Matthew Rechtien, PE, Esq., Walter P. Moore

In March 2020, SE University welcomed Matthew Rechtien, PE, Esq., from Walter P. Moore, to present 2020 Engineering Ethics Update.  Matt designated Friends of Perryville Battlefield ( for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.

Matt shared, “On October 8, 1862, nearly 8,000 Americans fell in the drought-parched Chaplin Hills of Kentucky during the Battle of Perryville. Perryville played a pivotal role in our nation’s most impactful event. Although the clash is oft-forgotten, those Americans should be remembered and that sacred ground, one of the most pristine civil war battlefields remaining, should be protected. The Friends of Perryville Battlefield is committed to both missions, which I am humbled to advance.”

Thank you, Matt, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of Friends of Perryville Battlefield 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.

Steel fiber reinforced concrete (SFRC) is gaining in popularity, especially in designs for industrial slabs on grade.  Steel fibers can add strength and increase fatigue resistance, impact resistance, and crack control which make it ideal for large scale slabs where the use of welded wire fabric can be eliminated.  The addition of steel fibers may be an economical option, but if you’ve never used them, you might wonder what is the best method to properly specify SFRC?

In the February 2020 SE University session, Claire Gandee, from Bekaert, presented Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete.  Claire reviewed the basics of SFRC and covered the applicable code references for design.  She also covered the design approaches typically used for SFRC and made practical recommendations for specifying and for the placement/finishing of SFRC.  Claire explained the benefits of using SFRC, including possible economic savings.

Claire shared the critical information that should be included when specifying SFRC.  However, it is most important to be sure the contractor and others on the project can readily find the information, and this is best achieved by including it in the specs within the 03 33 00 Cast In Place Reinforcing or alternately within the 03 24 00 Fibrous Reinforcing, including a reference in the 03 33 00 section to be sure it is not missed by the contractor.  ASTM C1116 is a standard specification for Fiber Reinforced Concrete which can be referenced in supplement to performance and material properties of the steel fibers utilized in a project.

Within the specs, the following performance and material requirements should be delineated:

Claire also provided typical drawing notes that give examples of specifying SFRC on construction documents:

These examples provide a good basis to get started using SFRC on projects where performance improvements help the end-user, and/or when it can save time and money for clients.  While steel fiber reinforcing may be new to some, open communication with the contractor and manufacturer can eliminate any mishaps when using SFRC on your first project.

Given the current situation with many people needing to transition to working from a home based office, Sam Rubenzer, SE, from FORSE Consulting prepared a 15 minute video with tips for structural engineers.  You can view this at no charge by clicking on this video link.
We hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

Claire Gandee, Bekaert

In February 2020, SE University welcomed Claire Gandee, from Bekaert, to present Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete. Claire designated The Dharma Project ( for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.

Claire shared, “This group brings yoga, meditation and mindfulness to folks who might otherwise have no access to these valuable practices, such as police officers, incarcerated youth, and inner-city school students. I believe in the value and benefits of this work and hope that more people can experience the important work the Dharma Project offers.”

Thank you, Claire, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of The Dharma Project as one of our SEU Speaker Inspires Organizations 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.

SE University / SE Solutions is pleased to support Project C.U.R.E. and their efforts in collecting and donating all of their available medical supplies to combat the Covid-19 crisis throughout America and globally.

Project C.U.R.E. identifies, solicits, collects, sorts and distributes medical supplies and services according to the imperative needs of the world.  In response to COVID-19, Project C.U.R.E. is making their resources available to hospitals and first responders throughout the United StatesThey are donating all of their masks, gloves, PPE’s and other items needed to fight COVID-19 to these heroes. One hundred percent of the items that individuals and companies give to the local fight against COVID-19 will be given to the brave men and women on the front lines of this fight in our communities here in the U.S..

Learn more about Project C.U.R.E at or donate to support their relief efforts here.

Have you encountered fit-up problems in the field for fillet welded connections?  What has been your solution? AWS D1.1 requires that the engineer approve any alternative acceptance criteria for production welds, but the Code only provides general stipulations applicable to most situations.  Finding an acceptable alternative for fit-up issues often plagues engineers, however in the Second Edition of Design Guide 21: Welded Connections, Chapter 15.4.2 offers solutions for out-of-tolerance weld joints.

In the August 2019 SE University session,  Duane Miller, PE, from The Lincoln Electric Company, presented Introducing Design Guide 21: Welded Connections (Second Edition).  Duane covered some unique requirements for special welding applications, suggested potential solutions to frequently encountered problems associated with welded construction, and reviewed the approach used in AWS D1.1 to address unusual situations and the role of the EOR.

Duane addressed how out of tolerance fillet weld joints might be handled according to Design Guide 21.  Watch this short 4 minute video to hear Duane discuss buttering and changing the fillet weld to a CJP groove weld as two solutions for out-of-tolerance fillet weld joints.


Doug Allen, PE Simpson StrongTie

In January 2020, SE University welcomed Doug Allen, PE, from Simpson StrongTie, to present Delegated Design: Addressing Potential Risks with Proper Project Management. Doug designated Team Rubicon ( for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.

