Brad Fletcher, SE, Atlas Tube

In January 2019, SE University welcomed Brad Fletcher, SE, from Atlas Tube, to present HSS Truss Connections: The Ts, Ks, and Ys of It All. Brad designated the Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org/) for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

Brad shared that he chose this organization because “My Dad had Alzheimer’s and my mom had dementia so I have firsthand knowledge on how challenging it can be.”

According to its website, “The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.”

Thank you, Brad, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of the the Alzheimer’s Association 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.

How often have you procrastinated tracking your billable time until the end of the day only to forget the exact time spent with each project?  Accurately billing your time is not only important to your employer, but can also be an ethical issue for the client.  Keeping good records of your time throughout the day is the best way to help your employer determine which projects are successful financially and which projects might be at risk to lose money.

Constant vigilance is the best approach to record keeping.  No doubt most employers require some type of automated timekeeping system, however, using these systems throughout the day may prove too labor intensive to be efficient.  One way to begin the process of accurately tracking your time may be to keep a journal to quickly write in tasks as they appear throughout the day.  This will be separate from any electronic calendar you may use, as tasks often crop up that are not pre-planned but may require immediate attention.  Quickly jot down each task and time spent at natural transitions throughout the day such as at the end of a phone call or the completion of a meeting.  Journals are also convenient to take with you when leaving the office for visits to the job site and are useful to jot down mileage as well as travel time.  At the end of the day, you can access your automated timekeeping system to enter each project’s billable time.  Be consistent, and your new record keeping habit will become second nature.

Be on the lookout for tasks that typically go overlooked such as writing emails, client phone calls, or overrun meetings. Since these items tend to be more unexpected, it is often hard to track the exact time spent, however, being vigilant at the end of each task will more accurately capture how much time is truly spent on these small, but significant tasks. Every employer will appreciate this extra effort made to accurately recount your billable activity.

John Hooper, PE, SE Magnusson Klemencic Associates

In December 2018, SE University welcomed John Hooper, PE, SE, from Magnusson Klemencic Associates, to present Updates to the Seismic Provisions in ASCE 7-16. John designated the Providence General Foundation in Everett, Washington (https://washington.providence.org/donate/providence-general-foundation) for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

John shared that he chose this organization because “It’s a healthcare-related foundation I’ve been involved with for nearly 20 years. The healthcare they provide the region is unparalleled as I experienced firsthand when my son was born 6 weeks prematurely in 1999.”

The Providence General Foundation was established in 1994 to help support the mission and work of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. The Foundation raises funds on behalf of Providence Regional to help ensure that all individuals in the Northern Puget Sound Region have access to the most compassionate and advanced health care available, regardless of their ability to pay. This work is only possible through the support of employees, physicians, community leaders, volunteers, and generous donors—who give so freely of their time, treasure, and talent to help further the mission of Providence in our region.

Thank you, John, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of the Providence General 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.

Don Scott, SE PCS Structural Solutions

In November 2018, SE University welcomed Don Scott, SE, from PCS Structural Solutions, to present ASCE 7-16 Wind Provisions – Changes Affecting the Design Provisions. Don designated the SEI Futures Fund (https://www.ascefoundation.org/ways-to-give/sei-futures-fund/) for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

Don chose this organization because, “The resources of this fund are used to promote the many needs of the Structural Engineering profession and in particular to provide resources for young engineers entering the profession to become involved.”

Thank you, Don, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of the SEI Futures Fund 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.

Have you considered when and where to use certain font styles in your daily technical documents? Are font styles purely decorative in nature, or do they serve a more meaningful purpose? Which fonts are appropriate for technical writings?

In October 2018, Janel Miller, from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, gave a presentation on Improving Clarity, Coherence, and Conciseness in Technical Writing. Janel reviewed how to prepare coherent documents, engage and persuade readers, and apply principles of concise writing to improve clarity.

Janel also discussed the use of different typeface or font styles which can affect readability and legibility. Janel included the following slide showing the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts.

