Emeritus CEO & Chair of the Board, Senior Principal

David Friedman

David is a Senior Principal, Emeritus CEO & Chair of the Board, and immediate past President and CEO. David has been with Forell/Elsesser since 1980 and has 41 years in the industry. His strength is a holistic approach to a project’s planning, design and construction, and the collaborative integration of creative structural solutions with architects, engineers, and builders. With a specialty in designated historic structures, David has creatively solved numerous engineering challenges. Principle examples of his solutions include the base isolation retrofits for both the San Francisco City Hall and Asian Art Museum, the adaptive reuse and retrofit for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the seismic safety corrections and remodel of UC Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium. All of these projects received numerous design awards and State and National recognition, including Excellence in Structural Engineering from the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC).

David is committed to worldwide seismic risk reduction, and is an active Member of the Board of Directors for the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) which disseminates lessons learned from earthquakes around the world. David served on EERI Post-Earthquake Reconnaissance teams in Kobe, Japan (1995) and Wenchuan, China (2008). He is also involved in many institutional, academic, philanthropic and not-for-profit Boards including the San Francisco Foundation (SFF), San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR), UC Berkeley Foundation (UCBF), and Jewish Home of San Francisco (JHSF). David is a licensed Structural Engineer in California, Nevada, and British Columbia.

Professional Associations

  • The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF), Trustee, Emeritus Chair of the Board
  • San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR), Director, Vice-Chair, Chair-Elect
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Member of the Board of Directors, Vice President
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Endowment Committee, Past Chair, Member
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Learning from Earthquakes (LFE)
  • University of California, Berkeley, Civil & Environmental Engineering’s Advisory Council, Member & Chair
  • University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design’s Advisory Council, Member

Academic Lecturer

David is a frequent guest lecturer across the country, presenting to students and faculty at Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering programs on topics such as seismic risk reduction, the linkage between research and practice, advanced seismic protective systems, and the practice of structural and earthquake engineering today.  Recent academic institution guest lectures as an EERI Visiting Professional include: UC Berkeley, Stanford, San Jose State, UCLA, USC, Texas, Austin, Georgia Tech, SUNY Buffalo, Minnesota, Bringham Young University (BYU), Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Nevada Reno and British Columbia. David also directs a UC Berkeley Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) leadership development class, CE 198, which is a six-part lecture series an externship program.

Recent Awards

  • 2012 H.J. Brunnier Lifetime Achievement Award from SEAONC
  • 2012 UC Berkeley Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Academy of Distinguished Alumni Inductee, Inaugural Class