Regional Update from SEAOSC

By Michael Cochran, SE

SEAOSC has been busy these last 12 months.  On July 1, Jeff Ellis, SE, took the helm as SEAOSC president for 2016-2017.  Michelle Kam-Biron, SE, now serves as immediate past president.  Some of the key areas that the Board concentrated on this past year were Increasing Members, Membership Benefits and Committees.  Below are highlights on implementation of these key areas that have occurred during the last 12 months:

In September SEAOSC had its first Welcome Event that had over 170 attendees and highlighted the SEAOSC committees. Each of the committees had inquiries by attendees who were interested in participating or learning more about them.  As a result of the event, some of the inactive committees have been reactivated with members who are very engaged.   We are fortunate to have both a very active Existing Buildings Committee and the Seismology Committee who have started the rigorous process of developing design procedures to satisfy the requirements of the recently passed Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Ordinances.  The Membership Committee has two new Chairs and an interested group of women who are looking for ways to better engage women into SEAOSC and provide resources for them. 

One of the benefits of being a member of SEAOSC is the outreach and advocacy that it provides which represents not just one structural engineer, but an association of many structural engineers.  One mechanism that is used to educate people outside of our association about the importance of structural engineers is through the annual Strengthening Our Cities Summit.  This last year the Summit was hosted in November and was expanded to a two-day event at the Los Angeles City Cathedral where building officials and government leaders from a number of local southern California cities were present to learn and discuss seismic risk and the importance of engaging structural engineers into the conversation.

Collectively, as structural engineers SEAOSC can have a strong impact on the industry but we also realize that we have limited resources so it’s beneficial to form partnerships with other associations.  To start building bridges between other associations, SEAOSC met with CALBO and BOMA to discuss ways the organizations can better coordinate activities between our organizations to help achieve safer building designs.

SEAOSC participated in the April 7, 2016 Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Resource Fair providing building owners with structural engineering information regarding the recently adopted Los Angeles City seismic retrofit ordinances for the soft-story wood framed buildings and non-ductile concrete buildings in addition to making presentations to building owner attendees about “How to Partner with Structural Engineers for Safer Buildings” and “PML Overview”.

Looking forward to this upcoming year, SEAOSC plans to present retrofit design seminars on both the soft-story and non-ductile concrete ordinances adopted by the City of Los Angeles.    The SEAOSC women’s group has had a lunch meeting with AIA Los Angeles Women in Architecture to see if there is any synergy between the groups.  Planning is underway for the SEAOSC “2016 Strengthening Our Cities Summit”, now in its fifth year as well as the planning for the 2018 SEAOC convention which is being hosted by SEAOSC.  SEAOSC looks forward to the continued involvement of our membership and what we can do to improve the structural engineering profession for our membership. 

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