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2019 Keynote Speakers

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

9:00 – 10:30 am

A Perspective on the Future of Consulting Engineers

Stacy J. Bartoletti, S.E., Degenkolb Engineers


10:30 am – Noon

Talk Nerdy to Me: Science Not Communicated is Science Not Done

Melissa Marshall, Present Your Science

What will the consulting engineering and structural engineering profession look like in 10 years? Have you contemplated the impact that changes in licensure, technology, contracts and employment trends will have on the business of engineering?  No one has a crystal ball with all of the answers, but if we want to thrive in the future, we need to be investing time and energy into considering the answers and directing our own future. Mr. Stacy Bartoletti will share some of his thoughts and observations based on his role as a structural engineer, business leader, professional organization leader, and founding member of the Engineering Change Lab USA which is dedicated to this topic.


This presentation will motivate listeners on the importance of communication to the success and advancement of their technical work in structural engineering. Melissa will explore how effective communication is the linchpin between technical innovation and those that are in a position to advance structural engineering and the built world.  Important technical ideas often do not move forward because the significance of the work is not understood and appreciated by others. Through providing engaging examples and practical strategies, listeners will walk away with a renewed enthusiasm and skill set for communicating their structural engineering successes and expertise.  

Stacy J. Bartoletti, S.E., is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Degenkolb Engineers. He is a registered structural engineer in multiple states, and an active member of numerous professional organizations including the Structural Engineers Association of Washington and California (SEAW and SEAOC), the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the Council of American Structural Engineers (CASE), where he is current Chair. Stacy has a passion for leading people and growing an engineering business that is sustainable long into the future and supports the career development of its employees.


Melissa Marshall is the founder of Present Your Science, a consulting company that provides on-site group workshops, conference sessions, and 1:1 coaching. Melissa is on a mission: to transform how scientists, engineers, and technical professionals present their work because she believes that even the best technical ideas are destined to remain undiscovered unless presented in a clear and compelling way.

She is internationally known for her popular TED Talk entitled "Talk Nerdy to Me" which has over 2 million views (and counting!).  

Thursday, November 14, 2019

9:00 – 10:00 am

The Power of Connection

Avery Bang, Ph.D, Bridges to Prosperity


10:00 – 11:00 am

Moving Beyond Life Safety for Community Recovery

Lucy Jones, Ph.D, Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society

Nearly one billion people around the world don't have safe access to critical resources like health care, education, or employment due to impassable rivers. Bridges to Prosperity has positively impacted the lives of over one million people in 22 countries by providing safe access to the world’s rural last mile. This program has demonstrated that by investing in connecting rural populations health care visits, school enrollment, household income, and economic opportunities increase significantly. CEO, Avery Bang, will speak about her personal journey of finding a passion in solving this global issue.


The current building code is based on the premise that the role of government and codes is to protect the lives of its citizens but that economic decisions for performance above life safety falls to the building owners and developers. But this approach ignores the nature of economic relationships and the shared need for infrastructure and building stock to maintain a viable regional economy. This talk will explore the economic risk, how progress is and is not being made in California and the social tools necessary to protect the economy in the inevitable future earthquakes.

Avery Bang, Ph.D, is the President and CEO of Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), a nonprofit organization that provides isolated communities with access to essential health care, education and economic opportunities by building footbridges over impassable rivers. Under her leadership, B2P has connected over one million people around the world.

Avery has been named one of ENR’s Newsmakers, one of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) top ten engineers under 30, and has also received the prestigious ASCE President’s Medal.


 Lucy Jones, Ph.D, is the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, with a mission to foster the understanding and application of scientific information in the creation of more resilient communities. She is the author of the book, The Big Ones (Doubleday, April 2018) and is also a Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech, a post she has held since 1984. Working with both the public and private sectors, Dr. Jones seeks to increase communities’ ability to adapt and be resilient to the dynamic changes of the world around them. The aim is to understand and communicate where the greatest vulnerabilities lie and what actions can be taken to reduce the risk that are the most cost-effective.

Friday, November 15, 2019

8:30 – 9:15 am

Structural Engineering: Indispensable to Civilization - So Why Don't We Have More Influence? Why Don't We Make More Money?

Ashraf Habibullah, S.E., Computers & Structures, Inc.

In this presentation, Ashraf will emphasize the need for a human engineering-based education (i.e. developing your ability to effectively deal with people.) He will demonstrate, with his usual enthusiasm and humor, why it is important to cultivate deep personal beliefs, public speaking skills and to become familiar with the arts, human psychology, and human chemistry. These talents will enable young engineers to enter the professional world ready to lead, influence and inspire so that they can command the fees that are commensurate with their immeasurable contributions to society. It is structural engineers, after all, who preserve the past, build the future, and save lives.

This is a presentation that will change your perspective on everything you thought you knew about our noble profession!

Ashraf Habibullah, S.E., is a Structural Engineer and President of the software company Computers and Structures, Inc. For the past 40 years he has lead the development of technology and software that is used by thousands of structural engineering firms in over 160 countries. Ashraf also has a keen passion for the arts, and is a co-founder of the Diablo Ballet and the founder of the Engineering Alliance for the Arts, an organization that involves school children with technology, focusing on the artistic aspects of bridge engineering.