January 25, 2022 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Mark your calendars for the Sixth Annual Young Engineers Symposium on January 25th, 2022. This event will give Young Engineers the opportunity to showcase their projects and experiences and see what their peers are up to. All attendees will receive 1.5 hours of CE credit.


Five incredible young engineers have been selected to present!

Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion
Karl Bettinger, Thornton Tomasetti
Support of Excavation: Analysis, Design, and Construction Considerations
Rose McClure, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Union Station Tower
Mandy Chen, Magnusson Klemencic Associates
IDOT Displacement Based Seismic Design and Analysis
Xiaone Wei, Michael Baker International
Constructing a 14-Story Structure within the Historic Marshall Field’s Building
Joseluis Alvarez, Thornton Tomasetti

Learning Objectives:

Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion

  • To understand the structural challenges and considerations that come with theater and acoustical design
  • To recognize the coordination challenges involved when working with specialty design consultants and sub-contractors
  • To learn about designing an economical structure to meet elevated material and performance requirements

Support of Excavation: Analysis, Design, and Construction Considerations

  • To understand the advantages and disadvantages of different support of excavation systems
  • To recognize the relevant industry reference standards
  • To learn analysis and design concepts for a soldier pile wall system

Union Station Tower

  • To understand the project team, design, and interesting facts about the project
  • To learn about the first use of 80-ksi steel columns in the U.S.
  • To realize considerations of column shortening and core leaning

IDOT Displacement Based Seismic Design and Analysis

  • To better understand Displacement Based Seismic Design
  • To learn information on displacement based seismic design consideration for typical IDOT substructure types
  • To learn about the seismic evaluation results

Constructing a 14-Story Structure within the Historic Marshall Field’s Building

  • To understand several options for gathering information on an existing steel structure when original documentation is limited
  • To understand alternative load paths for new framing within an existing building that minimize loads on existing columns and does not require new foundations
  • To understand the real-time updates that may be required when existing conditions are revealed during construction


Zoom Conference Call


Members: $5
Non-members: $10

Additional Questions

All questions regarding this event should be directed to the YEC at yec@seaoi.org.

About the Speakers


Karl Bettinger

Opening in the fall of 2021, the Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion involved the construction of a new 400-seat theater in-the-round at the center of a four-story, multi-functional campus expansion. From the onset of design, acoustical concerns dictated the structural approaches taken to realize the vision of the owner and architect. Furthermore, higher standards of material quality and appearance challenged Thornton Tomasetti in designing an economical structure that met the firm budget.

Karl has been a part of Thornton Tomasetti’s Chicago office for over five and a half years. During that time he has worked on many renovation projects at some of Chicago’s tallest buildings, such as Willis Tower, Water Tower Place, and 111 South Wacker. Additionally, he has been involved with the structural design of the new Steppenwolf Theatre, the subject of this presentation. Karl holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in structural engineering from Lehigh University.

Rose McClure

This presentation will provide a brief introduction to support of excavation systems, including commonly used external and internal bracing options, their advantages and disadvantages, and the relevant industry reference standards. We will identify the basic components of a soldier pile wall system, review analysis and design considerations, and discuss the typical construction sequence.

Rose McClure is a senior consulting engineer at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. With over 10 years of experience, she specializes in the analysis and design of foundation systems, and the repair and rehabilitation of existing structures.

Mandy Chen

Chicago Union Station Tower is a recently completed 51-story office building by Goettsch Partners that directly connects to Union Station via an underground pedway. The project is the first to use 80-ksi steel columns in the US. Frequent perimeter building columns consolidate to six mega columns through multi-story V-shaped transfer elements. Some of the interesting facts and challenges faced by the project team include the use of high strength steel, use of Web Tailor-Made plates, design of the transfer belt trusses, consideration of column shortening, and analysis of the asymmetric gravity load on the core wall due to the building step back.

Mandy Chen is a Senior Design Engineer at Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA), an award-winning, 185-person structural and civil engineering firm founded in 1920 and headquartered in Seattle. Her portfolio of design work includes high-rise office buildings, retail spaces, and life science facilities across the United States, as well as embassies abroad. She also has designed safe and resilient high-rise towers in cities known for strong winds and high seismic activity, such as Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle. Before joining MKA, Mandy helped develop more than 20 mixed-use projects throughout Asia while working as a Shanghai-based development manager for an American commercial real estate developer. Mandy’s comprehensive experience allows her to offer unique insights to each engineering design project throughout its entire lifespan.

Xiaone Wei

This presentation will highlight displacement seismic design methods used to assess existing bridges designed using force based methods with the intention to highlight differences in force based and displacement based procedures.

Xiaone Wei has worked at Michael Baker International as a bridge engineer for 6 years. She obtained her Ph.D. degree from SUNY Buffalo University and specialized in seismic design and retrofit of bridges. She has worked on various bridge design and load rating projects across many states.

Joseluis Alvarez

Macy’s State Street store occupies a full city block in downtown Chicago. When the top eight floors were sold for conversion to office space, Thornton Tomasetti was engaged to design an elevator core within the existing 14-story atrium to service the new office floors. With limited existing documentation, on-site investigation during design and construction was required to install new steel framing supported by story-height concrete walls in the basement.

Joseluis Alvarez is currently a Senior Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti, where he has been working in the Renewal group since 2018. Joseluis graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2017. He plays an active role across multidisciplinary projects involving structural design, renewal, forensics, and property loss consulting.




Omet Morales ( Leidos )
Kevin Kuntz ( Magnusson Klemencic Associates )
Petrina Butler ( Michael Baker International )
Paul Dineen ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Abhiram Tammana ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Moshe Cohen ( Kaskaskia Engineering Group )
José Medero ( ESD (Environmental Systems Design, Inc) )
Jason Ko ( Michael Baker )
David Nauheimer ( Sargent & Lundy LLC )
Benjamin Sexton ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Elaine Shapiro ( Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. )
Mandy Chen ( Magnusson Klemencic Associates )
Xiaone Wei ( , Michael Baker International )
Joe Porada ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Karl Bettinger
Rose McClure ( Simpson Gumpertz & Heger )
Kevin Jackson ( Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. )
Vidhi Chudasama
Fabian Bencosme
Cathleen Jacinto ( FORSE Consulting, LLC )
Phillip Svetich
Phillip Svetich
Michelle Ryland ( Klein & Hoffman )
Enji Papazisi ( HNTB Corporation )
Hershel Bhat ( Forefront Structural Engineer )
Jerome Tobolski ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Sullymar Diaz Hernandez ( SmithGroup )
Jennifer Pazdon ( CAST CONNEX Corporation )
Jasmine Puthuvelil
Jessica Dineen ( TGRWA, LLC )
Jeremy Borjas ( Graef )
Justin Mickens ( Parsons Corporation )
Jeff Ruhde ( Burns & McDonnell )
Kevin Dommer ( Jensen Hughes )
Matthew Arnold ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Jonathan Pearson ( EXP )
Dana McKane ( Orion Engineers )
Michael Haynie ( EXP )
Dennis Penepacker
Kermin Chok ( Arup )
Jorge Medina ( Burns and McDonnell )
Mary Lou Kutska ( Michael Baker International )
Joseluis Alvarez ( Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. )
Michelle Ryland ( Klein & Hoffman )
Enji Papazisi ( HNTB Corporation )
Hershel Bhat ( Forefront Structural Engineer )