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News & Events 2014 - 2015

Nelson serves at Natural Hazards Workshop


In July 2015 ARCE Associate Professor Jill Nelson served as a member on the Infrastructure Vulnerability and Resilience in the Face of Hazards and Climate Change Panel at the 40th Annual Natural Hazards Workshop from July 20-22 in Broomfield, Colorado. As a panel member she presented her research on assessing the seismic vulnerability of California state-owned buildings critical for response and recovery efforts. This work performed in collaboration with Associate Professor Jim Guthrie and titled as the Cal VIVA Project was funded by FEMA/NEHRP and the California Office of Emergency Services. After the panel members presented their work there was lively discussion on the role of engineering in disaster recovery and adapting infrastructure to the ongoing challenges of climate change.
Since 1975, the Natural Hazards Center has hosted the Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop for 400 federal, state, and local emergency officials; representatives of nonprofit and humanitarian organizations; hazards researchers; disaster consultants; and others dedicated to alleviating the impacts of disasters. The Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop is designed to bring researchers and practitioners from many disciplines together for face-to-face discussions on how society deals with hazards and disasters.

Laursen, Students Travel to Berkeley


Students looking at computersOn concrteJune 29-30, ARCE students Alexander Mueller and Alec Zavala travelled with Professor Peter Laursen to Berkeley, CA to shake the new Tipping Structural building currently under construction. The timber building is constructed on a base isolated podium concrete slab. The objective with the research is to study how the dynamic structural behavior changes through a series of construction stages. The building will be shaken in three distinct stages of construction: 1) bare podium slab, 2) completed timber framing and 3) completed structure after all architectural finishes have been installed. ARCE alumn Billy Janhunen with Tipping Structural assisted the team on site.

Estes attends ASCEE (ExCEED) Teaching Workshop


Estes speaks at ExCEED

Certificates being presentedAl Estes attended the American Society of Civil Engineers Excellence in Civil Engineering (teaching happeningExCEEd) Teaching Workshop from July 20 – 25 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida.  The annual workshop invites 24 faculty members from around the nation for an intense one-week teaching training experience.  Al served as a senior mentor for a small group of four faculty members.  He presented several seminars and taught a demonstration class.  Al has been an active leader in the ExCEEd program since 1999 and this was his 26th iteration of this workshop.

Estes, Archer, McDaniel, Guthrie, Rosenblatt Present Papers at ASEE Conference


Estes, Archer, McDaniel and GuthrieARCE Conference Attendees eating dinnerWilly RosenblattARCEAl EstesCole McDaniel faculty members Al Estes, Graham Archer, Cole McDaniel, and Jim Guthrie and ARCE master’s student Willie Rosenblatt attended and presented papers at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) annual conference in Seattle from June 14-17.  Cole McDaniel’s presentation, "Creating an Experimental Structural Dynamics Laboratory on a Shoe-string Budget", was awarded the best presentation in the Architectural Engineering Division. He will be recognized at the Architectural Engineering business meeting at next year’s ASEE conference in New Orleans.  The papers presented from the ARCE department were:

 “New Civil Engineering Program Criteria: The Rest of the Story” by Allen C Estes, Thomas A. Lenox, and Richard O. Anderson P.E. (link)

 “Structural Engineering Integration into Architecture Studios” by James B Guthrie (link)

 "Creating an Experimental Structural Dynamics Laboratory on a Shoe-string Budget”, by Peter Laursen, Cole C McDaniel, and Graham C. Archer (link)

 “Influence of Boundary Conditions on Building Behavior”, Joshua Michael Raney, Peter Laursen, Cole C McDaniel, and Graham C. Archer (link)

 “Exploring the Relationship between Dynamics and Stability,” by William G Rosenblatt,  Dr. Peter Laursen, Graham C. Archer, and Cole C McDaniel (link)

ARCE Spring Graduation


Graduating ARCE StudentsJames Mwangi at graduationThe Estes and McDaniel with a graduating studentTwo Students showing their grduation hatsARCE Spring 2105 graduation took place on June 13th on campus.  The large ceremony featuring the Colleges of Engineering and the College of Architecture took place in Spanos Stadium.  A more intimate department level graduation was held in the courtyard behind the department.  Cole McDaniel, as the graduate program coordinator, placed the hood on all graduating master’s degree students.  Al Estes handed the graduates their certificates as they walked across the stage.  Ed Saliklis served as the Master of Ceremonies.  We are grateful to ARCE staff members Erika Clements, Michelle Edwards, and Michael Salmon for organizing the event.  The ARCE master’s degrees were awarded to Sarah Anderson, Derek Avrit, Joaquin Bermudez, Michael Duby, Briana Hatfield, Gina Kope, Huu Nguyen, Rosa Ocegueda, Josh Raney, Andrew Stephens, Sam Tooley, Charlene Tu, and Brice Yokoyama.  Undergraduate ARCE degrees were awarded to Shannon Abeling, Vicente Acuna, Sarah Anderson, Isabel Al-Abed, Mallory Arend, Jeff Arndt, Daniel Berger, Joaquin Bermudez, Alexander Billings, Zach Burns, Martin Chavez, Cristina Chilin, Jordan Delfino, Caleb Dunne, Jessica Fares, Elena Good, Mason Hahn, Lyndsi Halvorson, Connor Hanlon, Deryk Izuo, Daniel Menno, Gina Kope, Cal Lieb, Hugo Molina, Georgine Mooney, Shannon Murphy, Kion Nemati, Michael Nidetz, Nicole O’Hearne, Jared Parker, Sydney Patrick, Katerina Petrova, Tyler Poucher, Omar Ramirez, Josh Raney, Zach Sidham, Andrew Stephens, Connor Strong, Jeff Tabachnick, Alec Vitale, Jonathon Wong, and Sang Yoon.

ARCE Seniors Present Senior Project


Students present concept Mwangi and others looking at presentaionGroup photoTwo ARCE seniors, Nicole O’Hearne and Kendall Johnson and 4th year ARCH student Conor Beck presented their senior project briefing to members of the Hearst Corporation at the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon on June 12th.  The students prepared “as-built” plans for a Bridge House and worked directly with the client to design tenant improvements and required retrofits in order to make the structure habitable.  Steve Hearst and Fred Dal Broi represented the Hearst Corporation at the lunch and briefing.​



ARCE Hosts End Of Year Party


The ARCE department hosted an end-of-year party at the home on Al and Peggy Estes on Saturday, June 6th.  After a long and busy quarter, it was a chance to enjoy each other’s company over a nice meal as we enter the week of final exams and graduation.


