March | 2019
Newsletter of the
Structural Engineers Association of Washington
Seattle Chapter Leadership

Darrell Staaleson

Vice President
Michael Bramhall

Theodore E. Smith 

Michael Bramhall

Past President
Chun Lau
Douglas Beck
Shalini Prochazka

Directors 2017-2020
Mike Visser
Mark Whiteley

Directors 2018-2021
Jessica Jenness
Kevin M. Solberg

YMF President
Sean Augustino

In the Issue

  1. March Seattle Chapter Meeting
  2. February Monthly Recap
  3. WW ASME Event: Engineering for Community
  4. SEAW Seattle Elections - Nominees & Call for Nominations!
  5. SEFW Funds the SEAW Scholarship Program
  6. YMG Corner
  7. An Update on Bowstring Truss Issues
  8. Mayor Durkan seeks a new member for the Landmarks Preservation Board’s Structural Engineer position
  9. State and Chapter Committee Reports
  10. Employment Opportunities
  11. Membership Postings
  12. Upcoming Events
  13. From the Editor
March Seattle Chapter Meeting
The M9 Project: Predicted Structural Response to M9 Cascadia Ground Motions
Joint Meeting with Seattle Chapter of ASCE

Date : Tuesday, March 26th , 2019
Time : 5:15 - 8:15 PM
Location: Hotel Monaco
1101 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101
Click here for directions.
Registration Fees:
Early Bird Members - $40*
Non-Members, & Guests - $50
Early Bird YMG - $30*
Students - $15

*Early bird rate ends March 22, 2019. YMG rate applies to Engineers under 35 for both members and non-members.

5:15 -6:00 pm Registration/Networking
6:00 -6:30 pm Dinner
6:50 -7:00 pm Welcome/Announcements
7:00 -8:15 pm Program

We all know the Puget Sound region can be subject to very large earthquakes. We have heard the predictions for many years. The M9 Project is a 6-year, interdisciplinary research project at the University of Washington, that was developed to investigate the impacts of a Magnitude 9 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake on the Pacific Northwest. Researchers have used physics-based computational ground motion simulation to produce regional predictions of ground shaking that include the effects of the deep sedimentary basins that are present in major urban areas.
UW structural engineering researchers characterized the resulting ground motions using parameters that correlate well with structural performance and compared them to the more conventional crustal earthquake records that underpin our understanding of structural response.This has revealed that that M9 simulated ground motions have more damaging characteristics.Detailed structural analysis of reinforced concrete shear wall archetype buildings, developed in collaboration with SEAW, were then performed to estimate building response to simulated ground motions.The results indicate that the probability of collapse of reinforced concrete shear wall buildings for the M9 motions is larger than the maximum currently targeted by building codes.

Benefits and knowledge attendees can expect to take away from the presentation:
  • A fundamental understanding of basin amplification of strong motion.
  • The particular impact that basin amplification has on the Cascadia Subduction Zone ground motions.
  • The corresponding consequences for building structures in Seattle

* See Speakers Information Below

Jeffrey Berman, Ph.D., University of Washington 
Dr. Berman is the Thomas and Marilyn Neilson Professor of Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. His research strives to blend experimental and analytical investigations to help develop the tools and understanding necessary for practicing engineers to design structures to resist the forces of earthquakes, blasts, and other hazards. He is a co-Principal Investigator on the M9 Project, the Operations Director for the NSF supported NHERI Rapid Facility, has served as the Director for the UW Structural Research Laboratory and led the acquisition of the UW’s large-scale X-Ray CT scanner. His research on steel plate shear walls and braced frames are cited in the AISC Seismic Provisions. He is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Structural Engineering and is a past recipient of the UW Distinguished Teaching Award.

