Orange County Branch Newsletter

January 2016


ASCE OC-Geo-Institute/Structural Engineering Institute - Joint Panel Discussion

By Mr. Clint Isa, PE, ASCE OC Geo-Institute Chair

The ASCE-Orange County Geo-Institute (GI) and Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) co-hosted an open-forum discussion at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) University Club in Irvine on November 12, 2015.  The event featured a panel of the following engineering professionals from Orange County: Mr. Gregory Silver (GMU Geotechnical, Inc.), Mr. Yoshi Moriwaki (GeoPentech, Inc.), Mr. Michael Waggoner (Ficcadenti, Waggoner, and Castle Structural Engineers), and Mr. Todd Duddley (AECOM).

The goal of the event was to promote interdisciplinary education through discussion.  The setting consisted of an open forum where attendees posed questions to a panel comprised of local industry leaders from the geotechnical and structural engineering disciplines.  The panelists’ collective knowledge afforded event attendees with an opportunity to ask questions that covered a broad range of topics involved in public works projects, private developments, and forensics.

The event was attended primarily by geotechnical and structural engineers, though the audience included engineers from other civil engineering subdisciplines, as well (and even a geologist).  Some of the more engaging points of discussion were the roles of geotechnical and structural engineers in pile foundation design; the current state of practice and recent advances in estimating seismic forces on retaining walls; and the selection of soil parameters for mat foundation design.  However, the main point that carried across all topics of discussion was the importance of communication between geotechnical engineers and structural engineers.  Panelists and attendees alike repeatedly emphasized the key role that communication between design team members plays in the success (or lack thereof) of a project.

The GI and SEI hope that this event will serve as a springboard for future panel discussions that will feature panelists from other branches of civil engineering practice, as well as geology. 

On behalf of the ASCE OC GI, SEI, and their respective board members, we thank our panelists for contributing their time and knowledge to an event that was aimed at improving practice across the two disciplines.  We would also like to offer special thanks to our event sponsors: Hayward Baker, Gregg Drilling and Testing, AMS Samplers, and ELE International.