ARCE Holds Scholarship Luncheon


CAED Scholarship WinnerThe Fluor Scholorship winnergroup photo scholarship winnersARCE annual scholarship luncheon took place in the KYGY gallery on campus on Thursday, June 4th and awarded over $31,000 in student scholarships.  Department Head Al Estes acted as emcee for the event and CAED Dean Christine Theodoropoulos and Associate Dean Michael Lucas presented the college-level scholarships. Art Ross from CYS, Christina Ford from SGH, and Russell Berkowitz of Forell Elsesser Engineers attended to personally present the scholarships on behalf of their firms.  Four other donors (Degenkolb Engineers, kpff, KNA, and Fluor) all sent videos that were played as their scholarships were awarded.  The ARCE department offers special thanks to faculty members Pamalee Brady, James Mwangi, and Graham Archer who form the ARCE Scholarship Committee and to staff members Erika Clements, Michelle Edwards and Michael Salmon for planning the luncheon.  We offer congratulations to our winners and our thanks to our generous donors:


ARCE Holds Senior Banquet


ARCE Seniors at Senior BanquetSome male studentsThe John Lawson talking to Erika ClementsFemale student posing for a picture at senior banquetfunny drawing of ARCE facultyBlurry picture of students eating dinner and watching TVARCE department held the annual Senior Banquet at the Sea Venture restaurant in Pismo Beach on Saturday May 30th.  We thank ARCE students Sydney Patrick and Daniel Mello for leading this effort.  The evening represents a chance for the seniors to enjoy each other’s company one last time before their education at Cal Poly concludes and they go their separate ways.  After a dinner overlooking the beach, Department Head Al Estes made some remarks and provided each senior with a parting gift to remember the department.  The department academic award was presented to Elena Good for having the highest grade point average in the graduating class and the service award was presented to Nicole O’Hearne for her substantial contributions to the department over her four years at Cal Poly.  The student program consisted of some humorous student awards and gifts to the faculty members present.  ARCE student Alex Vitale provided his caricature of the faculty to the faculty.  The students had a presentation comparing baby pictures of the graduating seniors to their current photos.  It was a great evening that ended with an after-party at Luna Red.


Students and Faculty Attend Journeymen International End of Year Dnner


Group photo of students at dinner partySeveral studtents sitting at tableOut of focus picture of students standing and sittingARCE students and faculty members attended the Journeyman International End of Year dinner at their company headquarters on Monterrey street in San Luis Obispo on May 27th.  The event feature an middle eastern meal and a series of presentations by the Cal Poly ARCH and ARCE students who have been working on projects ranging from the Philippines and Burkina Faso to Nicaragua and Haiti.  The ARCH students have been working on the projects for the entire year while the ARCE students provided structural engineering support in the winter and spring quarters.  The Journeyman International provides an off-campus program that focuses on humanitarian design and construction.

Senior Projects Day


Project in Hilti labThe students presentingPresentationARCE department held its annual Projects Day presentations on the afternoon of June 4th in the A-lab, Hilti lab and Verco lab.  There were 14 student project presentations ranging from support of faculty research on consolidated masonry grout to several global projects in support of Journeyman International.  Each year the department shuts down for an afternoon during Dead Week of spring quarter to allow all faculty members to observe and assess the student projects. A complete list of all project presentation and faculty advisers is provided below.schedule

Estes Attends Civil Engineering Department Heads Conference


Al Standing Next to a ChickenAl Estes attended the annual Civil Engineering Department Heads Conference at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg from Al SpeakingAl with othersconference pictureAl SpeakingMay 18 – 20th.  As a member of the ASCE Department Head Coordinating Council, he helped organize the conference and attended the semi-annual meeting of the committee.  In the pre-conference workshop, Al taught a two-hour session on the basics of ABET accreditation.  In the plenary session of the conference, he provided an update on the new ABET Civil Engineering program criteria representing the CE Program Criteria Task Committee.  Finally, he was part of a panel discussion on how department heads can contribute to fund raising and development.  Finally, he had dinner with Henri and Tracee de Hahn who recently departed Cal Poly for positions at Virginia Tech.

Class of '63, '64, '65 Hold Reunion


63 reunionThe 63 reunion63 reunion63 reunion63 reunionARCE classes of 1963, 1964, and 1965 held a class reunion in San Luis Obispo on the weekend of May 1-3rd.  They held a reunion banquet at the SLO Country Club.  The event was emceed by both Nick Watry and Carl Schubert.  Joanie Brown conducted the awards ceremony for the reunion by giving her late husband Bill Brown’s trophies.  Former Dean Paul Neal was honored with the gift of a stool.  The program featured a Powerpoint presentation of the careers of those in the class.  CAED Dean Christine Theodoropoulos and ARCE Department Head Al Estes we invited to make remarks about the current state of the programs at Cal Poly.  Sadly, Jim Hayes who attended the event passed away several days after the event.  We mourn his passing.

ARCE Advisory Board Meets


Advisory BoardAdvisory BoardAdvisory BoardAdvisory Board

The ARCE Advisory Board conducted their Spring meeting on May 1st in the Berg Gallery on Cal Poly following a Thursday night dinner at Robert’s Restaurant in Arroyo Grande.  The meeting was held in conjunction with the President’s weekend and the annual Green and Gold dinner.  This facilitated a one-hour joint meeting of the ARCE and Civil Engineering advisory boards.  There was also a joint session of the Dean’s Leadership Council and the various department advisory boards where the Dean provided a state-of-the-college briefing.

In addition, there were four major topics on the meeting agenda.  The proposed AY 15-17 catalog has been approved and the ARCE program will be reduced to 196 units.  The board was updated on the final results and provided insights for the future.  Follow-on discussions from previous meetings occurred with respect to upper-division interdisciplinary collaboration and department outreach/ communication.  Finally, the college and the university have made some definitive statements about the future growth of the campus and CAED areas.  The board provided input on those plans.

We are pleased to welcome Dirk Bondy, Consuelo Crosby, Bill Rader, Sarah Storelli, and Jim Pappas to the ARCE Board.  It is time to bid thanks and farewell to Ken O’Dell, Maryann Phipps, Robert Gayle, Ricardo Arevalo, and Rick Ransom who are completing their three-year tours on this Board….except for Ken who is completing an eight-year tour.  We thank them all for being part of this august body and for their generous donation of time and talent.  The next meeting will occur in November.

Baltimore Attends CMACN Meeting


Craig Baltimore just completed his third presentation in three weeks, by presenting at the Structural Engineers Institute Structural Congress in Portland, Oregon on April 24 - 25.  He presented a brief review of the unreinforced masonry retrofit ordinance for the City of Los Angeles known as Division 88 and how URM buildings performed during the San Simeon earthquake – buildings with and without retrofitting.  In addition to presenting the paper, attending the Congress was a chance to connect with alumni and industry and to participate in an interactive session on Preparing for the Future of Structural Engineering. The interactive session noted the need for more focused education at the university level and suggested alternatives after the undergraduate degree.  It was confirmation that the ARCE program is unique and provides the focused education desired by SEI and industry.

Baltimore Attends CMACN Meeting


Craig Baltimore attended the Concrete Masonry Association of California & Nevada (CMACN) Annual Meeting in Carmel, Ca. on April 16 and 17th.  He was one of the main speakers and presented the status of his and James Mwangi project on Masonry Design Course for Universities.  He and Mwangi have partnered with the CMACN to create a transferrable masonry design course, where other universities can offer students a more robust course offering that is applicable to the industry of consulting engineering.  The presentation was well received and the members of industry confirmed their support for the program and students.

ARCE Attends CSI Celebraton


CSI CelebrationThe CSI CelebrationCSI CelebrationCSI CelebrationARCE department arrived in force for the Computers and Structures Inc. (CSI) 40th anniversary celebration at the San Francisco City Hall on April 11th.  Hosted by CSI founder Ashraf Habibullah, it is widely recognized as one of the best events of the year, ARCE was represented this year by Al Estes, Kevin Dong, Erika and Tres Clements, Ed and Ruta Saliklis, Abe and Jenn Lynn, and Fred and Marty Potthast.  CAED Dean Christine Theodoropoulos and Assistant Dean Natalie Schaefer also attended with approximately 25 ARCE students.  Most were current or former SEAOC student officers who accepted Ashraf’s generous invitation.

