Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SEI Professional Seminar Series

Damage-Resistant Steel Structural Systems for Seismic Applications

From a seismic standpoint, standard structures are designed for “life safety” performance under the design-basis earthquake, and are expected (and intended!) to exhibit damage to structural elements, often resulting in significant post-earthquake repair costs and/or large residual drifts (which may lead to demolition rather than repair). Essentially, standard structural design sacrifices the structure to save the occupants (which is, to be fair, an admirable goal).

In recent years, however, there has been a significant research push to improve the way that structures are designed for earthquake resistance. Rather than tell building owners that they will have astronomical repair costs after an earthquake, structural systems can be specialized (at a premium construction cost) to accommodate large lateral drifts while suffering damage only to specific, replaceable, specially-designed fuse elements.

This presentation will focus on the continued development of the self-centering concentrically braced frame (SC-CBF) system that Dr. Roke worked to develop and test during his PhD study at Lehigh University. Dr. Roke will present his work toward advancements in the knowledge base of SC-CBF response and behavior, as well as studies that have branched from the original concept.


David Roke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. Dr. Roke received his BSCE in 2003 and MSCE in 2005, both from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Roke received his PhD in Structural Engineering in September 2010 from Lehigh University. Dr. Roke’s research interests include earthquake engineering, structural dynamics, and steel structural systems. Dr. Roke teaches Introduction to Mechanics of Solids, Engineering Materials Laboratory, Steel Design, Dynamics of Structures, Advanced Analysis of Steel Structural Members, and Earthquake Engineering.

CEE undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to attend the seminar.

Light refreshments will be served at 1:00 pm.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Third Annual Half-Day Structural Engineering Seminar

We invite you to attend our 3rd annual half-day structural engineering seminar, sponsored by SEI Lehigh Valley Chapter, ASCE Lehigh Valley Section, and SEI Lehigh University Graduate student chapter.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 11:45AM to 5:00PM
Lehigh University ATLSS Building – 117 ATLSS Drive, Bethlehem, PA Mountaintop Campus – Room B101
$30.00 per attendee - free for SEI Lehigh University Graduate Chapter Students and FERS Students


“50 Tips for Designing Constructible Steel Framed Structures”
Clifford Schwinger, P.E.
“Geotechnical Aspects of the American Parkway Project”
Kerri Cutright, P.E.
Refreshment and Networking Break
“Strengthening of Church Tower Abutments Using Cementitious Grouted Stainless Rods”
Tom Gormley & Anthony Stevens
“The Great Molasses Flood in Boston – an Ethics Discussion”
Eric Tappert, P.E.

Session Information

SESSION 1 – 50 Tips for Designing Constructible Steel Framed Structures

This seminar will review 50 practical and easy to implement tips that designers can use to improve the constructability and reduce the cost of steel framed building structures. Illustrations and examples comparing constructible and “constructability challenged” details are used to show how seemingly little changes in connection details and framing configurations significantly improve constructability and reduce cost.

Clifford Schwinger, P.E. is a Vice President and Quality Assurance Manager at The Harman Group, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Lehigh University in 1976, serves on the AISC Manuals Committee and has over 30 years of experience designing building structures.

SESSION 2 – Geotechnical Aspects of the American Parkway Project

In this presentation, we will discuss the geotechnical aspects of the American Parkway project currently under construction in the city of Allentown.  This is a partial design / build project to construct a new four-lane, controlled access road from its current terminus at Front Street to Airport Road.  The new facility will provide much improved access from the City of Allentown to the Lehigh Valley International Airport.  The project includes two new bridge structures, one crossing the Lehigh River and Norfolk Southern Railroad and one crossing R.J. Corman Railroad and Jordan Street.  While in construction, the project has encountered many geotechnical challenges.  Pier 1 and Pier 2, originally designed to be spread footings on rock were redesigned to be drilled shafts.  Pier 4 encountered difficulties driving piles.  Low mobility grouting for an MSE wall foundation also experienced issues.  This presentation will go over these geotechnical issues and touch on other aspects of the bridge. 

