Roger LaBoube, PhD, P.E.
Missouri University of Science & Technology

In September 2016, Roger LaBoube, P.E., from Missouri University of Science & Technology, gave a talk on Design Aids and Design Examples for Cold-Formed Steel. He chose the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (http://www.lls.org/) for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

Roger shared his story about why he chose the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: “On June 7, 2003, our daughter Jennifer married Russ. The wedding was a wonderful family event and Karen and I were both extremely happy for Jennifer and Russ. Four short months later, Russ was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma Stage 4B. After 10 months of treatments, Russ’ Hodgkins was forced into remission. Obviously, Karen and I were elated to learn of this news. However, in June 2005, Russ was diagnosed with leukemia. Following more chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, the leukemia is now in remission. I chose to support LLS to honor both Russ and Jennifer for their fighting spirit and to help others who are also fighting so hard to defeat their cancer. Our family has benefited first hand from both the research and the patient services of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.”

Thank you, Roger, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!

 

 

SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to “pay it forward”, enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

Annie Kao, P.E.
Simpson Strong-Tie

In August 2016, Annie Kao, P.E., from Simpson Strong-Tie, gave a talk on Effective Communication Skills for Workplace Conversations and Meetings. She chose the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) Foundation (http://seaosc.org/page-18108) for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

Annie chose this organization because it “supports structural engineering research and scholarships to students majoring in structural engineering.”

Thank you, Annie, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California Foundation as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!

 

 

SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to “pay it forward”, enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

Are you using the most accurate design method when you utilize Force Transfer Around Openings (FTAO) in your wood shear wall design? In the past, a variety of design techniques have been used to determine a rational analysis for wood shear walls, but recent research sheds some light on which methods are the most accurate for this type of design.

In the July 2016 SE University Core Session, Karyn Beebe, PE, LEED-AP, from APA – The Engineered Wood Association, covered Advancements in Force Transfer Around Openings for Wood Framed Shear Walls. During her presentation, Karyn highlighted recent results from research completed in a partnership between APA, University of British Columbia, and USDA Forest Products Laboratory. This research examined the internal forces generated during full-scale testing of a variety of walls with code-allowable openings of various sizes, and compared those forces with various design techniques and computer analytics that mimic testing data. The results proved to be very useful to determine which design methods would be most accurate for design engineers to implement in their FTAO wall designs.

As shown in the following table, a summary was created for 8 different wall configurations for FTAO, and compared the measured internal forces with the predicted forces from 4 different design techniques: The Drag Strut and Cantilever Beam Techniques, both developed by Zeno Martin, the Diekmann Technique, and the SEAOC/Thompson Technique. The first column shows the measured strap forces around the openings and the remainder of columns give the percent error in the predicted strap forces for the 4 methods. As you can see, the blocks highlighted yellow show an unconservative design (less than 100%), while the green blocks show an overly conservative design (greater than 300%). In most cases, the Diekmann and SEAOC/Thompson Techniques were useful in determining accurate strap forces. One outlier would be for Wall 6, which was a C-shaped panel, where the Drag Strut Technique was the best predicted response of strap forces.

Measured vs Predicted Strap Forces

Click on the picture for an enlarged view

As a design engineer, this information can be used to identify which design techniques would result in the most efficient design for our clients, depending on which type of shear wall is being used on any given project. To learn more about this recent research, Karyn provided a link to a full set of testing results that can be viewed on the APA website’s Resource Library. Registration is required to access the file, but there is no charge to register and access other documents in the Resource Library.

We’ve all heard the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  But how important is that initial impression?  Science shows that our first impression of a person is often hard to dislodge.  Many studies have shown how quickly first impressions are formed and also how difficult they are to change even when conflicting facts are presented.  The bad news is many of these first impressions are strictly based on appearance, but the good news is we do have some control over our destiny.

In the August 2016 session of SE University, Annie Kao, PE, gave a presentation on Effective Communication Skills for Workplace Conversations and Meetings.  Annie talked about the importance of first impressions and what we can do to be in control of our own impression on others.

First, our voice has a huge impact on how others perceive us.  In 2014, a study at the University of Glasgow showed that participants largely agreed on their initial impressions of audio recordings of men and women saying the word “hello.”  Participants overwhelmingly agreed on sorting the voices to have various personality traits, such as trustworthiness, aggressiveness, confidence, dominance, or warmth.  Knowing this, we can be more aware of how our voice may be affecting our relationships, especially if you work in an office that does much of its correspondence over the phone.  Controlling our tone and intensity and conveying a pleasant attitude through our voice can be effective tools, especially in difficult conversations.  Annie recommended listening to this TED talk by Julian Treasure which addresses the use of our voice and its effects on others.