Marc Eberhard, Ph.D., University of Washington
Dr. Eberhard is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington, who teaches and performs research in earthquake engineering and the performance of reinforced concrete structures. He was awarded the PCI Charles Z. Zollman Award in 2013, the ASCE T.Y. Lin Award in 2014, and was named the 2018 Academic Engineer of the Year by the Puget Sound Engineering Council. 
February Monthly Recap
By Jessica Lim

It was a full house at the joint ACI and SEAW meeting presented by Cary Kopczynski of Cary Kopczynski & Company, CKC. Cary is the current Vice President of ACI International and will become the ACI International President in 2021. One of the leading contributions to what makes ACI what is it today is the exponential use of concrete through time. It is amazing that just 40 years ago 80% of the world’s tallest buildings were designed with structural steel, 10% were a hybrid of steel and concrete,and the remaining 10% were concrete. Today those numbers have reversed,with 80% of the world’s tallest structures designed with concrete and 10% with structural steel.

We started the evening off with a few short videos of concrete projects from around the world which won ACI awards for innovative structural design while maintaining an aesthetic appeal. These projects ranged from new construction of various building types to new roadways to repair/restoration of old buildings. All of these projects are pushing the boundary of what we expect concrete can do, and you can see the impressive projects here.

Cary then went on to talk about two projects in Seattle that have won awards from ACI and summarized the growth of ACI in the last few years. Cary mentions that the Seattle metropolitan area,and the Pacific Northwest more generally, is one of the leading areas designing dynamic and world-class structures that push the envelope of concrete construction. One example isthe Viktoria high-rise in Seattle, which was done by CKC; instead of using interior columns, this project used a “drophead”, which is essentially a thickened slab around the core. This enables the core to take a majority of both the vertical and lateral loads and allows for longer spans and thus more open space,which architects appreciate. CKC was also awarded 2nd place for the design of the Premiere Pine high-rise in Seattle because of their elimination of puddling around high-strength concrete columns and slabs.This was a captivating presentation outlining the unique ways concrete is being used.

ACI has expanded to 200 chapters in 100 countries around the world, opening its first international office in Dubai. Dubai has a skyline full of massive skyscrapers including the current world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. ACI’s motto,“Always Advancing”,embodies the mindset of today’s concrete design as the limits of concrete are pushed further every day,and nothing makes this more evident than knowing that soon we’ll have the first 1-kilometer-high tower in Saudi Arabia, made of concrete.
Left to Right: Kayce, Renata, and Travis of the ACI UW student Chapter.
Networking prior to start of event.
WW ASME Event: Engineering for Community
By Western Washington ASME
Engineering ethics is based on benefiting the community but sometimes our work doesn’t have us interact with the people who can benefit the most from our skills. It is important to reach out and volunteer to do what we enjoy for the sake of others. Volunteering can refine our soft skills and help us gain experience in our fields.

Join the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and hear from Kathi Shoemake, (PE, LEED AP BD+CI) Puget Sound Engineering Council's (PSEC) President Elect, about the benefits of volunteering as an engineer in your community. Ms. Shoemake will share lessons learned and resources she has found for volunteering opportunities in the engineering world and the greater world.

Razzis Pizzeria in Greenwood Tuesday, March 12th starting at 6:00p. See you there!

Date & Time:
Tue, March 12, 2019
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT

Razzis Pizzeria (Upstairs, Banquet Room)
8523 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

SEAW Seattle Elections - Nominees & Call for Nominations!
Dear SEAW Seattle Chapter Member,
The SEAW Seattle Chapter nominating committee has submitted the following choices for its 2019 board candidates:
President : Mike Bramhall, Jensen Hughes
Vice President : Mike Visser, Visser Engineering
Director : Sandro Kodama, Quantum Consulting Engineers LLC
Director : Tyler Winkley, Katerra
In accordance with chapter bylaws, Article III, Section 3 (b): “ …Prior to February 20, the Nominating Committee shall report their nominations for office: one (1) name for President, at least one (1) name for Vice President, and at least one (1) name for
each Director to be elected. Notice of candidates for office shall be made to the membership in the March newsletter, or by other means, no later than March 10.”
Additional nominations may be made by petition of at least five (5) Member SEs when received within 10 days of date of the original notice.” Only members of the classification Member SE may serve as Officers and Directors.
If you would like to nominate yourself or another SEAW Seattle Member, please email the SEAW office along with signatures from (5) Member SEs.
This year’s nominating committee consisted of Peter Somers (Chair), Scott Douglas. John Hooper, Chun Lau, Shalini Prochazka, Kyle Steuck, Darrell Staaleson (ex officio).
The SEAW Seattle Board of Directors.
SEFW Funds the SEAW Scholarship Program
By Angela Gottula Twining

