounds where chiefs used to live and a heiau (temple). Not only for kapu breakers, the pu’uhonua also provided refuge to civilians in times of war, and even warriors from defeated armies. All were protected, and then left free to pursue their lives. The pu’uhonua was so protected that not even a chief could enter it to retrieve persons that had sought refuge. A story is told of a chief’s wife who after a big fight with her husband, sought refuge in the pu’uhonua. It was the only place that he husband did not have the authority to confront her. The distraught chief sent all of his warriors in search of her. Her location in the pu’uhonua was eventually given away by the bark of her dog that was her constant companion. When told of her husband’s contrition, she left to join him. The Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is a highly recommended stop if you visit the island of Hawaii.      

Activities: Among the many destinations on the island, the Maui Ocean Center is reported to be one of the top 25 aquariums in the US. Located in Wailuku, just north of the airport, this is a great location to take the kids (keikis). It is said to have a great collection of live coral of many colors and varieties, in addition to sea turtles and many other sea creatures. You can drive there on your own or take advantage of the shuttle that picks up visitors from the lobbies of most hotels. 

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