Not only does our voice help form an opinion, but our body language can affect the opinions of others.  If you are talking with someone who is very energetic and passionate, you tend to feel more passionate as well.  On the flip side, if you are taking to someone who seems uninterested and yawns, it tends to make you feel tired as well.  This phenomenon is caused by “mirror” neurons in our brain that cause us to mimic the energy of those around us.  We can use this to our advantage to help elevate our initial impression on others.  Speaking with confidence and passion can inspire those around you and leave a positive impact.

Using these skills, we can do our best to improve our initial encounter with others.  Confidence, whether fake or real, can convey competence and strength to those we meet.  It is important to practice these skills daily, especially when conversing by phone, as initial impressions begin with “Hello.”  Make that first word count, and you will be on your way to making a great first impression!

Karyn Beebe, P.E.
APA – The Engineered Wood Association

In July 2016, Karyn Beebe, P.E., from APA – The Engineered Wood Association, gave a talk on Advancements in Force Transfer Around Openings for Wood Framed Shear Walls. She chose Purdue University Lyles School of Civil Engineering (www.engineering.purdue.edu/CE) for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

Karyn said the following about this organization, “The Civil Engineering Department at Purdue University provided me with an excellent education covering a broad base which prepared me technically for the workforce as well as the PE while offering a supportive community through the guidance of the professors, the Co-operative Education program, and Women in Engineering.

Thank you, Karyn, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of Purdue University Lyles School of Civil Engineering as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!

 

 

SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to “pay it forward”, enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

Positivity can have tremendous effects on our daily outlook. Positive thinking has been linked with increased lifespan, decreased rates of depression, and increased resistance to some viruses. With these, and many other health benefits, adding a dose of positivity just seems like good medicine. Old habits can be hard to change, but here are 3 ways to put a positive spin on your day:

First, only give focus to positive self-talk. These are the thoughts about yourself and your abilities that flutter in and out of your head throughout the day. Try to honestly evaluate whether a majority of your thoughts are positive or negative. Refrain from thinking any thought about yourself that you would not say out loud to someone else. Encourage yourself when you feel doubtful. When a negative thought enters, evaluate it rationally, but then replace it with affirmations about your character. Rather than tell yourself, “I’ve never done that,” think “This is a good opportunity to learn something new.”

Next, try to stop venting. Though it may seem harmless, if you have ever been around someone who complains constantly, you know how draining and unproductive it can be. Dwelling on all that is wrong with a situation will definitely convince you that there is little to be thankful for. Many times our complaints can be completely mindless, such as complaining about the weather or traffic. But excessive complaining can be a destructive habit, is typically ineffective at evoking change, and can lead to feelings of helplessness. Instead, try to limit complaints to situations in which you can create positive changes to your circumstances. This can lead to a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, and thus improve our mood and outlook on life.

Lastly, be a positive force to the people around you. Positive people attract positive outcomes. Make it a daily habit to say something positive to a different person every day. It can be as simple as a quick compliment, or affirming your appreciation for your colleague. Look for specific ways to applaud others and their achievements, and you will be surprised at what effect it can have on those around you.

Positivity has a way of working itself back to you, so stay positive and look to reap the rewards!

Carol Post, P.E., S.E.
Thornton Tomasetti

In June 2016, Carol Post, P.E., S.E., from Thornton Tomasetti gave a talk on Best Practices to Improve Structural Construction Documents for SE University. She chose The Epilepsy Foundation (www.epilepsy.com) for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

Carol said the following about this charity, “Epilepsy can be a very challenging disease for those who are afflicted with it. Thanks to ongoing research many have had their quality of life improved and sometimes even returned to normal. Further research, thanks to donations like this, can keep the hope alive.

Thank you, Carol, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of The Epilepsy Foundation as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!

 

 

SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to “pay it forward”, enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

Does your office have a system in place to ensure coordination between disciplines is addressed early and often throughout the design process? Are you frustrated by always having the same RFIs and Change Orders on your projects? The design process is just that – a process. However, many times we are met with the same issues that crop up over and over again. What can we do as the engineer-of-record to be proactive in the design process to alleviate the headaches of change orders and RFIs?

