Past Events - Overviews:

March 31, 2015
Visiting Consultants Event at Northeastern University

On March 31, SEAMASS members Charles Pustizzi, PE, SECB and Michael Fillion, PE, SECB participated in Visiting Consultants Event at the ARCH-5120 Comprehensive Design Studio at Northeastern University with consultants from other engineering disciplines to help mentor senior and graduate students in developing resilient buildings.  This is the start of a mentorship program that the SEAMASS YMG is developing to help inspire young blossoming engineering students at our local universities.  Please contact the SEAMASS Board of Directors or Young Members Group to learn more about being a student mentor.

The Design Studio met on Tuesday afternoon for 3.5 hours, and volunteer mentors consulted with students on up to seven different projects, for 20-25 minutes each. Students complete all projects this semester in student teams of two, so the mentors served as informal "desk critics" as they sat and chatted with the students, who were prepared with drawings and models and questions. To add a layer of complexity, students were asked to sit in and observe/join a consultation of another team's project, as a way to broaden the conversation and their learning.  Each pair of students benefited from consultation with two different experts in the course of the event. This represented a significant learning opportunity for them, and often precipitated major developments in their project.

March 26, 2015
Vibrations in Reinforced Concrete Seminar
On March 26, Mike Mota, Ph.D, PE, F.ASCE, F.ACI, Vice President of Engineering at the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) presented Vibrations of Reinforced Concrete Floor Systems to more than 30 attendees at the Kostas Institute. Attendees earned 4 PDH Credits and a discounted rate on the CRSI-developed Design Guide for Vibration of Reinforced Concrete Floor Systems, the first design guide developed to assist Structural Engineers with vibrational analysis of reinforced concrete floor systems.

Mr. Mota's presentation focused on helping design professionals to  choose an appropriate reinforced concrete floor system for situations where the effects from vibration must be considered.  He provided simplified methods to determine key vibration characteristics of reinforced concrete floor systems that can be used to evaluate whether anticipated vibrations will be acceptable.  He covered flat plate, wide-module joist, two-way joist and voided slab systems subjected to walking and rhythmic excitations, as well as guidelines for sensitive equipment.  

February 26, 2015
Engineers Week Distinguished Presentation:

Birth of the Steel Skyscraper by Ben Schafer, Ph.D, PE
On February 26, in celebration of Engineers Week-New England, Northeastern University, SEAMASS and BASE jointly hosted Ben Schafer, Ph.D., PE and Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at John Hopkins University, who presented Birth of the Steel Skyscraper.  Dr. Schafer shared his presentation via video-conference with an audience of Civil Engineering students and professors as well as practicing structural engineers.  Preceding Ben's lecture, Michael Fillion, PE, SECB made a short presentation on snow loads and their effects on buildings in the winter of 2015. This gave students an idea of what some practicing structural engineers have been up to this winter. 
This is the second year that this group has sponsored the Distinguished Presentation at NU.  In an effort to unite students with practicing engineers, it is anticipated to become an annual event.  Many thanks to Jerry Hajjar, Ph.D., P.E., Chair, Dept. of Civil Engineering at NEU for helping to facilitate the event, as well as Bassem Almuti, SE who chaired a committee of young members and students to coordinate with Jerry and Northeastern University.  

November 13, 2014
Structural Engineers & Risk:
A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Building Failure Projects
On November 13, a capacity-crowd enjoyed Structural Engineers and Risk: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Building Failure Projects. It was a day of insightful presentations by distinguished presenters, followed by panel discussion. The first presentation, titled Unexpected Structural Performance Does Not Equal Negligent Design, was co-presented by Joseph J. Zona, PE, Senior Principal of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc. and Jay S. Gregory, Esq., Shareholder at LeClair Ryan.  The next presentation, titled I Bought the Barn, was co-presented by Craig E. Barnes, PE, SECB, of CBI Consulting, Inc., and Russell F. Conn, Esq. of Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP.  The event sponsor was Maloney & Company, LLC.

October 21, 2014
New England Decking Conference | HILTI Hands-on Seminar
The New England-Boston Decking Conference/Hilti Decking Hands-on Seminar, was held on the morning of October 21, organized by the SEAMASS Young Members Group.  Participants included structural engineers, contractors, fabricators, deck manufacturers, inspectors, architects and students.  Jack Hulburd of Hilti shared recent developments in Steel Deck Diaphragm Design and state-of-the-art installation methods.  He identified the limitations of deck connection types and demonstrated the most consistent and reliable fastening approach using a hands-on format.

