The concrete and sustainability committees recently joined forces to start a series of white papers on reducing embodied carbon in concrete structural design. The goal of this series of papers is to highlight and make accessible a variety of carbon emission reduction techniques in concrete production, with a focus on the Southern California region.
This first paper in the series is focused on Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) and contains information and resources to help the industry with the design and implementation of mixes using PLC to help achieve our industry carbon neutrality goals.
You may find a copy of the white paper here:
Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) Reducing Embodied Carbon (REC): Use of Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) in Concrete Mixes
Welcome to June and the gateway to summer! This is an exciting month, and not just because the New York Mets are making a Southern California tour - taking two wins at Dodger Stadium this past weekend, visiting Petco Park, and then stopping in Anaheim to play the Angels. For us here at SEAOSC we wrap up our operating year and prepare to usher in a new chapter of leadership. It is also a month when many of our members are asked to renew their SEAOSC membership. As you may be starting to see those renewal requests in your inbox, I ask: have you been getting the most out of your association membership?
In addition to these great benefits, your continued membership allows the association to further its mission, including efforts in Community Engagement and Policy Advocacy.
I do hope you will continue your involvement with SEAOSC, and better yet share your experience with a friend or colleague. We are always looking to extend our community, and your testimony is a great way to do that.
Kelsey Anne Parolini, S.E.
SEAOSC President, 2021-22
The Cal Poly Pomona and CSU Los Angeles SEAOSC Student Chapters have been active over the past year, each with around 20 to 30 members that meet on a bi-weekly basis. While the SEAOSC Student Chapter at CSU Los Angeles was inactive over the past semester due to lapse of filing status with the University, they were active throughout the Fall semester and they aim to have the charter reinstated for the start of the school year in September. SEAOSC Board member Dan Fox and SEAOSC Student Chapter Liaison Michael Falcone gave presentations to both chapters informing students about opportunities for involvement in the Association post-graduation and giving them a glimpse at what to expect when entering the work environment. The students are in the process of electing a new Board of Directors for the upcoming year. Both chapters have exciting plans for the upcoming school year that include office and job site visits; inter-chapter meet-ups potentially between CPP, CSULA, and UCLA; and industry rep visits. SEAOSC will stay connected and involved in these events over the course of the school year.
The Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) regularly assists local jurisdictions to create safer cities with regards to buildings. This work is done through SEAOSC’s Safer Cities Advisory Program. This year, SEAOSC members have been working to support the City of Torrance with the review of the technical aspects of their seismic retrofit ordinances. Members with expertise in seismic retrofit design and analysis provided feedback and advice as they reviewed draft retrofit ordinances that included non-ductile concrete buildings, steel moment frame buildings, "soft-story" buildings, and tilt-up concrete buildings. Currently, these draft ordinances are moving forward through the city's process for consideration by the City Council for adoption.
SEAOSC is proud to have worked with the City of Torrance as it takes proactive steps to better understand the current risk to life and property of the existing built environment and then develop a process by which that risk can be reasonably and significantly reduced.
On May 25, 2022, more than two dozen code officials from cities and agencies across Southern California joined for the 3rd annual SEAOSC Building Safety Month Webinar, this year focused on sustainable design. After a presentation by SEAOSC President-elect Patti Harburg-Petrich, the online meeting attendees broke into groups to address two questions, whose summary answers are below:
When asked how they’re addressing sustainability in building design and practice already in their work, most groups discussed that there has been a primary focus on the energy side of sustainability - electrification, limiting water use, etc. There have been some examples with smaller scale construction, but sustainability often appears as “extra.”
The conversation then moved on to the barriers they saw in implementing more sustainable building practices in their respective communities. The answers were more varied, with a primary barrier being the cost of these practices as well as the understanding of how it can be done.They also suggesting the following barriers needed to be addressed:
When we try to be creative, it enters into a gray area of the code, which leads to confusion and reluctance to act.
Science means new materials don't compromise structural safety
There is a concern that we’re not ready for this. Do we have the tools in place to do this work?
To be sustainable, we should focus on existing buildings -- financing, costs, people wanting to do this.
Access to materials
Access to training for personnel
People are resistant to change
The pressure that the building community is under to build housing fast and affordably means that sustainability is not the priority at times.
