What’s Happening at MKA

09.28.2018 — We are is pleased to announce that Principal, L. Leif Johnson, P.E., S.E., LEED AP, will be inducted into Building Design + Constructions “40 Under 40” Class of 2018 on November 14! Since 2006, editors have honored 40 individuals each year who are the next generation of rising stars, and to date, 520 AEC professionals form this select group.

Leif is sought out by owners and architects as a design collaborator for his creativity and leadership. While there is a lot of industry conversation about mass timber, less is actually getting built than the buzz would suggest—but Leif, through his ingenuity and focus, is making it happen! A recent notable project of Leif’s is T3 Minneapolis, a 7-story, 268,280-ft² mass timber office building—the first new construction mass timber office building in the United States of this scale. By paying attention to the wood grain orientation and optimizing the design around stresses always being parallel to the grains, Leif coined the term “Fiber Optimized Design” as a fundamental of the project. Building upon the idea of Fiber Optimized Design, Leif is now steering a MKA research effort around dimensional lumber created from laminated bamboo fibers. Leif is an active leader in the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), a collaborative effort between academic, design, and construction professionals committed to a lower future embodied carbon footprint of construction.

Leif has led the engineering structural design for the World Trade Center Perelman Performing Arts Center in New York City, NY; T3 Minneapolis in Minneapolis, MN; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Expansion in San Francisco, CA; and the Nordic Heritage Museum and Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion in Seattle, WA.

» Leif Johnson, PE, SE, LEED AP Honored As

09.15.2018 — On Saturday, September 15th, MKA staff, family, and friends came together at Magnuson Park in Seattle for our yearly Community Service project. This year MKA partnered with the Children’s Garden at the park to complete several projects enhancing the space. MKA designed and built one adult and two child-sized picnic tables (both with wheelchair accessible ends), two secure tool bins, two sets of three nesting benches, a custom-built outdoor sink, as well as, completing a full day of gardening work!

Although the weather threatened rain and sprinkled a bit at times, the team was able to complete all the projects planned. This is the 5th year of MKA’s Community Service project, serving five community partners. Engineers Kelsey Price and Jennifer Diggs led the project and breakout Team Leaders put in hours of design and pre-planning for the event. The Children’s Garden Team expressed the utmost gratitude, which is undoubtedly the biggest mark of success! #MKAServiceDay #MKAwesome

» 2018 MKA Community Service Day

08.28.2018 — As another summer comes to a close, so does another successful Food Frenzy event in Seattle!  Food Frenzy is a fun competition between local Seattle businesses to raise money to support Food Lifeline, an organization dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington.  MKA goes head-to-head against other firms in the A/E/C industry raising money for this worthy cause. For two weeks in July, our staff participated in creative activities and events, including bake sales, a wine raffle and tasting, tickets auctioned off for a homecooked summer barbeque, an in-office “art walk,” and more.  MKA upped the competitive spirit within the office with a jeopardy game night, arcade tournament, and cornhole match, pinning colleague against colleague for some extracurricular excitement!  This year MKA raised a total of $8,745, and since every dollar contributes four complete meals to families in need, that’s 34,980 meals!  We look forward to surpassing this total again next year as we all work together to fight hunger in our communities!

In an effort to further give back and keep the spirit of Food Frenzy alive year round, MKA employees are now participating in a volunteer night every last Tuesday of each month.  Staff members volunteer to sort and repack donated and rescued food that will be distributed to over 300 food banks, meal programs, and shelters throughout Western Washington.  To find out more about Food Lifeline or to donate, click here. Thank you to all who participated in Food Frenzy 2018!

» Food Frenzy 2018 Recap

08.18.2018 — MKA celebrated summer in style at our annual MKA Summer Event. This year staff and their families enjoyed a day at the Seattle Sounders Soccer match.  It was a beautiful day and also a lucky day for the Sounders vs. the LA Galaxy. The final score... Sounders 5, Galaxy 0.

» MKA Summer Event at the Sounders

07.19.2018 — MKA is proud to be a co-sponsor of the exhibit, "Sculpture on a Grand Scale – An exhibit of the work of Jack Christiansen," researched by Tyler S. Sprague PE., Ph.D., Assistant Professor at of the University of Washington.

The exhibition is currently on display in Boston at the IASS Creativity in Structural Design Symposium and highlights Jack Christiansen’s innovative work in the use of thin shell concrete — charting his design trajectory from the 1950s through the 1990s.

The exhibit is also anticipated to be at the University of Washington in the Summer of 2019.

» Sculpture on a Grand Scale Exhibit by Tyler Sprague

07.10.2018 — Congratulations to the project team of 150 N. Riverside in Chicago who was honored with national recognition in the 2018 IDEAS2 Awards for innovative design with structural steel by the American Institute of Steel Construction.

The 54-story office tower at the edge of the Chicago River captures attention with it’s innovative, tapered superstructure design, creating a footprint equal to just 30 percent of the tower’s floor area and below spans across seven active Amtrak lines. Its construction also includes the largest steel sections in the world!

To read more about the project award, visit the Modern Steel Construction website here.

(Photo credit: AISC)

» 150 N. Riverside Awarded with IDEAS2 Innovation Award

07.01.2018 — June was a busy month for MKA both inside and outside the office. From running to triathlon to volleyball... our staff racked up some great achievements!

Hannah Bonotto competed in her first triathlon, the Ironman 70.3 Victoria in Victoria, BC. Congrats, Hannah!

MKA’s David Sand, Beatriz Arostegui, Brad Strandquist, and Michelle Wilkinson’s volleyball team named, “Bump, Set, Beer Break” won the Sand Volleyball Championship of the Underdog Alki Beach Volleyball League!