October 2014
MEAER Delegates Meet with DPS Commissioner and

Chief of Inspections at DPS Headquarters on Beacon Hill
Contributed by Michael Fillion, PE, SECB
Michael Fillion, PE, SECB, David Grandpre, PE, SECB
, and Jeff Struble, PE of the Massachusetts Engineers & Architects Emergency Response (MEAER) Task Force met with Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Gatzunus and Chief of Inspections Robert Anderson at the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety headquarters on Beacon Hill in October.
MEAER confirmed that MA DPS will act as the liaison between MEMA (MA Emergency Management Agency) and the secondary responder volunteers.  The primary topics of discussion were minimum training requirements, the process for deployment & liability issues and joint training events for building officials and design professionals.  The commissioner indicated that he would review and determine which training methodologies MEAER should follow in certifying their volunteers.  Once the minimum certification requirements are decided, MEAER proposes to hold training events locally.  Ultimately, the commissioner stated that it would be a valuable asset to DPS to have a 'go to' list of certified secondary emergency responder volunteers.  He has invited MEAER back to Beacon Hill for a second meeting to continue coordinating this effort.  

September 2014
SEAMASS Young Members Group (YMG)
Free Seminar:  Intro to the 16-hour SE Exam

On September 17, the SEAMASS Young Members Group (YMG) hosted a free seminar titled Intro to the 16-hour SE Exam. Presenters included Peder Hals, EIT; Bassem Almuti, EIT; and Scott Rabold, EIT.  It covered the application, registration, and studying process for the SE exam, followed by a discussion of frequently asked questions.  Open to all SEAMASS members and non-members, the event was held at Cannon Design in Boston.

September 2014
Professional Development Seminar - Two Topics:
A Vision for the Future of Structural Engineering: A Case for Change, and
International Building Code Essentials for Wood Construction

The event was held at the Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University's Burlington campus.  More than 50 attendees participated, earning 6 CEUs in their choice of NCSEA Diamond-Certified or SEAMASS-issued credits.

In his presentation, A Vision for the Future of Structural Engineering: A Case for Change, speaker Donald Dusenberry, PE, SECB, F.SEI, F.ASCE covered topics including: SEI strategic planning, influences on the structural engineering profession (technology, globalization, codes, licensure, education); a vision for the future; and initiatives authorized by the SEI Board of Governors.  Mr. Dusenberry is also the president of SEI and is a Senior Principal at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger.

In his presentation, International Building Code Essentials for Wood Construction, speaker Sam Francis comprehensively reviewed several key elements of the Code Conforming Wood Design (CCWD) document, intended as a resource for wood design in accordance with the IBC. He also covered codes regarding occupancies for several types of groups (Assembly through Storage), as well as building size considerations, types of construction, wood use in buildings, firewalls and fire resistance, requirements of the IFC, AWC standard referenced in the IBC, and what to expect in the 2015 IBC. Mr. Francis is the Northeast Regional Manager of Codes and Standards for the American Wood Council.

Highlights from the NCSEA 2014 Annual Meeting
Contributed by Michael Fillion, PE, SECB| Fillion Group, Inc.
SEAMASS was well-represented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the National Council of Structural Engineering Associations, held in New Orleans in September.  Michael Fillion, PE, SECB, Sofia Zamora, EIT, Craig Barnes, PE, SECB, and Ellen Kuo PE, LEED AP BD+C each participated and represented SEAMASS.
Hot Topics at the Business Meeting
The hot topics during the business-meeting portion of the conference included the Structural Engineering Emergency Response Committee, and the conversation was quite lively with participation from Oklahoma, Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Kentucky.   There was also good dialog amongst the states regarding Chapter 17 Special Inspections.

SEAMASS YMG Members Participate in NCSEA Young Member Group Panel
Sofia Zamora, EIT and Ellen Kuo, PE, LEED AP BD+C members of the NCSEA Young Member Group Committee, participated in a panel discussion, Student to Teacher-Gaining Competency after the University presented by the NCSEA YMG Support Committee.


Initiatives of the Northeast Coalition of Structural Engineers
Each year at the Conference, members of the Northeast Coalition of Structural Engineers Association (NECSEA) gather for a business/social dinner meeting.
This year, an NECSEA Code Committee was formed with a representative from each of the Northeast states.  Most of the Code Committee members are also members of the NCSEA Code committee.  The committee plans to meet once a year to discuss potential code change proposals that could be presented through NCSEA to the ICC with consensus among the northeast group.