Have you ever wondered what donations to the Structural Engineers Foundation of Washington go toward? SEFW is the 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable arm of SEAW, and all donations to the Foundation support a mission to advance the profession of structural engineering. One big way this is done is through scholarships! The SEAW Scholarship program originated in 1985, and SEFW has funded the program since 2011. 

The SEAW Scholarship program has awarded $164,500 to 69 students since 1985. Are you interested in knowing more about those students? 

  • At the time of their award, 27 were UW students, 16 were WSU students, 9 were Gonzaga students, and 5 were Seattle University students
  • 2 went on to serve as SEAW State President (1 is the current SEAW president!)
  • 2 have served as SEFW chairs
  • 1 is the current chair of SEAW scholarship committee
  • The students also include 1 Seattle Chapter president, 2 Spokane Chapter presidents, and 1 Southwest Chapter president
  • 2 received the SEAW Seattle Chapter Engineer of the Year award
  • 2 are current ACE mentors, 1 leads an ACE team

Many of these students have gone on to do great things, and their SEAW Scholarship Award contributed to their education and goals.

In April, SEFW will kick off its Spring Fundraising Campaign. Please consider the good that your tax-deductible donation to SEFW supports – scholarship, education, research, and outreach. 

YMG Corner
By Sean Augustino

YMG’s social events are thriving! Last month, YMG held its second social of the year, sponsored by Verco. We were joined by Herb Ahten from Verco and Brian Tlustosch from Steel Encounters. We had engineers from more than seven companies and for some it was the first time they had attended a SEAW YMG event. People ate, drank and handed out business cards as they forged new relationships in the industry. The evening wasenjoyed by everyone and we want to thank Verco for making this networking event possible.
Our happy hours have been very well attended, and our generous sponsors have been stepping up to the plate and helping us put on great events.A special shout-out to Social Chair Juzer Millwala and to Alejandro Esparza for all their efforts! Our next event will likely not be until early April, but look for more details in your email and at the next chapter dinner meeting.
Spring is coming,and we have a couple other exciting events coming with it! We are close to announcing a new timber tour similar to what YMG ran last year. We are most likely returning to Vancouver, BC, so if you think you’d be interested, get those passports ready! We will also be organizing student luncheons at Seattle U and UW, and there may be one or two mystery events... so don’t change that channel.
As always, if you have questions or want to get involved, e-mail us at, or me directly at
Thanks for all your support, and we hope to see you soon!
February Happy Hour-Sponsored by Verco. Credit: Juzer Millwala
An Update on Bowstring Truss Issues
By Paul C. Gilham, P.E., S.E., Chief Engineer, Western Wood Structures, Inc. Brentley A. Matthias, P.E. Senior Project Engineer, Western Wood Structure, Inc.
“Summerbell Trusses” leaving the plant toward a new structure


In 2009, engineers from Western Wood Structures (WWS) published a white paper entitled,
“Bowstring Trusses “Fail” to Meet Current Code Requirements.” [1] That paper described two
common bowstring truss types and discussed three significant issues related to the design of
bowstring trusses. Bowstring trusses are characterized by a circular curved top chord and a
straight bottom chord. The top chord is usually made with a radius of curvature equal to the span
of the truss. This radius provides for the most economical design and results in a 30-degree
spring angle at the truss heel.
This paper adds to the knowledge base of the previous one. The history of these trusses,
including changes to snow loading requirements, changes to the allowable timber stresses, and
changes to timber grading rules are examined to provide a more thorough understanding of truss
The truss types described in the previous article were ARCH-TECO Trusses (TECO) and Tim
Trusses. Both TECO Trusses and Tim Trusses were designed and manufactured by Timber
Structures, Inc. The TECO Trusses were prevalent in construction from the mid-1940s to the
mid-1950s. The basic configuration of the TECO truss is included in reference [1]. Several
common failure modes observed in TECO are included in this paper. Tim Trusses had spans up
to 160 feet and were used in construction beginning in the mid-1950s. Since the publishing of 
the white paper in 2009, WWS has encountered two other common types of bowstring trusses,
the Summerbell Truss and the Bellfast/Mckeown Lattice Truss.

