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

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 

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

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

Support Arts Education with Leap Sandcastle

Leap Sandcastle 2015

Leap Sandcastle 2015

Forell | Elsesser is fundraising and donating our time and skills for the 34th Annual Sandcastle Classic! The event will be taking place on October 15 from 11AM-4PM at Ocean Beach. F/E is part of the Sandy Warhols team with XL Construction, Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED), Bradley Concrete, Walter P. Moore, and the Diane Feinstein Elementary School. To view photos of our team competing last year, please click here.

The Leap Sandcastle Contest is a fundraiser to support arts education programs in local elementary schools. As part of the A/E/C industry, F/E understands the importance of students building skills to increase creativity and curiosity in the classroom. Leap’s programs serve over 6,000 students in more than 25 elementary schools throughout the Bay Area.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 for arts education! If you’re interested and available to donate to our team, please click here.

F | E’s UC Berkeley BAMPFA Receives Structural Engineering Award

UC Berkeley BAMPFA

UC Berkeley BAMPFA

Forell | Elsesser is proud to announce UC Berkeley, Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive’s (BAMPFA) recent awards: Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) Excellence in Structural Engineering Landmark Project, Award of Merit; and the AIA New York Design Awards, Merit Award – Architecture.

Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and EHDD Architects, this new museum and cultural center project totals approximately 80,000 sf. BAMPFA incorporates a new state-of-the-art theater facility with the rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of an existing art deco style former printing plant. This project will be seeking LEED Gold certification.

The Forell | Elsesser team included David Friedman, Mason Walters, Geoff Bomba, and Masume Dana. The design and construction team included Plant Construction (GC), BKF Engineers (Civil), Amec Foster Wheeler (Geotech), and Stantec (M/E/P).

For more information on the UC Berkeley, Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive, please visit BAMPFA.

Posted May 2016

F | E’s UC Berkeley Jacobs Institute Receives AIA & AIASF Awards

UC Berkeley Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation

UC Berkeley Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation

Forell | Elsesser is proud to announce UC Berkeley Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation’s recent awards. Awards include: AIA 2016 Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Projects and AIASF 2016 Special Commendation Award for Sustainability which were both awarded last week.

Designed by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, the new 24,000 sf Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation provides a variety of flexible “maker spaces” that foster interdisciplinary, collaborative creativity. The structural steel framed building utilizes buckling restrained braced frames and concrete shear walls for the lateral system and is founded on drilled pier foundations. This project achieved LEED Platinum.

The Forell | Elsesser team included Mason Walters, Chris Petteys, Mei Kuen Liu, Masume Dana, Keith Lopez, and Hayley Dickson. The design and construction team included Hathaway Dinwiddie (GC), BKF Engineers (Civil), A3GEO (Geotech), and Integral Group (M/E/P).

For AIA 2016 COTE Award information, please read the AIA Top Ten award materials PDF.
For more information on the UC Berkeley Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, please visit UC Berkeley College of Engineering.

Posted April 2016

UC Berkeley BAMPFA All Over the News

Some of the Forell/Elsesser BAMPFA team at the Opening Gala (David Friedman, Mason Walters, Geoff Bomba)

A few of the Forell/Elsesser BAMPFA team at the Opening Gala (David Friedman, Mason Walters, Geoff Bomba)

The UC Berkeley, Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) has been receiving continuous news coverage over the past month. This highly anticipated cultural landmark in downtown Berkeley is giving everyone in the community much to be excited about! Please visit F | E’s BAMPFA page for information on F | E’s scope of work.

Coverage includes:

ARCHITECT Magazine: UC Berkeley BAMPFA

Architectural Record: Cinematic Overhaul: Diller Scofidio + Renfro revamps a former printing plant as the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Fast Company: The Berkeley Art Museum Gets a Pristine New Home Inside a 1930s Printing Press

designboom: BAMPFA Arts Complex by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Opens in California

7×7: Stunning New BAMPFA Opens Downtown

LA Times: The New Berkeley Art Museum is a Study in Extremes

NY Times: A Reborn Museum in Berkeley Offers Form as an Essential Fact of Existence

NY Times: Art Museums Seek a Green Palette

NY Times: An Alice Waters Recipe, to Celebrate an Ambitious New Museum

Berkeley News: Major New Effort to Elevate Berkeley’s Creative Culture

SF Chronicle: New Home Elevates BAMPFA Status

SF Chronicle: Pacific Film Archive Gets Front-Door Access

SF Chronicle: A Trip ‘Underground’ to the New BAMPFA

SF Chronicle: Campus, Downtown Merging in Berkeley

San Jose Mercury News: Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive Finally Reunited in Gorgeous New Digs

East Bay Express: BAMPFA is Back

The Daily Californian: A Fresh, Rejuvenated Home for the BAMPFA

San Jose Mercury News: Review: ‘Architecture of Life’ — Opening Show at New BAMPFA

Berkeleyside: BAMPFA’s Inaugural Exhibition, ‘Architecture of Life,’ is an Eloquent Survey

KQED: ‘Architecture of Life’ an Optimistic Start for New BAMPFA

SF Chronicle: BAMPFA Gala Raises the Roof – and Arts Education Funds

SF Chronicle: An Expansive Show to Christen New BAMPFA Home

SF Weekly: BAMPFA Reopens Jan. 31 With New Theaters and Greatly Expanded Programming

Berkeley News: New BAMPFA Draws Thousands on Opening Day

Berkeley News: Four-Day Fête Celebrates New BAMPFA

SF Chronicle: BAMPFA: Halfway Point for Berkeley Art, Film Center

Posted February 2016

F | E’s UC Berkeley BAMPFA to Open January 2016

UC Berkeley's BAMPFA

UC Berkeley’s BAMPFA

Forell | Elsesser is excited to announce the opening of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) on January 31, 2016! Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and EHDD Architecture, the new $112 million BAMPFA will provide exhibition and film screening spaces as well as access to BAMPFA’s historic and contemporary collections of art and film. BAMPFA integrated a historic 48,000 sf Art Deco-style former UC Berkeley printing plant with a new 35,000 sf structure.

The Forell | Elsesser team included David FriedmanMason Walters, Geoff Bomba, and Masume Dana. Please visit F/E’s BAMPFA page for information on F/E’s scope of work.

For more information from UC Berkeley on the Opening, visit BAMPFA’s official blog.
Reserve your free ticket to BAMPFA’s opening by visiting the Community Page.

Posted January 2016

Tightening Earthquake Safety Regulations for SF Private Schools

San Francisco Friends School

San Francisco Friends School

Forell | Elsesser’s CEO, Simin Naaseh, was recently interviewed by NBC Bay Area about tightening of Earthquake Safety Regulations for Private Schools. San Francisco recently put into place the first law of its kind in California- that Private Schools have to evaluate the seismic safety of their buildings within the next 2 years.

Unlike public schools, that have been subjected to different regulations since the 1930s, private schools have never been required to evaluate the seismic performance of their buildings. Of the 113 private schools in San Francisco, approximately 43% of the school buildings are likely to perform well in earthquakes but 33% could perform poorly.

The retrofitted Private School project referenced in NBC’s article is Forell | Elsesser’s San Francisco Friends School, originally built in 1906. This adaptive re-use and seismic retrofit project was completed in 2009.

Posted October 2015