It may be said that the success of any company is driven by the collective skills and the professional passion of its people. Each member of the KNA team brings a unique skill set and personal interests that add to the character and personality of our firm. We consider each a member of our KNA family. Take a moment now to get to know a little about Vanessa and Joey.
Why did you choose structural engineering as a career?
Vanessa: While studying architecture, I was very interested in not only the aesthetic of the building, but also the construction and engineering of the building.
Joey: I was inspired by my father, a construction manager, and his background working on some insane construction projects in China, projects that I believe are helping to reshape the world.
Tell us a little about your education and past experience before coming to KNA Structural Engineers:
V: I graduated from Woodbury University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s in Architecture. Right out of college I did drafting freelance work in architecture, interior design and engineering.
J: In 2014, I graduated from Zhejiang University in China with my first Master’s degree in civil engineering. In 2016, I obtained my second Master’s degree, also in Structural Engineering form the University of Southern California (USC). I then completed a roughly 6-month internship with the Bureau of Engineering, City of Los Angeles. After that, I worked in a structural engineering firm in Irvine before joining the KNA family.
What’s been your favorite project?
V: My favorite project thus far is the natatorium at Long Beach City College. I attended Long Beach City College right after high school, so having a chance to work on the renovations on that campus was truly gratifying.
J: My favorite project to date is the Fullerton Plummer Auditorium. Working on a 1929 historical building where design documentation is limited in places is challenging for a young engineer like me. I had to dig deep into the existing structural conditions before providing any retrofitting solutions. This was also a great opportunity to learn about engineering practices at the time of Spanish Colonial Revival. Like peeling back an onion, the discovery process revealed many interesting stories of how the building was rehabilitated and improved several times to meet past building codes. I learned how it once served as a culture and educational center for the north Orange County community. I came to realize that my work really is of value and importance.
What would be your dream project?
My dream project would be to work on renovations aimed at preserving the structure and flamboyant beauty of an historic theater in downtown Los Angeles.
I would enjoy the opportunity to design and construct a multi-story building made only of shipping containers, turning these drab industrial boxes it into a cozy place to live.
What’s been the most rewarding experience you’ve had in your career?
V: The most rewarding experience has been the opportunity, through working at KNA, to be an ACE mentor. It was great to help kids learn more about career opportunities in architecture and engineering, and sharing with them some of my experiences in the field.
J: Having my projects coordinated with other team members and approved by the DSA. The process can be challenging at times, but the engineering experience I gain with each new project is invaluable.
How do you see technology playing a part in the future of Structural Engineering?
V: I feel technology will allow for the invention of new stronger and sustainable materials, as well as faster production time both in the design process and construction.
J: Technology boosts productivity and allows project teams to work together to deliver projects more efficiently. However, I still believe, to a structural engineer, good engineering judgment should always remain the diamond on the crown.
What do you enjoy most about working at KNA Structural Engineers?
V: I enjoy the fact that there are always new challenges. Every day I learn something new.
J: I really enjoy the great office management, friendly environment, and principals/managers who are always available to help.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
V: While in college I volunteered in a deaf and hard of hearing special education kindergarten class.
J: I enjoy photography and doing hand-craft work with recycled materials. I’m also a Pen Addict.