Doug shared, “I’d like to donate to Team Rubicon as they are a great organization that supports veterans responding to natural disasters. Simpson Strong-Tie has witnessed Team Rubicon making a difference following natural disasters, most recently Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.”

Team Rubicon’s mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible.

Thank you, Doug, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of Team Rubicon as one of our SEU Speaker Inspires Organizations 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.

Building design is becoming more integrated in the modern age.  More and more structural designs include proprietary products and delegated design professionals in order to speed up construction schedules. How does this affect the Engineer of Record?

During the January 2020 SE University session Delegated Design: Addressing Potential Risks with Proper Project Management, Doug Allen, PE, from Simpson Strong-Tie, reviewed the complications that arise with delegated design and deferred submittals.  He also covered potential ethical, monetary, and legal consequences of poor project management.

Doug offered a helpful outline, as shown below, of common issues that have been found on projects with prefabricated wood trusses.  Although the list is specifically addressed for projects with prefabricated wood trusses, many of the communication issues displayed can be extrapolated to other delegated design jobs as well.

On projects where part of the design is delegated, it is critically important for the EOR to clearly outline the extent of the design and complete design and performance criteria for the delegated designer.  While the EOR retains responsibility for the structural system as a whole, the delegated designer must comply with the requirements within the structural documents, including required submittals. Many times, these deferred submittals create opportunities for miscommunication.  

Typically, the most common pitfalls with deferred submittals include omissions or non-compliance with the structural documents, failure to provide submittals to the EOR for review, or failure of the EOR to properly review the submittals for compliance.  When discrepancies are noted, some re-design may be necessary to ensure code compliance. Then, revised structural documents should be resubmitted to all involved parties. Each layer of back and forth communication leaves room for error during this time-critical design process, and any lack of oversight could prove costly, or even deadly.  Doug reviewed several instances of structural collapse due to improper communications during the submittal process.

When embarking on a project involving delegated design, project specific communication checklists can be helpful to ensure required submittals are received, reviewed, and properly responded to in a timely manner.  Any final sign off from the EOR should be withheld until all required documents have been received and reviewed. As with any project, communication is key; However, with delegated design, it can be critical for the structural integrity of the project.

Anthony Fasano, PE Engineering Management Institute

In December 2019, SE University welcomed Anthony Fasano, PE, from Engineering Management Institute, to present Developing Effective Communication Skills for Structural Engineers. Anthony designated Same Kind of Different as Me Foundation ( for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.

Anthony shared, “What stood out to me about this organization is that around this time during the holidays, we should be thankful for the things that we have like our families and the homes we share with them. This organization helps people find homes.”

Same Kind of Different as Me Foundations aims to help the homeless through funding immediate needs for homeless shelters and helping those who struggle with homelessness find a shelter.

Thank you, Anthony, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of Same Kind of Different as Me Foundation as one of our SEU Speaker Inspires Organizations 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.

The field of structural engineering is, by nature, a collaborative endeavor.  Whether you work with architects, government agencies, or individual clients, good communication skills are necessary to effectively work and manage your projects.  What are the biggest obstacles you face when working with co-workers, clients, or contractors? Typically, poor communication is at the heart of most frustrations and conflicts during any given project.

In the December 2019 SE University session, Anthony Fasano, PE, from the Engineering Management Institute, presented Developing Effective Communication Skills for Structural Engineers.  Anthony offered strategies to improve communication between team members, ways to listen more effectively, and respond appropriately when communicating with others.

Anthony offered several tips on improving listening skills.  Since listening is half of communication, it is crucial to let others be heard.  Anthony noted that we often jump into a conversation when we feel we can solve the problem being discussed, however, it is more important to allow people to finish their thoughts without intrusion and to listen for silence for a full second before speaking.  It can also be helpful to acknowledge the thoughts of the other person by repeating back their ideas to reinforce their importance and ensure you have understood their point of view.

Anthony also reviewed the importance of responsiveness in communicating with clients.  Our clients expect answers immediately in today’s fast paced work environment. While instant replies may not be feasible, it helps to acknowledge receipt of their communication, and provide a realistic timeline for when you will be able to complete their request.  This reinforces their importance as your client and doesn’t leave them wondering if the communication was received or lost. Quick responses also improve your reputation as being attentive and timely in your service. Clients may not return in the future if they feel neglected or frustrated during the project collaboration.

Communication skills can always be improved, but they must be intentionally modified, otherwise we tend to fall into our usual patterns.  Listening patiently and responding to clients in a timely manner can really improve teamwork and heighten your reputation for being professional and competent.




Anthony Fasano, P.E. is a globally recognized best-selling author, speaker, host of three engineering podcasts that have been downloaded over 3 million times, and author of the bestselling book for engineers entitled Engineer Your Own Success: 7 Key Elements to Creating an Extraordinary Engineering Career (by IEEE-Wiley Press). He is the founder of The Engineering Management Institute previously known as the Engineering Career Coach, which has helped thousands of engineering professionals develop their management and leadership skills.  He also is the author of the popular ASCE Careers & Leadership Blog, and host of The Structural Engineering Channel podcast.
Fasano has also co-authored a series of children’s books with his 11-year-old daughter titled Purpee the Purple Dragon. They have delivered hundreds of books to pediatric cancer centers around the world.

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