In the June 2016 core session of SE University, Carol Post, PE, SE, from Thornton Tomasetti, and Cathleen Jacinto, PE, SE, of FORSE Consulting and SE University, gave a talk on Best Practices to Improve Structural Construction Documents. During the presentation, Cathleen gave some suggestions to improve design team communication and coordination of bid documents and how to avoid some common pitfalls. Some common pitfalls she covered included:

  • Edge of Slab
  • Exterior Walls
  • Mechanical Equipment
  • Elevators
  • Stairs
  • Connection Design

As most of these items are typically determined late in the design process, it is inevitable that some information is not clear at bid time, and RFIs and Change Orders are the result. In the following video, Cathleen reviews the use of coordination checklists to address the most common modifications that result from the late selection of stairs and elevator equipment.

Using coordination checklists can be an effective tool to ensure these items are addressed early and communication continues throughout design, so that the engineer can make the most accurate assumptions to aid in preparation of bid documents. SE University clients have access to several design coordination checklists through the SEU Resource Center which may help to minimize changes during construction administration. To access these checklists, login to your SEU Resource Center, and follow the Innovation Hub to Helpful Tips and Resource Information.

For additional information about each of these checklists individually, please see the following blog posts:

Coordination Checklist for Stair Design

Coordination Checklist for Elevator Design

How would you like to change up your life in a positive way? Perhaps you are experiencing stress at work, or the daily grind feels monotonous many days. It is not uncommon to reach a lull in our careers and daily life, but with some small, intentional changes, we can alter the trajectory of our day and affect those around us in a truly positive manner! Here are 5 small ways to make a big impact in your daily work life:

Invest in relationships with your coworkers. One of the best ways to improve our outlook on life is to connect with others. Start a conversation with a new employee in your office, or invite a fellow coworker to lunch. Recruit a group to play basketball at lunch, or play some golf with a client on the weekend. Learning more about our peers helps to understand their perspectives and develop mutual respect for one another. Finding common interests with others helps build friendships and makes going to work more enjoyable.

Show gratitude. Even in the most dire of circumstances, there is much to be thankful for. If we focus on the positives, the more positives we will see. Saying “thank you” actually tends to make us more thankful, and fosters goodwill toward those to whom we show our appreciation. Everyone wishes to be noticed and applauded for their service, so why not be the catalyst in your office to make gratitude a daily habit?

Get up and move! As often as possible, get away from your desk and move around. Ask your boss if you can discuss a future project while taking a walk around the building property. Stand up in your office if you are stuck on a long conference call. Take the stairs when possible. Any amount of activity and being outdoors can improve, not only our health, but also our attitude. Being outside has been shown to improve your immunity, combat depression, and lower stress levels. So set a timer, and do some pushups … you might just gain more than muscle!

Listen to music. While this may not be conducive to every office situation, when possible, adding music to your daily routine can be just the change you need to energize your day. Listening to your local radio station may help you feel more connected to what is happening in your local community, and the effects of music have long been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and even enhance learning and memory. Upbeat music has been shown to improve athletic performance and lift spirits. There is no downside to listening to music, so turn up the volume and grab some headphones, if needed!

Eat a healthy lunch. With so much excess noise about fad diets, good and bad carbs, and saturated fat, it is hard to decide what is and what isn’t healthy nowadays. But most experts would agree that eating fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy diet. Focus on incorporating as many fruits and veggies as possible, in place of common processed snack foods, and you will reap the benefits of the added fiber and complex sugars that will keep you from feeling an afternoon crash!

Not all of these suggestions may work for every situation; however, focusing on one or two small changes can be enough to brighten the horizon and change your mindset. So instead of dwelling on big changes that seem unmanageable, start small, and see what a big impact you can make on yourself and others around you!

In an effort to “Pay It Forward,” SE University is happy to announce our “SEU Speaker Inspires” program in which our speakers can designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

Sam Rubenzer, P.E., S.E.
FORSE Consulting

In May 2016, Sam Rubenzer, P.E., S.E., from FORSE Consulting gave a talk on Masonry Analysis and Design with FEA Software for SE University. He chose Engineering Ministries International (www.emiworld.org/donate.php) for the donation of the month.

Sam said the following about Engineering Ministries International, “EMI is willing to take on a very important role in restoring hope to poor and desolate areas of the world. The work that I was fortunate enough to be involved with at EMI was challenging as we attempted to use state of the art analysis and design tools, while anticipating the limited construction methods and techniques in these remote and impoverished areas. EMI is true to their vision of ‘designing a world of hope for the physically and spiritually poor’ and I am grateful to be able to support them.

Thank you, Sam, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of Engineering Ministries International as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!


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