We were thrilled to hear the news: Chad Norvell, a project engineer at Nishkian Dean in Portland, was named one of ten New Faces of Civil Engineering Professionals in 2017 by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
The nationwide recognition program promotes the bold and humanitarian future of civil engineering by highlighting the achievements of the next generation of C.E. leaders. Presented annually, the recipients are chosen based on their contributions to society and their dedication to improving the quality of life for all.
Norvell was officially recognized during ASCE’s annual Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Gala on March 16, 2017, in Arlington, Virginia.
Photo 1: 2017 OPAL Awards for New Faces of Civil Engineering
At Nishkian Dean, Norvell specializes in the seismic retrofit of buildings—he has designed efficient seismic retrofits for more than a dozen schools in the greater Portland area, and he works closely with the state government to help school districts fund these projects. He also promotes the profession through his participation with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), and through his ongoing work with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) to help with earthquake relief in Haiti and Nepal.
We took a moment to speak with Chad and to learn more about his dedication to serving the public good through his work. Read on for our Q&A:
Let’s start at the beginning—what inspired you to become an engineer?
I had a fascination with architecture since childhood, and originally studied it in college with the intention of becoming a practicing architect. After two years in architecture school, I realized that while there were some things I was good at, there were more things that I just wasn’t good at. I decided to leverage my strength in math and science and switch to structural engineering, which ended up being a perfect fit.
There are so many different specialties within our field. What prompted you to focus on seismic issues specifically?
As a structural engineer educated and practicing on the West Coast, some study and understanding of seismic phenomena and loads is unavoidable. I find seismic issues interesting for two reasons: for one, it’s just more challenging and requires another level of ingenuity and creative problem-solving beyond typical structural design.
Secondly, seismic issues can have a large impact on society beyond the engineering of structures. For example, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), the federal government program that funds seismic research, supports the study of social science issues related to earthquakes, in addition to the geologic sciences and structural engineering topics that we would expect. This kind of interdisciplinary field of study is interesting to me.
Could you tell us more about your work with Engineers Without Borders in Nicaragua? What types of projects are you working on with them?
In college, I spent four years as a member of our EWB chapter, serving as chapter president for two of those years. We worked primarily in a region on the West Coast of Nicaragua to provide engineering support for community problems that the government did not have resources to address. This was valuable for the local communities, and was a great learning experience for us as engineering students.
One of the two major projects we worked on was mitigating yearly flooding at an elementary school, and our second major project aimed to help a remote coastal community produce enough potable water to serve the communities’ needs.
I’ve also worked with several other EWB chapters to provide support for their projects. Most recently, I helped establish seismic criteria and perform structural analysis for a school in Ethiopia.
Could you tell us more about your relief work with Earthquake Engineering Research Institute?
After the earthquakes in Nepal and Haiti, I worked with teams in the US that were developing rebuilding guidelines for each country. We developed a guide to earthquake-safe construction for Haiti that was later translated to Haitian Creole, and for Nepal, we provided support for the revision of their building code.
You’re also participating in EERI’s first Learning from Earthquakes field study program—what does that entail?
After major earthquakes occur around the world, EERI and other organizations send reconnaissance teams to investigate building failures. This information is studied, and eventually leads to valuable technical information that advances our seismic design procedures. But this investigation only happens in the weeks immediately after an earthquake.
The idea behind “resilience reconnaissance” is to continue doing field investigation in earthquake-affected regions periodically for years after the event, tracking changes in various critical community services like housing, business, health care, and education. By doing this, we get an understanding of a community’s resilience to earthquakes, not just a building’s, which also serves as valuable information for communities in areas of seismic risk.
Photo 2: EERI Team in Chile 2017
Today, non-profit organization DiscoverE announced that Chad Norvell is one of the winners of the 2017 class of New Faces of Engineering honorees. The announcement coincides with the second annual Global Day of the Engineer, a worldwide day of celebration and volunteerism that shines a spotlight on the work done by engineers and inspires the next generation of engineering and technology professionals. DiscoverE’s New Faces of Engineering recognizes the work of up-and-coming engineering professionals, age 30 or younger, who are making their mark on their industry. These talented individuals are honored for having dedicated themselves to using their skills and education to help engender a better world. These young engineers serve as inspirations both for their colleagues and for the next generations coming up behind them. The highly-coveted award, started in 2003, is recognized nationally by their peers as a top honor for young engineers and continues to grow in prestige. In addition to recognizing young engineering professionals, DiscoverE also honors engineering students through its New Faces of Engineering College program. This year’s class includes young professionals innovating solutions throughout a cross-section of industries, including energy, food security, infrastructure, medicine, aerospace and the environment. Previous honorees have gone on to launch global businesses and NGOs.
