June 6, 2019 - 8:00am to 4:30pm

The Structural Engineers Association of Illinois is pleased to announce the 2019 Forensic Forum! The event provides an opportunity for structural engineers to share best practices, lessons learned, and new techniques related to the investigation of failures or other performance problems. Failures are not all catastrophic, such as when a building or bridge collapses, but include facilities or parts of facilities that do not perform as intended by the owner, design professional or contractor. Forensic design and construction topics will be presented by a diverse group of engineers from Chicagoland and beyond. The Forum is designed for all structural engineering professionals interested in forensic engineering.


150 North Riverside
Chicago, IL

Program Information

   8:00 am – 8:30 am

 Registration and Breakfast

   8:30 am - 9:25 am

 Practical Assessment of Fire Damaged Structures
 Erik B. Wetzler - Envista Forensics

  9:25 am - 10:00 am

 Forensic Investigation of Post Tensioned Slab Blowout
 Tejasvee Prasad - Thornton Tomasetti

 10:00 am - 10:20 am  Break

  10:20 am - 11:15 am

 Bouncing Around – Identifying and Addressing Unacceptable Vibrations
 Libby Bales - Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, Inc.

  11:15 am – 12:10 pm

 A Dip in the Bridge: A Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge Case Study
 Thomas Frankie - Wiss Janney Elstner Associates

  12:10 pm -  1:00 pm


   1:00 pm - 1:55 pm

 The Miller Park Crane Accident, a 20 Year Look Back
 Edward Swierz - Integrity Structural Illinois

   1:55 pm - 2:30 pm

 Assessment of Seismic Damage to New Zealand Wine Tanks
Kathleen Hart - Thornton Tomasetti

   2:30 pm - 2:50 pm


   2:50 pm - 3:45 pm  Structural Assessments Guide Hyperbolic Shell Cooling Tower   Rehabilitation
 Matt Gries - Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.​

   3:45 pm - 4:20 pm

 Extending the Life of a Hyperbolic Cooling Tower with Cathodic Protection
 Matthew Miltenberger - Vector Corrosion Services, Inc.


Registration and a continental breakfast will be available at 8 am; the program begins at 8:30. Lunch will be provided. 

The registration fee is just $385 for members and $505 for non-members

Attendees will earn 6.5 hours of continuing education credit.  CE certificates will be emailed to all participants following the event. Course handouts will also be emailed to participants in PDF format if available before the event.

If you make a reservation and cannot attend, please cancel before Monday, June 3rd.  If you do not cancel by that time, please send a colleague in your place, as you will be charged.


Exhibitor Booth Space

  • $500
  • Includes 2 registrations
  • Includes recognition the program, mention from the podium, two admissions to the Forensic Forum, and access to participants during breakfast, lunch, and breaks during the day.

Click here to register as an exhibitor

Sponsorship Opportunities

There are four different levels of sponsorship:

  • Platinum: $700 – Recognition in program, display of a poster at event, and recognition for sponsoring lunch. 
  • Gold: $500 – Recognition in the program, display of a poster at event, and recognition during the technical session for sponsoring one of the following:   Continental Breakfast or Afternoon Break
  • Silver: $400 – Recognition in the program and display of a poster at event
  • Bronze: $200 – Recognition in the program

Click here to become a Sponsor

Meet the Speakers

Erik B. Wetzler
, P.E., S.E., Envista Forensics
As an expert in structural engineering design, Mr. Wetzler has directed and executed a range of forensic investigations, structural analyses, condition assessments, and litigation support cases. His experience includes the evaluation and assessment of natural and manufactured (man-made) losses and disasters, including fire, earthquakes, hurricanes, structural and vessel collapses, building envelope failures, and a variety of common and complex property loss scenarios. Utilizing technical research, root cause analysis, forensic data, and on-site investigations, he delivers findings and conclusions to insurance companies, owners and attorneys.

Practical Assessment of Fire Damaged Structures
This course will provide participants with visual indicators of fire-exposed concrete, masonry, wood, and steel structural elements. We will discuss the resulting impacts on residual strength and common assessment techniques. In addition, the participants will learn to estimate the fire-strength (heat) by evaluation of the damage exhibited by common interior fixtures, finishes, and equipment (FFE).