Kerri Cutright, P.E., received both her Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.  Kerri joined PennDOT District 5-0 in 2011 as a Civil Engineer Trainee and is now a Senior Civil Engineer Supervisor and serves as the district’s Geotechnical and PavementK Engineer.  While at PennDOT, Kerri has designed box culverts, repairs for failed wingwalls, and pavements for many resurfacing projects.  She has provided geotechnical support to Berks, Lehigh and Northampton County Maintenance for the repair of sinkholes along PennDOT Right-of-Way.   Kerri also served as project manager for bridge replacement and landslide projects.  Kerri also provides geotechnical construction support for various projects in District 5-0, including American Parkway.

SESSION 3 - Strengthening of Church Tower Abutments Using Cementitious Grouted Stainless Rods

The presentation will discuss a case study on the stabilization of a 1911 stone masonry bell tower through the use of internal grouted sock anchors installed to resist the counterforce thrust.

Thomas Gormley is the Manager of Restoration at Pullman SST, Inc.  in Swedesboro, NJ.  Tom has 24 years of experience in the Building Restoration market.   He graduated from Temple University Engineering in 1990.  Started working for Shared Systems Technology, Inc. in 2001.  Shared System Technology, Inc. was renamed in 2014 to Pullman SST, Inc. – A Structural Group Company.  Involvement with all types of Masonry, Historical and Concrete Restoration Projects.  Responsibilities included Business Development and Head Estimator for the Commercial Restoration Division – Philadelphia Branch. 
Anthony Stevens is a Technical Sales Consultant with Cintec America Inc. and has over 16 years’ experience in the commercial building trades industry and with working alongside Engineers, Architects and Contractors, to achieve the desired result.

SESSION 4 – The Great Molasses Flood in Boston – an Ethics Discussion

The 15th of January in 1916 was a lovely, sunny, day in Boston as the “January thaw” arrived.  Just about noon a full  50 million gallon tank of molasses failed catastrophically unleashing a wave of molasses down Commercial Street; taking out buildings, part of the elevated railroad, horses, and people.  This case study in ethics examines the construction of the tank and the motivations of those in responsible charge in an effort to explain why this disaster occurred.  The relationship between the actions of those in charge and the standard of care will also be examined.

Eric Tappert, PE received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania (1969) and his Master of Science in Telecommunications from the University of Colorado (1998.)  Eric’s career included working on the Safeguard Anti-Ballistic Missile System with responsibility for maintenance and development of the multi-processor computer system; design work for cell site equipment used in the Bell System service trial of cellular telephony. In 1979 he came to the Western Electric Plant in Allentown to perform application and integrated circuit definition work. He contributed to several long distance transmission and switching improvement programs. Since his retirement in 2002, in he has done some consulting work in the area of communication system design and has been an adjunct faculty member of the Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus, teaching electrical engineering technology courses.  He currently is serving as PSPE President.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Half-Day Structural Engineering Seminar

The SEI Lehigh Valley Chapter along with the Lehigh SEI GSC and FERS will be hosting a half-day structural engineering seminar at the ATLSS Engineering Research Center. The seminar is free to Lehigh SEI GSC and FERS students, and will be held on August 14, 2014 from 11:45AM-5:00PM. The schedule for the day and information about the speakers can be found below.

Hope to see you there!

Seminar Schedule

11:45AM - Registration

12:15PM - Session 1 -  “WF Beam to HSS Column Moment Connections” presented by Kim Olson, Technical Advisor to the HSS Committee of the Steel Tube Institute

1:15PM - Session 2 -  “Incorporating Security Design Into Transportation Facilities” presented by Joseph Englot, P.E., M. ASCE, National Director of Infrastructure Security and Associate Vice President HNTB Corporation, New York NY.

2:15PM - Refreshment and Networking Break

3:00PM - Session 3:  “Field Measurements of PA Route 30 Wrights Ferry Bridge during Mega Move” presented by Sougata Roy, PhD., M. ASCE, Principal Research Scientist with the ATLSS Engineering Research Center at Lehigh University

4:00PM - Session 4 -  “Erection of Steel Trusses at the Allentown Hockey Arena” presented by James D. Pudleiner PE, LEED AP, M. ASCE, and Mike Rohl, P.E., M. ASCE, of Alfred Benesch.

