SEAON started from yet another “complaint” session after the Annual Structural Conference in the Fall of 2002. The complaints were all too familiar: “structural engineers are underappreciated, undervalued, undercompensated, and underrepresented. However, this time a few of us decided to try and do something about it, at least in Nebraska. The people involved were, to the best of my recollection,: myself, Dave Klostermeyer, Scott Gilliland, Mike Naccarato, Maher Tadros, Susie Jorgensen, Rich Kotan, Jeff Stevens and Mike Baumert. This group made contact with NCSEA to talk about starting up a Structural Engineers Association for Nebraska. Between September of 2002 and November of 2003 discussion were held with NCSEA, and bylaws were drafted. In November of 2003 a kickoff meeting was held at HDR to discuss how SEAON should be staffed and what its purpose should be.
One goal of SEAON was to provide a setting in which Nebraska structural engineers could meet and socialize with each other on a regular basis. It was thought that the one structural related meeting per year through Nebraska ASCE was not enough to suit our needs.
Another goal was to help Nebraska structural engineers to get involved in the national and statewide debates concerning structural engineering licensure, building code issues, continuing education activities, and education requirements.
I was appointed/elected to be the inaugural president of SEAON (even though I do not remember agreeing to run for that office). It remains one of the highest honors of my professional career. The officer and board member positions were filled by many of the other “complainers” from the previously mentioned 2002 “complaint” session.
In the intervening sixteen years since committees were formed and we have developed a general structure to achieve our goals whereby we have dinner meetings in September, November, January, and March. We added a Seminar in April or May and an Annual Banquet in May or June. Many people stepped up to lead SEAON and its important committees during that time. Some of them are from the original “complainers” but many more were people who decided to join us because they thought that SEAON was a needed and worthwhile organization to devote their time to. I cannot name them all but I think we are all most grateful for their efforts.
Going forward another goal has emerged and that is to generate interest in SEAON with our youngest members and students still in school. This has led to the recent formation of the Young Members Group, and to our holding recent meetings on campus to involve more students in SEAON. I think this infusion of young minds is an important step in continuing the progress that has been made, and developing SEAON into a relevant organization for the future.
Sixteen years is not really a very long time but I think it has been a very good start. I hope that SEAON can continue to grow and change so as to remain a relevant and useful organization for Nebraska structural engineers.
Gary L. Krause, P.E. Ph.D.