News

Commemorating David Friedman’s 40-year history with Forell | Elsesser Structural Engineers

David Friedman marked December 31, 2020 as the date to transition from his 40- year career at Forell | Elsesser Engineers, and to focus more on his active leadership in the areas of civic engagement and social advocacy, while enjoying more time with his family – including the new addition, “RBG” the yellow Lab!

“Retirement” is hardly an appropriate word to describe David’s transition plans, as he seems to be more involved than ever in key roles with a multitude of professional and community organizations. He does say he wants to “slow down a bit”, as he continues to explore, learn, play golf, and travel

David started his career with Forell | Elsesser in 1980, working closely with both Nick Forell and Eric Elsesser, the firm’s founding Principals. He developed an appreciation for elegant architecture early in his career. While enjoying his career as a structural engineer, he became increasingly interested in Forell | Elsesser’s practice and what made it so successful. The founding Principals recognized David’s innate leadership attributes and financial acumen, which led to his growth as an Associate and a Principal / Shareholder of the firm, ultimately taking on the firm’s leadership as its CEO in 1998.

David’s leadership role at Forell | Elsesser has been transformative for the firm. During his tenure as the CEO, he cultivated a culture of collaboration and teamwork, both internally and with clients, always emphasizing the “we” and not the” I”. His inclusive leadership style, his quest for equity and diversity, his genuine caring for the staff, and his thoughtful and comprehensive approach to decision making have been inspirational, and have permeated the firm’s culture, leaving a long-lasting impression that is certain to endure for generations to come. His methodical transition planning has also left a framework for healthy leadership transitions to future generations.

In 2007, David stepped aside from his CEO role to focus more of his time and energy on his life-long passion for supporting not-for-profit professional and community organizations, and to create opportunities for the next generation to lead Forell | Elsesser, while he continued to be involved and engaged with the firm as Senior Principal and Chair of the Board for another decade. In more recent years, David has divided his time between his role with the firm, and his leadership roles on the boards of LS&Co., Jewish Home & Senior Living Foundation, SPUR, EERI, Geohazards International, as well as involvement with UC Berkeley Design Review Committee, UCB Chancellor’s Capital Strategies Committee, UCB CEE Advisory Council, UCB CEE Academy of Distinguished Alumni Board, and Stanford Seismic Advisory Committee; in addition to numerous others. David is a role model for giving back to his profession and to the society at large by generously supporting these organizations with his time and resources.

David has contributed to many of our firm’s notable projects. His approach to structural engineering reflects several factors: his respect for elegant architecture, his belief in the power of a great team, and his embodiment of three principles: a comprehensive view of the “problem” and what surrounds it, a drive to develop technically elegant yet buildable solutions, and great business sense. He leveraged the collective talent that existed in the firm to better serve our clients, by challenging his engineering teams, soliciting their best work and ideas, and assembling those ideas into a harmonious solution.

A strong advocate for seismic safety, he has been able to communicate seismic risk to clients in terms that are meaningful to them, guiding them towards a seismic risk mitigation strategy. The most prominent example of David’s engineering M.O. is his decade-long leadership of the seismic renovation of the UC Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium, which presented unprecedented engineering challenges. David proactively engaged the interests of the owner to obtain a full understanding of their goals and the potential obstacles, assembled the most capable technical team, brainstormed and presented multiple solutions, and – in so doing – orchestrated the completion of perhaps the most innovative seismic design solution ever developed.

His other notable projects include Seismic Retrofit of San Francisco City Hall, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Jewish Community Center, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the new Berkeley Art Museum, and Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life.

While David marked December 2020 as his “retirement”, he will continue to be a friend of the firm, as we value his leadership legacy, and cherish his friendship, mentorship, sense of humor, the seemingly endless supply of his good wine, and his contributions to our celebrations as the firm’s first “Poet Laureate”.

With best wishes for David in transitioning to the next chapter of his life,

You can continue reaching David at d.friedman@forell.com

Please take a few minutes to upload a video with your well wishes for David at: www.tribute.co/david-friedman/

Forell | Elsesser Announces New Firm Leadership as it Celebrates its 60 Years of Successful Business

New Structure Lets Leadership Focus on Business, Clients and Projects

September 1, 2020–San Francisco, CA–On its 60th anniversary, San Francisco-based structural engineering firm Forell | Elsesser announced today its transition to the firm’s fourth generation of leaders. The incoming team includes CEO Chris Petteys and COO Rene Vignos, as well as four directors: Director of Business Strategy Allen Nudel, Director of Technical Excellence Steve Marusich, Director of Engineering Operations Geoff Bomba and Director of People Development Carolynn Smith.