MAY 7, 2014
SEAMASS Annual Meeting & Dinner Presentations:
Preparing for the Rising Tide by Julie Wormser | Boston Harbor Asssociation
The Effects of Climate Change by Matthias Ruth | Northeastern University
Mike Fillion, PE, SECB and Michael Berry, PE, SECBSEAMASS members and their guests took advantage of the opportunity to connect, socialize and celebrate engineering at the SEAMASS 2014 Annual Dinner on May 7.  Outgoing President Michael Fillion PE, SECB shared a recap of the 2013-2014 accomplishments, such as the production of several successful SEAMASS seminars, and the development of a sponsored Business Directory section on the SEAMASS website.  Mr. Fillion also recognized the his fellow 2013-2014 Board members and the thriving SEAMASS Young Members Group, and he bid farewell to those ending their terms of Board service. 

Incoming President Michael Berry, PE, SECB (on right, in photo) presented Mr. Fillion with a
commemorative plaque in honor of his dedication and service to SEAMASS. The event also featured two dynamic presentations with the theme of Climate Change Preparedness, titled: Preparing for the Rising Tide by Julie Wormser, Executive Director of the Boston Harbor Asssociation, and The Effects of Climate Change by Matthias Ruth, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University.

MARCH 20, 2014

Structures Along the Shore, plus Chapter 34 Existing Buildings Training
& MA State Building Code Update

Crowd shot of Seminar
Jim DeStefano, P.E., AIA, F.SEI, President of DeStefano & Chamberlain, Inc., presented an information-rich program to a near-capacity audience. 

His informative and entertaining program covered a wide range of topics, including: Dynamics of the New England Coastline; Coastal Engineering 101; Waves and Beaches; Shore Protection and Coastal Structures; Storms, Hurricanes and Tsunamis; Flood Resistant Construction; and Building on the Shore.

FEBRUARY 22, 2014

Construction Site Tour at Wentworth Institute of Technology
Organized by SEAMASS Young Members Group
SEAMASS YMG Tour of Northeastern Construction Site
The new building at 525 Huntington Avenue in Boston, MA has a 13,670 square feet footprint steel frame structure, being constructed to provide housing for Wentworth students with 305 beds in apartment style units on 7 floors. The tour consisted of a short presentation by personnel from Wentworth University and Bond Brothers, followed by a tour of the new building. Tour leaders and officials explained some of the challenges encountered related to construction in close vicinity to existing buildings and underground utilities, as well as the construction process and sequencing. SEAMASS President Michael Fillion discussed the design and construction procedure of PIFs to the young engineers and students.   The tour leader was Kevin Smith, representative of WIT.  Pictured: (left to right): SEAMASS Officers Peder Hals, Chair; Bassem Almuti, Events Coordinator; Elaine Shapiro, Finance; Ellen Kuo, Past Co-Chair.

FEBRUARY 13, 2014
Structural Innovation:
Combining Classic Theories with New Technologies

Despite stormy weather, several attendees (including Engineering Professors, Students, practicing Structural Engineers and industry affiliates) gathered at Snell Engineering Center at Northeastern University to enjoy a presentation by William F. Baker, PE, SE, FASCE, FISTRUCTE, NAE, a Structural Engineering Partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.  Mr. Baker presented concepts and methodologies for creating and understanding efficient geometries. He began with a review of the 19th and 20th century load path theories of Rankine, Maxwell, Cremona and Michell. He then combined their insights with current topology optimization and shape-finding tools, as a means of exploring how engineers can create structural geometries that improve the behavior and reduce the tonnage of their designs. Several examples of classical theoretical solutions were explored along with their application to new designs.

JANUARY 15, 2014
Solar Photovoltaics: What a Structural Engineer Should Know

Borrego Solar photo for Seminar Promo
Co-presenters for this informative seminar were James E. Trant. P.E., S.E., a structural engineer in the Engineering Group at Borrego Solar Systems in Lowell, MA and David Dutil, PE, LEED AP, also a structural engineer with Borrego Solar Systems. They delivered a high-energy, thought-provoking presentation, including a dynamic slide show, to a capacity-audience.  The event was held at the Kostas Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University's Burlington, MA campus.

SEAMASS Young Member Group - Technical Presentation
On Saturday, January 19, 2013 the SEAMASS Young Member Group (YMG) coordinated the group’s first technical seminar, a “Teach-In”, hosted by SEAMASS President Wayne Siladi, PE at Weidlinger Associates.  The event featured a discussion led by Craig Barnes, PE, titled, ‘Rules of Thumb’.  More than 25 prospective young members attended, along with SEAMASS Board members, Joe Zona, Jeff Struble & Mike Fillion.  The meeting was a great success.

