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Pittsburgh's Civil Engineering News Blog

Gaining New Insights: SEI Local Leadership Conference

08 Dec 2014 6:18 PM | ASCE Blog Editor (Administrator)

Article by Greg Holbrook, EIT

Harbor Drive pedestrian bridgeI had the opportunity to represent the Pittsburgh Structural Engineering Institute chapter at the yearly SEI Local Leadership Conference (LLC) on October 24 & 25, 2014 in San Diego, CA. There were a number of presentations and breakout sessions to attend, including a strategic vision from the SEI President Donald Dusenberry, P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE on the future of Structural Engineering and how the profession will transition into the world of technology and 3D modeling and analysis. Additionally, the premier presentation of the conference was given by Brett Makley, P.E. and Dan Fitzwilliam, P.E. of T.Y Lin International, design engineers of the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge, which spans over six railroad tracks and Harbor Drive, a four lane roadway. This bridge was necessary to serve as a gateway to downtown San Diego and the recently constructed Petco Park, home to the Padres. The final technical presentation given by James A. D’Aloisio, P.E., SECB, LEED, AP BD+C of Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt, focused on how a Structural Engineering can be on the forefront of sustainable practices and explained the advantages and disadvantages of certain sustainability criteria in the industry with respect to current building codes.  As an added bonus, Mr. D’Aloisio has agreed to present this topic in Pittsburgh this Spring.      

Harbor Drive pedestrian bridgeDuring breakout sessions and meetings, we discussed best practices for events as well as ideas to benefit future SEI events and activities at the local level. I was able to talk with many Structural Engineering graduate students that were on the governing bodies of their respective SEI student chapters. This will be useful for our SEI Pittsburgh chapter as we pursue the idea of helping the University of Pittsburgh start their own SEI Graduate Student Chapter (GSC). We are also in the process of planning a visit to the WVU SEI GSC to conduct a discussion and presentation about the transition of a structural engineer into the work force.  SEI Pittsburgh would like to make use of the online discussion forum available through the Pittsburgh Section website.  Feel free to leave your questions or ideas there.

In addition to the technical presentations and discussions that took place, we took a tour of the Englekirk Center Shake Table at UC San Diego. This is the largest shake table in the United States and is capable of conducting tests on full scale buildings and structures. Anyone interested in learning more about current and past projects can find them here.

For more information about the Pittsburgh SEI Chapter and how you can get involved, please contact SEI Chair Sonya Flournoy at or myself at

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