Mayor Durkan seeks a new member for the Landmarks Preservation Board’s Structural Engineer position
Mayor Jenny Durkan is seeking a new member to serve on the Landmarks Preservation Board in the Structural Engineer position. The 12-member  Landmarks Preservation Board  makes recommendations to Seattle City Council for landmark designation and reviews all proposed physical alterations to designated features of landmark properties.

The Board is composed of two architects; two historians; one structural engineer; one representative each from the fields of urban planning, real estate, and finance; a Get Engaged member (a position for ages 18-29); and three members at-large. All appointments are made by the Mayor and subject to City Council confirmation.

Board meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 3:30 p.m. In general, board members must commit approximately 10 hours per month to Landmarks Board business. The position is a 3-year term.

Interested applicants must be Seattle residents, and Board members serve without compensation. If interested in being considered,  send a letter of interest and resume by Monday, April 8 .

Please email your letter and resume to:
( reference the Landmarks Preservation Board in the subject line )

Electronic submissions are preferred, if possible. To submit a paper copy, please address: Erin Doherty, Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, PO Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649. For more information, contact Erin Doherty at (206) 684-0380.

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the city’s boards and commissions. Women, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, young persons, senior citizens, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.

State and Chapter Committee Reports
Contact the committee chair if you are interested in learning more or getting involved:
  • NCSEA Delegate – Chun Lau
  • Earthquake Engineering Committee – Kai Ki Mow
  • One of the current main focus and an important topic that the committee hopes to address in the upcoming year is the Increased Seismic Load in the newly published ASCE 7-16. 
  • Members interested in EEC can find additional information regarding the meeting on the SEAW website calendar or can contact the committee chair.
  • Outreach Committee - Pete Opsahl
  • To sign up to volunteer or to mentor, visit the SEFW page. 
  • Sustainability Committee – Rachel Vranizan
  • Refresher Committee – Mark Whiteley
  • Public Information Committee – Darrell Staaleson
  • Disaster Preparation/Response Committee – Joyce Lem
  • WABO Liaison Committee – Charlie Griffes
  • The SEAW/WABO Liaison committee is now available for questions from SEAW or WABO members. These questions can be about subjects addressed in the white papers already issued or general questions in the realm of structural engineering practice as it relates to interaction with the various building departments. Comments or questions can be emailed to
  • White Paper 6b - 2017 on Deferred Submittals
  • Wind Engineering Committee – Scott Douglas
  • Technology Taskforce – Morgan Wiese
  • Membership Task Group – Jill Shuttleworth
  • Continuing Education Committee – Adam Ailvers
  • Scholarship Committee – Kevin Solberg 
Employment O pportunities
Are you currently seeking employment as a structural engineer, senior manager, or a senior engineer technician? Check out our job board for current employment opportunities.  Learn More
Help Wanted - Lund Opsahl

Located across the street from T-Mobile Park, Lund Opsahl is a growing structural engineering firm that provides a wide spectrum of services, including planning, design, seismic and damage assessments, upgrades, additions, tenant improvements, and construction support for a variety of new and existing building types in the Pacific Northwest. Our reputation as creative innovators and technical experts is built on responsive service, collaborative teamwork, and lasting relationships. Our firm's size offers early opportunities to work on challenging projects and encourages exciting career growth uncommon at larger firms, especially for the ambitious.
Currently, we are looking for Structural Engineers with minimum of three (3) years experience.

