Guest Bloggers

Sam Hensen

I graduated from USC (University of Southern California), and am a licensed Civil Engineer in California and 11 other states including Texas, Florida and South Carolina. Currently, I’m the engineering manager for Simpson Strong-Tie in the Southeastern U.S., and consider myself fortunate to work with a very talented group of engineers and technical staff that provide support for Simpson Strong-Tie on all technical-related issues in the Southeastern region.

The Southeast has a mix of all the design challenges Mother Nature can throw at us. From high seismic areas, like the New Madrid and Charleston faults, to hurricane-prone regions, like the Gulf and Eastern coast, to tornado-prone areas, like the South and Midwestern states. This wide array of external structural design challenges provides Simpson Strong-Tie with many opportunities to offer technical support to the construction industry – whether it is seismic or wind related – and demands engineers in this area to be proficient in all of them.

I began my career with Simpson Strong-Tie in 2000 at our Southern California branch and was privileged to work with many incredible engineers that Simpson Strong-Tie employs there. I moved to Texas in 2005 to manage the engineering department in the Southeast and began to hone my skills on wind related design challenges. Having an understanding of both seismic and wind design challenges makes it much easier to handle the technical demands in the Southeast.

Shane Vilasineekul

Shane VilasineekulWhen I started job searching my senior year of college, I had several interviews with consulting firms before I saw a small flier, tacked to a hallway bulletin board, for interviews at a company called Simpson Strong-Tie. The name was new to me (wood design was not in the curriculum) and I hadn’t considered working for a manufacturing company, but I decided to schedule an interview (partly because The Simpsons was my favorite show at the time) and was fortunate to get the job.

At the time, one of my biggest concerns was that I would gain little structural engineering experience working for a “joist hanger” company. Well, it turned out that Simpson Strong-Tie was growing its line of concrete anchors and lateral force-resisting systems, and it was the Engineering Department’s philosophy that we had to be experts in all areas relating to these product lines in order to support them. Over the next several years I worked with, and was mentored by, some great engineers who helped me develop as a structural engineer and truly appreciate our profession. There are still times when I feel I haven’t paid my dues, but I am quickly reminded by my colleagues how lucky I am to have never had to worry about billable hours.

I graduated from Ohio State University in 1999 with a BS in Civil Engineering and hold a PE license in several states. For the last several years, I have been managing the engineering group out of the Simpson Strong-Tie Columbus, Ohio branch, which covers 24 states across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and New England. The engineers at our branch focus on supporting our products through education, new product development, and by offering technical expertise.

Jeff Ellis

Jeff Ellis

I’m a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer in California and Hawaii with 22 years of experience. Prior to working for Simpson Strong-Tie in 2000, I was a practicing design engineer for small and large commercial, institutional, residential and forensic projects designing with wood, cold-formed steel, structural steel, masonry, and concrete for more than 9 years.

I’ve been with Simpson Strong-Tie for 13 years beginning as a branch engineer for the southwest regional offices, then serving as a senior engineering project manager, and then as code report manager for the company and branch engineering manager for the southwest regional offices. Currently I manage Simpson Strong-Tie’s code reports, our participation in the codes and standards as well as work on special projects such as product and system development and enhancement.

I’ve been fortunate and honored to serve on several industry organizations over the years such as the Board of Directors for the Structural Engineers of Southern California (SEAOSC), chairing the 2011 and 2012 SEAOSC Buildings At Risk ǀ Earthquake Loss Reduction Summit, chairing the AISI Committee on Framing Standards Lateral Design Subcommittee for 3 years, and as serving as a board member for 3 years and then president for 1 year for the Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute. In addition, I was the primary author of the CFSEI “Cold-Formed Steel Framed Wood Panel or Steel Sheet Sheathed Shear Wall Assemblies Design Guide” which was published in 2009. I truly have enjoyed working with many talented, dedicated and passionate folks here at Simpson Strong-Tie as well as within the industry.

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