All four Nishkian firms join together in congratulating Chad. To learn more about the 2017 New Faces of Engineering Honorees, please visit DiscoverE at http://www.discovere.org/our-programs/awards-and-recognition
To kick off its 15th Anniversary celebration, Nishkian Monks recently held a Company Ski Day at Bridger Bowl Ski Area located 16 miles outside of Bozeman. With a cloudy morning clearing to a sunny afternoon, everybody could enjoy fantastic skiing and even better company. Starting this year’s celebration with a team building activity is important to the Nishkian Monks office culture as the company stands true in its belief that a strong team is one that works hard together, but also takes time to recharge and get to know one another in a setting outside of the office walls. When the team heads out of town on Company Ski Days, laptops are left at the office to unplug for a day of spotty Wi-Fi, limited cell service, and a whole lot of team bonding. “Celebrating business milestones and achievements serve as a reminder that all of the hard work is worth it and progress is being made,” says Anchila Monks, Director of Marketing for the Nishkian firms. “What I love most about Company Ski Days is the camaraderie and discovery between one another that happens when we get our team together on a ski slope.”
Since the company’s inception in 2002, Nishkian Monks has grown, not only in size, but also in expertise and in service offerings. Last year, the company added four full-time employees and one intern. Having team members with varied skill sets make the Nishkian Monks team diverse, successful, and win awards for work accomplished as well. Celebrations will continue throughout the year to mark this significant milestone. “So much has happened here in the past 15 years,” Managing Principal Ty Monks told the team. “To have you join this celebration is especially important because it’s your achievement, your accomplishments, your dedication and all that you have done as team members. A company is nothing without its individuals, and we are lucky to have the best.”
Our Los Angeles area office is happy to announce we’re growing to serve the needs of our community. Please join us in welcoming five new additions to the Nishkian Chamberlain team– Jason Gray, Kiki Okaly, Ivan Canete, Bethany MacDuff and David Brisco.
In our dedicated effort to provide top quality service to our clients and the community we serve, we are continuously looking for talented people to join our team of professional consulting and structural engineers. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the opportunities to advance your career, please feel free to email Craig Chamberlain, Managing Principal of Nishkian Chamberlain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish you comfort and joy in the spirit of the season!
Our Bozeman office is happy to announce we’re growing to serve your needs. Please join us in welcoming five new additions to the Nishkian Monks team– Alfred Larsen, Sean Kirby, Daniel Nolan, Devinka Edirrisinghe, and Justin Beschorner.
Kevin L. Menninger, Vice President and Managing Principal of our San Francisco office, was recently honored with the 2016 Special Honor Award by the Building Industry Conference Board (BICB) at the 66th Annual Awards Banquet held in San Francisco, California on November 10, 2016. This award is made annually by the Building Industry Construction Board to celebrate and honor the most outstanding design and construction professional who outshines the rest as having contributed exceptionally to the construction industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. Last Thursday’s event was well attended with more than 200 attendees from across the spectrum of Bay Area construction —from owners and developers, to general contractors, to sub-consultants and insurance and A/E professionals.
Mack Conachen SE AIA, comes with 16 years of industry experience. With previous tenures at Nabih Youssef Associates and HDR he has a wide range in experience with various building types including seismic retrofits, Hospitals, Water Treatment Facilities, Data Centers with projects both nationally and abroad. Mack started his career in architecture, and against his better judgment maintains an architectural license in his home state of Wisconsin.
We plan a quarterly out-of-the-office opportunity for our hard working team of Engineers, Draftspersons and Administrative staff to enjoy time together beyond just crunching numbers. While some of the other reasons might come to mind first, encouraging departmental integration is essential in today’s business world and out-of-the-office events help integrate our team. Simple conversations help respect various people’s responsibilities and roles within our organization.
We are pleased to announce the recent addition of six talented professionals to the Nishkian Menninger team in 2015.
Drew Thigpen, E.I.T., graduated in 2010 from Clemson University in South Carolina with a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Clemson, Drew accepted a position in Chicago Bridge & Iron’s Engineer-in-Training program. This highly selective global program exposes its participants to a wide range of fields and sectors. During this program Drew worked as a structural engineer in Chicago, IL, a fabrication engineer in Houston, TX, a field engineer on a BP expansion in Whiting, IN, and spent time in their Marketing & Sales department in The Woodlands, TX. After working with CB&I for three years, including one year in Perth, Australia on the Gorgon LNG Project, Drew moved to Bozeman, Montana. A member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Drew has an enthusiastic passion for structural design, and is always happy to give advice to aspiring engineers.
Please join us in welcoming the newest member of our team!
Here’s to a season filled with warmth, comfort and good cheer!
Nishkian Menninger is proud to have welcomed many new employees this year!
- Robert Norton, E.I.T., graduated from the Architectural Engineering program at Cal Poly in late 2013. As a bay area native, he always knew he would want to return home to start his professional career. Robert has been working on multiple renovation projects as well as a new office building. He hopes to get involved in non-linear analysis, while also leaving time to enjoy the outdoors and, of course, the 49ers.
- Ock Eng, S.E., has 40 years of structural engineering experience. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Ock has worked in San Francisco for his entire career, and has designed many prevalent buildings in the bay area. We are so happy to have him return to Nishkian Menninger, where he worked for over 20 years starting in 1986.
