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Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

  • 1.  Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-08-2020 07:32 PM
    Hello all,

    Welcome to the June edition of Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything! Featuring @Anne Ellis and @John Cleary​​. (Review their bios).

    One of the staple events at SEI's Structures Congress is the Meet the Leaders breakfast where students and young professionals get the chance to sit down with leaders in small groups and pick their brains in an informal mentoring session and gain career insights. With the pandemic and (most) everyone working from home we've moved this online.

    In April we had David J. Odeh, P.E., S.E., SEC, F.SEI, F.ASCE, and Cherylyn Henry P.E., F.SEI, M.ASCE, join us for the 
    inaugural thread. In May we had SEI President Glenn Bell P.E., S.E., SECB, C.Eng, F.SEI, F.ASCE, and Rose McClure, P.E., S.E., M.ASCE for a great discussion. Review the previous threads along with the bios of the leaders to help frame your questions and guide the discussion. 

    This month Anne and John have agreed to answer your questions on this thread. We have asked the leaders to keep their answers concise. This thread will be open for questions until 4:00 p.m EST Friday, June 12. The leaders will reply to all questions by Monday, June 15. Please skim the thread before posting to avoid duplicate questions. Please make sure to direct your question to a specific leader or both if you would like them both to respond.  Moderators reserve the right to remove or consolidate duplicate questions.

    Just a reminder – questions must comply with the ASCE Collaborate Code of Conduct.

    See you in the thread!
    ​​

    ------------------------------
    Brittany Boyce Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Coordinator, SEI Communications & Operations
    [email protected]
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-09-2020 02:56 PM
    Hi leaders!

    Hope you are doing well.

    Anne, what did you enjoy most and dislike most about working for a small company and a large company​? Which size company is the best for you?

    John, do you have any recommendations for a wave mechanics textbook? I have found some from1973 and 2009 by McCormick and one from 2017 by Sundar (much more pricey than the other two).

    Thank you,
    Maria

    ------------------------------
    Maria Kozdroy
    [email protected]
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-kozdroy
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-10-2020 11:46 AM
    Maria,

    What a great question, wave mechanics is not often studied by Structural Engineers. I do some work with wave loads on bridge decks, but make sure to always partner with Coastal Engineers. The Coastal's focus on the wave/water dynamics and I focus on the structural aspects. I asked our Coastal Engineers here at South, Drs. Stephanie Smallegan and Bret Webb, and their response was that there is only one text that should be considered, Water Wave Mechanics for Engineers and Scientists by Dean and Dalrymple. You can find it for a good price online.

    ------------------------------
    John Cleary Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor
    Daphne AL
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-10-2020 11:46 AM
    Hi Maria,

    Nice to hear from you! As you work at AECOM where I worked for many years in enterprise business roles, let's start there. AECOM provided me amazing opportunities and experience: global travel, interactions with world renown geopolitical leaders, and to "make amazing happen". A large company provides the opportunity to work on megaprojects, high-profile projects and mission critical projects. On the other hand, a small company is a great place to grow technically thanks to the ability to work side-by-side with people of varying levels of experience. So I benefited greatly working for both small and large companies as I was able to develop technical, professional and business skills.

    Something you may or may not be thinking about . . . if your ambitions include business ownership, a publicly-traded company like AECOM is not the place to realize that ambition.

    Regards,
    Anne

    ------------------------------
    Anne Ellis P.E., F.ASCE
    Executive Director
    Charles Pankow Foundation
    McLean VA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-10-2020 01:15 PM

    Hi Anne and John,

    I am a PhD candidate at Vanderbilt University. My dissertation title is 'Development of constitutive relation for multiscale modelling of CFRP composites under uncertainty'. My research area comes under computational mechanics. The CFRP composites I'm working on are recently being used extensively in aircraft structures. As I am very close to defend my dissertation I am thinking about my future job opportunity. I have work experience in steel design in India, but not in US. I have knowledge of AISC 360, ACI 318, ASCE 7. I've not yet got a PE in US. In my personal experience most of the structural engineering professionals think PhDs as people for academia only. I believe there is still a cultural (?) barrier in the structural engineering profession to accept people with PhD. As a structural engineer I believe, in addition to the traditional structural materials like steel, concrete, masonry or timber, we should now focus on lightweight and high-strength advanced materials like CFRP composites. I have 3 questions to both of you.

    1. What do you think about the prospect of fiber composites as a next generation structural material?
    2. How can a structural engineer with PhD/ research background in computational mechanics may help the structural engineering profession?
    3. Do you think the current cultural barrier in our profession should change by embracing new ideas developed by the researchers in practical application?

    Thank you for your time.