Session Information


In this presentation, we will explore moment connections and focus on the joint between a wide flange beam and an HSS column.  Attendees will gain practical knowledge of why designing and constructing with HSS columns is a smart and effective choice.  Using wide flange beams and HSS columns can lead to a very effective framing system, improve structural efficiency in two directions as well as being aesthetically pleasing.  During the hour, you will see discussion of:
The types of moment connections as well as their economic considerations.
Criteria to help the specifying engineer design which connection to use.
Current research that is being done.
Design examples and additional resource

KIM OLSON is Technical Advisor to the HSS Committee of the Steel Tube Institute. Kim has over 12 years of experience as a structural engineer, including her current position as a Structural Engineer at FORSE Consulting.  Currently she offers design, consulting and other support services to architects and engineers. Prior to joining the company in 2012, Kim worked for Bentley Systems, providing technical demonstrations and product trainings for structural engineers worldwide on each of the RAM structural engineering software programs. She was a practicing engineer at Martin/Martin, Inc. in Denver for seven years managing and designing a wide variety of structures including research laboratories, sporting grandstands, recreation centers and schools. Kim is a licensed professional engineer (PE) in the state of Colorado. As a technical advisor to the HSS Committee of The Steel Tube Institute, Kim works to educate architects and engineers on the many benefits of HSS. 


The presentation will focus on  performance based security design criteria for new transportation facilities, including bridges, tunnels, airline terminals, and rail stations. It will examine the risks from threats and hazards, typical mitigations to be investigated, and how security design integrates with the design required by codes.

JOSEPH M. ENGLOT, P.E., M. ASCE, is the National Director of Infrastructure Security and Associate Vice President of the HNTB Corporation, New York, NY.

Mr. Englot received both his Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1972. Mr. Englot joined HNTB in 2005 where he oversees projects that reduce the vulnerability of bridges, tunnels, and other types of transportation facilities to malevolent acts through the use of protective and physical hardening measures, as well as, projects to rehabilitate and retrofit bridges against the effects of natural hazards and general structural deterioration. He has extensive experience in damage assessment and disaster recovery of transportation facilities due to ship collision, truck collision, storms, and acts of terrorism.

At HNTB Mr. Englot has led projects to help the largest public transportation agencies in the US to prioritize their transportation infrastructure and identify and assess their most critical assets, based upon their vulnerability to multi-hazard events. He also recommends solutions to develop, design and construct effective mitigation projects to lower their risk to damage. He has developed practical and cost effective approaches to reduce the vulnerability of new facilities to multi-hazard events in the planning and conceptual design phases.

Prior to joining HNTB Mr. Englot spent 33 years with the Port Authority of NY & NJ, where he directed all structural design as Chief Structural Engineer for 10 years, followed by three years as Assistant Chief Engineer in charge of a multidiscipline design staff of over 350 Architects and Engineers. During that time he played a key leadership role in the disaster recovery programs from the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, his agency’s headquarters.

Mr. Englot’s honors and awards include: 2001 ASCE Met Section Civil Engineer of the Year, 2003 FHWA and AASHTO Award of Gratitude (Participation on Blue Ribbon Panel for Bridge and Tunnel Security), 2004 New York State Society of Professional Engineers Government Engineer of the Year, 2005 ASCE Met Section Roebling Award, 2005 first recipient of the National Society of Professional Engineers PEGASUS Award (Professional Engineer in Government Award - Service in the United States), 2008 New York State Society of Professional Engineers Engineer of the Year Award, and 2012-2013 ASCE Met Section President.


