What’s Happening at MKA

02.19.2021 — The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) has selected John D. Hooper, PE, SE, a Senior Principal and the Director of Earthquake Engineering at MKA, as one of only five people to receive the organization’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.

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 great contributions to seismic-related research and advancements, particularly in the development of the next generation of Performance-Based Seismic Design methodologies and advancement of code-prescriptive seismic design approaches. In addition, John has traveled to major earthquake sites throughout the world to research and analyze the performance of structures and aid in the advancement of seismic risk mitigation. 

Since joining MKA in 1997, he has played an important role in almost every high-rise building the firm has designed in seismically active zones. John is a member of AISC’s Task Committee 3 (Loads, Analysis, and Stability), Task Committee 5 (Composite Design), and the Committee on Specifications. He is the Chair of the ad hoc Task Group on Seismic Analysis. He also is an American Society of Civil Engineers Fellow and Structural Engineering Institute Fellow.

The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals whose continued outstanding service has made a difference in the success of AISC; the structural steel industry; and the structural steel design, construction, and academic communities. Read more about the honor online here.

» John D. Hooper Earns AISC Lifetime Achievement Award

02.12.2021 — It is with highest respect, reverence, and admiration that MKA recognizes and celebrates the life of Leslie E. Robertson. The remarkable contributions Les made to the design of some of the world’s most important and amazing buildings, along with the inspiration he provided to countless architects and engineers, stands as a lasting legacy to his brilliance. MKA is proud to count Les among some of our firm’s most influential and impactful leaders, and we are grateful for his contributions to the firm’s success. He will be fondly remembered and surely missed by many.

PHOTO: Les Robertson and Saw Tee See with Ron Klemencic and Jon Magnusson at the CTBUH Conference in 2015.

Read more in ENR and The New York Times.

» In Memoriam of Leslie E. Roberton

02.11.2021 — This month, our staff was delighted to learn the American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington (ACEC-WA) selected MKA’s Chase Center project in San Francisco to receive the organization’s top honor—the 2021 Engineering Excellence Platinum Award.

The award recognizes projects that represent a wide range of engineering achievements and which demonstrate the highest degree of skill and ingenuity. In the case of Chase Center, high degrees of skill and ingenuity were needed to build this iconic, world-class, mixed-use, mega-development project on the city’s waterfront.

Adjacent to San Francisco Bay and near the San Andreas and Hayward Faults, the development site had many soil and groundwater challenges, such as layers of 1906-earthquake fill, Bay Mud, and weak soil all ranging from 40’-to-130’ deep before reaching bedrock. In addition, the water table was located just five feet below grade. As the project’s Engineer of Record, MKA overcame these challenges by creating a water-tight “boat” structure below grade, designing a graduated-pile foundation system, building a “cocoon” to protect utilities in liquefiable soils, and utilizing nine high-performance concrete cores to provide earthquake resistance.

Additional design innovations included a super-truss, long-span roof system that created a 90’-by-60’ “hole” at the center of the span to “garage” the largest scoreboard in the NBA, allowing for an incredibly adaptable venue for a variety of events and audience sizes. Chase Center’s loading docks, practice facility, and team headquarters were also placed unconventionally below grade to create a dynamic, 360-degree “front-door.”

Today, Chase Center’s 1.74 million square feet include an 18,000-seat NBA arena, Golden State Warriors team headquarters and practice facility, two office towers, 29 retail locations, and other amenities and entertainment experiences that foster community engagement and activate the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood. Read more about MKA, Chase Center, and the ACEC-WA 2021 Engineering Excellence Platinum Award online here.

» Chase Center Earns ACEC-WA Platinum Engineering Excellence Award

02.02.2021 — MKA is thrilled to announce Kelsey Rose Price, PE, has been named one of Building Design + Construction (BD+C) magazine’s 40 Under 40 honorees for 2020.

An Associate at MKA, Kelsey, 30, was recognized with this honor for her focus on promoting structural solutions that encourage sustainability, carbon-consciousness, and environmentally friendly approaches. She played an important role in the development and launch of the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3), a free and open-access tool that helps identify lower embodied carbon building materials in an effort to reduce overall emissions during the design and construction of a project. Kelsey was one of the first beta testers for EC3 and its case study modeling, and she was instrumental in challenging initial EC3 approaches and establishing how the tool works within the typical design process.