In keeping with its legacy of thoughtfully orchestrated successions, Petteys and Vignos, who have been members of the firm’s Executive Committee, succeed Simin Naaseh and Paul Rodler, who served as the firm’s CEO and COO respectively for 13 years. “We began this transition process four years ago, and I have huge confidence in our incoming leadership team,” said Rodler.  Naaseh and Rodler, who will remain actively involved as Senior Principals and serve clients in project leadership roles, will also provide support to the incoming leadership team and the firm’s strategic initiatives. Naaseh is especially committed to mentoring young leaders and developing more female leadership in the firm.

According to CEO Chris Petteys, “The new structure balances responsibilities across the leadership group. We all really enjoy the project work we do—structural engineering is our shared passion. We don’t anticipate any big changes to our roles leading projects and working with clients.”

“We are fortunate to have a team of demonstrated leaders, who are committed to continuing Forell | Elsesser’s legacy and long-standing reputation for innovation and technical excellence. Their fresh perspectives and complimentary skills and interests will be an asset to the firm’s strategic growth and tradition of recruiting and retaining the best talent”, said Naaseh. 

“Staff development is an ongoing priority at Forell | Elsesser where curiosity is a core value”, said Carolynn Smith, Director of People Development, who describes the process as “the Forell | Elsesser lifecycle.”

In addition to the executive leadership transition, Russell Berkowitz has been elevated to the Principal role in recognition of his technical leadership and advisory role with clients over his 21 year tenure with the firm.

About Forell | Elsesser

Founded in 1960 by Nicholas Forell and Eric Elsesser, Forell | Elsesser is a San Francisco-based structural engineering innovator. The firm’s legacy in seismic retrofits of nationally recognized historic structures is complemented by its creative engineering of new complex buildings and other unusual structures across industries and building types. Their work is highlighted in landmarks like LinkedIn’s Middlefield Campus, the retrofit and base isolation of San Francisco and Oakland City Halls, UC Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium and the retrofit and base isolation of Salt Lake City Mormon Temple. Learn more at www.forell.com

F | E’s Lick-Wilmerding High School receives AIA California Award

Forell | Elsesser is proud to announce the AIA California Council 2020 award for the Lick-Wilmerding High School Historic Renovation & Expansion project.

View press release here: aiacalifornia.org/15-design-awards-from-prominent-architecture-association/

With EHDD Architecture as the lead, Forell | Elsesser was pleased to provide new structural designs for existing, new, and renovated structures. The project includes a three-story classroom building, a new one-story administration building, and renovation of existing spaces. The project is committed to net-zero energy use, with the target of either Living Building Challenge Petal Certification or LEED Platinum Certification.

The Forell | Elsesser team included Mason Walters, Geoff Bomba, and Lori Jue.

Join Our Team!

Forell | Elsesser Engineers has a diverse and creative engineering team with broad ranging talent spanning all aspects of structural engineering for the built environment.  Our focus on designing resilient and sustainable buildings offers challenging and unique opportunities with our design team! 

Please check out our open positions below and send your cover letter and resume to recruiting@forell.com. 

  • Senior Engineer: Please click here for more details.
  • Engineer: Please click here for more details.
  • Structural BIM Modeler: Please click here for more details.

East Palo Youth Arts & Music Center

Forell | Elsesser was fortunate to work on this exciting and challenging project. The East Palo Alto Youth Arts & Music Center is a 24,000 square foot facility. Read more about this project in the link below.

Article here

Forell | Elsesser’s 10th Year Participating in LEAP Arts in Education – Sandcastle Classic Event 2018

Forell | Elsesser got their feet sandy volunteering for the 36th Annual Largest Sandcastle Competition in Northern California – The Sandcastle Classic! This event takes place every year in the fall on Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Money raised benefits LEAP Arts in Education, a program established in 1979 due to severe budget cuts to art programs in California schools. The program places professional artists in classrooms to teach elementary schools about music, dance, theatre, creative writing, visual arts, and architecture. For the Sandcastle Classic event – teams are mostly made up of architects, engineers, designers and contactors who come together to raise money and promote creativity with kids around the Bay Area by building giant impressive sand sculptures!

This year Forell | Elsesser teamed with Bay City Mechanical, HKIT Architects, Vanir Construction Management, Inc., Tipping Structural Engineers and our partnered school – Lawton Alternative School. The Sunset Shellebrators, our team name, created an amazing sand castle themed Atlantis and raised a total of $6,850! F/E Team Captain and Engineer, Andrew Salber volunteered at the event and thinks, “it’s great to see so many people show up to support the local community and have fun in the process. Being involved in events like this reflect well on our company and remind us how rewarding it can be to come together as a team and build things!”