  • Competitive benefits and salaries
  • Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance/Health Savings Account
  • Performance-based bonuses
  • Flexible working hours
  • 401(k) with matching contribution
  • Profit Sharing Plan
  • PTO, and holidays
  • Group activities and team events
  • In-House education programs
  • Free parking
(Did we say we're next to T-Mobile Park?!)
Please visit our website, for additional information and job descriptions for each of these positions. Inquires and resumes may be sent to
Help Wanted - Structural Concrete Field Engineer – Seattle, WA
For over 60 years, Simpson Strong-Tie has focused on creating structural products that help people build safer and stronger homes and buildings. Considered a leader in structural systems research, testing and innovation, Simpson Strong-Tie is one of the largest suppliers of structural building products in the world. At Simpson Strong-Tie we value the individual, and the creativity that individuals can bring to the workplace.
Simpson Strong-Tie is seeking a Structural Concrete Field Engineer who will establish and maintain relationships with design professionals, specifiers and major contractors to obtain the specification of Simpson anchoring systems, cold-formed steel commercial connectors and concrete repair, protection and strengthening products. The Field Engineer will be based in the Seattle area and service Washington, Oregon, Montana, Northern Idaho, and Alaska.
5 years structural design experience including reinforced concrete structures. Design experience in concrete retrofit and repair including fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) design is a plus. 1 year computer experience (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, ACAD, various design software).
B.S. degree in Civil/Structural Engineering and Licensed Professional Engineer in Washington State required, Oregon PE preferred
To learn more and apply for this position, please go to
Help Wanted - Structural Staff Engineer – Tacoma, WA
What’s missing from Swenson Say Fagét? You! SSF has immediate openings in our Tacoma office for talented Structural Engineers with 2 to 4 years of project experience. PE licensure preferred.Responsibilities include being smart, having common sense, playing well with others and tackling challenges like a dog with a bone.
We approach project design with open minds and technical chops to find solutions to some real head-scratchers. Our loyal clients provide staff at all levels opportunities to directly collaborate with architects, owners, contractors, developers, artists and public and private entities on projects of all types and sizes. Our office culture is informal. Besides being flexible, hardworking and technically savvy, did we mention we’re also really nice people and like to have a ton of fun?
You know there’s a perfect job for you out there. We’ve been in business for 25 years and remain committed to creating a place people want to come to everyday. Pay is dependent on experience and benefits are great. Check us out at If you like what you see, we’d love to hear from you. Submit your resume to
Membership Postings
In accordance with SEAW bylaws, membership applications are vetted by the executive director, granted probationary status by the chapter board, and posted for membership comment. Membership is considered accepted 30 days after posting if current year dues are paid and no member objections have been received.   Read More
Upcoming Events
August 14-17: 2019 NW Conference
From the Editor
MAR 2019

Equilibrium publication Team:
John Gunn, Editor
Darrell Staaleson, Past Editor
Zohrah Ali
Allison Tran
Blaine Sanchez

1.        All members are welcome to submit articles to Equilibrium. To help you with your writer's block, here are a few topics: Write “Engineer's Notes from Afield,” summarize an interesting technical design you worked on, write about how you have been successful and increased productivity with an accounting procedure or marketing technique, write about your experiences doing community service, or share some construction site photos and talk about lessons learned.

2.        “A Picture and a Paragraph.” Please use the article submittal form provided and the picture needs a caption along with the names of the people in the photo.

3.        Please submit your articles in Word format using the Article Template. [ Article Template ]

4.        Please send your articles to .


March Puzzle:
What is the name of the most recent Star Trek TV series?
Bonus: What Stardate does the first episode take place?
Clue: It was just renewed for Season 3 on CBS All Access!

Look on the SEAW Facebook Page for a picture clue!

The first SEAW member to respond on our SEAW Facebook Page or at the next dinner meeting – with a correct and full answer - will get coffee and a Danish pastry.

February Puzzle:
This 19th-century German philosopher’s last name has 5 consonants in a row. What is it?
Bonus: What ideology has he been accused of supporting?
Clue: He has a large mustache.

Picture clue:

The 19th-century German philosopher's name is Friedrich Nietzsche. He was accused of supporting Nazi ideology with his concepts such as the Ubermensch. He is featured in an Epic Rap Battle of History between Eastern philosophers and Western philosophers.

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