July/August 2018

Annual summer newsletter of the
Structural Engineers Association of Washington

In the Issue

  1. Engineer of the Year
  2. Outgoing State President's Message
  3. Seattle Chapter June Spring Social Recap
  4. Seattle Chapter Outgoing President's Message
  5. SEFW Annual Report
  6. Scholarship Winners
  7. NCSEA Annual Report
  8. WABO/Committee Report
  9. Sustainability Committee Report
  10. Disaster Prep/Response Committee Report
  11. Wind Engineering Committee Report
  12. Membership Task Force
  13. Membership Postings
  14. Employment Opportunities
  15. Reid Middleton Help Wanted
  16. Quantum Help Wanted
  17. American Institute of Steel Construction Hel Wanted
  18. From the Editor

SEAW Trustees

Siri Ashworth
Coffman Engineers

Vice President
Darrell Staaleson
Staaleson Engineering PC

Past President 
Chun Lau
Brown Caldwell

Matt Leslie (SC)
Leslie Engineering

Theodore E. Smith (SE)
Smith and Huston, Inc.

Ignasius Seilie (SE)
Integrated Design Engineers


Owen Bower (SW)
Lund Opsahl

Michael Bramhall (SE)
Jensen Hughes

Matt Leslie (SC)
Leslie Engineering

TJ Merrell (SP)
Oldcastle Precast

Darrell Staaleson (SE)
Staaleson Engineering PC

Daniel Sumerfield (SC)
Leslie Engineering

Engineer of the Year

The Seattle Chapter of the Structural Engineers Association of Washington (SEAW) has named Chun Lau 2018 Engineer of the Year. The award was presented by last year’s recipient Dr. Andy Taylor at the June Spring Social and Awards Event held at the Lake Union Café in Seattle.

Prospective candidates are considered for their visibility to the profession that is favorable in the public eye, for their technical distinguished technical expertise and creative achievement, for their ability to encourage and nurture others in their professional development, and for their service to SEAW and the profession at large.

The award has been given for a variety of reasons, sometimes predominantly because of a particular project, sometimes predominantly because of a significant service, etc.

Chun has outstanding achievements in all of the SEAW nomination categories.

  1. Visibility: Chun served as SEAW delegate to NCSEA since 2010, served as SEAW representative on the King County Building Code Advisory and Appeals Board from 2000 to 2006, and served as SEAW representative on the Washington State Building Code Council from 1998 to 2001. 
    Chun served two terms as a Board member on the Washington State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and is now an Emeritus Member.

  2. Technical: Chun served as an exam grader for several of the Washington State Specific Structural III Examinations and served as a member of the SEAW Wind committee from 1993 to 1998. He was a co-author of the SEAW Wind Commentary to the 1994 Uniform Building Code.

  3. Nurturing: Chun mentors younger engineers at all of the places he has worked and was an instructor for the Lateral Force section of the SEAW Structural Exam Refresher Course for 5 years.

  4. Service to SEAW: Chun served as SEAW delegate to NCSEA since 2010, served on the SEAW Seattle Chapter Board of Directors from 1998 to 2000, was the SEAW Seattle Chapter Vice President 2016-2017, and has just completed terms as BOTH the SEAW State and Seattle Chapter President. SEAW has never had a member serving as President of both a Chapter and the State Association simultaneously!

The Seattle Chapter of SEAW extends its thanks and congratulations to Chun Lau, 2018 Engineer of the Year.

Photo by Shalini Prochazka. Chun Lau receiving Award as Engineer of the Year 2018.  Left to right: Dr. Andy Taylor; Chun Lau.  

Outgoing SEAW State President's Message

By Chun Lau  

It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as the State President this past year! I enjoyed working with the four Chapters’ leadership this past year and gained insight into the Spokane, South Central and South West chapters by visiting them this past year.  All these chapters have a great leadership group that works tirelessly for their chapter members.   