    Rudra



    ------------------------------
    Rudraprasad Bhattacharyya CPEng,P.E.,ENV SP,M.ASCE
    Vanderbilt University
    Nashville TN
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-10-2020 06:59 PM
    Hi Rudra!

    Thank you for your outreach. You asked BIG questions. My thoughts:

    Composites: YES! Fiber composites is definitely a next generation structural material.  I visited the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI – The Composites Institute) a couple of years ago and was so inspired by the advancement underway. Fast forward to today and you see composite molds used in making architectural precast. So it is just a matter of time before we see the expanded use of the these materials. It is likely that they get a boost from 3D printing.  As a judge on the NASA centennial challenge to 3D print a human habitat for the Moon or Mars, I saw how ​the use of plastics made all the difference in tackling the performance challenges outlined by NASA.

    Computational methods: What an expertise to possess! This should open many doors especially with firms supporting clients with unique structural challenges. Consider structures constructed of advanced or non-traditional materials or unusual shapes, or iconic structures including super-tall and mega-tall buildings and global sports facilities, or even art installations constructed of unusual materials. This expertise might open other doors to work on rockets, hyperloop vehicles and infrastructure, regenerative organs and so much more. Structural Engineers can be found tackling a lot of different challenges.

    Researcher-Practitioner partnership: This is such a high-potential and high-value partnership. I have the privilege of seeing the value of this first-hand working with the Charles Pankow Foundation, where industry and academia work together advancing better ways to design and build. A good example of this is the advancement of SpeedCore, a revolutionary prefabricated concrete-filled composite steel plate shear wall system used on tall buildings and which takes 40% less time to build than conventional methods. Innovation is essential to the health of any industry. So when interviewing for your next job, be sure to ask if they are innovators, early adopters, or more main stream, even laggards in new ways and new practices. the answers will be revealing. 

    As you can tell, I have passion for new ways. There are many at SEI making way for innovation through advancement of performance-based design, embodied carbon, and so much more. If you don't find what you are looking for at SEI, check out some of the other ASCE institutes and programs including Future World Vision. What a time to be an engineer!

    Regards,
    Anne

    ------------------------------
    Anne Ellis P.E., F.ASCE
    Executive Director
    Charles Pankow Foundation
    McLean VA
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-10-2020 07:15 PM
    Hi Rudraprasad,

    I see that you are graduating soon. Have you considered joining the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)? We have a few openings at Caltrans.

    I have used FRP wrapping for seismic retrofit of bridges. They are very effective in providing lateral confinement especially in old bridges with prismatic column sizes.

    Regards,

    Amit Joshi
    [email protected]

    ------------------------------
    Amit Joshi P.E.
    Chino Hills CA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-11-2020 10:54 AM
    Rudra,

    Great, tough questions. It is great to see these questions come up.

    1) Overall, yes I think the use of fiber composites is going to continue to expand within structural engineering. In "non-traditional" structural engineering fields (i.e. aerospace or the maritime industry) composites are widely used. In "traditional" structural fields (bridges and buildings), the use of composites are growing and I think they will continue to grow.

    2) First of all, yes I do think your background will make a good candidate for an industry position. One thing to keep in mind is that you have learned many advanced technical skills during your graduate career, but I believe one of the most important skills that is often overlooked is the ability to think and learn. In a research-based graduate degree, a student learns to think independently and critically, analyze data and information, and draw conclusions based on sound engineering judgment, just to name a few. These skills are critical to a structural engineer and sometimes needs to be learned over many years of practice.

    I know many PhD's that work for consulting firms and government agencies (DOT's, Corp of Engineers, etc.). From my experience, it seems like larger organizations are more likely to hire and value the expertise of a PhD. This is not always true and you may need to spend a little more time finding the right firm, but there are certainly many that are willing and eager to hire PhD's.

    3) I think there are a few parts to this question. First, I believe that our industry does need to embrace new ideas at a much faster rate. However, I fully understand the hesitation when so much is at stake with every design. I think we (the industry as a whole) needs to do a better job of evaluating and testing new and innovative ideas. Another part of this relates to academics and industry working more closely together. It is not uncommon for academic research to be years or decades ahead of what could be incorporated into practice. There is a real need for advanced research and there is a lot of research being conducted that have immediate practical applications. I think academics, practitioners, and funding agencies can do better working more closely together to advance not only the state of the art, but maybe more importantly the state of practice. As Anne mentioned, there are great organizations out there, like the George Pankow Foundation, that are working hard and funding research with direct practical applications and I hope these types of programs continue to expand.

