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SEAoA convention

The Structural Engineers Association of Arizona offers an annual convention to promote continuing education, networking opportunities and technical information for the our members and structural engineering community.

2022 SEAoA Convention and Conference

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Saturday Ethics Seminar

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Conference Schedule

(see below for presentation summaries and speaker bios)

Presentation Summaries and Speaker Bios

Thursday All-Day Workshop: Detailed Design Methods for Post-Tensioned Elevated Slabs

4- 1.5 hour presentations:

Part 1 - Application of Post-Tensioning in Building Construction

The presentation reviews the different scenarios where post-tensioning has been successfully used in building construction. It covers new construction, retrofit of existing structures and special applications. The course details the background of each application, reasons for selection of post-tensioning, design criteria for application of post-tensioning and construction detail, where applicable. Where applicable it offers recommendations for selection of post-tensioning alternative to specific conditions.

Part 2 - Concepts and Procedures for Design of Post-Tensioned Members

The course details the background to the three available schemes for design of post-tensioned members. These are the straight, load balancing and the comprehensive methods. The advantages of straight method for expeditious, safe and serviceable designs are explained. This follows with detailing the load balancing method common among practicing engineers. It includes the significance and determination of hyperstatic (secondary) effects from prestressing. The presentation concludes with outlining the comprehensive method and its extended application in special construction. 

Part 3 -Numerical Example of a Podium Slab

Podium slabs are mostly column-supported post-tensioned floors that typically support several levels of light framing. Their expeditious and economical design call for special consideration. By way of a detailed numerical example the presentation walks through the design and detailing of a typical podium slab. This includes the design of its supporting columns and foundation mat slab.

Part 4 - Shortening and Performance Details

There are several considerations specific to detailing of post-tensioned floors. Most important are details to allow for  shortening of member for optimum distribution of precompression. The course explains why precompression is essential for design strength of the member. Next it presents the common details that are used by the design engineers to allow for shortening. The performance of a post-tensioned floor in service is also affected by its detailing beyond the reinforcement determined from design computations. The presentation lists the common detailing that improve the in-service performance of post-tensioned floors.

Presented by:

Bijan Aalami, SE, PE, PhD - A practicing structural engineer and software developer, Bijan Aalami is an internationally renowned educator ived the American Concrete Institute's Design Award for the "application of advance engineering to a notable concrete structure." Bijan’s contribution to the industry was recognized through his initiation in the Hall of Fame of the Post-Tensioning Institute. Bijan is the and leader in the analysis and design of concrete structures with specialization in post-tensioning. A native of Iran, he held positions as professor and Vice-Chancellor of Arya-Mehr (now Sharif) University, before joining the faculty at San Francisco State University. Bijan is a registered Structural Engineer in California and Chartered Engineer in the UK.  A former Fulbright Scholar, he recefounder, and for over 20 years was the project leader of the software suite ADAPT, now RISA-ADAPT that is serving the concrete design engineers in over 75 countries worldwide. Bijan’s many publications on design of post-tensioned buildings includes his latest book “Post-Tensioning; Concepts, Design, Construction” obtainable from 

Restoring a Century Old Building

NH Hotel Group purchased the former Fraternities Clubs Building in Midtown Manhattan with the goal of transforming it into a modern hotel with two double-height lobbies, updated guest rooms, and several other upgrades.  The Renaissance Revival style building, constructed in 1923, features a transitional masonry superstructure and draped-mesh cinder-concrete floor slabs.  Without the benefit of original design documentation, SGH investigated and documented the existing building structure, re-directed load paths, and strengthened and repaired the existing structure.  As the interior finishes were removed during construction, we discovered the undocumented structural history of the building and encountered a series of unforeseen conditions, including widespread slab deterioration and corrosion of steel framing. This presentation presents the challenges we faced and the solutions we developed to renovate a century-old building, including modifications to the lateral-load-resisting system to create two double-height spaces, in-situ strengthening of double-height columns, and widespread repairs of slabs and beams.

Presented by:

Lauren Feinstein, PE - Lauren is a Consulting Engineer at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s New York office with an interest in structural design and rehabilitation of historic structures.  She holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Master’s degree in Structural Mechanics and Materials with a focus in Historic Preservation from Cornell University.  She is passionate about the restoration and adaptive reuse of existing buildings as a means to conserve building materials and protect the beautiful architecture that gives New York City its character.  Lauren has worked on numerous building renovations, including The Frick Collection, as well as the support of temporary entertainment structures and sculptures for clients such as The New Museum.  Lauren is an active member of the Association for Preservation Technology.  

2021 IBC Significant Structural Changes

This presentation covers significant structural changes to the 2021 International Building Code (IBC). Topics include changes to provisions for roofs (Chapter 15), loads (Chapter 16), special inspections (Chapter 17), soils/foundations (Chapter 18) and materials including concrete, masonry, steel, and wood (Chapters 19-23).

