Travis and Mark both joined us when they were fresh out of college, and we have thoroughly enjoyed watching each of them grow in their professional careers during their years here. Please take a moment to get to know these two team members who exemplify our core values of integrity and creativity every day.
Why did you choose structural engineering as a career?
Travis: I took drafting and design in high school, and I always seemed to do well in math. Structural engineering is the perfect marriage of the two, utilizing mathematical approaches to solving unique design problems.
Mark: I initially grew an interest by building K-NEX Rollercoasters and Bionicle Toys at a young age. Then growing up, I was always fascinated by a structure that towered over me, whether it was a skyscraper, a rollercoaster, or a simple house. My interest in how these enormous structures were designed and constructed led me to the career of structural engineering.
Tell us a little about your education and past experience before coming to KNA Structural Engineers:
Travis: I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and graduated from the ARCE program with my B.S. in Architectural Engineering. One of my professors, John Lawson, put me in touch with KNA prior to graduation. I started work at KNA a month later and I’ve been here ever since.
Mark: I studied Civil Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. My summer internships were in Construction Management. I worked for a general contractor (BALI Construction) one summer and for a quality assurance team in heavy civil (Jacobs Engineering) the following summer. Although I loved both internships, I found I was more drawn to the design side of the industry rather than the construction side.
What’s been your favorite project so far?
Travis: The Le-Jao Student Resource Center project was a lot of fun to work on. It involved new construction as well as a modernization of the two adjacent existing buildings, so it involved several different materials, lateral systems, and design approaches. The end result was the appearance of an elegant floating space which also showcased the exposed structure.
Mark: My first project MiraCosta College Student Services and Administration Building. It is my favorite for two reasons: I learned so much about three major building materials (concrete, wood, and steel) and it was the first time I applied the knowledge I gained from my undergraduate studies to a real project. It was an amazing learning experience and it will always be the project that I am most proud of for the years to come.
What would be your dream project?
Travis: A dream project would be a multi-story structure that appears to defy the laws of physics. Something that is impressive on the surface, but then becomes puzzling as to how we made it stand up and how it remains standing when the wind blows or when an earthquake hits.
Mark: My dream project is to design my retirement house. I want it to have a theater room for family movie nights and sporting events, a game room to destroy my future children in ping pong and video games, and a balcony overlooking a giant backyard that has my twenty dogs playing with each other.
What’s been the most rewarding experience you’ve had in your career?
Travis: The most rewarding experience is seeing our hard work become a reality. We take these projects from the early design stages all the way through construction, and the end result is as space that serves the community and can be enjoyed and appreciated well into the future.
Mark: The most rewarding experience I’ve had is volunteering in ACE Mentor Program of America. ACE is an after school program that helps high school students pursue careers in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering. It has been rewarding because I not only teach students about engineering but can also provide guidance in life, college, and careers.
How do you see technology playing a part in the future of structural engineering?
Travis: Technology is already engrained into this industry, and will continue to be. Technology has streamlined the design process, allowing for faster and more complex analysis. Drafting tables and hand calculations are becoming relics of the industry.
Mark: Some of our work includes working on old, existing buildings. We work with old documents showing the existing framing but we can never be 100% sure of the entire existing framing until construction starts. I believe technology in the future will find a way to “scan” an existing building to accurately determine the existing structure without having to demolish anything.
What do you enjoy most about working at KNA Structural Engineers?
Travis: Being able to work alongside highly knowledgeable colleagues is one of the greatest attributes of working at KNA. We learn from each other each day, continually growing as engineers and becoming better consultants.
Mark: The people! From the first day of work, I immediately felt welcomed. Each coworker is friendly and personable. We can all have fun together whether it is at lunch or an after-work event.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
Travis: My brother and I have owned a corporation for over 10 years providing services to the Motion Picture Industry.
Mark: I’m a basketball player. I was a three-year Boys Varsity basketball member for Mayfair High School (Lakewood, CA) and two-year NCAA Men’s Basketball member for Cal Poly SLO (San Luis Obispo, CA). Currently, I play at night during the week in an adult league or sometimes even before work at a local gym. I can never get enough of basketball!