In this episode of The Structural Engineering Podcast, we talk to Annie Kao, PE, Vice President of Engineering at Simpson Strong-Tie about innovation and product testing in engineering and why seismic retrofitting is so important in structural engineering.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Annie in This Episode:
- What would you say makes a good engineering leader?
- What is your involvement in the research and development sector of Simpson Strong-Tie?
- You are also responsible for innovation across all product lines at Simpson Strong-Tie. What does that entail?
- Can you tell us more about the product testing and training that is done at Simpson?
- What are some of the latest advancements in construction technology that have a direct impact on the structural engineering industry?
- Why is seismic retrofitting important in structural engineering?
- What advice can you give young students out there that might consider pursuing a career in the engineering industry?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Innovation and Product Testing in Engineering:
- A good engineering manager should always be available to help grow and challenge their teams and provide opportunities for their team to advance in their careers.
- Simpson Strong-Tie is passionate to come up with solutions to help improve the building process by looking at how they can use a product in a different application to improve how things are put together.
- Barclay Simpson, who was the founder of Simpson Strong-Tie, had 9 principles of doing business that was turned into the principles Simpson Strong-Tie still follow today. One of those principles is innovation, which includes not only thinking of engineering, but the manufacturers, sales teams, and how pretty much anyone in the company can be innovative.
- Structural engineers are extremely good at understanding the details, as well as the big picture of any project. Testing products gives you a good insight as to why there are certain limits and safety factors involved in product testing, which will, in turn, help structural engineers to provide their best guidance on how a product will behave out there.
- There is a huge opportunity to use so much more technology and gain efficiencies and capabilities in the engineering industry that we have not used.
- Simpson Strong-Tie has a division of building technology that investigates how they can work with builders and contractors to help them in the planning phase, which will in turn speed up the construction phase.
- Buildings are designed for life safety and as you go through retrofit requirements, you should think about what you are retrofitting to. It is important to determine if you want to retrofit towards the building code standard or the performance level standards and understand the benefits of retrofitting a building.
- It is hard to convince people that maintenance is something that you should invest in and plan for but is key to ensuring the essential infrastructure of our communities remain available, even after catastrophic events.
- The sky is the limit for talented engineers to establish themselves as there are so many ways to pursuing your passion in engineering. Volunteering at industry associations provides you with so many opportunities to learn and work on committees, be part of initiatives and help organize and create a vision for events that will ultimately benefit your career as a structural engineer tremendously.
More Details in This Episode…
About Annie Kao, PE
Annie Kao, PE is the Vice President of Engineering at Simpson Strong-Tie. She loves structural engineering and connecting with the community about it, which is why she considers herself very fortunate to work for a company that innovates exciting new products to meet the continually evolving needs of the construction industry. Annie leads a talented and passionate team of engineers who innovate and support the design and construction of safer, stronger structures.
Teaching and public speaking are passions of her, and she has the great fortune of being able to meet and share knowledge with many audiences. She believes in being genuine, optimistic, and helpful in all aspects of her life, and strives towards making a positive impact on everyone she meets. Annie also had wonderful opportunities to appear on television, radio, and online to speak about the importance of retrofitting vulnerable buildings through the use of the latest building connection technology.
Books Mentioned in This Episode
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on innovation and product testing in engineering.
To your success,
Matthew Picardal P.E. & Alexis Clark, P.E., M.ASCE
Hosts of The Structural Engineering Podcast