What’s Happening at MKA

04.27.2017 — MKA’s Senior Principals, Jon Magnusson, P.E., S.E., Hon. AIA and Drew Gangnes, P.E., S.E., were excited to be on hand for the 50th Anniversary of the ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards in Washington DC. MKA’s entry for Seattle’s Elliott Bay Seawall Habitat and Public Space was honored with a Grand Award.

MKA’s design was recognized by ACEC for a number of innovations, including a stacked pedestrian promenade public space over the salmon migration corridor, complex daylight modeling and analysis of a custom light-penetrating sidewalk (LPS) solution, oversight of the LPS panels and of artistically textured face panels and habitat shelves fronting the new seawall, and more.

Congratulations to all the winners, including Seattle’s own SR 520 Floating Bridge which took home the highest ACEC honor of the evening – the Grand Conceptor Award.

Photo: Risdon Photography

» MKA Wins ACEC Grand Award

04.18.2017 — A new guide for design professionals is set to be released in mid-2017 with a focus on water use and reuse. Water being a finite resource, new building projects benefit from considering some level of water self-sufficiency that is good not only for the bottom line of the building but also for the impact on the environment.

The guide entitled, the Non-Potable Water Reuse Practice Guide, is written in language that can be easily understood and easily shared with clients, building owners and operators, and the public.

MKA was happy to provide sponsorship for developing the practice guide and MKA Principal, Matt Jones, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, is serving as a member of the Water Reuse Practice Guide Working Group.

For more information and to read an excerpt of the upcoming guide, visit the AIA California Council’s website here.

» MKA Sponsors Water Re-Use Guide

03.17.2017 — Continually raising the bar and always striving for better at MKA, the following six individuals have been promoted to new heights:


Sean Clifton, P.E., S.E. LEED AP — Sean is focused on the unique design aspects of residential, hospitality buildings, and mixed-use developments.  Current projects include the Marriott AC/Le Meridien in Denver and the McCormick Place Marriott in Chicago.

Adam Theiss, P.E., S.E. — Adam has led the design of office and residential high-rise projects throughout the U.S.  Current projects include the River Point Office Tower and Wolf Point East Residential Tower, both in Chicago.


James Mahoney, P.E., LEED AP — James is an active member of MKA’s Healthcare Specialist Group, currently working on the UW Medicine Phase 3.2 project.

Peter Range, P.E., LEED AP BD+C — Peter is an active member of MKA’s Sports Specialist Group, currently working on the Detroit Redwings Event Center.

Griffin Smith, P.E., S.E., LEED AP — Griffin is an active member of the Cultural Specialist Group, currently working on the Seattle Opera Expansion at Seattle Center.

Jana Tetikova, P.E. — Jana focuses on high-rise residential towers and luxury hotels, and is currently working on the Trinity residential development in San Francisco.

» 2017 MKA Promotions

02.13.2017 — We are proud to announce Senior Principal, David Eckmann, SE, PE, FAIA has been elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Out of a total AIA membership of over 90,000, approximately three percent of members are recognized as fellows.

Dave’s training as both an architect and a structural engineer gives him a unique perspective and understanding of both aesthetic and technical requirements. Many of Dave’s projects feature structure as architecture. Both aesthetically compelling and structurally innovative, these projects also feature systems that push material limits. Most recently on River Point Tower in Chicago, his design of sloped columns at the base allowed the tower to fit on a constrained site with a solution that is celebrated in the architectural form.

The 2017 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando. Congratulations, Dave!

» Dave Eckmann Elevated to AIA Fellow

01.26.2017 — MKA is pleased to announce that Kevin Carroll, AUTODESK CP, AIA, and Sarah Moline, M.B.A., have joined MKA’s management team. Kevin, Building Information Model (BIM) Manager, will lead MKA’s BIM department, and Sarah, Communications and Marketing Manager, will lead the marketing department.

Kevin brings 28 years of experience as an AEC professional with a passion for design technology and its effective use to further collaborative projects. He is a licensed architect and has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Pierce College teaching Revit and 3D modeling.

Sarah has 15 years of marketing, communications, and management experience, most recently with Crane Aerospace & Electronics. She will be working closely with firm leaders to hone MKA’s strategic communication and marketing vision and goals, leveraging the firm’s rich 97-year history.

» Department Head Additions at MKA

01.24.2017 — MKA was pleased to attend the 50th Annual ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards in Bellevue on Friday evening. The event, sponsored by the Washington State chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies, honored 42 exemplary engineering projects in categories from structural systems to environmental design.

MKA received the top Platinum award for its work on the Elliott Bay Seawall along Seattle’s waterfront. MKA managed the design integration of the project’s public space and habitat restoration components, and their interface with the long-term concept plan for the viaduct-free waterfront. Among other habitat features below the sidewalk, the Seawall Promenade includes a light penetrating sidewalk (LPS) to bring natural light into the salmon migration corridor beneath it.

The top seven projects (one Platinum and 6 Gold) will advance to compete at the ACEC National competition in April.  Congratulations to all the winners!

To read more, download the special section to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce here.