    ------------------------------
    John Cleary Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor
    Daphne AL
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-10-2020 07:20 PM
    Hi,

    I an ASCE YMF and Branch member in Los Angeles. I am planning to start the SEI Chapter for the Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch (MLAB). I have filled out the memo posted on the SEI website. It will be great if you can provide more information on this. I plan to conduct technical presentations for structural engineers in LA on a variety of topics such as seismic retrofit of bridges and buildings, ABC technology, UHPC etc.

    I am a Bridge Engineer at California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) with 8 years of experience in bridges. I would like to get involved with SEI on the national level and join the committees. Please let me know how I can do that.

    Thank you.

    Regards,

    ------------------------------
    Amit Joshi P.E.
    Chino Hills CA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-11-2020 11:24 AM
    Amit,

    It is wonderful to see your enthusiasm and the work you are doing! As you may have read in my bio, I am a member of the SEI Board of Governors. I am on the board representing the Local Activities Division where I am a past chair of the Executive Committee. Local groups are where I got my start and I believe are the lifeblood of SEI. Starting a new SEI Chapter can be a lot of work, I would recommend you look at the SEI Local Groups page on the ASCE Website (www.asce.org/structural-engineering/sei-local-groups/). There are several resources and contact information that should help you. There is a section on "Resources For Presentations" at the bottom of the page.

    As you know, committee activity is one of the most important components of SEI. The work of the many volunteers has helped to define and advance the practice for many decades. Normally I would recommend someone that was interested in getting involved to attend one or more of the many, many committee meetings that occur at Structures Congress. Hopefully, we will be able to be in Seattle next March as planned. In the interim, I would recommend checking out the lists of committees on the SEI page (www.asce.org/structural-engineering/sei-committees/). You can find information on the charge of the committee and who the chair is. Some committees are closed for membership, but most have spots available for corresponding members. Once you find a committee or two you are interested in, email the chair and find out a little more.

    John

    ------------------------------
    John Cleary Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor
    Daphne AL
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-11-2020 11:24 AM
    Hi Amit,

    Grateful you are willing to put your energy towards starting a Chapter and getting involved on the national level. A conversation with SEI Staff, @Laura Champion  and @Suzanne Fisher, is encouraged. ​

    Anne

    ------------------------------
    Anne Ellis P.E., F.ASCE
    Executive Director
    Charles Pankow Foundation
    McLean VA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-11-2020 11:40 AM
    Amit,

    John gave you the links for the committee's and feel free to reach out to [email protected] if you have more information about a specific committee and/or how to apply to be on the committee and SEI staff can help you.

    Anne is correct - follow up with Suzanne ([email protected]) in regards to starting a chapter!

    We love to see the engagement and we're Your Institute at ASCE so don't hesitate to reach out. #myseiinstitute #ASCEMadeMe

    ​​

    ------------------------------
    Brittany Boyce Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Coordinator, SEI Communications & Operations
    [email protected]
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-11-2020 12:25 PM
    @Anne Ellis and @John Cleary​​, Thank you so much for your thoughts on developing next generation structural materials. I hope after my PhD  I'd continue contributing in this area. I'd like to inform you that IACMI and NASA has strict US citizenship requirement. Most of the research are ITAR protected. For traditional structural engineering applications (i.e. excluding Air Force, Navy, Military) the knowledge should be unleashed. As a young structural engineer I appeal to both of you to advocate less stringent regulations in development of advanced materials for traditional structural engineering applications.

    @Amit Joshi: Thank you for informing about use of FRP wrapping for seismic retrofiring of bridges. It sound really interesting. Regarding SEI committee membership I know that SEI Yong Professionals' committee is looking for active volunteers.

    ------------------------------
    Rudraprasad Bhattacharyya, PEng, ENV SP,M.ASCE
    Vanderbilt University
    Nashville TN
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-12-2020 10:02 AM
    Hi Rudra,
    Innovation is motivated for many different reasons. When the reasons are proprietary or mission critical, the efforts are tightly held. But there are many open-innovation forums including the Charles Pankow Foundation, New Story, ASCE's Innovation Contest and more. For next-gen structural materials, many of the standards developing organizations, old and new, also are doing what they can to help connect these ideas to the market. Don't get discouraged. The built environment will greatly benefit from next generation structural materials.
    Anne

    ------------------------------
    Anne Ellis P.E., F.ASCE
    Executive Director
    Charles Pankow Foundation
    McLean VA
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-12-2020 10:03 AM
    Hello @John Cleary and @Anne Ellis​​ - thank you for taking the time for this!

    My question may be more directed towards John, but Anne please feel free to chime in as well.

    What can young professionals do to help improve the academic experiences for the future generation of structural engineers? I frequently mentor students and go back to my alma mater to share advice on topics like how to prep for the FE, but is there anything specific that you can recommend where we can assist with the integration of what is taught in the classroom and what they may experience when working as a full-time engineer at a company (if they go that route)?