In my incoming President message last year, I mentioned that I would like to focus on the following areas: attracting new membership, membership engagement, leadership development, maintaining active committees, providing continuing education opportunities through of seminars and workshops.  I also mentioned that I am a realistic person and recognized that we may not have it all done in one year. I must first admit that when I took over the Presidency, I thought we could dive into the goals and get the organization moving on a path toward a new level of success. I quickly found myself having to deal with the working relationship with our administrator that has been on contract with us for a couple years.  There was still process and procedures to iron out and I found myself spending more time to deal with the administrative issues with our administrator.  With the great support of my fellow Trustees, I am glad to report that we now have a much-improved administrative support from our administration and a new one-year contract was executed in February.  So here we are a year later, there is much work to be done. We made good strides in improving the financial reporting by the financial consolidation of the chapter accounts so the financial report is easier for the Board to review for our planning and addressing the events that are of interest to our membership.  The membership task force was re-activated with Jill Shuttleworth leading the effort in reaching out to the lapsed members that we lost during the last two years.  I am glad to report that we brought our membership from 770+ two years ago to 900+ this year. There is more work to do in attracting new membership.

Thanks to the hard work of the Education committee, a full day seminar on Foundation Design was offered in March this year.  The committee continues to seek relevant topics that are of interested to our membership for seminars.

To maintain active committees, I seek the help and leadership of Peter Somers to lead a committee liaison task group this coming year. The task force is to work with the state committees with the goal to make recommendations to State Board related to standardizing committee processes and expectations this coming year.

When I looked at the incoming Board of Trustees, they are young leaders that will bring in fresh ideas and energy, I look forward to many exciting things in the near future for SEAW.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to serve as President over the past year and I look forward to seeing you at the next SEAW event. Hope you all have a nice summer.

Seattle Chapter Spring Social Recap

By Sean Augustino

On June 26, the Seattle Chapter brought another year to a close with our annual Dinner Social at Lake Union Café in Seattle. The evening’s program included displays by vendors Stabil-Loc, Simpson, and Dewalt, prize giveaways, awarding of student scholarships and recognition, and the handing of the gavel from outgoing President Chun Lau to the incoming Darrell Staaleson. When accepting the role, Darrell spoke about service, why he enjoys serving his profession, why we all benefit from serving through organizations like SEAW, and how much he has learned from Chun and hopes to carry on his successes. Read More

Seattle Chapter Outgoing President's Message

By: Chun Lau

As the saying goes, “Time flies when you are having fun.”  Yes, I used the word fun to describe my time serving as the Seattle Chapter President. It was fun because I was surrounded by a group of Directors that worked toward the common goal of making our Chapter better and served our membership. It was fun when we overcame some of the challenges together.  Last year’s biggest challenge was the administrative support and getting our financial statement simplified so we can spend more time in serving our membership rather than the time consumed in the administrative issues and financial statement. I am glad to report with the hard work by the Board, we now have a much-improved administrative support and simplified financial reporting so the Board can now concentrate on serving our membership. Read More

SEFW Annual Report

The Structural Engineering Foundation of Washington (SEFW) had an exciting 2017-2018 year. The SEFW mission is to promote the profession of structural engineering through education, scholarships, research, and outreach. As such, SEFW is pleased to report on the activities that were funded in the last year:


Fall Forum: The 7th Annual Fall Forum was held November 10, 2017, at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Around 300 people were able to enjoy the reception and lecture, “Origami: Inspiration in Science, Design, and Structures.” The event featured Robert D. Lang., PhD., mathematician, artist, and origami consultant; Tina Hovsepian, AIA, an architect by trade and co-founder of Cardborigami, a nonprofit which incorporates origami into temporary shelters; and Mark R. Morden, AIA, local architect and origami enthusiast. Each spoke in turn about the applications of origami to design, architecture, and structure, as well as social issues, innovation, and technology. It was an enlightening evening! Thank you to the 43 corporate sponsors who contributed to the event and funded SEFW efforts for the next year. Read More

