At KNA Structural Engineers, we believe quality employees are our most valuable asset. We are so fortunate to have such talented and diligent people on our team! Take a moment to get to know two of them —Jason Smith and Jesse Hamilton.
Why did you choose structural engineering as a career?
Jason: It was a bit by accident actually. When I was applying to Cal Poly SLO, I wasn’t sure what major to choose. I really enjoyed drafting/architecture and was always good in math courses, so I knew I should go for an engineering degree. Since I didn’t want to be an architect, Cal Poly had Architectural Engineering, so that was what I decided to go with.
Jesse: I was originally interested in architecture in high school, but I was always good at math and science so I decided to study civil engineering. After taking more classes in college, I decided to focus on structural engineering.
Tell us a little about your education and past experience before coming to KNA Structural Engineers:
Jason: I went to Sierra College in Rocklin, California for 2 ½ years straight out of high school, mainly taking general education classes and drafting classes. I only applied to Cal Poly SLO and Texas Tech University as a transfer student and got accepted at Cal Poly. I graduated from Cal Poly with a BS degree in Architectural Engineering in 1997. I started working at KNA a month after graduating and have been here ever since!
Jesse: In 2017, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University and also had a civil engineering internship on campus while I was there. Then I headed to UCLA for my Master’s degree, focusing on structural and earthquake engineering. I graduated in 2018 and started at KNA shortly thereafter.
What’s been your favorite project so far?
Jason: Probably Del Norte High School in the 4S Ranch community in San Diego, California. It was one of my first full high school projects and it basically had every type of material—wood framed buildings, concrete masonry buildings, and steel braced frame buildings, so that made it a fun challenge.
Jesse: My favorite project so far has been Sussman Middle School. It was the first project that I was assigned to at KNA and it was my first taste of designing a structure in the real world. The science building was a two-story moment frame building, and we designed it using RAM software. Many of my projects are moment frames so it was a good starting point for me.
What would be your dream project?
Jason: I’ve always loved sports, so I’d love to have an opportunity to design a stadium or sports arena one day.
Jesse: My dream project would be designing my own house! I think it would be awesome to add a secret room like something out of James Bond.
What’s been the most rewarding experience you’ve had in your career?
Jason: Being at KNA from almost the beginning, it’s been gratifying to watch the company grow to where we are today.
Jesse: The most rewarding experience for me is seeing a project get approved. We all put so much time and effort into designing a structure and when the drawings get approved, it is one step closer to being built.
How do you see technology playing a part in the future of structural engineering?
Jason: Technology is already playing a huge part in structural engineering with the BIM modeling programs that allow all disciplines to work on their respective portions of the project and be able to see these changes in real time. It’ll be exciting to see what other advances come in the future!
Jesse: Technology will definitely play a huge part in structural engineering. We already use many different types of design software to help with structural calculations and to speed up the design process. Revit has also allowed for easier coordination with other disciplines. I believe that technology in the future will allow us to make more efficient and unique structures.
What do you enjoy most about working at KNA Structural Engineers?
Jason: I enjoy the friendly atmosphere and that everyone is willing to offer guidance on tough engineering plan check comments that may come up.
Jesse: I love the friendly environment and that every day has different challenges. I am glad that KNA has knowledgeable principals and project engineers that I can go to for help.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
Jason: I enjoy going to live sporting events and I’ve recently been to two different events and made it on to the TV broadcast. I also collect 1:18 and 1:24 scale diecast model cars and have 75+ of them on display in my home.
Jesse: I enjoy watching sports, exploring the outdoors, and playing with my dog, Chewy!