Structural Engineering Team Spotlight

By Focus Engineering In News, Team No comments

Our Structural Engineering department is responsive, innovative, and works together as a true team. Their proactive communication and deep knowledge of industry codes and standards allows us to trust them on every project they work on, knowing what they bring to the table will be above the bar. Not only do they deliver skilled and experienced results, but they are a delight to have at FOCUS. We’re grateful to have them.

Name: Joel Whitmer, P.E.

Title: Department Manager

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

If I can only pick one thing, today I would say that I enjoy the challenge and fulfillment available in so many areas of our work. Every day we are challenged to not only improve our service to our clients, but to improve and expand ourselves in more areas than just technical skills.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I really enjoy problem solving. Whether it is coming up with a crazy solution to some structural engineering problem or problem solving through relationship hurdles, I really enjoy being able to take a problem and come to a creative solution.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department? 

I really enjoy the people. Specifically how we are all working towards greatness everyday and that we look for the fun and exciting moments along the way together.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

All of them!

5. What is your favorite hobby?

I’d say my favorite hobby is to travel and explore. Whether it is a new hike in the mountains, a new national park to visit, or a new city/country to wander around, I really enjoy being in new places, seeing new sites, and experiencing new things.

Name: Brad Mason, P.E.

Title: Assistant Department Manager

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

My favorite thing about working at FOCUS is working with the people. FOCUS puts a lot of effort into building teams and setting people up for success. I love being a part of the team and fulfilling my role the best I can to get our clients happy. I also love setting goals as a team and working to achieve those together.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I enjoy working on soft skills growth. I enjoy our betterment meetings where we discuss those. I enjoy making goals for myself and with others to improve in those areas, and then watching us work and grow into our best selves outside of our engineering expertise.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department? 

We have a lot of different people with different strengths. I really enjoy seeing where some people step up and help the team.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

There are a lot of projects that I am very proud of that I don’t know if I could single any out. I would say that the projects I am most proud of are when the design team (contractor, architect, engineer, etc.) need to collaborate regularly to solve problems specific to the project. I like working closely with our clients and helping be a part of creative solutions to create beautiful homes.

5. What is your favorite hobby?

I enjoy learning new skills. Right now I have picked up baking off and on. This comes from a passion for eating cake and other baked goods more than a real passion for baking. However I have enjoyed learning how to bake better and improve that skill, and you get to eat yummy food along the way. The main things I have been making are cakes but I have thrown in the occasional croissant or macarons.

Name: Craig Lym, P.E., S.E.

Title: Senior Structural Engineer

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

Not only does FOCUS care about our clients’ needs I really feel they have a desire to help the employee as well. A lot of effort is placed on the betterment of the employee.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Helping my fellow engineers to grow and learn. In my role here at Focus I have the opportunity to coach and mentor my fellow engineers.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

We are a close team that works together well. We can trust in our team to work together to meet our deadlines.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

I would have to say the Mountain Tech building in Pleasant Grove, Utah. The structure has an irregular shape that required a dynamic analysis to meet the code requirements. The building also had challenges due to the many structural elements that were used.

5. What is your favorite hobby?

I like to make stuff whether out of wood, or metal. I spend a lot of time in my shop creating and building. I am currently finishing up the cabinets for our new home.

Name: Steve Ostler

Title: Project Manager

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

My favorite thing about working at FOCUS is the culture. There is an awesome group of people that all have the same mindset and overall set of goals. We work together to hit our goals and are there to help each other every step of the way. We are always striving to improve and grow. We strive for a high level of communication and collaboration internally, and with our external clients. There is a framework we all adhere to, but there is so much freedom to find your own way to get there. There is no ceiling on what you can achieve, and are encouraged to find what you want to do and go for it.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy a good challenge, as well as learning new things. Working on the structural commercial team, I get plenty of opportunities to be challenged, and to learn and grow.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

I really enjoy mentoring others. In my role, I have been able to mentor and watch people grow into becoming great engineers.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

The Iris Apartments: It is a 5-story wood apartment building on 3 stories of concrete parking. The project was very complex, and took a high level of communication and coordination to complete. I was the project manager, and had a great team of 3 other engineers and a great drafter that helped this project to be successful. I was able to learn how to design a post tension podium and parking garage in a 3D finite element structural modeling software.

5. What is your favorite hobby?

I love to get out into nature. My wife and I have always been fascinated by mushrooms and over the past 5 years have spent a lot of time learning how to confidently identify wild edible mushrooms. We love to find them and try different ways to cook them. We have found many different varieties, and have enjoyed the variety of flavor and texture. Besides getting us out in the forest and getting exercise, we get to spend time together doing something that can be very educational, rewarding, and fulfilling.

