SE University  



                        July 2020  
WELCOME to Learn, Innovate, Excel! O ur goal with this newsletter is to provide useful information and tips that will help you save time, be more productive, and also reduce risk. This information complements our SE University program, by introducing you to tips on a wide variety of topics affecting structural engineers.
If you have any tips you would like to share as part of a future Learn, Innovate, Excel newsletter, please email Lisa Willard or Brian Quinn

Advantages/Disadvantages of Different Types of Diaphragms
Structural analysis of buildings has changed with the advancement of technology and the movement away from hand calculations. Now, most engineers use sophisticated software capable of handling the many shapes, varieties, and complexities of newer structures. These software systems are able to handle the many degrees of freedom necessary to more accurately predict the behavior of diaphragms and their ability to distribute loads throughout the building frame. Thus, engineers must now be careful to understand the types of diaphragms and how they behave within their analytical model to be sure it accurately portrays the elastic or inelastic response of the structure. 

In the May 2020 SE University session, Allen Adams, PE, SE, from Bentley Systems, Inc. / RAM, presented Practical Strategies for the Modeling and Analysis of Diaphragms. Allen explained the differences between flexible, semi-rigid, and rigid diaphragms, and how these affect analytical results. He reviewed code requirements pertaining to diaphragms and shared how sensitive analytical models are to the various components of semi-rigid diaphragm models. Allen advised on balancing the necessary level of accuracy with business demands for speed and simplicity when modeling diaphragms...  read the full article on our SE University blog.
Control joints (CJs) are necessary in reinforced masonry walls with minimal joint reinforcing to prevent thermal cracking. However, improper placement of CJs can negatively impact the structural capacity of the wall and lead to an inefficient design. What are the best methods to ensure an efficient and practically detailed masonry wall with CJs?  

In the April 2020 SE University session, Sam Rubenzer, PE, SE, from FORSE Consulting, presented Masonry Checklist: Reviewing Structural Drawings. During the session, Sam offered insight on developing checklists of important items for masonry design and construction. He also reviewed important aspects of masonry design criteria and discussed best practices for element design, including advice on locating control joints and using masonry lintels. 

Criteria for CJs in masonry walls will vary in different locations in the country due to different loading demands, and reinforcement and construction techniques common to each area. For example, it is common to have more horizontal reinforcement in high seismic areas and those areas already use less CJs. However, many midwestern states with low seismic loads commonly use minimal horizontal reinforcement only in mortar joints, and therefore require more CJs be used...  read the full article on our SE University blog.


SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to "pay it forward," enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world. To learn more about the organizations that SE University speakers have chosen, please read our SEU Speaker Inspires Blog Posts.

Doug Allen, PE, Simpson StrongTie
In January 2020, SE University welcomed Doug Allen, PE, from Simpson StrongTie, to present Delegated Design: Addressing Potential Risks with Proper Project Management. Doug designated Team Rubicon ( for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month. 

Doug shared, "I'd like to donate to Team Rubicon as they are a great organization that supports veterans responding to natural disasters. Simpson Strong-Tie has witnessed Team Rubicon making a difference following natural disasters, most recently Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas."  

Team Rubicon's mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible.

Claire Gandee Bekaert
In February 2020, SE University welcomed Claire Gandee, from Bekaert, to present Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete. Claire designated The Dharma Project ( for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.  

Claire shared, "This group brings yoga, meditation and mindfulness to folks who might otherwise have no access to these valuable practices, such as police officers, incarcerated youth, and inner-city school students. I believe in the value and benefits of this work and hope that more people can experience the important work the Dharma Project offers." 

Thank you, Doug and Claire, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designations of Team Rubicon and The Dharma Project as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organizations of the Month!


Summer is here! You may have license renewals coming up, and as always, you can use the upcoming SE University sessions to help you meet your continuing education requirements. If additional hours are needed, please contact Lisa Willard  to discuss how we can help you. 

The following states have license renewals by July 31 :


The following states have license renewals on September 30th:

District of Columbia* (August 31st)
Louisiana (September 30th - some engineers)

*These states do not have continuing education requirements.

In addition to the states listed above, there are other states that may require renewal based on your initial date of licensure or other rules for that state. Please check your license information to confirm your renewal dates.   
For more information about license renewal, please visit our Continuing Education Requirements by State page, where you can click on states in which you are licensed to see the license renewal date, as well as the continuing education requirements for that state. If you would like a complete summary of all 50 states, a PDF file is available for download below the map. This option can also be selected if you are viewing the page from a mobile device.
We hope that you find this information beneficial. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Willard.



On August 12th , Jamie Piercy, from PCIA, will present 7 Deadly Email Sins   for SE University . This session will be held from 12:30 - 1:30 pm EDT.

Handouts and registration emails for this session will be sent to SE University companies on Friday, August 7th.


On September 9th , Otto Schwarz, PE, SE, from Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis, will present a session Concrete Mix Design  for SE University . This session will be held from 12:30 - 2:00 pm EDT.

Handouts and registration emails for this session will be sent to SE University companies on Friday, September 4th.

To learn more about subscribing to SE University, please contact either Lisa Willard at (805) 482-8436 ( or Brian Quinn at (616) 546-9420 (

Thank you for reading our Learn, Innovate, Excel Newsletter - we hope you found this information useful. If there are any questions we can answer, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email. 

Additionally, if you would be willing to help other structural engineers by sharing tips that you have, please email your tip to If we choose your tip to publish, you will have your choice of a $50 Amazon gift card or a $50 donation sent to the Structural Engineering Association of your choice. 

Your SE University Team

Brian Quinn, P.E. 

Lisa Willard, P.E. 

Jenny Schultz, P.E.

Cathleen Jacinto, S.E., P.E.

Linda Benson 

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Coming Soon to SE University


August 12, 2020

7 Deadly Email Sins

Jamie Piercy

August 26, 2020


Betsy Werra
E.L.Werra Consulting

(this session will be one hour)

September 9, 2020

Concrete Mix Design

Otto Schwarz, PE, SE
Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis

October 14, 2020

Embodied Carbon

Megan Stringer, PE, SE
Gina Kope, PE
Holmes Strcutures

October 28, 2020


Betsy Werra
E.L.Werra Consulting

(this session will be one hour)

For updated session descriptions and schedules, visit the SCHEDULE page.