As you can see, the serif font includes small, decorative flourishes (called serifs) at the ends of the strokes, whereas the sans-serif (or without-serif) typeface does not. These small serifs may seem insignificant, but they actually serve a purpose for serif fonts such as Times or Georgia. Serifs help the reader follow lines of text when reading large blocks of text in print or reports. In contrast, sans-serif fonts, such as Helvetica and Calibri, are easier to read at a distance or on small screens and mobile devices. Sans-serif fonts are recommended for wayfinding signs on roads, presentations in PowerPoint, and text in emails especially when read on mobile devices.

Your font style selection may affect the ability of the audience to read the document accurately and quickly. Be sure to consider whether a serif or sans-serif font would be most applicable in your future technical reports, emails, or on-screen presentations in order to visually assist your audience in reading your technical content.

Is your library lacking in design examples for anchors in concrete? Are you familiar with the code-required inspections and certifications for concrete anchors? Designing anchors in concrete can be complex and time-consuming if done by hand. Given the ever-increasing utility and flexibility of post-installed anchors, having the best resources on your bookshelf can ensure all failure modes are considered, all specifications are clear, and inspection requirements are met.

In the September 2018 SE University session, Donald Meinheit, PE, SE, from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., concluded a two-part series by presenting Anchors: Design Examples and Qualification/Certification/Inspection. Don reviewed code applications to design problems and why qualification standards exist. He also identified code requirements for installation and inspection certification, and referenced recommended compliance testing.

When designing anchors in concrete, using the most recent guidelines is essential, since the topic is rather new, relatively speaking. Don referenced the most common publications offering guidance on the design of anchors in concrete. Typically, engineers have relied heavily on Chapter 17 in ACI 318 as the primary design reference for anchors, but other important documents include ACI 355.2-07 Qualification of Post-Installed Mechanical Anchors in Concrete and Commentary and ACI 355.4-11 Qualification of Post-Installed Adhesive Anchors in Concrete. These additional resources from ACI are similar to ASTM standards.

ACI also has several publications for purchase which include worked out design examples pertinent to anchors in concrete which include The Reinforced Concrete Design Handbook SP-17 Volume 2, ACI 355.3R-11 Guide for Design of Anchorage to Concrete: Examples Using ACI 318 Appendix D, and ACI 349.2R-14 Guide to the Concrete Capacity Design (CCD) Method – Embedment Design Examples. These combined documents offer over 40 unique examples, not found in other texts, which can guide the engineer through various anchor designs. ACI 349.2R-14 provides solutions for a ductile anchor design for use in nuclear structures.

Don also referenced the CRSI Technical Note CTN-M-3-11 Suggested General Drawing Notes for Adhesive Anchors which was published in 2011 to assist design engineers in coordinating the adhesive anchor design into cohesive construction and installation requirements for the design drawings. Also, the Concrete Anchor Manufacturer Association published Special Inspection Guidelines for Post-Installed Anchors. Both of these documents are available as a free download by clicking on the links above.

Be sure to have these resources on hand for the next time concrete anchors are used on one of your projects. Using the most recent guidelines is essential to meet the code requirements for strength, as well as for installation and inspection.

Anchors in concrete have several different modes of failure when subject to tension or shear loads. Concrete breakouts in tension tend to get the most consideration since the calculations can be more complex depending on various geometric constraints of anchors or anchor groups. For anchor groups in shear, concrete pryout may also be of concern, especially when anchors are short and stocky. At what point does concrete pryout no longer become a design consideration?

In August 2018, Donald Meinheit, PE, SE, from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., presented Behavior and Design of Anchors in Concrete for SE University. In Part 1 of a two part series, Don covered the different types of anchors, the behavior of anchors in tension and shear, and the various failure modes in tension and shear. Don addressed a question at the end of the session regarding which anchors were prone to concrete pryout failures in shear.

Being familiar with the ratio of the effective embedment depth of the anchor to the diameter of the anchor can help in determining which failure modes will control the design. In normal weight concrete, if this coefficient is greater than 4.5, then concrete pryout in shear is no longer a concern. The short video below features Don addressing the issue of failure due to concrete pryout, and explaining when this failure mode is applicable.

 

Janel Miller University of Wisconsin – Madison

In October 2018, SE University welcomed back Janel Miller, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, to present Improving Clarity, Coherence, and Conciseness in Technical Writing. Janel designated the Pheasant Branch Conservancy (http://www.pheasantbranch.org/) for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

Janel shared why she chose this organization, “The Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton, WI, protects a natural wetland recharged by artesian springs that sustain numerous wildlife and native plants year around. Unfortunately, southwest Wisconsin experienced serious flooding in August, 2018, and several areas of the conservancy were damaged and need to be restored. I am helping with the restoration because natural areas like Pheasant Branch inspire me to remember my role as a steward of our planet and all of its resources.”