Response of the Wrights Ferry Bridge across the Susquehanna, carrying west bound PA State Route 30, was measured during passage of a super load.  The super load consisted of a decommissioned transformer that was being transported from the Three Mile Island power plant in Dauphin County, PA to South Carolina.  The bridge structural arrangement employed repetitive five span modules of continuous/cantilever segments and pin-hanger articulation. The steel superstructure is a girder/floor beam system consisting of two main girders and floor beams with knee braces.  The end floor beam in each span extended up to the concrete deck slab.  The intermediate floor beams were of smaller depth and supported stringers on the top. The main girders extended up to the deck slab.  The superstructure was instrumented at a typical intermediate and end floor beam, at the floor beam of the approach span adjacent to the west expansion joint, at the main girders in the end span and pier supports, and at the pin-hanger connection.  The instrumentation and field measurements were conducted by the ATLSS Engineering Research Center of Lehigh University, and the instrumentation plan was developed in conjunction with Michael Baker, Jr. Inc. of Harrisburg, PA, who was responsible for engineering the move.  The structure was monitored during the passage of the super load in the wee hours.  In addition, the superstructure was also monitored under ambient traffic for three days after the passage of the super load.  The measurements provided valuable insight into the response characteristics of the bridge and the design assumptions for the structural behavior.

SOUGATA ROY, PhD, M. ASCE, is a Principal Research Scientist with the ATLSS Engineering Research Center at Lehigh University. Sougata received his Baccalaureate degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Calcutta in India, and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University.  Dr. Roy is an expert in structural engineering with specialization in Fatigue and fracture of steel structures.  In addition to more than 14 years of experience in the academia, Sougata worked 11 years in structural engineering consultancy designing and managing large bridge engineering projects.  Dr. Roy regularly publishes in technical journals and conference proceedings, presents at national and international conferences and committee meetings, and is an active member of national committees included TRB AFH70:  Metal Fabrication Committee; and AISI/NSBA Design Advisory Group/Bridge Task Force, and ASCE/SEI Fatigue and Fracture Committee (current Chair).


Seven (236’-0” long) steel trusses weighing up to 250,000 pounds support the roof of the state of the art PPL Center located in the City of Allentown.  These provide an open space for the arena floor and seating below.  Come to learn about the challenges faced when erecting and bracing large trusses in a tight urban environment.   This presentation will also discuss truss erection analysis utilizing finite element modeling as well as field monitoring of trusses during erection.  

James D. Pudleiner PE, LEED AP, M. ASCE, serves as a Senior Project Manager for Alfred Benesch & Company and is based in their Lehigh Valley Office.  He received his BSCE from Lafayette College and MSCE from Lehigh University and has 31 years’ experience in building design and forensic investigations. Jim has also served as an Officer in the US Army Transportation Corps.  Recently he supervised the structural investigation of the Berks County Services Center. This included teaming with Lehigh University ATLSS for a  vibration evaluation of the 16 story steel frame structure induced by aerobic exercise and wing loadings. A SAP 2000 finite element model was created by Lehigh and used for both the vibration evaluation and structural analysis.

Michael S. Rohl, PE, M. ASCE, serves as a Project Engineer for Alfred Benesch & Company and is based in their Lehigh Valley Office.  He received his BSCE from Pennsylvania State University and has nine years of experience in building design and forensic investigations.  Mike recently provided structural analysis of the truss erection for the new constructed PPL Center in the City of Allentown which included creating a RAM Elements finite element model and field monitoring during erection.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Statement of Purpose, Possible Activities

The purpose of the Lehigh University Structural Engineering Graduate Student Chapter is to promote advancement of the science and profession of engineering in a manner consistent with the purpose of ASCE. This will be accomplished by: (1) promoting and developing leadership skills within chapter members; (2) providing opportunities for students to present their current research in a professional environment; and (3) allowing interaction with the local engineering community, including the local SEI Lehigh Valley professional chapter.

An outline of possible chapter activities:
  • Hosting professional seminars
    • Attendance by both GSC members and Lehigh Valley SEI members
    • Student and faculty presentations of current research
    • Outside presentations by currently practicing engineers (LV-SEI members?)
    • "Homecoming" seminars (invite back Lehigh alumni to present on their current work)
  • Coordinating with other student groups (FERS, EERI) within the Lehigh CEE department
    • Possible joint seminars and activities
  • Possible funding of student travel to conferences by the LV-SEI professional chapter

If anyone else has any ideas on how to achieve our purpose, feel free to comment below!


Welcome to the home of the newly formed Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) Graduate Student Chapter (GSC) at Lehigh University! Stay tuned to this page for upcoming events, seminars, and news about structural engineering at Lehigh University.