» MKA’s Elliott Bay Seawall Project Wins Platinum Award

11.21.2016 — Ian McFarlane, Senior Associate at MKA, was named one of Building Design + Construction’s "40 Under 40" class of 2016.  The youngest of 13 engineers with a Senior Associate title, Ian stands out as an exceptional leader whose contributions to the engineering profession during his 9-year career with MKA exemplify both design leadership and professional excellence.  Ian is sought out for and remains an active contributor and participant in the development of codes and practices for the national structural engineering profession.  Congratulations Ian!

» Ian McFarlane Named Top 40 Under 40 By BD+C

11.04.2016 — Congratulations to our Chairman and CEO, Ron Klemencic, PE, SE, Hon. AIA, who received the Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) last night in Chicago.

Joining Ron at the awards dinner were MKA Senior Principals, Dave Eckmann, PE, SE, AIA and Jon Magnusson, PE, SE, Hon. AIA — along with MKA President Don Davies, PE, SE.

Jury member Abrar Sheriff said, "Ron Klemencic is inarguably one of the biggest influencers in the fields of structural and civil engineering today. Ron has acquired a reputation in the industry as a deviceful problem solver, and for good reason – he has the ability to craft solutions at the highest and broadest levels, a quality that shines brilliantly in all of his work. "

Congratulations to Ron for being recognized for his incredible leadership in the engineering community!

» Ron Klemencic Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Award

08.30.2016 — A new CTBUH research group is rethinking the traditional notion of the elevator in tall building design. The group’s discussions center around MULTI, an innovative rope-less, non-vertical elevator system being developed by thyssenkrupp AG.

Surprisingly, in its over 150-year history, the basic concept of the elevator has not changed, but the new technology being developed by thyssenkrupp allows mobility in both vertical and horizontal directions within a building by replacing ropes with linear motors.

Identified for his expertise in tall building structural design, MKA’s Principal, Rob Chmielowski, P.E., S.E., participated in the kick-off meeting of this special CTBUH research group in Chicago on August 30th. Research on the topic will continue for the next two years and investigate how this new technology could impact future designs of our tall buildings and our cities.

For more information on this research project, visit the CTUBH website here.

» Rob Chmielowski Joins CTBUH Research Group

08.27.2016 — Since 2014, MKA has chosen a Community Service project to tackle in the Greater Seattle area. The year starts with a call for MKA volunteers and the selection of an overall project manager. Brainstorming and project selection happens next, and then the design teams go to work creating detailed plans, supply lists, and much more –  in anticipation for a well-coordinated build day. 

For this year’s project we planned several major improvements to Dr. Jose Rizal Park in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle. The park contains an orchard perched along the west slope, overlooking downtown. City Fruit, a non-profit organization, along with the park steward and volunteers maintain the orchard and harvest the fruit to benefit the Beacon Hill community and for use in local food banks.

MKA’s task was to extend an existing trail for better access to the orchard; build secure, on-site storage boxes for tools used in the maintenance of the orchard; and to build a 3-step composting system for fallen apples. After six months of planning and design, 40+ MKA volunteers were on-hand on August 27th to complete the project. 

Take a look at our short video here to see what the team was able to build in one day!  Our thanks to Seattle Works for assisting us with logistics and coordination for the third year running!

To find out more about the rich history of the park and its orchard, visit here

» MKA’s 2016 Community Service Project

07.28.2016 — Food Frenzy for 2016 is a wrap. MKA participated in two weeks of fun events — all to raise money for Food Lifeline. Activities included everything from bake sales to trivia competitions. One office favorite was the “Cardboard Cutout Competition.” Staff donated dollars to send a large scale cutout to loom over their co-workers desk. Last year it was Justin Bieber, this year it was a T-Rex! And new for this year was the “Guess the MKA Baby Competition.” 25 photos were submitted to the contest. Our BIM Technical Lead, Ben Thomas, was the winner — identifying 16 of his co-workers from their baby photos!

MKA’s staff raised $8,016.93, far exceeding our 2015 totals. Staff also helped sort, pack, weigh, and stack nearly 2800 lbs. of food at the Food Bank Volunteer Night.

Thanks to Justin Grasse, Jessica Haas, Abby Taylor, Angela Bigelow, Kunal Vaswani, Megan Hays, Travis Corigliano, Eleanor Reynolds, Mandy Chen, Krzysztof Zaleski, Blake Doepker, and Michael Murphy for organizing the individual activities and to ALL our MKA staff for their participation.

» Food Frenzy 2016

06.01.2016 — Another successful year of the ACE Mentor Program of Washington is complete! On May 24th our own CFO, Bill Christopher, emceed the Eastside presentation night as two teams made their final presentations, and the following evening six Seattle teams made their presentations at the University of Washington. There were 165 students and 130 mentors who participated this year, meeting bi-monthly at mentor firm offices.

The ACE Mentor Program of Washington is free to high school students who want to explore the architecture, engineering, and construction professions. Special thanks to the 19 MKA staff who volunteered their time and talents to mentor the students this year, including Emily Carlip and Brad Strandquist who co-lead Team 2. This is now the 16th year that MKA has been a participant in this great program!