Baltimore and Students Attend ASEE Conference


BaltimoreCraig Baltimore and students Satiya Taeidi and Alexander Lohr attended the Pacific Southwest Division Conference of the American Society of Engineering Educators in San Diego on April 10 and 11th.  Baltimore presented a paper on his current work with the Concrete Masonry Association of California & Nevada (CMACN) to promote masonry design coursework for universities.  The title of the paper was The Paradigm Shift of Coursework Development Through Industry Partnership: An Account of the Development of a Course in Structural Engineering Masonry Building Design. The paper focused on creating a curriculum that incorporates the realty of industry interwoven with code application and academic theory.  The goal is to better prepare students for immediate entry into consulting engineering.  The course has been taught at Cal Poly and the students Taeidi and Lohr presented a poster session their experience in the course.

ARCE Attends Alumni Event


ARCE EventThe ARCE EventARCE EventARCE EventARCE department hosted an alumni event at the Thirsty Bear restaurant in San Francisco on April 10th in San Francisco.  The event was planned by ARCE administrative coordinator Erika Clements and attended by approximately 50 alumni and friends of the department.  Faculty members Al Estes, Abe Lynn and Fred Potthast attended along with ARCE SEAOC officers Nicole O’Hearne, Daniel Menno, Georgine Mooney and Sydney Patrick.  CAED Dean Christine Theodoropoulos and Assistant Dean Natalie Schaefer also attended. 

Brady Attends ASCE Meeting


Pamalee Brady attended a meeting of the ASCE Forensic Engineering Division Education Committee in Milwaukee, WI on March 26-28.  The committee is currently working on a second volume of Forensic Engineering Case Studies for use in teaching and learning from failure case studies.  She also represented Al Estes at the joint meeting Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) Academic Council / AEI Board of Governors meeting wherein the major topic of discussion was lessons learned and suggestions for improving the AEI competition.

Clements attended the Academic Resource Conference


On March 22nd through March 25th, Erika Clements attended the Academic Resource Conference (ARC) in San Diego.  ARC is an annual conference for administrative staff in the CSU system, and this year representatives from all but one campus were in attendance.  A wide variety of workshops were offered, including those on increasing productivity/efficiency with digital communications, retirement planning, CSU travel policy and event planning.  Among some of those from Cal Poly in attendance were Robin Hopper, Dr. Eric Olsen (who presented on Lean/Six Sigma), Erika Clements, Christine Cobb and Ann Wilenius (pictured from Left to Right).

ARCE Students Awarded ASTM Grant for Use of Bamboo as Out-of-Plane Reinforcement in CMU Walls Project


Bamboo in concreteARCETesting bamboo reinforced wallsbamboo wall testingstudent working students, Daniel Berger and Caleb Dunne were awarded a $500 grant by ASTM as funding for their independent study project to study the use of bamboo as out-of-plane reinforcement in concrete masonry unit (CMU) walls.  This project did not only emphasize learn-by-doing process but also involved working closely with the masonry industry.  The bamboo was donated by Paso Bamboo of Paso Robles, CA.  All the wall construction materials (block, mortar cement, coarse grout materials) were all donated by Air Vol Block of San Luis Obispo, CA.  The labor to construct the four – four feet wide by eight feet tall walls used in the full scale testing was donated Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 4  through The Masonry Institute of America (MIA).  Professors Jim Guthrie and James Mwangi served as the faculty advisors and many other ARCE students helped in grouting of the walls.

As part of the grant application requirements, the winning and funded projects get to have their reports uploaded on the ASTM website.  Follow the following link for this project’s report on the ASTM website.


SEAOC End of Quarter Party


SEAOC presidentsThe winter end-of-quarter party on March 13th had three past SEAOC student chapter presidents in attendance.  Nicole O’Hearne (2014 President), Ricky Stewart (2013 President) and Laura Rice (2011 President) were all on hand to celebrate the completion of another quarter and wish their fellow ARCE students good luck on final exam.  Department Head Al Estes was celebrating Pi Day a bit early.

Super Orthogonality Man!


Dr. Ed Saliklis

Cal Poly's Architectural Engineering Dept had a super hero make a surprise visit!  He came from the Planet Phi, and he brought news of the powers of orthogonality and how it can help weak mortals solve dynamics problems using modal analysis.  His name is Super Orthogonality Man!

We were incredibly fortunate to have him here for a short while, he had to return back to his Modal Coordinate space, but not before he kicked around a few Eigenproblems...

Erik Kneer Speaks to SEAOC


Erik kneer visitErik Kneer (ARCE 2001) spoke to the SEAOC student chapter on Sustainability on March 5th.  He provided the perspective of how structural engineers provide sustainable designs and provide public safety in a manner that does not fit the common definition.  Erik is currently a Project Manager for Holmes Culley in San Francisco.

Mitchell Leaves, Clements Accepts New Role


Jenna Mitchell farewellJenna Mitchell has accepted an offer as Office Manager/Executive Assistant from the Wallace Group in San Luis Obispo and left her current position as the Administrative Coordinator in the ARCE department effective March 4th.  While Jenna was only here  a short time, she made significant contributions to this department and we are sorry to see her depart.  Her drive, enthusiasm and ability to learn new systems quickly have been invaluable. We offer our sincere thanks for her hard work in the areas of budget, facilities, personnel actions, planning, department administration and advancement. Erika Clements

While Jenna’s departure is sad news, there is good news to report.  Because the last Administrative Coordinator search was less than six months old, we were able to reopen that search and immediately hire Erika Clements to serve in that position.  Erika has been promoted and assumed the Administrative Coordinator position effective on May 5th.  Join us in congratulating Erika and welcoming her to this new opportunity.  She has done a terrific job as the administrative assistant for the past year and a half and we look forward to working with her in this new capacity.

The department has initiated a search for a new administrative assistant.  We have offered a temporary hire position to Michelle Edwards who has joined us in the interim.

ARCE Displays Posters


The ARCE department is displaying the posters for the 2014 SEAOC Excellence in Engineering Awards in the department hallway during the week of 22-27 February.  The awards were presented at the SEAOC annual convention in Indian Wells in September 2014 and are being publicly displayed in venues throughout the State.  The posters represent outstanding achievements in creative design, technical innovation, best practices and demonstrated contributions to the public and profession of structural engineering.



NUCOR visitNucor Steel visited the ARCE Department on 26-27 February to interview students.  Nucor has chosen six universities, to include Cal Poly, in which to target their efforts for student recruiting and financial support. Nucor representatives Brian Bogh (Verco Decking), Colton Simmons (Nucor), and Melody Nain (American Buildings) were among our guests.  Verco Decking currently sponsors an ARCE design laboratory.

Structural Engineering Association of Southern California Hold Dinner At Cal Poly


The Structural Engineering Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) held their monthly dinner in the Cal Poly KTGY Gallery on February 26th.  ARCE grad Kelsey Parolini organized the event which was well attended by ARCE students and faculty.  The dinner topic was “California Licensing Issues & Upcoming Changes Affecting Civil & Structural Engineers” and the speakers were Richard Moore, Carl Josephson, and ARCE (1983) graduate Karen Roberts.  The formal presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session on the P.E and S.E. licensing procedures and current issues.