NOVEMBER 22, 2013

Snow Loads: An introduction to the Snow Loads Provisions  of ASCE 7-10 and an overview of the performance of New England's buildings in the winter of 2010-2011
Crowd Shot - Nov 2013 Snow Loads Seminar
On November 22, 2013 more than 90 people filled the conference room at the Kostas Research Institute for a SEAMASS half-day seminar jointly-presented by Joseph Zona of Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, and Michael O’Rourke of RPI & Author of Guide to the Snow Load Provisions of ASCE 7-10.

The presentations covered the topics of Snow Loads, the performance of buildings in the winter of 2011, and protocols for evaluating buildings loaded with snow.


Tour of the Duncan Galvanizing Plant in Everett, MA
Organized by the SEAMASS Young Members Group
The SEAMASS Young Members Group (YMG) participated in a Tour of the Duncan Galvanizing Plant in Everett, MA.  About the facility:  Since 1890, Duncan Galvanizing has enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest hot dip galvanizing companies in the United States. Today, they are the recognized leader in full-service architectural metal coatings. They provide the most effective form of corrosion protection combined with aesthetic enhancement for all metals including galvanized steel, “black” (non-galvanized) steel, and aluminum.  (Source:

SEPTEMBER 13, 2013
Post Disaster Assessment Training
Crowd Shot - SAP training Sept 2013
On Sept 13, SEAMASS co-presented a sold-out, standing-room-only seminar and certification traing event, Post Disaster Assessment Training, held at the Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security in Burlington, MA.  Participants became certified as a Safety Assessment Program Evaluators (in MA and nationally).   The training was conducted in coordination with the newly formed MEAER (Massachusetts Engineers & Architects Emergency Response Committee), a Collaboration of SEAMASS & BSCES, each SEI members. Presenters included members of the Rhode Island AEER-7 (Architects, Engineers Emergency Response) task force who were successfully deployed after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  At lunch, participants watched a slide show that highlighted the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the work of the task force in deployment.

JUNE 4, 2013

SEAMASS 2013 Annual Meeting

The SEAMASS 2013 Annual Meeting, hosted by Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger on June 4, was a great opportunity for members and guests to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year, thank our outgoing officers and all volunteers who participated in the organization, welcome our new leaders, and kick off the new fiscal year 2013-2014.

The event also featured a presentation titled In Defense of Allowable Stress Design: A Practitioner’s Perspective, presented by David P. Brosnan, PE, President of Structural Integrity Engineering Group.  

Overall event feedback from the participant-response survey was very positive, with the majority of people ranking it as outstanding (50%) or good (44%).  SEAMASS extends a warm welcome to our 2013-2014 Officers & Board of Directors, who generously donate their time and talent to keep our organization running.  PHOTO CAPTION:  Incoming SEAMASS president Michael Fillion, PE, SECB, (left) presents outgoing President Wayne M. Siladi, PE, (right) with plaque in recognition of his service.

JANUARY 19, 2013
SEAMASS Young Member Group - Technical Presentation

On Saturday, January 19, 2013 the SEAMASS Young Member Group (YMG) coordinated the group’s first technical seminar, a “Teach-In”, hosted by SEAMASS President Wayne Siladi, PE at Weidlinger Associates.  The event featured a discussion led by Craig Barnes, PE, titled, ‘Rules of Thumb’.  More than 25 prospective young members attended, along with SEAMASS Board members, Joe Zona, Jeff Struble & Mike Fillion.  The meeting was a great success.  [SEE PHOTO.]  Click here for event details.

Going forward, the SEAMASS YMG plans to host another teach-in event, featuring a presentation by Mike Berry, PE titled, ‘Lessons Learned’.  They are also organizing a field trip to the Weston Seismic Observatory with Mike Fillion, and a potential field trip to a local area building project with a deep excavation.

Thanks to the efforts of Committee Co-Chairs Sophia Zamora and Ellen Kuo, and YMG Advisor Michael Fillion, PE, SECB, for all the energy & effort they have put into forming a successful SEAMASS Young Member Group. For more details about the mutual benefits that the YMG group provides to SEAMASS Employers as well as Young Engineers, read the YMG Open Letter to SEAMASS Members.

MEAER Delegates Meet with DPS Commissioner and