July 2018  

SEAoO Annual Conference

Registration is currently open for SEAoO's very popular Annual Conference, click HERE for info.  It will again be held at the Columbus Airport Marriott on Sep 6 & 7 (Thu/Fri), and discounted hotel room reservations ($141/nt) are available HERE.

Below is the preliminary schedule, and the Annual Conference page will be updated as more details are finalized.

Preliminary Thursday Schedule (9/6/18):


Registration, Breakfast, & Exhibits


Opening Remarks and Announcements


David Fanella, PE, SE; Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI): "Concrete Topic 1"


David Fanella, PE, SE; Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI): "Concrete Topic 2"


Break and Exhibits


Don Heinrich Tolzmann; Historian; Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee:  "John A. Roebling and His Suspension Bridge on the Ohio River"




Walt Schneider: "Structural Masonry Topic"


Break and Exhibits


Brad Fletcher, SE; Atlas Tube; Senior Sales Engineer:  "HSS Specification Updates"


Dani Paxson, SE: KPFF-LA:  "NCSEA's SE3 Committee


Break, Happy Hour


Dinner, Education Awards


Preliminary Friday Schedule (9/7/18):


Breakfast & Exhibits


SEAoO Announcements, Committee updates


Dr. Rob Connor, PhD; Professor; Purdue University:  "Towards an Integrated Fracture-Control Plan for Steel Bridges"


Mark Drotar, PE; Sr. Project Engineer; S-E-A: "Forensic Engineering Case Studies"


Break and Exhibits


Josh Johnson, PE; Regional Manager; Collins Engineers: "Underwater Engineering Inspections"


Lunch and Exhibits


TBD speaker: "Ethics Topic"


Peter Giessel, PE; Structural Engineer; Woolpert LLC: "Project Case Study:  KY Observation Wheel"

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SEAoO News

Call for SEAoO Board Nominations

We are currently accepting nominations for this fall's annual SEAoO elections.  President-elect, Treasurer, and two Director positions will be on the ballot.  Volunteering to support SEAoO will provide valuable leadership and management experience for your career, we encourage you to consider it. 

Please email with names of those you think would be a positive influence on our organization and feel free to nominate yourself.

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SEAoO Education Committee

Calling All Students - Attend the 2018 SEAoO Annual Conference:

All students are invited to attend the 2018 SEAoO Annual Conference on September 6th & 7th in Columbus.  This is a great opportunity to learn details of the structural engineering profession from practicing engineers and experts in the field.  In keeping with our commitment to education, SEAoO provides students a low price of $40 for advance registration, which covers printed material, lunch both days and the Award Dinner on Thursday. For an up-to-date lineup of presenters and to register, click here.

Students, please take this brief survey to help us cater to your conference needs: CLICK HERE FOR BRIEF STUDENT SURVEY

Thank you,
Bernie Kooi, PE, SE, LEED AP
SEAoO Basic Education Committee Chair
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SEAoO Licensure Committee

Licensure not Required

There are roughly one million software engineers in the United States1.  This represents a significant portion of all engineering discipline practitioners.  A software engineer’s work seems to have greater influence on the public health, safety and welfare than ever.  Consider the myriad of ways software affects us:

  • Code controls medical devices - from MRI machines, to pacemakers, to blood pressure cuffs.
  • It regulates all modern vehicle emergency braking through the ABS system.
  • It monitors the status of nuclear power facility instruments.
  • Banks and investment houses use it to manage and monitor transactions and accounts, facilitating many aspects of the modern economy.
  • Utilities such as natural gas, water, and sewer rely on it to safely provide their services.
  • And software influences our lives in thousands of other ways.

Sadly, following April 2019, software engineers will no longer be able to demonstrate their proficiency and commitment to the public welfare by taking the PE exam in their discipline.  NCEES is discontinuing the Principles and Practice Engineering (PE) exam focused on software engineering2.  The stoppage, is not without reason.  Between 2013 and 2018, only 81 candidates took the exam and only 19 are registered for the April 2018 offering.  If the pass rate reported for the most recent exam is an indication of past results, there are roughly 30 to 40 licensed software engineers in the US.  This represents less than one hundredth of one per cent of those working in that capacity. With NCEES discontinuing the exam, it seems likely to dwindle all the way to zero.

It is possible that many software engineers are not required to seek licensure due to “industrial exemptions”3, but this does not change the degree of influence the practice has on the public.  And as software becomes more integrated into all aspects of our lives, the engineering discipline involved will have fewer options to outwardly demonstrate a commitment to public welfare.

While this may seem to have little bearing on efforts to establish structural licensure, it does represent a setback.  When any discipline with significant influence on public safety, particularly one with some notorious failures recently4, does not feel compelled to seek licensure, any other discipline seeking the establishment of licensure provisions seems likely to face similar degrees of apathy.

Actions by all aspects of the engineering community will likely be required to turn the trend toward more widespread engineering licensure.  The National Society for Professional Engineers (NPSE) raised concerns regarding exemptions.  But individuals can also work to influence the situation.  Simply asking questions about qualifications and licensure status of the engineers associated with a project or product conveys a message. This course of action also provides an opportunity to discuss the significance of engineering licensure - including structural licensure.

Please share your thoughts regarding this topic and the questions raised.  We also welcome your input on any other topic related to engineering licensure.  Please contact us if you would like to contribute to this column.

Thank you.

Timothy M. Gilbert, P.E., S.E., SECB
SEAoO Licensure Committee


[1] Wikipedia places this number at 600 thousand ( and other sources indicate it could be as high as 4 million (
[2] Link to NCEES announcement:
[3] See the March 2017 edition of this column ( for more on this type of licensure exemption.
[4] One notable circumstance is the recent scandal concerning one manufacturer’s automobile emission system monitoring software. Software is also suspected of contributing to a recent death during testing of autonomous vehicles..

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Nuts, Bolts & Washers

All content in this section of the newsletter reflects statements and opinons of the author and do not necessarily reflect any opinions sanctioned by the SEAoO Board of Directors. 

Locked Out

How are you reading this newsletter?  Is it on a device you personally own? If not, and it’s a device, phone, tablet or computer, provided by your employer, you are at risk of losing contact with other professionals.  

Last year this column noted that email and other content delivered through an employer controlled system is likely owned by the business, not you.  Since then, one professional associate was unexpectedly laid off, another retired, and one more worked for a company undergoing IT system changes.  All three lost access to all prior email and their contacts.

Take note, if you use your employer’s system for non-company communication, and non-company includes professional organizations such as SEAoO, you are risking the loss of access to that email and all its associated information.  We commonly spend our earned income to purchase insurance intended to mitigate loss from risk.  Why take the risk of losing email access when the monetary cost to mitigate it is zero?

Buying the Internet

Many online services often only have a cost in terms data or advertising, but have no explicit monetary fee.  This raises an interesting question; what is the value of those services?  One study quantified exactly that by asking respondents how much they would need to be paid to forgo a segment of online activity.  

Six aspects of online activity were considered: internet search, social media, video streaming, email, online maps, and e-commerce.  Not surprising to some, respondents valued social media the least, estimating that being paid $300 would be appropriate compensation to go without all social media for one year.  Users estimated that approximately $17,000 would be fair for losing access to the most valued service for one year.*

Which of the six service segments would you value most?  Which has the greatest impact on your economic well being?

Thanks again

Tim Gilbert
SEAoO Secretary
* Internet search was most highly valued. A more complete discussion is available at NPR’s “The Indicator” podcast:


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