Nishkian Monks, located in Bozeman, a town nestled in the midst of Montana’s Rocky Mountains, has been attracting highly qualified employees who are interested in a balanced lifestyle between indoor work and outdoor play. Bozeman provides opportunities to enjoy a myriad of parks, miles of trails, and countless river access points for fishing while surrounded by natural beauty. The surrounding mountains include Bridger, Gallatin and the Tobacco Root Range and these peaks provide some of the finest skiing and mountain trails in all of North America.
Hence, for the past few years, the principals at Nishkian Monks have been working on an office wellness program which actively supports and promotes its employees’ active lifestyle. The program started within the office by providing sit-stand workstations for each employee. Every workstation is accompanied by windows offering panoramic views to relax one’s eyes while gazing into the horizon. Future changes to the office under the wellness program will include an upper story outside deck with outside seating to enjoy lunch breaks under the sun and exercise equipment.
October 1, 2014 may mark the 25th year anniversary of Nishkian & Associates, Inc. but it also marks the Nishkian Engineering Firm’s 95 years in the structural engineering business. With more than 90 years of history, the Nishkian firms is today one of the most recognized structural engineering practices operating in the greater west region.
The Nishkian family established the San Francisco, CA based Nishkian Engineering Firm in 1919. Levon Nishkian joined the firm in 1974 and later became the owner. In 1989 co-founders Levon Nishkian and Kevin Menninger set out with a vision to provide quality structural designs that are cost effective, efficiently constructed, and tailored to the specific project. Since 1989, the firm has weathered three earthquakes, three recessions, a company name change to Nishkian Menninger in 1998, and added three partner offices in three cities. The Nishkian Menninger partnership soon expanded to add Nishkian Dean in 1999 with new partner, Edwin T. Dean. This branch office is located in Portland, Oregon. In 2002 Levon Nishkian and Kevin Menninger partnered with Ty Monks to open the third office in Bozeman, Montana. The Bozeman office provides services from the Rocky Mountains to the Midwestern region and beyond. In 2007 the Nishkian Chamberlain office was formed in Los Angeles, California to serve the Southwest region. Craig Chamberlain is the managing partner of the Culver City branch office.
In the spring of 1999, Edwin T. Dean had a chance meeting while attending an Applied Technology Council board meeting in New York. That connection led to an introduction to Levon Nishkian.
The Nishkian family established the San Francisco, CA based Nishkian Engineering Firm in 1919. Levon Nishkian joined the firm in 1974 and later became the owner. The firm became Nishkian & Associates in 1989 with Kevin Menninger and later the Nishkian Menninger. Several conversations after meeting, Levon, Kevin and Ed partnered to form Nishkian Dean. Since then, the Association has grown, adding affiliate offices Nishkian Monks, located in Bozeman, MT, and Nishkian Chamberlain, in Los Angeles, CA.
Tyler Hessler, M.S., has been hired as a staff engineer at Nishkian Monks PLLC in Bozeman, MT. Tyler received his undergraduate and graduate degree in structural engineering from Montana State University. Tyler joined Nishkian Monks in May of 2012 working as an intern.
All of us at NISHKIAN MENNINGER DEAN MONKS CHAMBERLAIN
join in wishing you a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON
with the best of everything in the coming New Year
San Francisco, CA – In August Nishkian Menninger moved their office from 1200 Folsom Street to 600 Harrison Street, Suite 110. The new office location is more centrally located in the San Francisco Financial District, closer to multiple forms of public transportation, many of our clients, and AT&T Ballpark. The new location provides a large conference room for project team meetings, multiple personal offices, and a large office space with an open concept layout.
The office is right off of Interstate 80 at the corner of Second and Harrison in San Francisco. Come by to visit, we would love to show you our new office.
Bozeman, MT – Nishkian Monks PLLC is proud to announce Nathan McBride, P.E., S.E. as the firm’s newest partner. Nathan has been with the firm since 2007. Nathan holds a Master of Science degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Utah State University.
“I am honored to be joining the firm as a partner,” says Nathan. “Nishkian Monks has been a big part of my life and my engineering career. I’m eager to continue working hard as a part of a team that is focused on bringing great and valuable engineering services to our clients and the community at large.”
Bozeman, MT – Matt Miller, P.E., has been named partner at Nishkian Monks PLLC, in Bozeman, MT. Matt has over 12 years of structural consulting experience. He received his undergraduate and graduate degree in structural engineering from Montana State University. Matt joined Nishkian Monks in June of 2005 working as a Project Engineer and elevated to Associate in 2006.
Culver City, CA – Nishkian Chamberlain relocated their Los Angeles based office to Culver City earlier this year. Our new office is centrally located within the greater Los Angeles area to better serve our clients throughout the region. With nearly 3, 000 square feet, the office allows us room for our growing business and provides a fresh new space. The creative office is based on an open plan layout to foster collaboration among staff who work closely together on each and every project. Our conference room can seat a dozen or more and is frequently used for staff, client and project team meetings.