What’s Happening at MKA

10.28.2022 — Rainier Square earned ASCE’s OCEA Award this week during the organization’s OPAL Awards Gala in Anaheim, California. The OCEA honor, presented annually since 1960, is billed as civil engineering’s “Academy Award.” It recognizes the project that best illustrates superior civil engineering skills and represents a significant contribution to civil engineering progress and society.

Completed in November 2020, Rainier Square rises 58 stories and 850 feet above downtown Seattle, offering 1.4-million square feet of office, apartment, and retail space. It also represents the first high-rise ever built with SpeedCore—a non-proprietary, first-of-its-kind structural system that uses modular, prefabricated core elements with assembly-line-like efficiency to erect high-rise towers faster, safer, and more economically.

“Rainier Square and the incorporation of the SpeedCore structural system represents 16 years of research and development, including contributions from research universities, colleagues, building officials, fabricators, erectors, and competitors from all aspects of our industry,” said Ron Klemencic, Chairman and CEO of MKA, Rainier Square’s structural engineer. “This is a testament to what can be done with collaboration.”

You can learn more about the award and this week’s event here.

» Rainier Square Earns ASCE’s Top Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award

09.24.2022 — MKA’s Community Service Project returned in September following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 60 MKA employees, friends, and family gathered at Seattle’s Graham Hill Elementary School to breathe new life into an otherwise drab, concrete play area by creating a fun and inspiring space for children of all ages to learn and enjoy. The project list included two large shade structures, four sets of nestingbenches, four raised planter beds, tricycle and pedestrian paths, a wall with sensory and tactile panels, a compost bin, storage for tricycles and tools—and even a vibrant, water-themed mural measuring 72 feet long and 11 feet high, and featuring whales, salmon, a canoe, an octopus, and other Pacific Northwest emblems!

“This was probably one of the most ambitious community service projects we’ve undertaken in terms of scope and trying our hand at something new by painting a mural,” said project co-leader Saya Kajiwara. “There was some day-of problem-solving. But all-in-all, it went very smoothly!”

Saya and project co-leader Dave Steele offered special “shout-outs” to design team leaders Michael Kearns, Anand Mourougassamy, Jeff Pope, Logan Stewart, Marissa Stone, and Ray Yu, as well as Jeremy Hasselbauer and Russell Larsen for cutting all that lumber! In addition, Phil Leithner with DeWALT donated the project’s anchors—and even demonstrated how to install anchors in concrete and asphalt properly.

Thank you to everyone who came out!! This project turned out #MKAwesome!

» MKA Community Service Project 2022

06.27.2022 — MKA President Don Davies and Senior Principal and Director of Earthquake Engineering John Hooper were inducted into UC Berkeley’s Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Academy of Distinguished Alumni on June 16.  The Academy honors the outstanding professional accomplishments and contributions of UC Berkeley CEE alumni, raises awareness of the program, and presents successful CEE graduates and role models to students.  Davies was inducted as a member of the Class of 2021, and Hooper was inducted as a member of the Class of 2020.  The formal ceremonies for both classes were held this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.  The pair are the most recent MKA employees to join the Academy during the past five years—Senior Principal Jon Magnusson and Chairman and CEO Ron Klemencic were inducted in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Congratulations, Don and John!

» UC Berkeley Distinguished Alumni

06.15.2022 — Shelley Clark’s colleagues, friends, and family gathered on June 15 to celebrate her nearly 40-year career at MKA during a retirement party at the Columbia Tower Club in downtown Seattle. In honor of Shelley, MKA donated $20,000 to the ACE Mentor Program in her name—which Shelley matched!  It was a fitting gesture for someone who blazed a trail as a woman in engineering throughout her career. Shelley encouraged others to contribute and even floated the idea of an endowment scholarship to benefit girls who graduate from the ACE program. Many thanks and congratulations to Shelley for her years of contributions to MKA and the engineering industry!

» Shelley Clark’s Career Celebration

05.24.2022 — MKA’s Rainier Square project was presented with a Grand Award by The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) during the organization’s 55th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards, a black-tie Gala event held on May 24 in Washington, DC.  As a grand winner, Rainier Square was selected as one of 15 top projects in the nation recognized for exceptional engineering innovation, complexity, achievement, and value.

The 58-story mixed-use tower represents the first high-rise ever built with SpeedCore—a non-proprietary, first-of-its-kind structural system that uses modular, prefabricated core elements with assembly-line-like efficiency to erect high-rise towers faster, safer, and more economically. 

SpeedCore cut 10 months off what would have been a 32-month schedule if constructed with a traditional structural system and was erected 43% faster than usual, with up to four floors completed weekly, resulting in a topping-out milestone just 10 months after the first steel arrived onsite.  The prefabrication of SpeedCore’s modular panels meant less waste, fewer onsite workers, and fewer truck trips.

In addition to SpeedCore, the project was also recognized by ACEC in part for its other unique innovative elements, such as two bi-directional, 35,700-gallon water tanks, which serve as dampers at the roof to reduce wind motion; performance-based seismic and fire engineering; and complex site challenges given its seven levels of below-grade parking that required a 100-foot-deep excavation extending 50 feet below the mat foundation of the neighboring 40-story Rainier Tower.