Working with multiple agencies/departments to get everyone to move into the same direction
Bottoms up has a hard time getting this down (top-down directives help make this happen; legislation does work.)
Code minimums can be a barrier
The barriers will be shared with the appropriate SEAOSC Committee to work with southern California jurisdictions to develop solutions and provide insights to support them in achieving their safety and sustainability goals. Building officials and city leaders are invited to access the resources and expertise of the SEAOSC Safer Cities Advisory program, where we can provide the expertise and pro bono support to cities working on these initiatives.
In September, I shared with you SEAOSC’s mission statement and the ways that the association was actively advocating “in service to our community”. I asked what the phrase “in service to our community” looks like for you, and how SEAOSC can help you with that vision? As the months have unfolded, I have seen our members work together on a number of projects that I truly believe not only advance the profession of Structural Engineering but to strengthen our communities as well.
Over the past months I have also been fortunate to glimpse ways in which our SEAOSC members carry the association mission into their personal lives and careers - stepping into leadership roles when the opportunity arises. Did you know that one of our members sits on the City of Alhambra Planning Commission and another participates in a City advisory body focusing on regional community resilience? These individuals, with training and expertise in Structural Engineering, are getting involved in their communities, spurring innovation and growth while also giving a face to our industry. Other SEAOSC members have taken leadership roles on School Boards, Scouting organizations, and ACE Mentoring – all of which are providing influence and setting examples for future generations.
It is not just the community, organization, or institution that benefits when you volunteer for leadership positions, but there are benefits for you as well:
You have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of individuals with experiences, background and mindsets that may very well differ from the professionals you work with on a daily basis.
It allows you to take on levels of responsibility, management, or leadership that may not be available to you in your office. Ultimately allowing you to develop skills that will propel you in your professional career.
It will grow your network, and possibly open new opportunities for you down the road.
These are all benefits I have experienced as I have navigated the executive positions of SEAOSC, and can honestly say for as much as I have given I have received it back two-fold.
And speaking of SEAOSC leadership, I am happy to share that all five individuals, nominated by the SEAOSC Nominating Committee have graciously accepted the invitation to join the 2022/23 Board. We introduced you to Margaux Burkholder in last week’s email and Steven Shepherd in this one, and we will continue those introductions in the coming weeks so that you will also get to know Daniel Zepeda, Richard Byrd, and incoming Treasurer Garrett Mills. Keep an eye on our weekly newsletters for this content.
I look forward to seeing all of you at our upcoming events, including the joint ACI/SEAOSC dinner in Fullerton next week. Please don’t hesitate to say “hi” and share your leadership story with me.
Kelsey Anne Parolini, S.E.
The Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) is pleased to present a unique opportunity for Students and Early-Career Professionals during the 2022 SEAOC Convention in Indian Wells, CA. In continuing our response to the 2020 SEAOC Call to Action we are convening a group of Engineering Students and Early-Career Professionals to share ideas on enhancing the pathways into and through the profession of structural engineering in California. To accomplish this, SEAOC is inviting interested students and early-career professionals to apply to join the SE Pathways Cohort at the 2022 SEAOC Convention.
This will be a great opportunity to network with the practicing professionals and colleagues; learn keys issues the SE profession is facing, including Diversity Equality and Inclusion; meet representatives from trades that may assist you in your future as practicing engineers; and most important, have an opportunity to help shape the future of Structural Engineering practice in California. We strongly encourage all to apply for this opportunity. Additional benefits and opportunities you will receive include:
Full Access to the 2022 SEAOC Convention Program
· Two tracks of technical subjects
· One track on professional development topics
· Industry Receptions & Meals with Colleagues
Primary Expenses Paid
· Full Convention Registration
· On-Site Accommodations for 3 Nights
· Reimbursed Travel Expenses
· 1-Year Free SEAOC Membership
Special SE Pathways Cohort Activities Include:
· Private Reception with Cohort Members and Industry Mentors
· Participation is Pathways Workshops & Roundtable Conversations
· Invitation to YMF Speed Mentoring Session
This program's goal is to sponsor at least 20 students and 20 early-career professionals for inaugural SE Pathways Cohort. Students should be in at least their third year of undergraduate engineering (structural emphasis) studies and early-career professionals should be within their first three years of structural engineering industry involvement. Application & Registration information can be found on the 2022 SEAOC Convention Website at https://www.seaoc.org/page/2022ConventionMain.