Presented by:

John "Buddy" Showalter, PE - Buddy is a senior staff engineer with the International Code Council's (ICC) product development group. He develops technical resources in support of the structural provisions of the International Building Code and International Residential Code. Showalter reviews publications authored by the Code Council and engineering groups, while also developing publications and technical seminars on the structural provisions of the International Codes for building departments, designers and special inspectors. He is the project lead in the development of Mass Timber Buildings and the IBC and associated education programs, jointly developed by ICC and the American Wood Council (AWC). A graduate of Virginia Tech, Showalter has also been a member of the editorial board for STRUCTURE magazine for more than 15 years. Before joining ICC, Showalter spent 26 years with AWC where he led its technology transfer program with oversight responsibility for publications, website, helpdesk, education and other technical media. He has more than 35 years of experience in the development and support of building codes and standards, publishing more than 60 technical articles for industry-related trade journals.

Exploring Tall Wood: New Code Provisions for Tall Timber Structures

As interest in and use of mass timber in the U.S. has grown, so too has interest in pushing these timber structures to greater heights.  Using international examples of successful tall wood buildings as precedent, some designers have proposed tall wood projects in the U.S. using a project-specific performance-based design approach.  In order to provide an uniform set of code provisions for these tall wood buildings, the International Code Council (ICC) established an Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings that proposed a set of code changes allowing up to 18 stories of mass timber construction.  These code changes were announced as approved in January of 2019 and will become part of the 2021 International Building Code (IBC).  Following a brief discussion of history and motivators, this presentation will introduce the new tall wood code provisions and construction types, as well as the technical research and testing that supported their adoption. 

Presented by:

Mike Romanowski, PE, SE - Mike received his B.S. degree in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1979 and was involved in the practice of structural engineering for a number of San Diego based firms over a span of 37 years.  His experience includes design, construction administration, contract plan checking, peer review and forensic investigations for various types of projects utilizing all types of building materials.  Mike has had articles published in Structural Engineer and San Diego Constructor magazines, has served as an SEAOSD Director, was a member of the SEAOC Code Streamlining Committee and is now Co-Chair of the SEAOSD Sustainable Design Committee.  Mike is a licensed Structural Engineer in the State of California and is currently the Regional Director covering Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico for WoodWorks. 

Masonry Tips: Engineering Design and Detailing
Masonry offers creative and original aesthetic design options while also providing prac
constructible buildings. However, project success is greatly affected by the design details and
their implementation by mason contractors. This presentation will be based upon design and
from engineers to “Technica
l Talk
– Bonding with Masonry”
published in
Masonry Design
The presentation will address a variety of
issues related to
movement joints,
masonry beams and
, new openings in existing masonry, corbels, bond beams, through
effects on
shear walls, masonry design process,
masonry piers between openings
Learning Objectives:
Understand problems identified by other engineers.
Discuss design solutions.
Identify detailing problems.
Work with the TMS 402 masonry standard.

Using FRP and FRCM for Structural Retrofit Applications

The use of Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) and Fabric Reinforced Cementitious Matrix (FRCM) to strengthen various structural members for gravity and lateral loads has increased significantly over the past few years. This presentation will discuss the benefits of using FRP for structural retrofits explained through case studies and innovative testing. This presentation will include:

1) A case study that covers the innovative use of FRP to strengthen gravity columns in a five-story concrete building for improved seismic performance. An experimentally-backed solution showed that FRP can be used to increase the shear strength and ductility of a rectangular concrete column where retrofit access was limited to three sides only.
2) A case study that highlights using FRP alongside traditional retrofit designs to achieve the best overall solution for strengthening an existing building’s lateral system. This project resulted in the development of a new product called the Shear Transfer Bracket used as a part of the building’s new concrete shear wall and collector design. 
3) A case study that highlights the use of FRP to repair construction defects in new construction. In this case, we look at using FRP to strengthen an existing post-tensioned slab.  
4) A case study that highlights the use of FRCM to strengthen masonry walls.
5) Recent FRP advances showing how using FRP anchors improves the performance of an FRP strengthened system.  

Presented by:

Aniket Borwankar - Mr. Borwankar is a Senior Development Manager with Simpson Strong-Tie for their Composite Strengthening Systems (FRP & FRCM). Mr. Borwankar received his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University with focus on carbon micro and nano fiber reinforced cement based materials. His research work deepened his understanding of these materials and resulted in journal and conference publications. After working for several years as a consulting engineer, where he was involved with design of new structures and retrofit of existing structures, Mr. Borwankar joined Simpson Strong-Tie in March 2017. Since then, he has been involved in developing FRP projects and educating engineering firms on the design principles of FRP. In addition, he is involved in research and development of new FRP products and applications.  He is member of the ACI 440F committee for FRP Strengthening, ACI 440S code committee for FRP strengthening and is also leading the diaphragm strengthening task group for ACI 440F.