This marks MKA’s 33rd National ACEC award in the last 36 years.  Congratulations to the entire Design and Construction team on this amazing achievement!

» Rainier Square Earns ACEC National Engineering Excellence Award

05.06.2022 — As part of the firm’s ongoing effort to take meaningful steps toward significantly reducing embodied carbon in the built environment, MKA has released its SE 2050 Embodied Carbon Action Plan (ECAP) for 2022.

SE 2050 is a coalition of structural engineering firms committed to reducing the emissions associated with material production and building construction, also known as embodied carbon, by 2050.  The Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry is responsible for at least 39 percent of carbon emissions worldwide, according to the Carbon Leadership Forum, and embodied carbon will be responsible for almost half of total new construction emissions between now and 2050.

As a signatory firm of SE 2050, MKA’s 2022 ECAP outlines the firm’s strategy for more sustainable design and construction practices.  The plan contains two-dozen pledged action items centered on the pillars of Education; Measuring and Reporting; Communication, Innovation, and Reduction; and Advocacy and Investment.

MKA’s complete SE 2050 ECAP for 2022 is available for download at https://www.mka.com/leadership/sustainability and https://se2050.org/signatory-firms/.

» MKA Releases SE 2050 Embodied Carbon Action Plan for 2022

04.22.2022 — With the built environment accounting for almost 40 percent of all energy-related carbon emissions worldwide, the AEC industry must take meaningful steps toward significant carbon reduction.

To that end, Hines engaged MKA to create the Hines Embodied Carbon Reduction Guide. This effort spans two years and relies on MKA’s industry-leading knowledge of carbon accounting and involvement in programs such as the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) Tool. Released on April 22, a date internationally recognized as Earth Day, this free, comprehensive, 108-page program aims to create more sustainable development practices at Hines while establishing an industry standard for quantifying, tracking, and reducing embodied carbon in the commercial real estate development process.

“MKA is honored to be a part of Hines’ strategy to reduce embodied carbon in the built environment,” said MKA President Don Davies. “I am excited to see how Hines’ focused engagement leverages environmentally sustainable change throughout the industry.”

By sharing the Embodied Carbon Reduction Guide with developers, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, investors, and other industry partners, Hines and MKA aim to affect lasting, responsible, and sustainable progress toward reducing the built environment’s carbon footprint.

Click here to visit Hines’ website to see the firm’s launch video, download your copy of the Embodied Carbon Reduction Guide, and learn more about the program.

» MKA+Hines Collaboration Released: The Hines Embodied Carbon Reduction Guide

04.13.2022 — MKA is thrilled to announce that MKA Senior Principal Shelley Clark, PE, SE, CDP, was named 2022 Engineer of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington (ACEC-WA)!  The award recognizes engineers of outstanding character who have made significant contributions to the profession in the areas of technical and service excellence.  It was presented during the organization’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards banquet and celebration on March 25 at the Westin in downtown Bellevue.

Shelley joined Skilling Ward Rogers Barkshire—now known as MKA—as an entry-level engineer in 1984, became an Owner and a Senior Principal at MKA in 2001, and led the firm’s Retail/Mixed-Use Specialist Group until her retirement in December 2021.

Her impressive portfolio of engineering design work in Washington state includes Pacific Place, University Village, and the renovation and expansion of Northgate Mall in Seattle; The Landing in Renton; and Alderwood Village and the renovation of Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood.  Nationwide, Shelley has led the structural design for hundreds of projects, providing innovative engineering solutions that transformed communities and the retail AEC industry alike, with projects such as City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Brickell City Centre in Miami, Florida—two of the nation’s largest mixed-use developments.

In addition to her project work, Shelley was President of the Seattle Chapter of the Structural Engineers Association of Washington and an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.  She is also a committed mentor inspiring the next generation of engineering professionals by promoting STEM education at local elementary and middle schools, and teaching graduate-level classes at the University of Washington.

Shelley is the third MKA employee in the past 21 years to receive ACEC-WA’s Engineer of the Year Award.  She is MKA’s 10th engineer to be named ACEC-WA Engineer of the Year.  Congratulations, Shelley, on this distinguished and well-deserved honor and an outstanding career!

» Shelley Clark Named ACEC-WA Engineer of the Year

04.12.2022 — The American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington (ACEC-WA) presented Rainier Square with a Gold Engineering Excellence Award in the Structural Systems category during the organization’s annual gala on March 25 in Bellevue. Completed in November 2020, Rainier Square is a 58-story, 850-foot-tall, mixed-use destination in downtown Seattle offering 1.4 million square feet of space for offices, luxury apartment homes, and retail stores.