“The 40 Under 40 recognition is truly an honor,” said Kelsey, who is the first and youngest female at MKA to receive BD+C’s 40 Under 40 Award. “More than a personal accolade, I believe it is indicative of the built environment’s commitment to greener building practices, which I am humbled to be a part of.”

In addition to her EC3 efforts, Kelsey is an active member of the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), a collaborative group of academic, design, and construction professionals committed to lowering the construction industry’s embodied carbon footprint. She also leads MKA’s in-house Sustainability Technical Specialist Team and serves as an internal reference for MKA project managers seeking guidance around the latest technologies, standards, and issues related to sustainability.

» MKA Associate Kelsey Rose Price Earns BD+C 40 Under 40 Award

12.08.2020 — On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, the Amazon in the Regrade project in downtown Seattle was honored with a Grand Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). The announcement was made during ACEC’s 53rd Annual Awards Gala, which was held virtually and drew more than 650 attendees.

The three-block, 5.2-million-square-foot development is a modern, innovative, and sustainable corporate campus integrated seamlessly into the city’s core. Completed in 2019, Amazon in the Regrade includes three 38-story office towers, street-level retail, large assembly rooms, outdoor public areas, and the iconic Spheres—three intersecting, glass-and-steel conservatories that aim to enhance employee creativity and collaboration by offering treehouse meeting rooms, waterfalls, a four-story “living wall,” and over 40,000 exotic plants from 30 countries. With an overall height equivalent to a nine-story building, The Spheres are 130, 100, and 85 feet in diameter. Their unique shape and design are comprised of structural steel sculpted to repeat a shape within the plane of a pentagon, then repeating that shape 60 times to make up a complete sphere.

MKA was part of the project development team, which included architect NBBJ, owner representative/development manager Seneca Group, and general contractor Sellen Construction. The team was tasked with creating a connected, community-invested campus that reinvented the traditional corporate suburban campus.

This year, ACEC considered more than 200 projects from around the world before selecting 15 Grand Award recipients, 20 Honor Award recipients, and one Grand Conceptor Award recipient. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ACEC represents more than 600,000 engineers, land surveyors, and other technical specialists.

This is the second time this year ACEC has honored the Amazon in the Regrade project. In January 2020, the organization’s Washington State chapter selected the project to receive an Engineering Excellence Gold Award in the Structural Systems category.

» Amazon in the Regrade Wins ACEC National Grand Award

10.01.2020 — Every summer, the staff of MKA participates in two fun-filled weeks of events to raise money in support of Food Lifeline, an organization dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington. Bake-sales, raffles, and friendly competitions like an intense cornhole tournament, chili cookoffs, and jeopardy game night, provide a way to raise funds and also provide some extracurricular excitement.

You would imagine 2020 and the current COVID-19 crisis might put the brakes on that, but Team MKA not only met but exceeded its fundraising goal, surpassing the donations from 2019 with a GoFundMe online campaign, in-lieu of in person activities!

The collective contributions will allow Food Lifeline to provide over 50,000 meals to those in our community in need of food assistance. A huge thank you to everyone who made a donation.

MKA’s GoFundMe website (click here) will be available for donations until Monday, October 5th if you are interested in donating, or please visit https://foodlifeline.org/ to donate or volunteer anytime.

» MKA Exceeds Food Frenzy Fundraising Goal for 2020

07.10.2020 — MKA is excited to announce that the recently completed Chase Center project in San Francisco, California, has received the Jurors’ Favorite/Most Innovative Structure Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering from The Structural Engineers Association of Illinois.  The 1,740,000-square-foot, first-in-class venue features an 18,000-seat arena for ecstatic Golden State Warriors fans; a team headquarters; two, 11-story office towers; a jewel-box gatehouse; 29 retail outlets; two atrium entrances; and a unique, cantilevering “Skybar." Chase Center successfully transformed a deteriorating portion of San Francisco’s Mission Bay District and established a new benchmark for world-class sports and entertainment venues. First-of-their-kind engineering solutions and exemplary team collaboration contributed to successful construction despite extreme site challenges and ambitious program demands. The complex project was successfully delivered by the design and construction team, consisting of architect of record Kendall/Heaton Associates, arena design architect Manica Architecture, and arena interiors architect Gensler, structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates, general contractor Mortenson | Clark JV, and the engagement from dozens of local engineering firms and local sub-contractors to achieve The Golden State Warriors’ vision for a world-class sports and entertainment venue!

