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Special Sessions

Thursday, April 21

1:30 – 3:00 pm; 3:30 – 5:00 pm*

Innovation with Organizational Impact - Enabling People at Every Level to Innovate, Collaborate, and Drive Growth

*This is a 2-part session. Please attend both.

Over 80% of the 1,500 CEOs interviewed by IBM in a recent survey rated innovation as a “crucial capability” for their company. This is because innovation is critical for sustained growth. Further, new products, new markets, new systems of distribution, new business models, new sources of supply, and new operational processes are essential sources of competitive advantage and long-term viability. Despite its importance to the success and survival of the firm, consistent, organization-wide innovation is difficult to accomplish. As companies grow – as they become more structured, develop the rules and routines required to direct and coordinate production, and acquire the resources that allow them to become more efficient – they inevitably develop “innovation inertia.”

Part 1: Increasing Individual Creative Capacity

  1. Understand the Blocks to Creativity
  2. Free Yourself to be More Creative
  3. Focus on Problems
  4. Forsake the Familiar

Part 2: Increasing Organizational Capacity for Innovation

  1. Think Like a Serial Entrepreneur
  2. Validate the Opportunity
  3. Facilitate a Team in Collaborative Problem Solving
  4. Restructure the Organization for Innovation

Session Leader: Larry William Cox, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business School will introduce a system that is the foundation of an eight-module hands-on training program that creates complete go-to-market strategies for innovative solutions to real business problems.

3:30 – 5:00 pm

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design (A Collaborative Approach to Achieving Living Building Certification)

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech is one of the first buildings in the Southeast to achieve Living Building Certification. Meeting this significant challenge while creating an aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective building required collaboration and creativity of all team members.

This will be a group presentation including representatives from the project architectural, structural, and construction teams. The session will be interactive, with questions and comments from the audience encouraged.

The discussion will focus on the Living Building Challenge, the unusual team selection process, and the highly collaborative design effort. We will wrap up with an exchange on lessons learned from this project, and speculation about the future of sustainable design and construction.

The audience will learn

  • the requirements of the Living Building Challenge
  • the importance of teamwork on innovative projects
  • Integrating architecture, engineering, and construction parameters

Presenters: Jim Case, Sr. Principal, Uzun+Case, LLC. Project Structural Engineer; Jimmy Mitchell, Skanska USA, Project Contractor; Brian Court, Miller Hull Partnership, LLP; and Joshua Gassman, Lord, Aeck Sargent, Project Co-Architects

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Important Lessons Learned from CROSS-US (Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures)

The core of this session will be three case studies from the latest CROSS-US newsletter in process at the time of the Congress but not yet published. A speaker from CROSS will present the case and then engage the audience in ideas re: the important lessons learned from the case. Then the opinions from the CROSS-US Expert Panel will be shared. We will use technology to collect and display opinions on-screen, real-time. Audience input will supplement the Expert Panel’s opinions for the final CROSS report that is to be posted to the CROSS website.

Outline and Speakers

  • Update on CROSS-US and CROSS International (10 min.) – Glenn Bell
  • Case Study One (20 min.) – Norma Jean Mattei
  • Case Study Two (20 min.) – John Tawresey
  • Case Study Three (20 min.) – Andy Herrmann
  • Overall lessons learned from CROSS over time and how individuals and organizations use it to improve practice (20 min.) – Alastair Soane

Moderator: Glenn R. Bell, SEI

Friday, April 22

3:30 – 5:00 pm

SE of 2040? Structural Engineering Education from Plans to Action

Motivation: Technological, environmental, and societal drivers present disruptive challenges and opportunities to the structural engineering community. Examples of these drivers are technological advances in tools for fabrication, design, and communication; climate change effects on hazard definition and designs; and future population enclaves such as the mega-city and floating city. These future cities were identified by ASCE Future World Vision (FWV) initiative as “project[s] to anticipate, reimagine, and prepare for future changes.” As FWV rightly notes, “The future will require a new way of doing things. A new approach. A new vision.” What does that mean for the structural engineer? For the structural engineering profession to remain relevant and make a difference in this world, we must reconsider how we educate and mentor structural engineers.

The Committee on Reform of Structural Engineering Education - 2 (CROSEE-2), representing a cross-section of industry leaders and academics, was charged in late 2020 to, among other things, (1) develop an operating description of what structural engineering will look like in 2040 and define corresponding abilities necessary for worker success, (2) present important goals that are achievable and actionable by 2026 to effect structural engineering educational reform, and (3) recommend how and who will help achieve those goals. Given these tasks CROSEE-2 members, engaged in processes that included interviews of multiple stakeholders, literature reviews, and extensive committee meetings that identified knowledge, skills, and abilities envisioned as being key aspects for the structural engineer of 2040.