Students attend Leadership Workshop in Bellevue, Washington


On February 22nd and 23rd, four ARCE students with their faculty advisor John Lawson attended the ASCE Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders in Bellevue, Washington near Seattle. This two-day workshop provides our prospective SEAOC/AEI student officers with the tools and insights necessary to benefit from and run a successful student chapter of a professional engineering organization.  While at the workshop, Junior ARCE students Natalie Gibbons, Emily Setoudeh, and Nick Petrarca, with Sophomore JamiHahn, networked with many engineering students from other universities as well as practicing civil engineers from across the western United States. In the main social event which was an evening scavenger hunt through downtown Seattle, these four students placed 2nd overall by solving riddles and fast footwork! After the workshop, Lawson and the four students spent a day touring Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the Frank Gehry designed EMP Museum, the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery building, the heavy timber REI flagship building, and the new Seattle Public Library with its spiral stack floors and exterior structural diagrid system. But the most memorable visit was at sunset to the observation deck of the tallest building (by number of stories) in North America west of the Mississippi, the 76-story tall Columbia Center structurally designed by MKA.

Estes Attends ASCE Committee on Faculty Development


Committee on Faculty DevelopmentCommittee on Faculty DevelopmentEstes Shovelling SnowAl Estes attended the semi-annual meeting of the American Society of Civil Engineers Committee on Faculty Development on Feb 20-21 in Boulder, Colorado.  The committee does the planning for the summer ExCEEd Teaching Workshops and evaluates the ExCEEd teaching awards.  Al got stranded for an extra day due to a blizzard…something not often seen in San Luis Obispo.

Estes, Schafer travel to Los Angeles


Estes Visits FluorSimpson CeremonyEstes at JAMALPA Visit by EstesDepartment Head Al Estes and Assistant Dean Natalie Schafer traveled to Los Angeles on 16 -18 February to visit with industry partners and attend a memorial ceremony for Barclay Simpson who recently passed away.  The first visit was to the office of John A. Martin and Associates (JAMA) for a meeting with Kal Benuska and Trailer Martin.  They discussed interdisciplinary opportunities and the idea of hosting an alumni fundraiser in Los Angeles for ARCE, CM, and ARCH interdisciplinary opportunities.  A group of 50 JAMA employees collectively bought and won a ticket for the California lottery and won $1,388,464.  Al made his first visit to John Labib and Associates (JLA) in El Segundo.  Along with a productive meeting and nice lunch with John Labib, we met with a surprising number of recent ARCE graduates (Courtney McKee, Danniel Kang, Marya Mikati, Jen Roth, Kevin Towers, Russ Klein, Joe Thompson, Kevin Miller, Paul Kim, and Andy Alexander) who are now working for JLA.  Next Al and Natalie visited LPA in Irvine where recent graduate Daniel Stone provided a tour and a briefing on LPA’s current projects.  A meeting with David Gilmore, Bryan Seamer, Jim Wirick, Daniel  Wang, and Daniel Stone followed where we discussed how ARCE students might participate in their summer studios.

Along with representatives from Habitat for Humanity and Girls, Inc., Al was one of three guest speakers at a ceremony in the Riverside office of Simpson Strong-tie honoring their founder Barclay Simpson.  Approximately 250 people were present to include Barclay’s spouse of 40 years Sharon Simpson.  It was a touching event that celebrated Barc’s life and contributions to both the company and philanthropic endeavors.  Finally, Al and Natalie visited the Fluor Corporation to see Doug Makowecki, Nancy Pon, and ARCE graduates Marcia Brown and Curtis Yokoyama.  A photo was taken to re-enact Fluor’s annual check presentation to the ARCE department.  The funding supports two student scholarships, the Fluor student leadership fund, and the purchase of ACI code books for all ARCE students taking reinforced concrete.

Estes, Schafer travel to Los Angeles


Jake and JerryJerry McCann, a licensed civil and structural engineer with an undergraduate degree from the Cal Poly ARCE program and a Masters from Cal Berkeley, has spent almost 20 years living abroad in Africa since leaving STB Structural Engineers in the early 90’s.  His experience as both an engineer abroad, and later transferring the unique skill sets developed in his engineering career into the peacebuilding sector, has allowed him to both recognize and challenge the misperceptions of working in lesser developed countries.  Now the Deputy Director of Interpeace, overseeing its global operations, he has supported complex processes of peacebuilding in over 20 countries spanning Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.  He attributes much of his success in the peacebuilding field with his development and practice as a structural engineer and construction manager. He is relocating to San Francisco in the next year.  He visited the ARCE program on February 6th before returning to Africa.

Estes, O'Hearne, Burress, Dunne Represent ARCE at SEAOSC


SEAOSC Dinner GroupJerry At SEAOSC DinerARCE representatives at SEAOSCDepartment Head Al Estes and ARCE students Nicole O’Hearne, Amy Burress, and Caleb Dunne represented the Cal Poly ARCE program at the Structural Engineering Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) annual scholarship dinner and job fair on February 4th.  SEAOSC gave nine scholarships ranging from $1000 to a high of $2000 to students from universities in the L.A. area.  Nicole O’Hearne won the $2000 David and Margaret Narver Memorial Scholarship.  Ryan Smith from the Cal Poly Civil Engineering department won a $1600 scholarship, the second largest awarded for the evening.  The dinner speaker was ARCE grad Jerry McCann who spoke on his work in Africa as the Deputy Director of Interpeace, overseeing its global operations. His presentation was titled, ‘Global Misperceptions – Challenging the Deterrents of Engineering Opportunities Abroad in Developing and Under-developed Countries.”

ARCE Shines at SWE Banquet


SWE  AwardsOn O'hearne and Lawson at SWE BanquetJan 22, 2015 several ARCE stars shined brightly at the annual Society of Women Engineers (SWE) banquet known as "An Evening with Industry".  This annual banquet celebrates the many accomplishments of the 400 member strong Cal Poly SWE chapter, and it brings in major industrial partners such as Boeing and Flour who provided generous scholarships to some select SWE members.

One highlight of the evening was the announcement of the Most Supportive Professor Award, it is noteworthy that ARCE had three nominees in the pool of ten professors.  But one professor rose above the rest, that was John Lawson, whose tireless efforts as SEAOC advisor and whose boundless energy in the classroom differentiated him from the others.  We salute and congratulate John!

The major award of the evening was Outstanding Woman Engineering Student. Five women were honored this year and our own Nicole O'Hearne was one of the five recipients.  It was noted that she had extraordinary organizational abilities and a stellar academic record.  We are proud of Nicole and offer our sincere congratulations to her.

It was a great night of CAED and our Dean Christine Theodoropolous was happy to see that our College was so wonderfully recognized.

ARCE Fall Graduation


The Fall graduation ceremony took place on December 13th.  The ARCE graduates included Isabel Al-Abed, Christina Chilin, Caleb Dunne, Nick Ingwers, Michael Jensen, Callahan Lieb, Mitchell Nesheim, Kim Ota, Nick Pajak, Mandy Pederson, Hiei Rose, Jason Serda, Ricky Stewart, Shane Sveiven, and Jonathan Wong.  In addition, Florian Barth was awarded his Master’s degree.  The ceremony was held in the Cal Poly Recreation Center is a joint ceremony with the College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the College of Engineering.

ARCE Christmas Party


The ARCE department Christmas party was held at the home of John and Lydia Lawson on December 14th.  The faculty celebrated the end of a busy quarter and officially entered the holiday season.  Along with a fine meal and good company, the group conducted an ugly-mug exchange. 