MKA has received the top award from SEAOI for 18 of the past 19 years! Congrats to the Chase Center team on this well deserved honor!

» Chase Center Wins SEAOI Most Innovative Structure Award!

06.25.2020 — Last night, the ACE Mentor Program of Washington celebrated the conclusion of this year’s program with a virtual reception and scholarship event. The event was hosted by Jon Magnusson, who dubbed himself, jokingly, the "low-key MC" for the night.

Congratulations to all the ACE participants and mentors this year for their perseverance and to the 14 scholarship recipients awarded last night. It certainly was an unusual year where mentors and participants were challenged to complete their final projects and presentations virtually.

Handrae Henthorn was the recipient of a $7,000 scholarship sponsored by MKA and ACE and will attend Seattle Pacific University in the fall to study structural engineering. MKA is a proud Platinum sponsor and has been part of the ACE Mentor Program in Seattle since its inception in 2001. Congratulations to all and best wishes for your bright futures!

» ACE Mentor Program of WA 2020

02.13.2020 — MKA is excited to announce that 2020 is a historic year for our firm as we celebrate our 100th Anniversary! Looking back on the last 10 decades, we are humbled by the innovators and intellects we have partnered with and are grateful to the many clients, employees, families, and mentors who have shaped our path. Be sure to check out our 100-Year Video here to see some of our story and visit the About MKA History page for a timeline of our work and company milestones.

Thank you to all those who have played a role in our firm. We are excited to embark on the journey of the next 100 years and eager to take on the challenges we have yet to encounter!

» Happy Anniversary MKA!

02.10.2020 — MKA is pleased to announce that on Friday, January 24th, The American Council of Engineering Companies Washington awarded the Amazon in the Regrade project a Gold Award in the Structural Systems Category for Engineering Excellence. The award ceremony took place at the ACEC Gala in Bellevue, Washington, where several MKA employees were on hand to receive the award. The Amazon in the Regrade project celebrates the recently complete Amazon Rufus 2.0 headquarters in downtown Seattle, which covers three city blocks and includes three, 38-story office towers, street-level retail, large assembly rooms, outdoor public areas, and “The Spheres” as the iconic centerpiece. The modern, innovative, and sustainable corporate design, was successfully delivered by the design and construction team, consisting of architects NBBJ, structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates, owner representative/development managers Seneca Group, and general contractor Sellen Construction, who collaborated to achieve Amazon’s vision for a connected, community-invested campus, seamlessly integrated into the city’s core.

Congratulations to the other 24 projects that were also honored in this year’s program. To read more, download the special section to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce here.

» ACEC Gold Award Amazon in the Regrade

02.10.2020 — MKA’s Chairman and CEO, Ron Klemencic, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering’s Class of 2020. Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to field of engineering. Ron was recognized for his innovation in the design of high-rise buildings worldwide, and for research and design guidelines to advance structural engineering practices. Ron joins past MKA leaders, John Skilling, Les Robertson, Jack Christiansen, and Jon Magnusson in receiving this honor. Congratulations, Ron!

» Ron Klemencic NAE Class of 2020

01.30.2020 — Congratulations to MKA’s Sonya Gabrielson, P.E., an inaugural WEDG® Associate credentialed professional. WEDG, which stands for Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines, is a sustainability rating system similar to LEED, but specifically for waterfront resilience. Sonya is the leader of MKA’s Water Resources Technical Specialist Team and brings an enhanced understanding of state-of-the-art approaches to all of her projects. Sonya has worked on many landmark designs across the country including the phased modernization of a 39-acre, “net-zero” Port in San Ysidro, and an iconic 119-acre island park in New York Harbor. Learn more about WEDG in the article from the Waterfront Alliance here.

» Sonya Gabrielson Earns Inaugural WEDG Credential

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