Forell | Elsesser is committed to helping our community in any way we can by volunteering our time, becoming sponsors and raising money to programs for those in need. We have been involved in the LEAP Sandcastle Classic Event for ten years and are honored to support such a great mission and talented leadership.

         

Congratulations to UCB Distinguished Alumni Class of 2018: Mason Walters!

On October 4, 2018 Mason Walters, a Principal at Forell Elsesser Engineers, was inducted into the University of California, Berkeley Academy of Distinguished Alumni’s: Class of 2018. UC, Berkeley has one of the top national rankings for civil and environmental engineering programs. The UC, Berkeley Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (CEE) has thousands of successful alumni around the globe that they believe are noteworthy and have contributed greatly to the development both in the US and around the world. We believe this about Mason and so do others! Congratulations on the amazing honor!

DAVID FRIEDMAN (LEFT), MASON WALTERS (RIGHT)

F|E Elevates Six Staff Including New Principal

Forell | Elsesser is proud to announce the promotion of six key personnel!  Lindsey Maclise, Principal; Lori Jue, Associate; Andrew Salber, Senior Engineer; Steve Earl, Senior Engineer; Amelia Lin, BIM Coordinator; and Jonah Canalin, Marketing Manager.

Lindsey Maclise is named a Principal, from Senior Associate. Lindsey is a 15-year Forell Elsesser employee and has worked on projects including Stanford University Bass Biology Building, Cañada College Kinesiology & Wellness and UC Berkeley Student Athlete High Performance Center. A University of California at Berkeley Master’s program graduate, she is active with the UC Berkeley CEE Advisory Board as well as the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute where she has been named a Housner Fellow.

Lori Jue is promoted to Associate. Lori, who received a BS and master’s from the University of California at San Diego, has worked on projects such as the new South San Francisco Civic Campus and Lick-Wilmerding High School, Expansion & Renovation in San Francisco.

Andrew Salber, promoted to Senior Engineer, has worked on projects including the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub at UC Berkeley and the UCSF Clinical Science Building. He has a BS from Tufts University and a master’s from the University of California at Berkeley.

Steve Earl is named Senior Engineer. His notable projects include the Oregon Supreme Court Historic Renovation and the SFSU Marcus Hall for the Liberal and Creative Arts. Steve has a BS from Northeastern University and a master’s from Stanford University.

Amelia Lin is named BIM Coordinator. A graduate of University of Southern California, Amelia provides BIM support on all Forell Elsesser projects. Her recent projects include UC Berkeley Bakar BioEnginuity Hub and LinkedIn Middlefield Campus.

Jonah Canalin is promoted to Marketing Manager. A graduate of San Jose State University, he supports the firm’s business development efforts and oversees internal and external marketing.

Forell | Elsesser Shines at the 27th Annual Structural Forum

Cal Poly-SEAOC Structural Forum 2017

Steve Marusich and Qudsia Wahab had the opportunity to network with many Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students soon to be transitioning from an educational environment to a career in structural engineering. This year’s Structural Forum was suitably themed, “Framing the Future.” The Structural Forum attracts approximately 40 structural engineering firms and hundreds of students. This annual event is hosted by the student chapter of Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC), in conjunction with the Cal Poly Architectural Engineering Department.

 

 

Three Key Promotions Proudly Announced

Forell | Elsesser is proud to announce the promotion of three key personnel! Steve Marusich to Principal, Lindsey Maclise to Senior Associate, and Susan La Fore to Associate.

Steve Marusich joined Forell | Elsesser in 2002. Steve has participated in a variety of organizations including Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC), Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), and Lean Construction Institute. Additionally, Steve is a Professional Affiliate of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Steve is currently working on multiple projects for Facebook, the SFSU Recreation & Wellness Center, and UCSF Clinical Sciences Building projects.

Lindsey Maclise joined Forell | Elsesser in 2006. In 2012, she became an EERI Housner Fellow and in 2013 a Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) Zacher Award Recipient. She is also a member of the UC Berkeley CEE Advisory Board.  Lindsey has worked on a range of projects including higher education, athletic, and laboratory projects.

Susan LaFore joined Forell | Elsesser in 2007. She is active on the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) and the SEAONC Continuing Education Committees. Susan’s primary focus for the past few years has been in serving as Project Manager for several of Forell | Elsesser’s Facebook projects.

Lindsey Maclise, SE, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Associate

Lindsey Maclise, SE, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Associate

Steve Marusich, SE, Principal

Steve Marusich, SE, Principal

Susan LaFore, SE, LEED AP BD+C, Associate

Susan LaFore, SE, LEED AP BD+C, Associate