SEAOC President's Message - May 2016

By Kelly Cobeen, S.E., SEAOC President

The SEAOC Board is between meetings right now, with the next coming up June 18. There is, however, still lots of association activity to report on:

  • The legislative committee and legislative volunteers have been very active in supporting the SB 885 “duty to defend” legislation that is currently making its way through senate committees. Details of this effort and SEAOC’s participation follow in an article by Executive Director Don Schinske.
  • Congratulations and thank you to Matt Timmers, who volunteered and was selected to join the International Code Council (ICC) Tall Wood Buildings Committee. This committee will be considering a number of code issues (structural, fire and beyond) related to design of mid-rise cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings, and make recommendations for code provisions to ICC. Matt will be bringing the considerations of the ICC committee back to SEAOC’s Sustainable Design and Seismology Committees.
  • Thank you to Steve Pelham who attended the April 19 California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) meeting and spoke on behalf of SEAOC. Steve communicated SEAOC’s willingness to participate in CBSC or related committees that might be established to consider potential code changes to design and construction of elevated exterior elements (balconies and decks), coming out of the June 2015 fatal Berkeley balcony collapse. We are waiting to hear details of how this effort will move forward and how SEAOC might participate.
  • ICC Code Development Hearings occurred April 17-27 in Louisville, Kentucky. Among the items heard were a number initiated in SEAOC's technical committees, including the IEBC Appendix Chapter A1 provisions update (see article by Fred Turner in March 2016 SEAOC Talk). Steve Kerr attended the hearings on behalf of SEAOC to present this proposal. Other SEAOC members were in attendance shepherding through changes on behalf of ASCE and NCSEA and serving as members of the ICC committees. Items making their way through these hearings still have to go through public comment and final action hearings, before being included in the 2018 ICC codes.
  • Thank you to Chris Tokas who undertook a journey to Athens, Greece in response to a request made to SEAOC by the Association of Civil Engineers of Greece. Chris provided input to the association on topics including engineering licensing and seismic design of nonstructural components. One message he communicated was the importance of four pillars of design and construction in achieving reliable seismic performance of structures: codes and standards, detailed plan review, field inspections and material quality control. Following participation in the association's event, Chris was kind enough to give presentations at a number of additional venues.
  • A big Mahalo (thank you) to the SEAOC Convention 2016 Committee who continues with increased intensity as the convention gets nearer, and promises a wonderful time for all.

The next SEAOC Board meeting will be June 18 in Oakland. 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 or me.

Remembering SEAOC Member Don Jephcott

SEAOC Member Don Jephcott, of Los Angeles, California passed away in April, 2016. Don graduated from Belmont High School in 1937 and Caltech in 1942 with a BS in Engineering with honors. He worked for the State of California retiring in 1984 as Chief Structural Engineer for the Office of the State Architect. Don also authored a book and several papers on seismic engineering. Even after retiring he continued to contribute as a member of a number of earthquake related boards and committees. Don was a SEAOSC President in 1973-1974, a SEAOC College of Fellows inductee in 1995-96, and a SEAOSC Honorary Member. We extend our sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.

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. Continuing from the last SEAOC Talk, here is a short snippet of information about Hawaii. Hotel reservations are currently open and convention registration is anticipated to be open mid-May. For those planning to attend, we encourage you to make plane reservations as soon as you are able, as the cost of tickets to Hawaii can be very sensitive to booking date. If you have trouble with hotel room availability, please contact Don Schinske at the SEAOC office and we will work with the hotel to get room blocks adjusted.


Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (who-moo-who-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-poo-ah-ah) - a Hawaiian reef trigger fish, designated as the state fish.

Pua - flower

Designated State Flora and Fauna: If you really want to impress people with your mastery of the Hawaiian language, all you have to do is to name the state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. While not necessarily the biggest, baddest, or most flamboyant of Hawaiian fish, it is a commonly seen reef dweller, with a claim to fame that its name might be longer than the fish itself, which only grows to about eight inches. The name has several meanings but is generally translated as “fish with a pig's snout,” or “fish that comes out of the water and sounds like a pig,” which is what it is reported to sound like. In 1984 the Hawaii Legislature asked the University of Hawaii and the Waikiki Aquarium to survey the public in order to select a candidate for the official state fish. Through the support of school children and classroom projects, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a was made popular and selected; in 2006 state lawmakers finally made it the official state fish.

Hawaii State Bird: The nene goose.

Hawaii State Mammal: The monk seal.

Hawaii State Flower: The official state flower (pua) is the yellow hibiscus. In addition, each of the principal islands has its own designated flower and matching color. Flowers are a very significant part of Hawaiian events and pageantry. In Hawaiian May Day celebrations and parades, there is often a representation of each island, clothed in the color of the island and bedecked in leis of the island flower. This creates a spectacularly colorful event. The flowers of each island are:

Oahu’s flower is the orange-yellow ilima.

The Big Island’s flower is the red ohia-lehua, which is the blossom of the native ohia tree, and sacred to the goddess Pele.

Kauai’s “flower” is the mokihana, a green berry grown on the slopes of Mount Waialelae.

Maui’s flower is the pink lokelani, or pink wild rose.

Molokai’s flower is the white kukui blossom.

Lanai’s flower is the kaunaoa, or yellow and orange air plant.

Niihau’s “flower” is the white pupu shell, found only on the shoreline of this rocky island.  

Kahoolawe’s flower is the hinahina, a silver-gray plant whose flowers and stems are used in lei making.

Display Location: