SE University  



                         July 2016  

WELCOME to Learn, Innovate, Excel!  Our goal with this newsletter is to provide useful information and tips that will help you save time, be more productive, and also reduce risk. This information complements our SE University program, by introducing you to tips on a wide variety of topics affecting structural engineers.
If you have any tips you would like to share as part of a future Learn, Innovate, Excel newsletter, please email Lisa Willard or Brian Quinn


What are some things the engineer of record can do to reduce RFIs on steel connection design and avoid costly changes after bid selection? During the June 2016 SE University session, Best Practices to Improve Structural Construction Documents, Carol Post, PE, SE, LEED AP, with Thornton Tomasetti, and Cathleen Jacinto, PE, SE, with FORSE Consulting, gave several suggestions to reduce confusion surrounding delegated steel connections during the bid process.

While it is common for the steel fabricator to design the connections, Cathleen noted it is helpful to specify which connections have already been fully designed by the engineer, and which connections should be addressed by the contractor so that this item is correctly included for bid pricing. Using a note designating a "Fully Designed Connection" is a simple way to avoid confusion in this area. Moment connections tend to be a large scope of work for the fabricator, so the engineer needs to be clear in providing all the necessary information needed before bid.

Simply specifying "Stiffener and Double Plates, as Required" does not provide the contractor with the information needed to determine their bid pricing. A breakdown of service dead, live, wind, and seismic loads are needed to find the governing load combination applied to the joint, and to then evaluate if the column is adequate ... read the full article and access the link to the Clean Column tool from the AISC SteelTOOLS website.


Are you confident in your familiarity with the finite element software your office uses to design masonry building components? Do you know what the program design defaults are within your software and how to make changes when necessary? With software programs being frequently updated, it is important to stay up-to-date on the changes and features available to any programs you routinely use, and be informed of what is available in other programs on the market. 

In May 2016, Sam Rubenzer, PE, SE, with FORSE Consulting, gave a presentation on Masonry Analysis and Design with FEA Software for SE University. While Sam's entire presentation gave great insight into the utilization of FEA software to gain a greater understanding of the behavior of masonry building elements, he also specifically addressed
read the full article and access a short video on our SE University blog.



Sam Rubenzer, PE, SE  FORSE Consulting
SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to "pay it forward," enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

In May 2016, Sam Rubenzer, PE, SE, from FORSE Consulting, gave a talk on Masonry Analysis and Design with FEA Software for SE University. He chose Engineering Ministries International ( for the donation of the month.

Sam said the following about Engineering Ministries International, "EMI is willing to take on a very important role in restoring hope to poor and desolate areas of the world. The work that I was fortunate enough to be involved with at EMI was challenging as we attempted to use state of the art analysis and design tools, while anticipating the limited construction methods and techniques in these remote and impoverished areas. EMI is true to their vision of 'designing a world of hope for the physically and spiritually poor' and I am grateful to be able to support them."
Carol Post,  PE, SE Thornton Tomasetti

In June 2016, Carol Post, PE, SE, from Thornton Tomasetti, gave a talk on Best Practices to Improve Structural Construction Documents for SE University. She chose The Epilepsy Foundation ( for the SEU Speaker Inspires donation of the month.

Carol said the following about this charity, "Epilepsy can be a very challenging disease for those who are afflicted with it. Thanks to ongoing research many have had their quality of life improved and sometimes even returned to normal. Further research, thanks to donations like this, can keep the hope alive."

Thank you, Sam and Carol, for helping structural engineers with your SE University sessions, and for your designation of Engineering Ministries International and The Epilepsy Foundation as SEU Speaker Inspires Organizations!


We hope you're having a wonderful summer! You may have license renewals coming up, and as always, you can use the upcoming SE University sessions to help you meet your continuing education requirements. If additional hours are needed, please contact Lisa Willard to discuss how we can help you.


The following states have license renewals on July 31st:





The following states have license renewals by September 30th:

District of Columbia* (August 31st)

Louisiana (September 30th - some engineers)


*These states do not have continuing education requirements. 


In addition to the states listed above, there are other states that may require renewal based on your initial date of licensure or other rules for that state. Please check your license information to confirm your renewal dates.   

For more information about license renewal, please visit our Continuing Education Requirements by State page, where you can click on states in which you are licensed to see the license renewal date, as well as the continuing education requirements for that state. If you would like a complete summary of all 50 states, a PDF file is available for download below the map. This option can also be selected if you are viewing the page from a mobile device.
We hope that you find this information beneficial. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Willard.

On August 10th we will be welcoming Annie Kao, PE, from Simpson Strong-Tie, to present Effective Communication Skills for Workplace Conversations, Meetings, and Presentations. This session will be held from 12:30 - 1:30 pm EDT.  

Structural engineers are experts at designing buildings and interpreting the building code, but how good are we at developing the relationships that are essential to advancing in our careers and client relationships? As engineers who have gone to school, earning undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, and then sitting for our professional licenses, how many of us have taken the time to work on the soft skills necessary to understand and influence decision-makers and influencers? From conversations with colleagues to meeting and landing new clients, taking time to work on developing effective communication skills is essential to career success.

This training will touch on how to improve everyday workplace conversations and the science behind highly effective communicators, as well as tips for improving and broadening presentation skills for both large and small groups, so people really remember what you said.

Handouts and registration emails for this session will be sent to SE University companies on Friday, August 5th.
To learn more about subscribing to SE University, please contact either Lisa Willard at (805) 482-8436 ( or Brian Quinn at (616) 546-9420 (
Thank you for reading our Learn, Innovate, Excel Newsletter - we hope you found this information useful. If there are any questions we can answer, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email. 

Additionally, if you would be willing to help other structural engineers by sharing tips that you have, please email your tip to If we choose your tip to publish, you will have your choice of a $50 Amazon gift card or a $50 donation sent to the Structural Engineering Association of your choice. 

Your SE University Team

Brian Quinn, P.E. 

Lisa Willard, P.E. 

Jenny Schultz, P.E. (inactive)

Cathleen Jacinto, S.E., P.E.

Linda Benson 

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Coming Soon to SE University


August 10, 2016
Effective Communcation Skills for Workplace Conversations, Meetings, and Presentations
Annie Kao, PE
Simpson Strong-Tie

This session will be one hour

September 14, 2016
Design Aids and Design Examples for Cold-Formed Steel
Roger A. LaBoube, PhD, PE
Missouri University of Science & Technology

October 12, 2016
SE University Core Session

Topic: TBD


For updated session descriptions and schedules, visit the SCHEDULE page.

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