Regional Update from San Diego (SEAOSD)

By Ryan Turner, S.E., SEAOSD President

It has been a very busy and productive year in San Diego.  We started out the year with a big change as our Executive Director, Cathy Riley, stepped down after eleven years of service to our organization to be with her family in Texas.  We had come to rely heavily on her to keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes, but we have been fortunate to find an excellent replacement.  Heather Caya has taken over the reins and has provided a smooth transition for our organization throughout this process.  We are very thankful to have her onboard and look forward to working with her for many years.

Our Continuing Education Committee recently put on a successful seminar on Practical Design and Detailing of Masonry.  We had a great turnout of members that showed up to learn more about current code requirements and changes as well as going through some helpful design aids and practical examples.  I would like to thank our Continuing Education Chair, Loni Spence, as well as Gina Adams for organizing and coordinating the event. 

The Business Forum Committee (BFC) has also been active, including a presentation titled “Path-to-Principal” by past SEAOSD President, Matt Martinez, of Moffatt & Nichol.  Matt provided some valuable insight about his career growth as a structural engineer and his transition into leadership roles and the business side of our industry.  I would like to thank our BFC Chair, Scott Larson, for setting this up and for his ongoing efforts to provide a forum for exchange of ideas between structural engineers on issues relating to the business of structural engineering.

We have also had some excellent mentorship opportunities in San Diego.  One of the local high schools reached out to our organization to provide input and share our expertise on concept ideas for 12th grade students working to complete their senior design project for their final capstone engineering course.  One of our young members, Sabina Piras, has also been working to develop a mentor/mentee program geared towards college students.  This is envisioned to provide an opportunity for current students to get paired with and shadow a local engineer in an office to gain a better understanding of a typical workday.  I would have loved this opportunity when I was in school, and I’m glad to see we have young members taking this initiative to become involved in the Association. 

We’re off to a great start with our monthly lunch meetings that we’ve continued to hold at the popular Stone Brewery venue.  Our Vice President, Michael Braund, has been busy finding a wide range of excellent topics for the technical program to provide some diversity for our members each month.   This includes a presentation on Performance Based Design, the San Diego-Tijuana Earthquake Planning Scenario, Lean Project Delivery, Bridges of San Diego - The Art of Civil Engineering, and Steel Moment Frame Testing.  Our upcoming meeting will focus on the public expectations for the seismic performance of new buildings and will be presented by Keith Porter, Research Professor at University of Colorado Boulder and Principal of the risk consultancy firm, SPA Risk LLC.  

Our April member meeting is our annual Student Night, which has always been a well-attended event with over 100 students joining us from UCSD and SDSU.  It’s a great opportunity for the graduating students to meet representatives from local firms and get a better idea of what we do in practice.  It’s also an excellent opportunity for firms to gain exposure and meet the next generation of engineers.  This year’s program will include a keynote presentation followed by a panel discussion with several engineers of widely ranging experience levels and backgrounds.  This will be our second year doing the panel discussion, and it offers the students a low pressure opportunity to ask anonymous questions through our dedicated moderator for the evening.  Given the diversity in our panel members, it’s always interesting to hear the different responses each person provides to the same question. 

A few months ago, we had the privilege of nominating one of our longtime members, Doug Magee, to be a Fellow of SEAOC, who was officially inducted at the SEAOC Convention in Seattle.  Doug served as President of SEAOSD in 1996 and was also an active member of the Seismology Committee for many years.  Doug recently retired as Senior Structural Engineer from Division of the State Architect (DSA).  One of his notable designs was the first phase of the San Diego Convention Center while he worked at Atkinson Johnson & Spurrier Inc.  Doug will also be honored at our February SEAOSD Lunch Meeting, which we have celebrated as Fellows Lunch since 2007 to show our appreciation for our esteemed members at the local level.  

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