Welcome to the Young Engineers Committee (YEC) page! 

The Young Engineers Committee's purpose is to provide a forum where young practicing engineers can come to promote the structural engineering field, as well as learn from both young and experienced members of SEAOI.  In order to accomplish its mission, the YEC endeavors:

  1. To educate the public about the structural engineering field through volunteering and philanthropy.
  2. To facilitate networking and dialogue among its membership through planning and participation in social and professional events.
  3. To provide resources and support to its membership for professional development and licensure


Check out some of our awesome members talking about the YEC Committee in the video above!

Contact us at YEC@seaoi.org!

Join our Mailing List

Use the form below to subscribe to the YEC Wednesday mailing list.

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Recent Graduate New Member Promotion

Are you graduating or have you recently graduated with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD with a focus on Structural Engineering? Do you want to get more involved with Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI) after you graduate? If so, SEAOI is offering a discounted rate of $75 (normally $137.50) for the first two years of Associate-level membership.

You must participate in at least 3 SEAOI events during your first year of membership in order to be eligible for the discount again in your second year.  

If you are interested in taking advantage of this great offer, please fill out this form and we’ll contact you with more information! 


Dinner Meetings Mentorship Program

We are now taking names of those interested in participating in the Mentor Program at SEAOI dinner meetings in 2019-2020! 

At each dinner meeting, young engineers are paired up with seasoned engineers who can share their structural engineering knowledge and experience with them. This is a great opportunity to meet new people, as well as get comfortable with the dinner meetings. We know it can be intimidating to walk into a room full of people you do not know, and your assigned mentor will be there to introduce you to other attendees. We have found that after young engineers participate in this program, they are then more excited to attend future dinner meetings, which are always a great networking and educational experience. 

Five young engineers will be selected for each dinner meeting and will also receive a discounted rate, paying only $25 to attend. Please see the upcoming events in the sidebar for the schedule of dinner meetings. 

Please email YEC@seaoi.org if you would like to participate, and we will contact you with more information. 

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Outstanding Young Engineer Award

The Outstanding Young Engineer Award is presented to a structural engineer, 35 years old or younger, in recognition of their achievements in structural engineering. The candidate must exhibit both technical and interpersonal qualities that all young engineers should strive to achieve, and must have gone above and beyond the typical expectations placed on a young engineer. 

Congratulations to Jerome J. (JJ) Tobolski, winner of the 2020 Outstanding Young Engineer Award!

Find the complete list of past winners here

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SEAOI Young Engineer Spotlight

Click here to read the interview with this month's Young Engineer, David Petlicki.

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YEC Events

Professional Events

At the beginning of the year, we host the annual Young Engineers Symposium, which gives young engineers the chance to share projects or technical experience with their peers in an informal setting. We also hold panel discussions on topics of interest to young engineers. Past discussions have included preparation for the SE exam and how City Commissioners utilize structural engineers in their respective departments.

Happy Hours

Every few months we hold happy hour events downtown after work and the YEC typically provides free appetizers. Sometimes the happy hours coincide with a food drive for the Greater Chicago Food Depository or a toy drive for Metropolitan Family Services. Attendees who provide a donation to these drives are also treated to a free beverage on behalf of the YEC. These happy hours are a great opportunity to network and meet other young engineers.


Post-Exam Celebrations

After the licensing exams, we host a post-exam celebration to unwind from the stress of test-taking. In past years, we have organized brewery tours, gone bowling, played ping-pong and Whirlyball, and attended an improv comedy show. This is a great way to blow off steam and celebrate with those who have taken the exams.



Site Visits

Each spring and fall, we set up local site visits, with tours hosted by local engineering firms, general contractors, and/or material fabricators. Past tours include Arkadia, a residential high-ride project in the West Loop, the Wilson Avenue CTA Station Project, and a tour of the Atlas Tube facility, a local HSS manufacturer.



Volunteer Opportunities

YEC provides volunteers for many local structural engineering events, including Future City, E-Week, Rebuilding Together, and more. Please see our Outreach Events page for more information.





Sporting Events

Each year, ticket prices permitting, we try to attend one White Sox, Cubs, Blackhawks, or Bulls games. We get a block of tickets and all enjoy the game together. Often, we’ll ask attendees to contribute to the cost of the tickets.


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Meet the YEC!

Each member of the YEC oversees a specific area of activity. Read the full Roles & Responsibilities here. Click on any YEC member's name to jump to their photo and bio.

Co-Chairs David Nauheimer and Jonathan Tavarez
Communications Chair Rami Asfahani
Membership Chair Kremena Dokliev
Professional Events Chair  Paul Papazisi
Social Events Chair Joseph Porada
Social Media Co-Chairs David Petlicki and Peter Busch
Volunteer Chair -
New Grad Co-Chairs- Lamyae Reklaoui and Georges Abdallah

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David Nauheimer (Co-Chair)

Position: Senior Associate I, Sargent & Lundy, LLC

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering; M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: P.E., Illinois, Kansas; S.E. Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, AISC

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Jonathan Tavarez (Volunteer Chair)

Position: Staff Engineer, American Institute of Steel Construction 

Education: University of Texas at El Paso,  B.S. Civil Engineering; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: P.E., Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, AISC, ASCE

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Rami Asfahani (Communications Chair)

Position: Structures Engineer, Ciorba Group, Inc.

Education: American University of Beirut, B.E, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Illinois Institute of Technology, M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: P.E., Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, AAAEA

Kremena Dokliev (Membership Chair)









Position: Associate II, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Education: Illinois Institute of Technology, B.S. Civil Engineering, M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: E.I.T. - Illinois

Societies: SEAOI

Enji Paul Papazisi (Professional Events Chair)

Position: Bridge Engineer, HNTB Corporation

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering; M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: P.E. - Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, ASCE, AISC

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Joseph Porada (Social Events Chair)










Position: Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti, Inc.

Education: University of Notre Dame, B.S. Civil Engineering; Lehigh University, M.Eng. Structural Engineering

Licensure: E.I.T. - Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, AISC

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David Petlicki (Social Media Co-Chair)

Position: Structural Engineer, Baldridge and Associates Structural Engineering

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering; M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: P.E., Illinois; S.E. Illinois

Societies: SEAOI

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Peter Busch (Social Media Co-Chair)









Position: Bridge Engineer, HNTB Corporation

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering. Texas A&M University, MEng Structural Engineering

Licensure: E.I.T. - Illinois

Societies: SEAOI

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Lamyae Reklaoui (New Grad Co-Chair)

Position: Project Designer, Goodfriend Magruder Structure LLC

Education: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, B.S. in Civil Engineering; Carnegie Mellon University, M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering (Advanced Infrastructure Systems)

Licensure: E.I.T. - Pennsylvania

Societies: SEAOI

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Georges Abdallah (New Grad Co-Chair)

Position: Structural Designer, Wight & Company

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MS in Civil Engineering (Structures); American University of Beirut, BS in Civil Engineering

Licensure: N/A

Societies: SEAOI

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