ARCE Advisory Council Meets


The ARCE Advisory Board conducted its semi-annual meeting on December 5th.  The meeting was preceded by the traditional Thursday evening dinner conducted this time at Koberl at Blue.  This meeting focused on the university master planning exercise where the Board attempted to forecast what the profession and the ARCE program should look like in 2030.  The Board spent most of the meeting discussing the upper division interdisciplinary experience and how to make it better.  They attended the current end-of-course student presentations, spoke with key faculty members teaching the course, and broke into small groups to suggest changes.  CAED Dean Christine Theodoropoulos spent an hour discussing various issues with the Board.

Learn By Doing Fund Challenge Reception


The department hosted a reception at the Central Coast Wine Shop on December 12th to honor those ARCE students who are graduating in December and to celebrate the completion of the Parents Learn By Doing fund challenge.  The program consisted of ARCE professor Ed Saliklis performing the Italian Art Song "Caro Mio Ben" accompanied by ARCE student Geehyun Park on the keyboard.  For something completely different, Professor S and the Stress (Ed Saliklis and ARCE students Jay Hinshaw, Kevin Church, Connor Hanlon) performed a rocking rendition of their greatest hit "Sum Together".  The performance can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQyG1WXzE48 .  Al Estes made remarks thanking Florian and Lori Barth for their generous donation and $100,000 challenge.  The Barth’s pledged $50,000 in increments of $10,000 that were replenished as they were matched by parents and friends of the program.  Al Estes and the Barths unveiled the plaque which honors those who contributed at least $250 to the effort.  A special thanks is offered to Ken and Jeanne Stone and Charles and Gail Greene who contributed significantly to the success of this effort.  The Barths made gracious remarks and the ceremony closed with more wine donated by Jerry Lohr and hors d’oerves from the Upper Crust.  The department remains incredibly grateful for this gift and hope to replicate the effort with other donors in the future.

ARCE Advisory Council Meets


The ARCE Advisory Board conducted its semi-annual meeting on December 5th.  The meeting was preceded by the traditional Thursday evening dinner conducted this time at Koberl at Blue.  This meeting focused on the university master planning exercise where the Board attempted to forecast what the profession and the ARCE program should look like in 2030.  The Board spent most of the meeting discussing the upper division interdisciplinary experience and how to make it better.  They attended the current end-of-course student presentations, spoke with key faculty members teaching the course, and broke into small groups to suggest changes.  CAED Dean Christine Theodoropoulos spent an hour discussing various issues with the Board.

ARCE Gives On-Line Coures an Attmept


The ARCE department made its first attempt at on-line learning this quarter offering the advanced structural elective pre-stressed concrete taught by father and son team Dirk and Ken Bondy.  Both are renowned national experts on the subject.  Dirk is currently President, Seneca Structural Engineering in Laguna Hills and graduated from the Cal Poly ARCE program in 1988.  Ken Bondy has personally been responsible for the design of over two thousand existing elevated post-tensioned concrete building structures and more than ten thousand residential post-tensioned concrete foundations built on expansive soils.  Over his 50 year career, Ken has won many prestigious awards and served on the most prominent national-level professional society committees.
Students watched the taped lessons on-line and the instructors travelled to Cal Poly every Friday for a three-hour in-class session with the students.  Seven graduate and three undergraduate students took the course and the reviews were all very positive.  The department thanks both Ken and Dirk who volunteered and received no salary for teaching this class.

Abe Lynn Retires


The ARCE department held a farewell / retirement celebration for Abe Lynn who is retiring from Cal Poly at the end of Fall Quarter.  Abe is a 1985 graduate of the Cal Poly ARCE program and arrived on the faculty in 1995.  He is currently the longest standing faculty in the department.  Abe had been on difference-in-pay leave with the Oakland office of Degenkolb Engineers for the past three years.  He returned to Cal Poly to teach Fall quarter and will be working full time for Degenkolb upon retirement.  The celebration was well-attended by ARCE faculty and Abe was presented with a watch to honor his service at Cal Poly.

AEI/SEAOC Prepared Thanksgiving Dinner


The AEI/SEAOC chapter prepared their annual Thanksgiving dinner on November 20th as part of their weekly meeting.  Students cooked eight turkeys and provided all of the trimmings to include mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, etc.  Faculty helped carve the turkeys and nobody were away hungry.

ARCE Halloween


The ARCE program underwent its six-year ABET accreditation visit from 26-28 October.  The final accreditation results will not be official until July, but the department was pleased with the visit.  The process began with the creation of a self-study last June which documented the curriculum, students, faculty, facilities, resources and program outcomes and objectives.  The self-study records the department assessment and continuous improvement processes.  The ABET program evaluator was also sent sample transcripts of recent graduates.  After a detailed dialogue between the department head and the evaluator throughout the Fall, the evaluation culminated with a two and a half day visit from a team of ABET evaluators led by a team chair.  The ARCE faculty celebrated the completion of the process at Charlie’s Place when the visit was concluded.

ARCE Undergoes ABET Accreditation


The ARCE program underwent its six-year ABET accreditation visit from 26-28 October.  The final accreditation results will not be official until July, but the department was pleased with the visit.  The process began with the creation of a self-study last June which documented the curriculum, students, faculty, facilities, resources and program outcomes and objectives.  The self-study records the department assessment and continuous improvement processes.  The ABET program evaluator was also sent sample transcripts of recent graduates.  After a detailed dialogue between the department head and the evaluator throughout the Fall, the evaluation culminated with a two and a half day visit from a team of ABET evaluators led by a team chair.  The ARCE faculty celebrated the completion of the process at Charlie’s Place when the visit was concluded.

Parent's Weekend  Celebration


As part of the annual Parent’s Weekend celebration, the ARCE department offered a wine and cheese faculty lecture on Friday, October 24th and ARCE parent’s reception on Saturday, October 25th. The weekend festivities included a tri-tip lunch cooked by ARCE students, Professor Ed Saliklis and his lecture on the three E’s of structures, the student presentations on the summer trip to Lithuania and SEAOC Chapter activities, the chance to see the ARCE area, the display of the first year architecture studio, and the time together with other parents from our program.  Dean Theodoropoulos provided welcoming remarks to the families and Al Estes provided a program update and fielded questions.  The college photographer took official family photographs.

NUCOR Steel Visits campus


Representatives from Nucor Steel were on campus on 21-22 October to provide information on the various Nucor subsidiaries and develop a relationship with the Cal Poly engineering programs.  Nucor Fabricated Products Group includes: Verco Decking, Inc., Vulcraft, Nucor Building Systems, American Building Systems and CBC Steel Buildings.  Nucor is a unique company that has many opportunities for engineers. They took a tour of the Architectural Engineering, Construction Management, Civil Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering departments.  Verco Decking has already sponsored an ARCE laboratory.

Saliklis, Students Present Paper


From Sept 14 to Sept 19 2014, Prof. Ed Saliklis and two Cal Poly students, Jared Parker and Evan Gerbo presented two papers on their research at the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures World Conference in Brasilia, Brazil.  Jared Parker showed his research on the Maney-Goldberg Method and Evan Gerbo discussed his research on optimization of a frame geometry using genetic algorithms.

In the photos, Jared is presenting his work and in the other photo Evan and Jared are talking with Prof. Ashley Thrall of the University of Notre Dame (where Evan is currently pursuing his PhD) and with the world's preeminent structural engineer Bill Baker of SOM's Chicago office.

