It took three attempts to launch the Palm Beaches Chapter, but today there are nearly 50 members of the local branch of the Florida Structural Engineers Association, and the group is growing.
Carmelo Giglio, is the most recent past president and he continues as a director of the Palm Beaches Chapter.
Name: Carmelo Giglio
Title: State Florida Structural Engineers Association director, first past president of the Palm Beaches Chapter, local and statewide advocacy chair
Education: Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Florida
About your organization: The Florida Structural Engineers Association was formed in 1996. We promote the structural engineering profession to help others recognize the importance and necessity of our work. There are 336 state members. The association provides input on building codes and their enforcement, sponsors technical seminars and discussions, and organizes informal mixers. Our goal is to connect Florida structural engineers and to address common concerns of the profession.
The Palm Beaches chapter was formed in the beginning of 2011. In two years we now have 49 members and we continue to grow. Veteran engineer Mark Scala was a driving force in forming the chapter.
Our officers are: Frank Bennardo, president; Mark Johnson, secretary; S.S. “Raj” Rajpathak, treasurer; and our directors are: Laz Alfonso, Heather Anesta, Jimmy Buckner, Willy Cook & Gary Slopey.
A Young Member’s Group serves university engineering students as well as younger employed engineers who are pursuing a professional engineering license. Young people interested in becoming a structural engineer or already on the path should consider joining this YM group. It’s a great place to prepare for the very difficult PE exam. The group has been recognized nationally. It was featured in the April 2012 edition of Structure Magazine.
What do structural engineers do? Structural engineers ensure that buildings and bridges are built to be strong enough and stable enough to resist all appropriate structural loads (gravity, wind, snow, rain, seismic, earth pressure, temperature, and traffic).
I like to say structural engineers are responsible for the “bones” of a building. We design the foundations, the columns, the walls, the beams, the floor systems and the roofs systems. In other words, the internal systems that keep a structure erect.
So, in the building process, generally speaking, the architect designs what a building looks like, the structural engineer makes sure it will stand up and the contractor constructs the building based on what the designers call for in their construction documents.
So, what about bridge engineers, right? Bridge engineers and building engineers often do not design both types of structures. Each is its own specially. So this means that, generally speaking, bridge engineers stick to bridge engineering and building engineers stick to the design of building type structures. So, for this reason, most of the members of Structural Engineers Association are engineers that design buildings and/or components of buildings.
Just about everything you see built has likely been designed, in some way, by a structural engineer. In our area a professional engineer is required to design street light posts, monument signs, roadway signs, windows, doors, gates, fences, etc.
Our scope of work is actually quite broad and there isn’t enough allotted spaced here for me to really convey all of what we do, but at least it’s a primer.
When we say structural engineer we really mean a professional engineer practicing structural engineering. For that reason, I call myself a professional structural engineer.
How does someone become a structural engineer? Typically someone who wants to be a structural engineer will earn a bachelors degree in civil engineering from an accredited university. Aspiring structural engineers often obtain a masters degree in structural engineering. This isn’t necessary, though. Before leaving college, engineering students are urged to pass the Engineer-In-Training exam. This is a basic engineering principles aptitude test that is a required prerequisite to the Professional Engineer (PE) exam. After university, one must work under a professional engineer specializing in structural engineering for at least four years. Only after this apprenticeship can someone qualify to take the PE exam. Once a candidate passes this bear of a test, then he or she can sign and seal documents.
What you tell young people about engineering: Civil engineering is a tough curriculum. It requires not only intelligence but discipline and a great work ethic. I had friends at college who were business majors, and I can’t tell you how many times I was at the library on Friday and Saturday nights and they were out playing. So any talented young people who have an interest in math and science and don’t mind hard work should consider this profession.
Our meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month except for July and August when we take a summer break. Meeting locations vary but are typically in the Lake Worth to Delray Beach area. More information at flsea.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.