Thank you, Janel, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy 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.

SE Solutions was pleased to recently present scholarships to three Purdue University Structures students to help defray the cost of their education. Yen-Chen Chiang, Farida Mahmud, and Sokheang Thea were the recipients of the awards. This is the seventh year that SE Solutions has offered the scholarships.

Purdue University Students and Scholarship Winners (from left to right) Farida Mahmud, Yen-Chen Chiang, SE Solutions, LLC President, Brian Quinn, Sokheang Thea

Yen-Chen Chiang received his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at National Taiwan University in 2016, and he anticipates completing his MSCE degree at Purdue University in May 2019. Yen-Chen’s research focuses on finite element analysis of API 650 petroleum tanks, and investigates the stability of such tanks under wind loading. Yen-Chen is interested in facing challenges, and hopes to participate in innovative projects. He is hoping to start his career right after receiving his Master’s degree in a company that has the potential to bring the next most gorgeous structure to the world.

Farida Mahmud is from Lagos, Nigeria. She received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from University of Arkansas in 2017, and intends to complete her MSCE at Purdue in May 2019. Currently, she is working on research related to the seismic vulnerability assessment of state bridges in Indiana. As a child, Farida was deeply fascinated by bridges and how they worked. This fascination led her to pursue a degree in civil engineering, and eventually structural engineering. Upon graduation from Purdue, Farida would like to find a job in a structural engineering firm here in the United States where she can have the opportunity to work on innovative and challenging projects.

Sokheang Thea is from Cambodia. In 2014, he received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Universiti Teknologi Petronas under the sponsorship of Petronas, Malaysia. Upon graduation, he worked in Malaysia for over 3.5 years in a pioneering structural consultant firm. He is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship in 2017 to continue his MS degree in civil engineering at Purdue University, and hopes to finish in May 2019. His interest is on the dynamic response of structures, especially tall buildings. Sokheang completed high school in 2008. During that time there were few opportunities for Cambodian students to pursue their interests in science and engineering, since Cambodia was not that developed. He, nevertheless, chose civil engineering as his major and has loved it ever since. Upon graduation from Purdue, Sokheang hopes to join a creative group of similar-minded engineers or firm to provide innovative/efficient solutions to structural problems both in and outside the USA.

SE Solutions would like to congratulate each recipient and wish them future success in their fields of study as structural engineers.

 

How often do you consider your ethical obligations as a structural engineer? What does it even mean to be an ethical engineer? Some might think merely abiding by the laws that apply to everyone else within your jurisdiction is considered ethical, but professional engineers have a duty beyond simply following those laws.

In the April 2018 SE University session, Matthew R. Rechtien, PE, Esq., Senior Assistant City Engineer for the City of Ann Arbor, gave a talk on Engineering Law and Ethics Case Studies. Matt’s presentation helped delineate mandatory versus voluntary rules, and how these guidelines help bolster the status of the engineering profession. As the profession is regulated in all 50 states, engineers have responsibilities and privileges, and are required to uphold certain ethical rules or face possible discipline by the governing and other authorities.

Since laws vary by state, Matt focused mainly on the fundamental principles and canons set forth by ASCE, which he believes are the gold standard and reasonably representative of state laws regulating the profession. Matt also reviewed several case studies with some surprising results based on various ethical dilemmas. These case studies can sometimes initiate thoughtful consideration and create awareness on how to avoid unethical business practices within the profession. You can access additional case studies by visiting http://www.asce.org/ethics/ and you can click here to print your own copy of ASCE’s principles and canons. Also, ASCE offers an Ethics Hotline where engineers can get further guidance on complex issues that may arise by calling 1-800-548-2723 x6151.

Often times, structural engineers may zero in on their responsibility to “hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare” of the public by providing sound engineering judgment, however, their ethical obligation runs much deeper. Being aware of the full extent of your responsibilities and privileges as an esteemed member of this profession can minimize future risk and help promote the status of the profession as a whole.


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