Estes served as a Program Evaluator


Al Estes served as a Program Evaluator (PEV) for the Architectural Engineering program at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla from October 5-7.  The ABET Accreditation visit of an engineering program occurs once every six years.   For this visit, Al was a member of a 16 person evaluation team.  This was his 13th visit as a PEV for either an architectural or civil engineering program in as many years.  The Cal Poly ARCE program will undergo a similar accreditation visit in late October.

Lawson gives two presentations at the Annual TCA Convention


John LawsonTilt Up concrete Association LogoOn September 30th and October 1st, 2014, Associate Professor John Lawson was invited to give two hour-long presentations to the attendees of the 2014 Tilt-up Concrete Association’s Convention in San Jose, California. His first presentation:The Design of Tilt-up Concrete Buildings for Earthquakes:
Always a work in progress?”
explained the troubled past of this building type, often used in big-box retail and large logistic warehouses; and his second presentationA More Rational Approach to the
Seismic Design
of Tilt-up Concrete Buildings provided engineers with recent results of research Lawson has been involved foreshadowing the direction of future building codes. The convention presentations and full-scale outdoor demonstrations attracted attendees from around the world. The TCA is collection of Engineers, Architects and Contractors who specialize in the tilt-up concrete wall method of building design and construction.

Nelson Presents at Third International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction


3icudr logoIn late September at the Third International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction, Associate Professor Jill Nelson presented her paper regarding her work in collaboration with Assistant Professor Jim Guthrie on implementation challenges for the Cal VIVA program. The Cal VIVA program goal is to reduce the seismic vulnerability in those California state owned buildings that are vital to response and recovery efforts after an earthquake. 

The conference, sponsored by Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, builds on an established practice of international collaboration and knowledge-sharing after disaster events in Japan, U.S., and Taiwan. In this third conference, New Zealand joins the three collaborating countries. The mission for this conference is to develop, integrate, and promote new knowledge and best practices in sustainable disaster recovery, with a particular emphasis on urban environments.

You may read all of Jill Nelson's paper here.

Estes Attends ASCE Annual Education Committee Weekend in Denver


Department Head Al Estes attended the American Society of Civil Engineers annual Education Committees Weekend in Denver on September 26-27.  Al is the Architectural Engineering Institute liaison to the Department Head Coordinating Council.  The committee is actively planning the annual Civil Engineering Department Head conference that will take place in Blacksburg, Virginia in May.  Al is the contact member for the Committee on Faculty Development which is planning two ExCEEd teaching workshops for the summer and the third iteration of ExCEEd II.

ARCE Welcomes New Freshmen Classs


The department welcomed its newest freshman class to the ARCE program on September 17th.  All of the CAED freshmen were welcomed by the Dean, Associate Deans and department heads in Chumash Auditorium.  The ARCE freshmen visited the department where we gave every freshman an ARCE t-shirt,  took the annual group photo and gave them an orientation.  Department Head Al Estes provided the annual program briefing and answered questions while SEAOC student President Nicole O’Hearne offered a spirited welcome and orientation to the SEAOC student chapter.  The SEOAC officers cooked a WOW week BBQ lunch for the new freshmen students.

ARCE Promotes McDaniel, Saliklis, Nelson, Lawson


This was a good year for ARCE faculty promotions as Cole McDaniel and Ed Saliklis were both elevated to Full Professor effective September 15th.  Congratulations as well are extended to both Jill Nelson and John Lawson who both received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.

ARCE Joins SEAOC Conference at Indian Wells


at SEAOC Conferenceat SEAOC ConferenceAt Seaoc Conferenceat SEAOC ConferenceMwangi at SEAOC Conferenceat SEAOC ConferencePool Fun At SEAOC ConferenceIn the pool at SEAOC conferneceat SEAOC Conferenceat SEAOC ConferenceRepresentatives from the ARCE department joined the largest annual gathering of California’s structural engineers at the annual SEAOC conference in Indian Wells from Sept. 10-13.  Department Head Al Estes and faculty members James Mwangi and John Lawson attended along with six students: Nicole O’Hearne, Daniel Menno, Kendall Johnson, Georgine Mooney, Ricky Stewart, and Caleb Dunne.  John Lawson and James Mwangi both presented papers. ARCE staff member Erika Clements attended to prepare for the ARCE reception. There were numerous technical sessions and several noteworthy social events.  Computers and Structures Inc. sponsored a dinner at the Solomon Estate in Palm Springs.  We are grateful to CSI and Ashraf Habibullah for sponsoring our students and admin staff for this event. The Friday evening dinner was hosted by the pool.  For the second consecutive year, the ARCE students won the President’s Cup competition which entitles the department to maintain custody of the buoy for another year.  We remain grateful to Larry and Denise Kaprielian, the ARCE Learn By Doing Fund, the university IRA program, and gifts to the ARCE Fund of Excellence that allowed us to participate in this event.  The ARCE department remains the only program that sends students to this conference every year.

ARCE Holds Annual Retreat


The ARCE department conducted its annual retreat on September 18th at the Avila Lighthouse Suites.  The topics for the retreat included the annual program assessment by the department head, an update on accreditation visit preparation, guidance on academic advising as we enter a new catalog cycle, initial work on the analysis sequence, and some thoughts on the ideal interdisciplinary course.  We had faculty presentations on the student trip to Haiti (James Mwangi), the faculty visit to assess post-earthquake damage in Napa (Jim Guthrie, Abe Lynn, James Mwangi), and a project visit to Tanzania (Kevin Dong).  Part time faculty were invited to join us for lunch. The retreat was followed by the annual faculty dinner which was held at the Custom House.

ARCE Reception at SEAOC Convention


ARCE ReceptionARCE ReceptionARCE ReceptionARCE ReceptionLawson at ARCE ReceptionARCE receptionAs part of the annual Structural Engineering Association of California (SEAOC) annual convention, the ARCE department hosts a reception for the alumni and friends of the ARCE program who attend the conference on September 11th.  This year’s reception was organized by ARCE administrative assistant Erika Clements and was attended by over 60 people. The grand door prize was won by Michael Cochran from Wiedlinger Associates who also happens to be the outgoing SEAOC President.  Attendees included: Jeff Ellis, Jim Stenger, Omar Garza, Dan Fox, Steve Kerr, Fred Turner, James Lai, Dave Breiholz, Tom Harris, Steve Pryor, David Van Volkinburg, Joe LaBrie, Darrell Mardell, Gary Tiedgen, Tom Parrish, Larry Kaprielian, Gary Black, Doug Thompson, Garrett Mills, Scott May, Raymond Lui, Tim Kaucher, Ken O’Dell, Kristen Zeydel, Mark Gilligan, Alan Hanson, Matt Mlaker, Janice Chambers, Diane Tobin, John Coil, Kevin O’Conner, Dave Nelson, Damon Ho, Jason Coray, Brain Cochran, Fred Schott, Jeff Haight, Michael Cochran, Samantha Kersting, Ryan Kersting, MaryAnn Phipps, Rawn Nelson, Dick Dreyer, Joe Venuti, Scott Breneman, Andrew Parker, Grace Kang, David Johnson, and James Bela.  We extend our thanks to vintner and structural engineer Jerry Lohr who donated the wine for this event.