Building the Right Framework for Sustainable and Resilient Structures

Close your eyes and picture it in your mind, what characteristics would it have? Is there an ideal construction material? On a typical project multiple materials are utilized. But when we start to consider what an ideal construction material would be, it provides us with a framework to evaluate the major materials in use today. Today sustainability is just as important as it has been, but resiliency has become part of the equation as well. This presentation will discuss the sustainable and resilient characteristics of structural steel and comparing those characteristics to those of wood and concrete.

Presented by:

Rex Buchanan - Rex Buchanan is a Senior Structural Steel Specialist for the American Institute of Steel Construction based in Denver, CO. More specifically, he works directly with fabricators, general contractors, engineers, and the architectural community, helping assist in designing and constructing structural steel buildings.   Additionally, Rex leads the National Fabricator Engagement initiative at AISC in an effort to better engage internal staff and full-member fabricators in the design community.  He has a BS from Purdue University in Construction Management, an MBA from Drake University, and most recently earned an MS in Construction Management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.  He is actively involved in many national and local contractor organizations and many other AEC groups to help promote the usage of structural steel in both the Rocky Mountain Region and the Western US.

Please get in touch with him at: or  

Masonry Tips: Engineering Design and Detailing

Masonry offers creative and original aesthetic design options while also providing practical, constructible buildings. However, project success is greatly affected by the design details and their implementation by mason contractors. This presentation will be based upon design and construction questions received from engineers to “Technical Talk – Bonding with Masonry” published in Masonry Design magazine.

The presentation will address a variety of issues related to movement joints, masonry beams and torsion, new openings in existing masonry, corbels, bond beams, through-wall flashing effects on shear walls, masonry design process, and masonry piers between openings.

Learning Objectives:

1. Understand problems identified by other engineers.

2. Discuss design solutions.

3. Identify detailing problems.

4. Work with the TMS 402 masonry standard.

Presented by:

David T. Biggs, PE, SE - David is Biggs Consulting Engineering in Saratoga Springs, NY, and Technical Director for Constructive LLC, a Michigan development company for prefabricated masonry.  He teaches remotely as an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His practice is international concentrating on forensic and structural engineering, disaster assessment, masonry design, and historic restoration.  He is involved with code development, research projects, and developing new masonry products and technical guides. He was the creator of the Hybrid Masonry structural system.

He was a member of the Building Assessment Team for the World Trade Center disaster for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  He is a Distinguished Member of ASCE, an Honorary Member of The Masonry Society, a Fellow of the Structural Engineering Institute, and a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute.

Pre-Covid, he enjoyed traveling and authors “Marvelous Masonry” in Masonry magazine which highlights some of his travels and international work on ancient sites.  He also authors a Q&A article, “Technical Talk – Bonding with Masonry”, in Masonry Design magazine. New readers are always welcome!

Saturday Ethics Seminar: Risk Management and Ethics for Engineers

Please join Michael Baker and Jason Ebe, co-chairs of Snell & Wilmer LLP's Construction Industry Group, for a presentation regarding engineering ethics, professional responsibility and conduct, and best practices for claims and dispute avoidance and mitigation.  

Presented by:

Michael Baker - With more than 25 years of experience dedicated to the area of construction law, Mike Baker focuses his practice on the representation of design professionals, engineers, general contractors and public and private owners. His experience includes providing representation for business and contractual matters as well as disputes before arbitration panels, mediators and trial courts. He has also acted in the capacity of mediator, arbitrator, and served on project dispute resolution boards on selected building programs and projects.

Mike's transactional experience in both construction and design-related matters includes drafting contracts related to project delivery methods as well as drafting building program management agreements and construction management agreements for building programs ranging from $200 million to over $1 billion on behalf of contractors, design teams and owners. His experience as a trial lawyer is shown by having brought 20 cases to trial for decision or verdict, including venues in 11 different counties in the State of California and trials in multiple federal circuit court districts in California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Additionally, Mike has arbitrated numerous cases in private arbitration on behalf of contractors, owners, engineers, architects, construction managers involving building and civil works.

Jason Ebe - Jason serves as co-chair of the firm’s nationally ranked construction industry practice. Jason is a Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America, an invitation-only construction lawyer honorary society with membership limited to 1,200 practicing Fellows from the United States and internationally. He frequently represents owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in all aspects of design and construction transactions and disputes in Arizona, nationally and internationally. Jason is a frequent counselor, negotiator, litigator, author and speaker on a wide range of construction issues and topics, and has served in senior leadership positions in local and national construction industry organizations.  Jason is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Engineering and The University of Arizona College of Law. For further information regarding Jason's experience, presentations and publications, professional recognition and community involvement, please visit

The SEAoA Convention Committee would like to thank the 2022 Convention & Conference Gold Sponsors:

Previous SEAoA Conventions (Click Image for More Information)

   2018 Convention  


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Phone: 602-492-6732

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