Read SE Pathways Cohort Invitation for Student Members here.
Read SE Pathways Cohort Invitation for Young Members here.
Read SE Pathways Cohort Invitation for Faculty here.
Download the 2022 SEAOC Convention Cohort Program Application here.
Read the 2022 SEAOC Convention Pathways Track here.
The chapter has held weekly meetings hearing from a variety of lovely companies from industry speak on projects, career paths, and more. As a chapter, they also hosted Quarterly SEAOSC trips to San Francisco, New York, and San Diego visiting firms and their respective projects led by their Vice President Robert Hardwick. Moreover, the chapter won the Annual AEI Canstruction competition, collecting a great number of cans donated to our local food bank.
The student chapter also implemented new events such as Graduate School Panels with various alumni sharing their Grad school experiences. Another new event was their first-ever Service Trip to Yosemite, retrofitting structures in the national park. Lastly, the infamous Structural Forum run by our Forum Chair, Tia Kelly, and her amazing Forum Committee, organized a fantastic Forum with over 50 companies in attendance and a handful of incredible speakers.
Overall, the goals of the chapter this year were to increase student involvement, continue connecting with professionals in our industry, and create an inclusive professional club for all SEAOSC members.
Their newly elected President Chapter, Sasha Padilla, strives to continue reaching the same goals along with creating new events such as Alumni gatherings, SEAOSC Student Chapter socials, and all in all continuing Cal Poly SEAOSC’s presence in the industry even more.
Cal Poly SLO Student Chapter at the MHP Office in Long Beach
EERI-SEAOSC at UCLA is a culmination of our students' efforts to build a community of scholars, faculty, and professionals who share a single goal: to reduce earthquake risk and to advance the field of structural engineering in California and beyond. Over the past year, together with parent organization SEAOSC, EERI-SEAOSC at UCLA again hosted its annual earthquake engineering networking fair in November of 2021, and its official career fair in January. Each quarter, they supported the research conducted by our student community by hosting research roundtable series where they invited student speakers across UCLA to present their research to fellow students, faculty, and industry leaders. The professional development team organized a comprehensive program with numerous office visits, information sessions, and networking opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. They also partnered with other student organizations such as CalGeo and ASCE at UCLA to bring diverse events to our student body, including FE Exam and PE Exam bootcamps, resume review workshops, and hosted industry speakers from across southern California. Each of their events were carefully conducted to further support our vision of community and innovation that binds our chapter together, a tradition we work hard to uphold each year.
Next year, EERI-SEAOSC at UCLA has planned to launch an initiative to promote accessibility and inclusivity in our programs. The organization's board next year will comprise of more undergraduate and transfer students dedicated to structural and earthquake engineering, and hopes to introduce more undergraduate-friendly opportunities to mentor, research, and take on higher-level internships through their partner programs in the coming years.
Over seventy attendees participated in SEAOSC’s technical summit, “Sustainability in Structural Design.” In the first all-day in-person training of its kind, engineers heard from industry leading presenters giving a comprehensive education on “Embodied Carbon 101” (Megan Stringer, Holmes) as well as “An Owner’s Approach to Carbon” (Sara Neff, Lendlease). Buro Happold’s Michael Hoehn shared about the available tools for calculating embodied carbon and projected future developments for automated workflows using the open-source BHoM tool. The morning concluded with a view of the policy landscape shaping design and product procurement by Natasha Balwit, and California state Assemblymember, Chris Holden, speaking to the group via video on his proposed “Carbon Intensity of Construction and Building Materials Act.” Fourteen SE 2050 signatory firms participated in discussing their embodied carbon action plans over lunch, which lead into an afternoon session that was geared at pragmatic carbon reduction strategies. The group heard from industry representatives: Brandon Wray (NRMCA), Mike Romanowski (Woodworks) and Aleeta Dene (APA Engineered Wood Association), and Andrea Chiu (Nucor). Lastly, the day concluded with three case studies by practitioners: 843 N Spring Street by Tye Bailey (LEVER) and Rachelle Habchi (Glotman Simpson), Intuit Arena by Margaux Burkholder (Walter P Moore), and a tech campus by Gina Kope (Holmes).
After a full day, the stimulated group then continued the conversation over happy hour.
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The Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) is the oldest structural engineering association in the world.