Discussion: View Thread

Expand all | Collapse all

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

  • 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 Kozdroy

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

    Posted 06-10-2020 11:46 AM

    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. 


    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.


    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 maki