Symposium Offers Sneak Peek at Lab

This week’s recap of the Light-Frame Engineering Symposium was written by Keith Cullum, one of our engineers at the Simpson Strong-Tie Riverside, Calif., branch. Keith graduated with a degree in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and worked for an engineering consulting firm in Orange County designing commercial structures in steel, concrete and masonry, and multi- and single-family residential structures in cold-formed steel and wood. Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie in 2012, he worked for a steel deck manufacturer performing R&D and providing product technical support and promotion. He is a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) and a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California. Here is Keith’s post:

I bet you’d be shocked if someone told you the epicenter for structural engineering was located in Stockton, California. Well, for two days in late October this year, it was. That’s where Simpson Strong-Tie held its 2013 Light-Frame Engineering Symposium.

More than 150 industry professionals attended, including principals and project managers from the top engineering and architectural firms throughout the United States as well as local policy makers, researchers and a number of Simpson Strong-Tie engineers.

The event included several informative presentations by leading experts on topics such as design and analysis of diaphragms and multi-story shear walls, designing high-rise structures with wood, podium deck anchorage, soft-story retrofit testing, code reports and the future direction of building codes.

Steve Pryor gives an overview of the lab's testing capabilities.
Steve Pryor gives an overview of the lab’s testing capabilities.

In addition, the group was given a sneak peek into the testing done at Simpson Strong-Tie’s Tyrell Gilb Research Laboratory.

The first demonstration test was a three-story Strong Frame® Special Moment Frame on the shake table. To illustrate the effects of different types of ground motions, three different earthquake ground motions were

Three-story Strong® Frame Special Moment Frame on Uni-Directional Shake Table
Three-story Strong® Frame Special Moment Frame on Uni-Directional Shake Table

selected and each was scaled to a target spectrum ranging from 0.4g on the first test to 1.5g on the final test.

One of our earlier blog posts was about concrete anchorage in compliance with ACI 318 Appendix D. We ran two anchor tests near the edge of slab – one without and one with anchor reinforcing.

Near Edge Podium Anchorage Testing
Near Edge Podium Anchorage Testing

We also broke a concrete beam reinforced with layers of carbon fiber (FRP) and did cyclic loading of both a double Strong-Wall® SB Shearwall specimen and a 16-inch diameter by 18-foot tall timber pile reinforced with the FX-70® Structural Repair and Protection System (see previous post for more on testing of the FX-70 System).

They say that a single picture is worth a thousand words, but those of us in the engineering community have a saying of our own: “One test result is worth a thousand expert opinions.” We ran seven tests at the symposium, so we had no shortage of them!

Symposium participants take a closer look at the test equipment.
Symposium participants take a closer look at the test equipment.

Sharing those opinions and asking questions was encouraged and they definitely led to many great, in-depth conversations throughout the event.

In addition to the technical discussions and testing, the symposium was an excellent opportunity for networking. The reception and dinner gave old and new friends alike a chance to re-connect and discuss current happenings in the field of structural engineering.

Based on feedback from those in attendance, the symposium was a huge success. Not only did everyone enjoy the event, but they left a little more knowledgeable than when they arrived. They also helped put Stockton on the map.

What are your thoughts? Visit the blog and leave a comment!



Paul McEntee

Author: Paul McEntee

A couple of years back we hosted a “Take your daughter or son to work day,” which was a great opportunity for our children to find out what their parents did. We had different activities for the kids to learn about careers and the importance of education in opening up career opportunities. People often ask me what I do for Simpson Strong-Tie and I sometimes laugh about how my son Ryan responded to a questionnaire he filled out that day:

Q.   What is your mom/dad's job?
A.   Goes and gets coffee and sits at his desk

Q.   What does your mom/dad actually do at work?
A.   Walks in the test lab and checks things

When I am not checking things in the lab or sitting at my desk drinking coffee, I manage Engineering Research and Development for Simpson Strong-Tie, focusing on new product development for connectors and lateral systems.

I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and I am a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer in California. Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, I worked for 10 years as a consulting structural engineer designing commercial, industrial, multi-family, mixed-use and retail projects. I was fortunate in those years to work at a great engineering firm that did a lot of everything. This allowed me to gain experience designing with wood, structural steel, concrete, concrete block and cold-formed steel as well as working on many seismic retrofits of historic unreinforced masonry buildings.