Estes, Others Visit Barth's, More


Barth EventGeoff VisitAshraf et. al. at luchAl and Abe drink coffeeZFADepartment Head Al Estes joined Dean Christine Theodoropoulos, Architecture Department Head Margot McDonald and Assistant Dean for Advancement Natalie Schaefer for a Cal Poly reception at the home of Florian and Lori Barth in Los Gatos on September 5th.  Cal Poly President Jeff Armstrong and Dean Theodoropoulos spoke along with two recent CAED graduates.  The ARCE program was represented by David Martin (ARCE 2009) who spoke on how the ARCE program prepared him for graduate school at Berkeley and his current position at Degenkolb.  It was a great evening attended my many alumni, parents and prospective students in the Bay Area.
On the same trip, Al joined Christine, Margot and Natalie for lunch with Ashraf Habibullah at his CSI office in Walnut Creek on September 4th and discussed the future of the structural engineering profession.  Afterward, Al visited the Oakland office of Degenkolb Engineers to meet with Abe Lynn who will be returning to the Cal Poly in the fall quarter before retiring from the faculty.  Al also stopped by the new San Carlos office of ZFA to meet with Principal Colin Blaney who is also a member of the ARCE Advisory Board.  The new office is 100% Cal Poly graduates who included Daniel Espino (ARCE 2003), Joel Pancoast (ARCE 2005), Joey Williams (ARCE 2008), Steve Patton (ARCE 2004), Derek Sereno (ARCE 2013), Willie Rosenblatt (ARCE intern), and Zac Burns (ARCE intern).  Al also visited Geoff Neumayr (ARCE 1984) who is the Deputy Airport Director for Design & Construction and San Francisco Airport.  Geoff is also a member of the ARCE advisory board.

ARCE Welcomes Jenna Mitchell


The ARCE department is pleased to welcome Jenna Mitchell to the department as our new Administrative Coordinator.  She is a graduate of the Cal Poly SLO ARCH program. She worked at the Business and Human Resources Manager for Etna Interactive for eight years prior to returning to Cal Poly in 2014. She has worked since 2007 as volunteer co-director of dance for the Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble. Jenna takes over from Christine Cobb who left in October.  The department extends its thanks to both Kathy Lehmkuhl and Lori Ann Walters who filled this position so admirably in the interim.

Three ARCE Professors Assess Napa Earthquake Damage


cripple wall failureGuthrie, Mwangi examine crackLawson examines carportMwangi in downtownNapa Post OfficeEager to visit the stricken area and bring lessons-learned back to the classroom, ARCE Faculty James Mwangi, John Lawson and Jim Guthrie surveyed the earthquake damage in the Napa area just days after the 6.1M earthquake which struck on August 24th. While most of the Napa remains intact, 170 buildings were red-tagged and an additional 652 were yellow-tagged providing valuable opportunities to compare and contrast what performed well and what did not in this moderate earthquake. Significant damages to unreinforced masonry buildings and cripple-wall wood frame residential were common, and a surface fault rupture was traced through residential neighborhoods under homes. Several instances of more modern structures with significant damage was observed as well.


While surveying the in downtown Napa, the faculty found themselves briefly working alongside Cal Poly alum David Martin (ARCE, 2011) of Degenkolb, and later that evening coincidentally met Bryant Burleigh (ARCE 1962) whose home unfortunately sustained chimney damage. The opportunity to quickly visit disaster areas to learn valuable engineering lessons is very special. Travel funding was obtained from a donation by C.K. Allen (ARCE, 1964).

Saliklis Gives Introduction to "Unfinished Spaces"


Saliklis giving a demonstrationSaliklis at SLOMAOn Monday Aug 18 2014, Prof. Ed Saliklis was invited to give an introduction to the film "Unfinished Spaces" which was shown to a packed auditorium at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art www.sloma.org   The film focused on the unfinished Art Schools in Havana Cuba which are Catalan vaults, an area of Prof. Saliklis' expertise.  After the film, a lively question and answer session was conducted by Prof. Saliklis.

Evelyn Carpenter and Family Visit Campus


Evelyn carpenter and familyEvelyn Carpenter (ARCE 1991) and her husband Sean visited the ARCE department on August 18th with their three children.  Evelyn is currently the President of Solas Energy Consulting in Fort Collins, Colorado.



Estes and Schaefer Travel to Seattle


CPL Visit PictureLunch with DCIat DCIat KPFFat MKAat PCSAl Estes and Natalie Schaefer, newly announced Assistant Dean for Advancement, travelled to Seattle to visit the city’s most prominent structural engineering firms from August 4th 6th.  The first visit was to Magnusson Klemencic Associates where Al and Natalie met with COO Andy Fry and Principal Peter Somers followed by lunch with ARCE grads Emily Carlip (2011) and Devin Daniel (2011).  Next, ARCE parents Samir and Madalyn Rustagi invited Al and Natalie into their home in Bellevue for a discussion of the ARCE program.  ARCE grads Walt Busch (2010) and Alex Barnes (2009) hosted a visit to Coughlin Porter Lundeen on Tuesday morning.  A visit to DCI Engineers and lunch followed.  The lunch was hosted by Principal Greg Gilda and ARCE grads Gaelyn Krauser (2009)  and Patrick Heye (2012).  ARCE student Blake Reeve is currently interning with the firm. The final visit for Tuesday was with kpff and ARCE graduates Matt Reeve (2005), Brian Wiens (2007), Katie Blaesser (2009), Zach Sweeting (2013), and Melissa McKinney (2010).  Prior to dinner, Melissa gave a presentation on a unique sub-station currently under design.  The trip ended on Wednesday morning with a visit to PCS Structural Solutions hosted by ARCE grads Principal Richard Oehmcke (1981) and Alex Lege (2007).

Saliklis and Students travel to Lithuania


Students enjoying life in LithuaniaStudents studying


From June 23rd to August 2nd 2014, Professor Ed Saliklis conducted a Study Abroad Experience designed for ARCE students.  For the second year in a row, he took ARCE students to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania for an intense six week academic and cultural experience.  This year, 18 ARCE students went on the trip, where they were joined by 6 VGTU (Vilnius Gediminas Technical University) students.  Prof. Saliklis taught the 24 students ARCE302 and ARCE352 in both English and Lithuanian, and Prof. Darius Popovas of VGTU taught them BRAE237.  The entire group studied together, traveled together and often danced till dawn together.  The cultural component of the program was very rich, students traveled to the Baltic resort towns of Nida and Druskininkai, they visited the Cold War Museum in an abandoned nuclear missile launch site, they visited the KGB museum and the US Embassy and they saw the world-wide meeting known as the Song Festival which is held every four years. This was a life-expanding trip for all.  The 18 ARCE students were:

Jennifer Briggs

Patrick Brutzman

Madison Busby

Isaac Cameron

Jessica Ellis

Ashley Gaur

Natalie Gibbons

Nathaniel Hall

Jay Hinshaw

Nick Lewis

Geehyun Park

Nick Petrarca

Priscilla Rodriguez

Dani Rustagi

Kaele Snapp

Paul Truong

Sheela Vedula

Sean Westphal

Cal Poly ARCE has huge presence in Alaska for 10NCEE


Faculty at EERICole in front of posterFor a week in late July, five ARCE faculty members and a group of students attended the Tenth U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (10NCEE) in Anchorage, Alaska on the 50th anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964. The conference included five days of cutting edge earthquake hazard research along with appearances by the Governor and Mayor. The ARCE faculty were not mere spectators, but instead key presenters of personal seismic research conducted within our department.