Name: Matt Hakes

Title: Jr. Project Manager

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

FOCUS is a company that is always looking to improve the team and individual. The goals of the company are well known and each individual is encouraged to take an active role working towards these goals through self-betterment as well as department goals that lead to the company goals.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy coming up with creative solutions to the engineering problems that arise whether or not it is a project that I am working on or one that another team member is working on. Finding solutions to these problems really helps increase the engineering knowledge.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

I feel like our department works really well as a team in working together on projects and towards the goals that we set as a department.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

That’s tough to decide between projects. One of the projects that I am proud of is the Stewart Retail Building near the corner of Main St. and University Parkway in Orem. It had some cool design features that needed creative engineering solutions including an elevated curved roof as well as a turret area with glass all around the turret.

5. What is your favorite hobby?

Mountain Biking and playing or watching sports.

Name: Gabriela Moldonado

Title: Jr. Project Manager

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

The people and the importance FOCUS gives to building relationships.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job? 

Talking to my clients and helping them be successful with their projects.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

We are always willing to help each other out when we need it.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

I’m most proud of Tri-City office building because I encountered new challenges that I was able to overcome and I had to take my coordination skills to a different level to make the project a success.

5. What is your favorite hobby?

Latin Dancing, for sure! I’m always looking for people to join me.

Name: Rusten Tauteoli

Title: Jr. Project Manager

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

FOCUS invests a lot in its employees. From training to company swag, my favorite things about working here at FOCUS are all the extras I get. The individual training we receive is top notch and always produces personal development and progress.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the autonomy afforded to us, inside the umbrella of the company standards. FOCUS has high expectations, but also supports and provides opportunities for growth and improvement.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

I most enjoy the openness of our team. We’re able to talk about any topic as a group and everyone is comfortable to share his or her opinions. I gain a lot of perspective through talking through things with our team, as we have a very diverse group, both in experience level and background.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

I’m most proud of our work with ES Solar. We had a significant backlog of projects in May, which got even bigger for the next two months as I took over management of their account. Our entire department was able to band together to eliminate the backlog and now we’re operating smoothly as they’ve increased the amount of work they are sending us. Throughout the process, we’ve been in constant communication with them and they are very happy with where we’re at as a partnership.

5.  What is your favorite hobby?

Sports of any kind are my favorite hobby; especially football. I grew up playing sports year-round and now my son has started playing sports as well. I have so much more fun and excitement watching my son play his sports and I can’t wait for each one of his seasons to start.

Name: Michael Ekenstam, P.E.

Title: Project Engineer

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

My favorite thing about working at FOCUS is that we work together as a team with our main goal being to make everyone around us better!

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working with others to provide creative solutions for buildings and then seeing those creations being built.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

The structural department is a team of individuals from various backgrounds. We all work very well together and are able to collaborate to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to most problems!

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

I work on providing the structural design on various custom homes in the area. I take pride in working with our clients to make their vision become a reality, while providing the best value!

5.  What is your favorite hobby?

I enjoy spending time outdoors, including hiking, backpacking, and snowboarding!

Name: Akhil Konegari, EIT

Title: Project Engineer

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

This is a hard one. There are so many things I like about FOCUS, but the best thing would be the people. Everyone wants to see you grow. The only thing holding you back is YOURSELF.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

As a structural design engineer, I really enjoy the diversity in projects we get to work on. Each project is unique and has its own challenges. I enjoy working through these with my team to provide the right solution for each project.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

I have a great team that is willing to support and help each other grow.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

Of the projects I have worked on, the one I am the most proud of is the Pacific Yard Apartments. It is a 5-on-2 podium which had a challenging lateral design. I got the opportunity to work with a lot of trades to understand their needs and provide the right solutions. This led us to build good relationships.

5.  What is your favorite hobby?

I like playing video games, visiting new places, and trying new things.

Name: Eliot Kang

Title: Intern

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS? What drew you to FOCUS as an employer?

My favorite thing about working at FOCUS is the level of responsibility they allow the interns to have.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job? 

The thing I enjoy most about my job is being able to problem solve. Every day/project, something new always comes up and its fun to work through it and find the best solution.

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

I love that everyone is a team player. Everyone has an open door policy and is always willing to help someone else out whether that be answering questions, reviewing projects, or just helping to make sure that all projects are successful. Also, going out to get tacos with everybody isn’t half bad either.

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

I am very proud of the Goltermann Residence. That one was probably the most in-depth and complex residence that I have designed yet. There were several custom structural elements (custom steel truss, continuous curved steel beam around the perimeter of the entire deck, tall foundation walls) and all of them were time intensive and challenging but ultimately the project went smoothly.

5. What is your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobby is hiking/being outdoors. My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Yosemite and hiked over 60 miles in 5 days there. We also just recently did some canyoneering and completed the Subway from top down in St. George.

Name: Devyn Yang

Title: Intern

1. What is your favorite thing about working at FOCUS?

The willingness everyone has to help and support each other! It isn’t hard to ask for help and actually learn!

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

The end product of seeing a project being sent to a client and approved!

3. What do you enjoy most about your team/department?

Everyone is super friendly and ALWAYS willing to help teach and take the time to make sure I understand!

4. Of what project that you’ve worked on are you most proud? Why?

Oakley house because if I was correct, it was one of the first custom homes I was able to fully engineer on my own!

5.  What is your favorite hobby?

Playing my guitar in my free time or working out at the gym!