Recognized by ACEC-WA as one of the state’s top projects demonstrating an exceptional degree of engineering innovation, complexity, achievement, and value, Rainier Square is the first high-rise building to be constructed using SpeedCore. This innovative, non-proprietary structural system uses modular, prefabricated core elements with assembly-line-like efficiency to erect high-rise towers faster, safer, and more economically. Championed by Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA), Rainier Square’s Engineer of Record, SpeedCore’s steel Concrete-Filled, Composite-Plate Shear Wall (CF-CPSW) panels eliminate the need to place formwork or strip and install rebar, allowing developers to build entire structures at the rapid pace of steel construction.

At Rainier Square, SpeedCore cut 10 months off what would have been a 32-month schedule if constructed with a traditional structural system. Rainier Square was erected 43% faster than usual, with four floors completed weekly, resulting in a topping-out milestone just 10 months after the first steel arrived onsite. The attendant savings in general conditions, construction financing interest, and earlier rental revenue streams were significant. The prefabrication of SpeedCore’s modular panels meant less waste, fewer onsite workers, and fewer truck trips.

In addition to SpeedCore, Rainier Square’s design includes two bi-directional, 35,700-gallon water tanks, which serve as dampers at the roof to reduce wind motion, and performance-based seismic and fire engineering. Adding to the complexity, Rainier Square’s seven levels of below-grade parking required a 100-foot-deep excavation extending 50 feet below the mat foundation of the neighboring 40-story Rainier Tower, which was built in the late 1970s. Rainer Tower was supported by an impressive temporary earth retention system provided by geotechnical engineer Hart Crowser that allowed it to remain fully occupied during Rainier Square’s excavation and construction despite both towers’ snug proximities. More information about ACEC-WA’s 2022 Engineering Excellence Award recipients is available here.

With this ACEC-WA Gold Award, Rainier Square advances to ACEC’s national competition, which recognizes the industry’s top engineering achievements. Winners will be announced during ACEC’s Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on May 24 in Washington, DC.

» Rainier Square Earns ACEC-WA Engineering Excellence Award

02.24.2022 — MKA is proud to announce John D. Hooper, PE, SE, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering! An MKA Senior Principal and Director of Earthquake Engineering, John was recognized for the advancement of building code seismic design provisions and earthquake-resistant structural design of major buildings around the world. With more than 35 years of engineering experience, John is a nationally recognized specialist in advanced seismic design.

The impact of his work can be found throughout the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry. He has made significant contributions to seismic-related research, particularly in developing the next generation of Performance-Based Seismic Design methodologies and the advancement of code-prescriptive seismic design approaches.

Since joining MKA in 1997, he has played an important role in almost every major project that the firm has designed in seismically active zones.

Election to the NAE is deemed one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Congrats, John!

» John Hooper Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

01.10.2022 — With heartfelt sadness, we share the passing of our friend and colleague, Bill Ward. Bill joined our firm in June 1954 as the firm’s name was transitioning from W.H. Witt Company to Worthington & Skilling and served in many capacities until his retirement at the end of 1991.  His influence can still be felt in the culture of our firm.  He was known as an engineer’s engineer and a very kind, fair, and considerate person.

Bill earned his BSCE at Santa Clara University in 1950.  When Bill joined the firm there were 13 employees.  He was a very versatile engineer with the ability to work on both structural and civil engineering assignments.

In 1978, Bill was promoted to Partner and was responsible for firm operations as COO.  He brought a new, more progressive approach to the human resources part of firm management.  Many of his initiatives still benefit the firm today. In 1983, Bill was elected President and COO and served in that capacity until his retirement.  At the time of his election to President, the firm name changed to Skilling Ward Rogers Barkshire.

Bill was active professionally in both the Structural Engineers Association of Washington and the American Council of Engineering Companies – Washington.  He was elected as the SEAW Seattle Chapter President in 1973 and was selected as the SEAW Engineer of the Year in 1985.  He was also named ACEC-Washington Engineer of the Year.

For those that knew Bill, we all share the sadness of losing a great friend.  We are better people having known Bill Ward.

» Honoring Bill Ward, 1926-2022

01.05.2022 — MKA’s Juliette Peyroux, PE, SE, was recently named one of Building Design+Construction (BD+C) magazine’s 2021 40 Under 40 honorees.

A Senior Associate at MKA, Juliette, 32, focuses on promoting structural solutions for seismically safe and resilient airport terminals, concourses, and inspection stations in areas known for high seismic activity, such as San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. She also is a WAsafe Program Certified Instructor and State Coordinator, allowing her to teach building safety evaluation classes to her colleagues. In addition, Juliette leads MKA’s in-house Earthquake Technical Specialist Team in its efforts to research the latest developments and trends in earthquake engineering. 

“I am deeply honored to be part of this year’s class of 40 under 40,” said Juliette. “Since major earthquakes do not happen frequently, it is easy to forget about the impact a large earthquake can have on an unprepared community. I am passionate about advancing the earthquake engineering field with respect to building designs and preparing Washington to respond quickly and effectively in the case of ‘The Big One.’  This recognition motivates me to continue to challenge myself and the AEC industry to do better when it comes to earthquake design and preparedness.”

Read more about Juliette’s honor online here.

» Juliette Peyroux Named BD+C 40 Under 40 Honoree

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