Ben Dupuy completed his first half-marathon at the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll, congrats Ben! Don Davies and his son, Ryan, also ran the half marathon.

Amy Haaland and her Hood to Coast Washington team, “Runners of Unusual Speed,” won the Mixed Open division of this 77-mile relay through Washington State, and finished the race 6th overall.

Kristine Svehla-Brown biked in Cascade Bike Club’s 47-mile “Flying Wheels” bike ride. And also competed in the Black Hills Sprint Triathlon in Lacey, WA.

That’s what we like to call #MKAwesome!

» June Staff Achievements!

06.09.2018 — Congratulations to the entire Salesforce Tower project team for taking home the top award for SEAOI’s 2018 Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards: Juror’s Favorite/Most Innovative Structure! Chicago Office Leader, Dave Eckmann, P.E., S.E., FAIA, attended the awards banquet on Saturday, June 9 at the Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications. MKA has been awarded an SEAOI award 16 of the last 17 years!

Salesforce Tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi based on highest occupied floor, also has the deepest foundations – 310 ft into solid bedrock. The structural design of this building offers wide-open office space with column-free leasing bays and corners and a crown that soars to 1,070 ft, making it the new beacon of San Francisco.

You can see all the winners on the SEAOI website here.

» Salesforce Tower Wins SEAOI Juror’s Favorite/Most Innovative Structure

06.07.2018 — MKA is proud to announce our Senior Associate and Associate promotions — as these individuals continue to raise the bar and heighten industry expertise at MKA.


left to right (group):

Tyler Ranf, Ph.D., P.E., S.E. — Aviation and Vibration Technical Specialist

Janet Ranf, P.E., S.E., LEED AP — Cultural Building Specialist and MKA Continuing Ed Leader

Danny Currit, P.E., S.E. — High-Rise and Steel Technical Specialist

Amy Haaland, P.E., S.E. — Hospitality and Residential Specialist

top center:

Matt Streid, S.E. — High-Rise Office Specialist


bottom center:

Josh Mouras, P.E., S.E.

left to right (group):

Greg Rogers, P.E., S.E., LEED AP
Brian Sayre, P.E., S.E.
Byounggeon Kim, P.E., S.E., LEED AP
Sonya Gabrielson, P.E.
Ben Niesen, P.E., ENV SP
Kent Hulet, P.E., LEED AP

» 2018 Senior Associates and Associates Promotions

04.18.2018 — MKA’s Jon Magnusson, Sarah Moline, and Rob Chmielowski were honored to accept a prestigious Grand Award at the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on April 17 in Washington, D.C. The award was in recognition of MKA’s innovative, engineering design for the 150 North Riverside project in Chicago.

MKA’s design was recognized by ACEC for a number of innovations and engineering “firsts” including the development of a razor-thin concrete central building core structural system. The sloping columns used to create the cantilevers utilized the largest rolled steel sections produced in the world to channel the loads from the tower to the narrow base. In the building columns above the cantilevers, MKA advanced the industry with the use of steel that is 40 percent stronger than has been used in modern buildings and the use of this high-strength rolled steel is a first in the U.S. MKA partnered with architect Goettsch Partners and contractor Clark Construction.

» 150 N. Riverside Wins ACEC National Grand Award

04.09.2018 — On Monday, April 9th, we celebrated the retirement of our friend and colleague, Drew Gangnes. Drew’s family, clients, and MKA staff past and present were on hand to celebrate the occasion. Ron Klemencic and Matt Jones presented Drew with a gift — a donation to the Peace Corps in his name. The Peace Corps is near and dear to Drew’s heart and played a big role to the start to his civil engineering career. We also enjoyed the most amazing "Green Roof" cake! Congratulations Drew!  We are excited to see what the next chapter holds for you!

» Drew Gangnes Retirement Celebration

02.05.2018 — MKA is proud to announce Senior Principal and Principal promotions for 2018.  

Rob Chmielowski, P.E., S.E. — Design Leader for the Office Building Specialist Group, Rob has designed offices worldwide including towers up to 90 stories and multiple-block developments up to 3.8 million square feet. Rob recently led the successful completion of 150 North Riverside in Chicago, a multiple-award-winning 750-foot-tall office tower balancing on a 39-foot-wide base due to its constrained building site.

Matt Jones, P.E., LEED AP BD+C — Design Leader for the Civil Engineering Group, Matt brings a broad perspective to his designs. His focus has been on the development of public spaces achieving highly sustainable outcomes incorporating innovative stormwater intervention. Matt is an active member of the William J. Worthen Foundation Water Reuse Guide Working Group that recently launched the Onsite Non-Potable Water Reuse Practice Guide.

MKA has also elevated four individuals to Principal:

Robert Baxter, P.E., S.E. – Robert is the leader of MKA’s Advanced Geometry Technical Specialist Team.

Leif Johnson, P.E., S.E., LEED AP – Leif is the leader of MKA’s Wood and Sustainability Technical Specialist Teams.

Ian McFarlane, P.E., S.E. – Ian is the leader of MKA’s Foundations and Concrete Technical Specialist Teams.

Brian Morgen, Ph.D., P.E., S.E., LEED AP – Brian is the leader of MKA’s Performance-Based Seismic Design Technical Specialist Team.

» 2018 Sr. Principal and Principal Promotions

01.19.2018 — MKA was proud to accept the ACEC-Washington Platinum Award for our project – 150 North Riverside in Chicago, IL. The razor-thin concrete structural core allows this 54-story high-rise to be built on a base just 39 feet wide, perched between the Chicago River and an active set of railroad tracks!  Congratulations to all of our engineering colleagues honored at the awards on Friday evening. See a full list of winners in this special section of the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce here

» 150 N. Riverside Wins ACEC-WA Platinum

MKA News