Scholarship Winners

By: Kevin Solberg

Monica Erickson Levi Gilbert

Join us in congratulating our scholarship winners! Read more

NCSEA Annual Report

By: Chun Lau

The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) is now in its 26th year of existence and is currently comprised of 44 regional or state structural engineering associations throughout the United States. SEAW was a chartered member at the inception of the Council and has been one of the larger Member Organization (MO) with our membership at 900+. Read More

WABO/SEAW Liaison Committee Report

The WABO/SEAW Liaison Committee is currently working on an update/revision to White Paper 1-2006 titled, “Guideline – Structural Plan Review Philosophy”, that was issued in May 2006. This WP was intended to establish a guideline for a uniform approach to structural plan review of CD’s submitted for a building permit”.

The Committee is interested in getting input from SE’s and building code reviewers on the subject of structural plan review.  What level of plan review do you think is appropriate? How do we resolve differences in opinion between the plan reviewer and the SE? Are the guidelines given in the WP 1-2006 being followed? Does the plans reviewer defer to the engineer’s judgment if the design engineer gives a reasonable, rational, and technically justified explanation? How might the guidelines or commentary in the White Paper be revised or expanded to improve the review process? Read more

Sustainability Committee Report

By: Rachel Vranizan

This past year, the Sustainability Committee has hosted a variety of speakers from all corners of the AEC industry, touching on many ways structural engineers can contribute to the sustainable performance of our built environment.

We talked with envelope consultants on how to improve the performance of structural penetrations through the building envelope or structure within the exterior enclosure. As a committee, we continue to track research on thermal bridging, the viability of thermal break products on the market, and the impacts of the Washington and Seattle energy codes on structural penetrations. Read More

Disaster Preparation and Response Committee Report

By Joyce Lem

Committee Contacts:
Chair: Joyce Lem ([email protected]),
Past-Chair: Paul Brallier ([email protected] )

DPRC meetings are held on third Tuesdays of the month, Noon – 1 pm, at Quantum Consulting Engineers, 1511 Third Ave, Suite 323, Seattle. We are excited to be able to report tremendous progress in our efforts. That said, we need and welcome new members and promise to put them to good use – see below for a list of tasks and goals for next year. Read More

Wind Engineering Committee Report

By Scott Douglas

The SEAW Wind Engineering Committee (WEC), with 45 members on the mailing list, has continued to meet semi-regularly every two months, typically on the third Thursday of every month, in downtown Seattle.  All WEC meetings are broadcast over Go-to-Meeting, thus if SEAW members are not able to participate in person they are encouraged to participate remotely.  Members of the South Central and the Spokane Chapters, who still have no representation on the WEC, are encouraged to participate.  Read More

Membership Task Group Report

The membership task group was active in the fall of 2017. During that time we contacted several of the people who were on the graced and former SEAW lists. Due to that effort, members who had moved out of the area or stated that they no longer wished to remain a member of SEAW were removed from the roster. Several of the members who were listed as graced or former requested that we invoice them. As a result of the task group efforts, membership increased by approximately 4%.  Several of the members that we had contacted requested that they be invoiced. Read More

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

Employment Opportunities

Are you currently seeking employment as a structural engineer, senior manager, or a senior engineer technician? Check out our job board for current employment opportunitiesLearn More

Help Wanted- Reid Middleton

Dear Structural Engineers in Snohomish County,

15,000 hours of your life. How do you want to spend it? 

Are you a high-performing PE or experienced EIT, early career, with 30 years of engineering ahead of you? Do you live in Snohomish County for the lifestyle, but commute for your career? If that’s you, you might end up spending 15,000 hours of your life sitting in traffic. That’s like spending 375 weeks of employment away from your family, pets, hobbies, or anything nicer than the inside of your car.  Looking back on your career, haven’t you spent too much time in your car already? 

