Tightening Earthquake Safety Regulations for SF Private Schools

San Francisco Friends School

San Francisco Friends School

Forell/Elsesser’s CEO, Simin Naaseh, was recently interviewed by NBC Bay Area about tightening of Earthquake Safety Regulations for Private Schools. San Francisco recently put into place the first law of its kind in California- that Private Schools have to evaluate the seismic safety of their buildings within the next 2 years.

Unlike public schools, that have been subjected to different regulations since the 1930s, private schools have never been required to evaluate the seismic performance of their buildings. Of the 113 private schools in San Francisco, approximately 43% of the school buildings are likely to perform well in earthquakes but 33% could perform poorly.

The retrofitted Private School project referenced in NBC’s article is Forell/Elsesser’s San Francisco Friends School, originally built in 1906. This adaptive re-use and seismic retrofit project was completed in 2009.




Thank You to Our Summer Interns, Qudsia & Paul!

We'll miss you Qudsia and Paul!

We’ll miss you Qudsia and Paul!

Forell/Elsesser was delighted to host two interns this year. Qudsia Wahab joined F/E in January and Paul Truong joined us in July. We would love to thank them both for their tremendous help on many of our projects including SFMTA Central Subway Chinatown Station and projects at Stanford University, UC Davis, UC Merced, SFSU, and Genentech, among others. Paul is currently working with our architect partners at SmithGroupJJR as part of our Integrated Skills Development internship program.

Good luck to Qudsia as she enters the master’s program at UC Berkeley and to Paul when he heads back to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall!

Posted August 2015

SEAONC August Dinner Meeting Featuring Facebook West

Facebook West

Facebook West

Steve Marusich and Susan LaFore will be presenting our Facebook West project, designed by Gehry Partners, at the SEAONC August Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, August 4 from 5:30-9:00PM. This 420,000 s.f. project was designed to house approximately 5,000 employees in “One Big Room” in Menlo Park. Designed and constructed under an accelerated schedule, the project opened Spring 2015.

Our SEAONC August Dinner Meeting will highlight the unique design challenges we faced in executing this exciting project, from schematic design through construction administration. To purchase tickets for the event, please visit SEAONC’s event page.

For more photos of the project, please visit Architectural Record from August 2015 or from April 2015.

Posted July 2015

F/E Hosts Pathways for Kids / CARE 2015

Pathways for Kids / CARE April 2015 Visit

Pathways for Kids / CARE April 2015 Visit

F/E hosted Flex Academy through Pathways for Kids and CARE, programs designed to expose students to a variety of career possibilities. Simin Naaseh, Carolynn Smith, Christopher Tung, Dwight Evans, Yousif Yousif, Mei Kuen Liu and Keith Chung spoke to the Flex Academy to expose the students to an education and a career in the structural engineering field.

“The presenters spoke at length about the importance of structural engineering in building bridges and buildings that are able to withstand the erratic shaking of powerful earthquakes. Such a discussion helped students to understand just what being a structural engineer entailed. Students were fascinated to hear about the equipment, materials and building techniques it takes to make buildings and bridges safe during devastating earthquakes and other natural disasters… The staff were extremely supportive in helping us expose the underserved students to various careers in engineering.”

“I was able to learn the difference between a Bachelors’ and Masters’ degree. I was able to learn how I can set in motion the steps of what I want to be.” – Steven Quincy O’lbel, a Pathways for Kids participant.

To read the full article Pathways for Kids June 2015 article, visit this page.

If you’re interested in sponsoring Pathways for Kids, please visit their website.

Posted July 2015

F/E Speaking at Multiple Local Events

Simin Naaseh, CEO/President of Forell/Elsesser and AIASF Public Board Member

Simin Naaseh, CEO/President, Presenting at AIASF/DBIA on 6/2

F/E engineers attended multiple events in the San Francisco area. I hope you were able to join us! Events include:

6/2/2015, 6:00-8:00PM AIASF/DBIA “Design/Build… In the Eye of the Beholder”
Our CEO, Simin Naaseh, moderated this event. Speakers included Michael Bade (UCSF), LeRoy Ginn (ACCO Engineered Systems), Rich Henry (McCarthy), Teri Jones (Sundt), Geoff Neumayr (SFO), Marianne O’Brien (SmithGroupJJR), and Mark Rothman (Fentress).
Please visit AIASF‘s and DBIA‘s websites for more information on these organizations.

5/19/2015 AEBL “Women in Leadership in the AEC Industry”
F/E’s David Friedman was a speaker sharing his knowledge about how to foster an AEC work environment which is inclusive and supportive of women. Associate, Lindsey Maclise, moderated the event.
Please visit AEBL‘s website for more information on this organization.

5/7/2015  AIASF/DBIA “Design/Build Basics”
Our COO, Paul Rodler, spoke about his experience with design/build and with working on D/B projects with Overaa Construction and WRNS Studio. Speakers included Andrée Blais (Nossaman), Carl Overaa (Overaa Construction), and John Ruffo (WRNS).
Please visit AIASF‘s and DBIA‘s websites for more information on these organizations.

Posted June 2015


F/E is Hiring Multiple Positions – Join Us!


Apply to Join Forell/Elsesser!

Apply to Join Forell/Elsesser!

Would you like to work with a collaborative, fun group of engineers in a dynamic downtown San Francisco office on some of the most challenging and exciting structural and seismic projects in California and around the world?  Do you want to be part of real team in a work environment that actively encourages and supports individual professional growth through ongoing education, training, and mentoring.  If so, let’s talk!

Forell/Elsesser is trying to fill two roles varying from entry level to experienced. If you’re interested, please forward your resume and cover letter to We look forward to hearing from you!

Updated June 2015

Napa 2014 M6.0 Earthquake Shaking Demands

Napa Earthquake 8/24/2014 (click to expand)

Napa Earthquake 8/24/2014 (click to expand)

The shaking demands experienced during the Napa M6.0 earthquake are approximately 60-90% of the demands used for the design of new buildings. The chart to the right includes the shaking demands expected for earthquakes that occur on average every 475 and 2475 years. New buildings are generally designed for an earthquake corresponding to the 475-year level.

If you have questions about the shaking demands corresponding to your building’s location or the shaking intensity of your area, please contact Russell Berkowitz.

Posted August 2014

Memorial Stadium Showcased at the National Building Museum

California Memorial Stadium

California Memorial Stadium

Forell/Elsesser is honored to have one of our structural solutions for the UC Berkeley California Memorial Stadium project featured at the National Building Museum’s “Designing for Disaster” exhibit in Washington D.C.

For a case study on our innovative seismic solutions, please visit the Memorial Stadium Case Study page. For general information on the project, visit our Memorial Stadium Project page. For awards won on this project, visit our What’s New page.

Welcome to Our New Hires!

Mara Minner, Structural Designer

Mara Minner, Structural Designer

Forell/Elsesser is proud to introduce our new hires! We have hired Structural Designers Mara Minner and Killian O’Leary and Project Engineer Eric Tung. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to our newest team members!







Killian O'Leary, Structural Designer

Killian O’Leary, Structural Designer









Eric Tung, Project Engineer

Eric Tung, Project Engineer

F/E New Hires

Forell/Elsesser is proud to introduce our new Structural Designers and Project Engineer.