» ACE Mentor Program 2016

05.27.2016 — Pictured here is Team MKA Chicago at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge last night in Grant Park! (From L to R: Josh Brickman, Bethany Myelle, Adam Theiss and Lucas Cusak.) This was the 35th running of the event in Chicago and served as a benefit and awareness builder for "Get IN Chicago", a not-for-profit dedicated to identifying the most effective ways to reduce youth violence. Nice work team!

» Team MKA Chicago Runs

05.03.2016 — In the central courtyard of the new Trinity Place apartments in San Francisco, a 92-foot sculpture of “Venus” is currently under construction. The twisting stainless steel sculpture was designed by artist Lawrence Argent and will be only slightly shorter than the Statue of Liberty at its crown. Imagine looking eye-to-eye with this grand sculpture from your 10th floor apartment!

MKA’s structural team led by Senior Principal David Fields, P.E., S.E. LEED AP, worked on all three phases of the Trinity project and also provided the design of the structural frame for the sculpture, which includes gravity and lateral force-resisting systems. The sculpture’s superstructure is a cantilevered steel space frame with a central steel column filled with reinforced concrete over the lower 23 feet. The external skin is linked to the internal space frame “ribbons” and central column through a system of outrigger angles and hangers.

For construction photos, see the article in SF Gate here. When finished, the sculpture will be the tallest in San Francisco!

» Trinity’s Venus Sculpture Largest in SF

02.08.2016 — The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has elected Jon D. Magnusson, P.E., S.E., Hon. AIA, to its prestigious membership. The election is among the highest professional distinctions an engineer can be honored with. Jon’s nomination was for “building designs that enable high-rise buildings in seismic sensitive regions and for innovations in modern structural engineering practice worldwide.”

Jon’s career spans over 40 years in engineering. He joined MKA in 1976 and rapidly advanced to Principal, Senior Principal, CEO, and ultimately Chairman of the Board — a role he held for 18 years. Now a Senior Principal, Jon has worked on projects in 47 states and 49 countries and continues to show leadership inside and outside MKA.

In announcing Jon’s election to the MKA staff, current CEO, Ron Klemencic shared his thoughts — “Jon has truly redefined the profession and perception of structural engineering, and it is amazing that we, as a firm and individuals, can share his knowledge, talent, and leadership every day.”

The newly elected class to will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 9, 2016. Read more about the newly elected members here.

Congratulations Jon!

» JDM Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

01.27.2016 — MKA’s Chicago office was pleased to recently host a group of engineering students from MIT. The group led by Senior Principal and Chicago Office Leader, Dave Eckmann, P.E., S.E., AIA and Associate, Adam Theiss, P.E., toured two of MKA’s projects going up simultaneously along the Chicago River’s edge — River Point Tower and 150 N. Riverside. The next day the students were inspired to visit another MKA project, the pavilion at Lincoln Park Zoo. You can view the progress of the two towers by visiting the construction webcam, here.

Photos courtesy: Professor John A. Ochsendorf, MIT.

» MKA Chicago Hosts MIT Students

01.19.2016 — MKA President, Don Davies, P.E., S.E., and Senior Associate, Farshad Berahman, Ph.D., are contributors to the current CTBUH research effort studying damping technologies in tall buildings. Don and Farshad are providing their professional knowledge and real-world experience with damping — an advancement that MKA has been putting into practice for decades as we design structural systems for high-rise projects, buildings in seismic zones, and projects that require minimizing vibrations such as performance halls and long-span convention centers. Damping systems specific to tall buildings complement the structural system, providing increased resistance to structural vibrations that can cause discomfort to the building occupants and possible structural damage.

This research will produce a comprehensive study of the damping technologies available for tall buildings, describing their function and relationship to other building components. The project is anticipated to conclude in November 2016, and the group involved is pictured above at a recent New York City meeting. For more detailed information about CTBUH and this study, visit here.

» MKA Contributes to CTBUH’s Damping Research

01.08.2016 — The ACE Mentor Program for 2015-2016 is in full swing. High school students from the Seattle and Eastside areas are working with industry mentors to learn about architecture, engineering, and construction. MKA is participating as a mentor firm again this year and has 19 MKA staff participating!

This year’s project is to design a high-rise residential building located on Ninth and Virginia in downtown Seattle. Teams are given criteria for the building’s program that includes mixed use space, multiple floors of residential units and four stories of underground parking. The teams have 15 weeks to come up with their schemes. The final presentations will take place on May 25th. Good luck to all the teams!

To learn more about the ACE Mentor Program in Washington, click here.

» ACE Mentor Program 2016

01.07.2016 — Ending 2015 with the giving spirit, MKA staff raised $1,153.00 for Treehouse, a Seattle organization that supports foster children, teens and their families. Donations were collected online and also through a multi-day bake sale. Three boxes of toys and clothes were also delivered to the Treehouse Warehouse just in time for Christmas. Thanks to everyone who participated to support Treehouse!

» MKA’s Giving Spirit

MKA News