Consider Reid Middleton in Snohomish County. We do great things in structural engineering, seismic upgrades of hospitals, new and expanded schools, new and upgraded fire stations, new housing, seismic studies, peer-reviews, high-profile waterfront structures, industrial structures, municipal buildings, etc. Do great work while avoiding the commute. Join us for a satisfying career.

You have nothing to lose and could gain 15,000 hours.

Send cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Visit our website at for more information. 

Reid Middleton is a federal contractor subject to the requirements of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).


Help Wanted- Quantum 

Entry-Level Structural Design Engineer

Structural Design Engineer

Help Wanted - American Institute of Steel Construction 

Smarter. Stronger. Steel. A unique business development opportunity to shape the future of the American steel industry. For nearly 100 years, the American Institute of Steel Construction has been the leading advocate and trusted resource for American structural steel. Our business development representatives build and retain strong relationships in the design and construction community by being visibly present in target cities while leveraging the resources and expertise of AISC to deliver better project outcomes. We are looking for business development representatives to join our team at AISC. The primary responsibility of this role is to educate the design and construction community about the benefits of structural steel! AISC's field specialists live and work in target cities around the country building relationships and meeting with key decision makers about the benefits of fabricated structural steel for their buildings. You'll spend at least 10 days a month calling on architects, structural engineers, owners/developers and contractors to help them deliver better project outcomes. Learn More

From the Editor

Equilibrium publication Team: 

Darrell Staaleson, Editor
I will be stepping down as Editor of Equilibrium as of the July Statewide Edition so I can focus on my duties as Seattle Chapter President. I will stay on to help and mentor, and annoy, and quite possibly meddle a little.

Zohrah Ali
Allison Tran – Grammar, spelling, and watching out for you’ll-never-believe-how-they-spelt-that!

Here are a few ideas for you would-be journalists on how to get started writing an article. 

  1. During a notable fishing trip, or vacation to an interesting place, or cycle ride through the countryside, or even waiting at the airport, take some photos, including a few selfies, with your iPhone. Focus on capturing what interests you. Do not try to find something that might interest someone else, because that is a “fake coin” – It’s counterfeit. 
  2. Photography isn’t easy. We, engineers, are accustomed to taking photos at the job site to commemorate the work. But when you’re a photojournalist you need to capture the sense of the experience. You don’t make an exact photographic record of what you are seeing. Here’s an example.

Lady Liberty, Sept. 22, 2013

One of my favorite photos I took of Lady Liberty shows her in the morning sun, on a cloudless September day, with a perfect blue sky. I’m sheltered by the “green” from the blazing sun, and there is the cool breeze of late summer blowing off the Hudson. You might not understand, but looking at this picture – a picture which I composed - now takes me back to that magnificent day. It doesn’t matter if it is on par with Ansel Adams. This isn’t. But it does contain memory.      

  1. You have a picture. You allow the visual to help you recall the experience. Then you simply tell us the story of your adventure. The trick is the same for public speaking: be passionate! Your audience will respond in kind.
  2. I use the venue of Facebook to practice this. Post your picture and write a paragraph. You don’t have to compete with Clifford D. Simack, so don’t even give that a second thought. Just write your story. This task of writing in small blocks based on a photo will help you to develop the ability to think clearly, compose your thoughts, and write lucidly on the fly. 

I also use this technique in writing my field reports for investigations. I print out the salient photos and write observations.  As I work through, my thoughts naturally form about possibilities of causes and ideas for repairs. I try to proceed in a logical order but I don’t expect or require my ideas to develop in a linear progression. I just write what I think, as I think it. Then I can go back and arrange it so the presentation is logical, even though the way I got there was not.

  1. This is what I mean when I say, “A Picture and a Paragraph.” Give it a try.      


  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 in community services, or share some construction site photos and talk about lessons learned
  2. “A Picture and a Paragraph.” And please use the Article submittal form provided. Please note that when I say, “picture” I mean an actual “picture” and not a blank space where the “picture” should be.  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.

Structural Engineers Association of Washington
[email protected] | 206-209-5283 |