    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-12-2020 11:38 AM
    Dani,

    Great question, students are the future of the profession and interacting and mentoring them is extremely important. One of the best ways to interact with students is through an ASCE Student chapter (or other student organizations). Student chapters are always looking for professionals to work with them. Many chapters have professionals present at meetings, judge competitions, hold mock interviews and resume review sessions, and mentor students for competitions. Interacting and mentoring students help both the professional and the students. Professionals get to know the best students in the program and are better prepared to hire them. The students get to know professionals that they will be working with, learn about the business of engineering, and get to know more about some of the local firms.

    There are several ways a professional can more directly impact education and curriculum. One impactful way is to work with the department on senior design/capstone projects. Many universities have a symposium at the end of the semester and invite professionals to review and critique the presentations/projects. Some Universities have even more integration with practitioners and have professionals, along with a faculty member, mentor and guide senior design groups. This is an excellent way to interact with students. If your local university or alma mater does not integrate professionals into senior design projects, talk to the chair to see if there is a way to start a program.

    Another good way to have an impact in the classroom is by contacting faculty who teach design and other courses and talk to them about giving guest lectures. I have found that students love to hear from professionals and often get more out of it than from a faculty member. How impactful would it be for students to have a professional that regularly designs with steel, concrete, timber, whatever come into the classroom and talk about the subject? Don't forget about other courses where your input is useful, think about professional ethics, business practices, technical communication, the list goes on.

    Finally, one way to have a huge impact in the classroom is to consider becoming an adjunct. There is a large time commitment to teaching, but you will be interacting with the students consistently and really have a huge impact. Many universities are always looking for adjuncts to teach courses in their areas of expertise. It is common for universities to require a master's degree to teach, but exceptions are often granted for experience and specialized training.

    John


    ------------------------------
    John Cleary Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor
    Daphne AL
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-12-2020 03:04 PM
    Hi Anne an John
    I recently joined ASCE and I am excited that I have found a very motivating environment of participation and fellowship; I joined ASCE in search of promoting my career, I have been working as a Structural Engineer in Mexico for 20 years, I graduated as a Master in Structural Engineering, I have several questions in mind, but I would like to start with the following:
    -What can I do to learn more about the practice of structural engineering in the USA?
    -If I live in Mexico, can I participate in some of the activities that SEI promotes?
    I thank you in advance for your attention.

    ------------------------------
    Horacio Galicia S.E.,M.ASCE
    CEO
    Morelia
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-14-2020 10:43 PM
    Hi Horacio,
    Involvement in SEI would be a great way to will help expose you to practice of structural engineering in the USA and give you the opportunity to meet many practicing in the USA. I know there was conversation about starting an SEI Chapter in Mexico. To learn more, contact @Fernando Martinez ​and @Suzanne Fisher .
    Good luck!
    Anne

    ------------------------------
    Anne Ellis P.E., F.ASCE
    Executive Director
    Charles Pankow Foundation
    McLean VA
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-14-2020 10:43 PM
    Horacio,

    Hello, it is great to hear from one of our members in Mexico. It is also great to hear that you are interested in the practice of structural engineering in the US. I believe the best place to learn is through SEI and ASCE. SEI has great resources including webinars, practice guides, codes and standards, magazines, journals, and so much more. In addition to ASCE and SEI's resources, there are two additional structural engineering organizations with lots of resources. The National Council of Structural Engineering Associations (NCSEA) represents Structural Engineering Organizations from each state and the Coalition of American Structural Engineers (CASE) is an organization that represents structural engineering firms.

    All ASCE and SEI members are welcome to participate in all activities including, but not limited to, conferences, committees, publications, and webinars. I believe there is an SEI local chapter in Mexico (https://www.asce.org/templates/membership-communities-section-detail.aspx?sectionid=000000883821), but I am not sure of its status and where they are active. @Suzanne Fisher can probably get you more information.

    Welcome to ASCE and hopefully, you are also and SEI member, I look forward to seeing you at Structures Congress!

    John

    ------------------------------
    John Cleary Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor
    Daphne AL
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything

    Posted 06-12-2020 07:10 PM
    Thank you for all your great questions and for participating in the Meet the Leaders: Ask Me Anything. This thread is now closed. Any submitted questions will not be published. The leaders will respond to any unanswered by Monday, June 15. Thank you to @John Cleary and @Anne Ellis for the informative answers!

    Have a great weekend!​​

    ------------------------------
    Brittany Boyce Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Coordinator, SEI Communications & Operations
    [email protected]
    ------------------------------