Associate Professor Jill Nelson presented her paper regarding her work in collaboration with Assistant Professor Jim Guthrie on Cal VIVA, which assesses the seismic vulnerability of California's state owned buildings through planning and engineering. Associate Professor Peter Laursen presented his paper on the seismic performance of interlocking compressed earth-block infill when used in confined masonry construction, which holds much promise in developing countries. Professor Cole McDaniel presented research conducted with Professor Graham Archer on detecting earthquake damage using a procedure developed experimentally at Poly Canyon's Bridge House outfitted with removable steel braces. Associate Professor John Lawson presented his paper on the development of new design methods for buildings with flexible roof diaphragms supported by rigid concrete or masonry walls. Additionally, two other papers Lawson co-authored were presented by others on the subjects of large wood roof diaphragms and the development of a numerical model for rigid wall - flexible diaphragm buildings.

The papers can be accessed at:

Performance of Interlocking Compressed Earth Block Infill in Confined Masonry Construction 

Numerical Framework for Seismic Collapse Assessment of Rigid Wall-Flexible Diaphragm Structures

Cal Viva: Assessing the Seismic Vulnerability of California's State-Owned Buildings Through Planning and Engineering

An Experimental Study of Damage Detection Using Removable Braces

Development of Seismic Design Methodologies for Rigid Wall-Flexible Diaphragm Structures

Examining the Applicability of Design Methods for Large Panelized All-Wood Roof Diaphragms under Seismic Loading

Besides the active participation by faculty, Architectural Engineering students were also present (along with their co-advisors Graham Archer and John Lawson) as part of the annual EERI Seismic Design Competition. See the separate story on this exciting event.

Former Student Lucas Hogan Visits Campus


Former ARCE student Lucas Hogan visited campus on July 31st along with Simpson Strong-Tie representatives Alan Hanson and Darwin Waite to offer support to the renovation of Poly Canyon.  The college has recognized that Poly Canyon is a university treasure but it has been allowed to deteriorate.  As a former Poly canyon caretaker, Lucas is looking to organize support to improve and maintain the structures on display in the canyon.

Seismic Design Team Competes


EERI TeamEERI Team in actionThe Cal Poly Seismic Design Team, consisting of ten students (Yoshitaka Tamiya (ARCE), Adam Stevens (CE), Derek Avrit (ARCE), Willy Rosenblatt (ARCE), Mason Hahn (ARCE), Farhan Lilani (CE), Michael Jensen (ARCE), Awaaz Patel (ARCE), Ted Park (CE), and Blake Reeve (ARCE)) led by advisors Graham Archer, John Lawson, and Bing Qu, recently competed in the EERI Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition in Anchorage, AK from July 21st - July 25th. 30 teams from universities across the US and around the world competed in this year's competition. Each team designed a complex tall building model made from balsa wood (weighing no more than 7 pounds) that was tested on a shaking table. Student teams were then judged on their oral design presentation, their summary poster, the model’s architectural design, their ability to fit within the design criteria and constraints, their analytical prediction of their model performance, and the response of their model during shaking table testing. 

Through this competition, the team was exposed to opportunities to develop leadership and interpersonal skills, practical experience, and exposure within the earthquake engineering fields. Furthermore, this competition not only served as a great opportunity for teams from all over the world to showcase their structural design, but it was also a great educational and social experience for the students to be able to network with professionals and scholars alike.

Out of 30 teams, Cal Poly placed in the top 10 for all of the sub-categories. Most notably, 1st in Presentation, 2nd in Poster, and 9th in Seismic Cost even with the large penalty due to the collapse during the third ground motion. Unfortunately, due to the collapse during the last 10 seconds of the third and final ground motion, the team was not able to achieve a high overall standing in the competition. More importantly however, the whole team benefited as students and future structural engineers engaged in such an intriguing competition, which allowed them to design, construct, and analyze a building in a creative manner.

Estes Attends ASEE Teaching Workshop


Al Estes attended the American Society of Civil Engineers Excellence in Civil Engineering (ExCEEd) Teaching Workshop from July 20 – 25 at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  The annual workshop invites 24 faculty members from around the nation for an intense one-week teaching training experience.  Al served as a senior mentor for a small group of four faculty members.  He presented several seminars and taught a demonstration class.  Al has been an active leader in the ExCEEd program since 1999 and this was his 25th iteration of this workshop.

Baltimore Attends Masonry Conference in Portugal


Baltimore gives speach at conference

portugese palace

Craig Baltimore attended the 9th International Masonry Conference in Guimaraes, Portugal (July 7th - 9th), where he presented a paper on Sustainable Self-Consolidating Masonry Grout.  The paper is result of the research at Cal Poly sponsored by the Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada.  The conference was well attended with nearly 500 in attendance from over 20 different countries.

Guimaraes is considered the birthplace of Portugal and is a city rich in history and the use of masonry.  Buildings date back to the 10th century.

It was another EPIC Summer!


For the 7th consecutive year Professor Pamalee Brady joined College of Engineering faculty in teaching an engineering camp for junior high and high school students.  EPIC - Engineering Possibilities in College – has become a popular summer engineering experience for students across the country. Professor Brady introduces students to structural systems – specifically truss systems – using activities employing the West Point Bridge Designer computer program and the K’NEX building system. This year 4th year student Kenneth Alcazar and graduate student Briana Hatfield joined Professor Brady in the classroom.   Over 240 students experienced ‘Spanning the Possibilities’ through bridge structures this year.

Estes Assists in One Day Teaching Workshop


Al Estes assisted with a one-day teaching workshop at Santa Clara University on July 2nd.  Working with ARCE grad Tonya Nilsson (ARCE 1991) from the Civil Engineering Department, Al taught a demonstration class and several seminars as part of this one-day workshop.

ARCE Students participate in community service learning project in Haiti


As soon as the Spring commencement concluded on June 15, 2014, eight ARCE students under the auspices of the Structural Engineering Students for Humanity (SESH) embarked on a two week community service learning project in Haiti.  The trip was organized by Cristina Chilin and Shannon Abeling and coordinated through Kit Miyamoto and Bob Glasgow, Miyamoto International, West Sacramento; Sabine Kast, Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief, Haiti, and Kristin Farquharson, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Haiti.  The students were accompanied on the trip by Dr. James Mwangi.  While in Haiti, the group shadowed Kit Miyamoto and Miyamoto International, Haiti, engineers on projects that included but not limited to:

  • Hands-on structural investigation, as-builts and analysis of existing building structures that included all buildings of a professional school in Carrefour.
  • Taking field measurements and preparing REVIT structural “As-Built” plans of a large five-story reinforced concrete and unreinforced masonry (URM) hospital building in Port-au-Prince that was damaged during the January 2010 earthquake.  The collected information will be used to design a seismic upgraded and repair system for the building.
  • Building construction site observation and wrote engineers’ field trip report on the ongoing seismic upgrade of the large two-story URM National High School (Lycèe Nationale) in Cite Soleil.
  • Building construction site observation and wrote engineers’ field trip report on the ongoing seismic upgrade using base isolators of large historical URM catholic cathedral in Miragoane.
  • Hands-on participation of construction of concrete masonry walls, plastering and installation of light gage wall and ceiling framing for the new Children’s Academy reinforced concrete building under construction in Baocia.

The group was also able to visit projects initiated by James three years ago while with MCC that included the Haut Damien Housing project in Cabaret and the Sakala youth community center in Cite Soleil.  The group had detailed tours of the faculty of science at the State University of Haiti, the National Construction Materials Testing Laboratories and the offices of Build Change, all in Port-au-Prince.  Some members of the group were able to take a bus ride to Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic capital.

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