CEE Affiliates Assemble for Spring Meeting

The group celebrated Naeim’s election to the National Academy of Engineering and recognized members for long-standing service

From left, CEE Affiliates members Jamie Yoshida ’03, Terry Hartman and Steve Bucknam were recognized at the spring meeting for their years of support for the CEE students’ senior design projects.

May 26, 2022 - The Samueli School CEE Affiliates gathered at the Newkirk Alumni Center on May 18 for their spring 2022 quarterly meeting. The affiliates, which include senior executives who represent civil and environmental engineering firms and public agencies as well as individual members, provide support and guidance to the UC Irvine Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

CEE department Chair Sunny Jiang was especially pleased to bring everyone together in person for a panel presentation on infrastructure and to recognize the recent election of Farzad Naeim, adjunct professor in civil and environmental engineering, to the National Academy of Engineering. “We are so proud to now have three NAE members on our faculty,” she said.

Soroosh Sorooshian, Distinguished Professor of CEE and Earth System Science, who is also an NAE member, spoke about the process of being elected to the prestigious academy. “You have to be nominated by three current members (excluding anyone from your own institution). It was a great honor to see Farzad’s name this year.”

Samueli School Dean Magnus Egerstedt sent congratulations via video: “This is the highest recognition for an engineer, a well-deserved honor and not only good for you, Farzad, but also good for the whole school. It is especially good for our students to learn from the best.”

Six colleagues also sent congratulatory comments via video. The messages were from colleagues across the state and one from Japan, four of them also members of the NAE. They had worked with Naeim on the Los Angeles Tall Building Structural Design Council, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and other high-profile structural and seismic safety projects. See here to view these heartfelt messages.

“Thank you. I am floored and speechless,” said Naeim. He then gave a brief overview of some of his long-standing efforts to achieve sustainable infrastructure safety solutions for the state. “California has the best seismic sensor network in the world with instrument requirements for tall buildings,” he said. He suggested incorporating a black box concept for structures, similar to that in an airplane cockpit, which would enable engineers to assess damages after an earthquake or other disaster.

From left: Parasto Azami, Ronald Stein, Cindy Miller ’94, Farzad Naeim and Sunny Jiang at the recent CEE Affiliates meeting.

CEE Affiliates members Ronald Stein, professional engineer, author and energy and infrastructure consultant, spoke about energy infrastructure and the Orange County infrastructure report card; and Cindy Miller ‘94, vice president and operations manager at Hazen and Sawyer, spoke about water resources engineering. Following the panel, questions and answers were moderated by Parasto Azami ’20 (M.S), a project engineer at MKN, an environmental engineering firm.

To close out the meeting, Jiang recognized two former Irvine Company representatives – Terry Hartman and Jamie Yoshida ’03 – for their years of support for the CEE students’ senior design projects. She also honored Steve Bucknam, president of Bucknam and Associates, for his 20 years of service as a lecturer for the department’s senior design course.

“Our goal with the affiliates was to get UCI alumni involved, because many of us founders were not from UCI,” said Bucknam. “I’m pleased to see that most of the affiliates today are UCI alums. Our goal was to provide hands-on experience to students. They are our future.”

Jiang then invited everyone to enjoy a buffet dinner and thanked everyone for coming, “You, the CEE Affiliates, are a strong arm of our department,” said Jiang. “And we appreciate you.”

– Lori Brandt