Moderators: Daniel Linzell and Maria Garlock


  1. 30 minutes of brief presentations:
    1. (10 minutes) CROSEE-2 chair, Glenn Bell, summarizes CROSEE Committee activities and products.
    2. (10 minutes) Kevin Hall (or another designee), Chair of ASCE’s Civil Engineering Education Summit Working Group, will summarize their study and conclusions.
    3. (10 minutes) Tim Ibell, Professor at the Univ. of Bath, discusses concurrent activities advancing structural engineering education in the UK.
  2. 45 minutes of interactive activities:
    1. Attendees are broken into diverse groups with each group member assuming a “student” role and a CROSEE-2 member being the “instructor of the future.”
    2. Breakout groups are asked to critically assess the “class” to determine who and what are needed to realize these instructional “future states.” “Instructors” will rotate between breakout groups so that each attendee sits in on multiple “classes.”
  3. 15 minute report-outs

Real-time crowdsourcing and formal group report outs will be used by CROSEE-2 members to create a collaboration and success plan to help guide future activities. Final, coalesced ideas will be shared with attendees at the end of the session.

What will the audience learn?

The audience will leave with a vision of what structural engineering needs to become to ensure the field survives and prospers in the next 20 years along with thoughts and recommendations about how the visionary goals will be achieved and who will spearhead the efforts. While the presentations and discussions define clear and actionable 5-year goals that initiate the reform process, the audience will recognize that the entire structural engineering community is essential for their successful and impactful implementation.

Organizers: SEI Committee on Reform of Structural Engineering Education - 2 (CROSEE-2)

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Embodied Carbon and the Coming Revolution in Structural Engineering Practice: What You Need to Know

Climate concerns are driving changes in the practice of structural engineering that we all need to know about. Structural materials are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in building construction (embodied carbon) and a move is afoot to drive those emissions down. The impetus is coming from owners, architects, jurisdictional regulations and incentives, and leaders in our own profession, here and around the world. Our practice must undergo major changes in the coming years as a result. Structural engineers are best positioned to lead this transformation and will be at the forefront. Come to this session to learn why embodied carbon matters and how you can act to address it.

This session will have four segments:

  1. Introduction: What is embodied carbon and why should we as structural engineers care about it?
  2. Changing Practice: How is embodied carbon awareness already changing structural engineering practice?
  3. Firm Leader Roundtable: What are specific steps that structural engineering firms are taking today to address embodied carbon?
  4. Discussion: Audience discussion and Q&A.

Attendees will leave with the answers to the following questions:

  • What is embodied carbon is and why it is important to structural engineers?
  • How is SEI addressing embodied carbon and leading the profession to reduce it?
  • What are some specific steps we can take in structural design practice to reduce the embodied carbon in our projects?
  • How are leading firms acting today to reduce embodied carbon through education, advocacy, and improved practice?


  • Kate Simonen, Carbon Leadership Forum
  • Shan Arora, Director, Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design
  • Donald Davies, Magnusson Klemencic Associates
  • Mark Larsen, Walter P. Moore
  • Zander Sivyer, Holmes Structures
  • Denise Richards, Keast and Hood

Moderator: Mark Webster, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Innovation within the AEC Sector

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) sector is one of the largest in the world economy; however, the AEC sector has one of the slowest growth rates in terms of productivity and innovation. This session will highlight companies and individuals within the AEC sector that are thought leaders and leading in the utilization of innovations that offer additional value as compared to conventional techniques. Panelists are from all fields in the AEC sector and will focus on how structural engineers can push boundaries, what additional skill sets the AEC sector needs from structural engineers to successfully implement innovative project deliverables and some thoughts on the future of the structural engineering industry.

Topics addressed will include:

  • artificial intelligence
  • machine learning
  • modular construction
  • building information modeling
  • automated construction

We'll explore real-world applications of innovation to provide a platform for a lively discussion of what we need to do in the structural engineering community (research and industry) to truly accelerate and transform the AEC industry.

Moderator: Erica Fischer, Oregon State University and Jennifer Pazdon, Cast Connex


  • Rob Otani, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Steven Paynter, Gensler
  • Graham Montgomery, Timberlab
  • Jennifer Pazdon, Cast Connex
  • Illana Danzig, Aspect Engineers
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