Libby Bales, Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, Inc.

Libby is a Staff II – Structures team member at SGH. Since joining SGH, she has worked on the structural analysis and design of a new, 10-story concrete condo building in Chicago. She has assisted in several investigation projects including precast concrete railroad ties experiencing material degradation and a structural steel building experiencing excessive deflections and vibrations. Her experience also includes analysis and design of residential feature staircases.

Bouncing Around – Identifying and Addressing Unacceptable Vibrations
During construction of a collegiate athletic facility, the contractor identified large floor deflections in a floor slab and the Owner noted excessive vibrations in the structure.  A peer review of the structural design identified errors in the design assumptions and calculations.  A remedial program of strengthening existing members and installation of tuned mass dampers was implemented to address the Owner and Contractor concerns.

Thomas Frankie, PhD, PE, SE, Wiss Janney Elstner Associates
Dr. Frankie specializes in the assessment of structures compromise due to failure, accident, natural disaster, or material degradation, including corrosion. He has applied advanced laboratory and field investigation techniques to many unique situations. Dr. Frankie has investigated problems in numerous structures, including historic and modern buildings, bridges, stadiums, parking garages, cooling towers, seawalls, slabs-on-grade, pavements, and foundations.

A Dip in the Bridge: A Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge Case Study
On the evening of September 24, 2013, a 400-foot-long section of the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge in Green Bay, Wisconsin, sagged due to approximately two feet of settlement at one of its piers. No one was injured, and the bridge was immediately closed. Dr. Thomas Frankie will discuss the rapid response required for this project, including installation of instrumentation for bridge monitoring, as well as investigation and consulting services provided (as a part of a diverse team) to identify the cause of the settlement and to develop an appropriate approach for stabilization and repairs.

Edward Swierz, Integrity Structural Illinois
Edward is a Principal at Integrity Structural Illinois with over 35 years as a practicing SE in both the design and forensic aspects with academic teaching experience.

The Miller Park Crane Accident, a 20 Year Look Back
A review of the tragic crane accident of July 14, 1999, and discussion of the event and decisions and the causes of the failure.


Kathleen Hart, P.E., Thornton Tomasetti

Kathleen is a Project Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti. She has broad experience across many practice areas, including bridge design and inspection, construction management, structural analysis, and condition assessment.  She has also been involved in several forensic investigations, litigation support cases, and adaptive reuse projects.  Kathleen is a registered professional engineer in New York, holding a BS from Manhattan College and an MS from Columbia University.

Assessment of Seismic Damage to New Zealand Wine Tanks

This presentation will discuss the construction of wine tanks, their behavior during a seismic event (and how that's affected by the volume of liquid inside), and types of damage a tank may experience during an event.

Matt Gries, PE, SE, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Matt Gries is a Senior Associate structural engineer at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., starting with the firm in 2010. He has broad-based experience in condition assessments, structural evaluation, repair design, and construction period services for buildings, bridges, towers, and utility structures. Additionally, Matt has expertise in linear and nonlinear finite element analysis of concrete structures and has experience with nondestructive testing techniques. Matt is both a registered Professional Engineer and Structural Engineer in Illinois.

Structural Assessments Guide Hyperbolic Shell Cooling Tower Rehabilitation
Reinforced concrete cooling towers are exposed to harsh operating environments that can lead to corrosion of embedded steel reinforcing, concrete cracking and spalling. Condition assessment of cooling towers is challenging due to their size, geometry and operational constraints but this information can provide the knowledge necessary to monitor structural health, plan maintenance, and prioritize repairs to maximize service life. A case history is presented to illustrate how assessment data was collected, interpreted, and used to develop and implement repair strategies for two 400-ft tall hyperbolic shell cooling towers exhibiting widespread corrosion-induced deterioration.

Matthew Miltenberger, Vector Corrosion Services, Inc.
Mr. Matt Miltenberger, P.E. is Vice President of Vector Corrosion Services, Inc.  Matt has a BBA in construction management from the University of Miami, along with a BSCE and MSCE in structures from the University of Maryland.  Matt has over thirty-five years’ experience in concrete construction, engineering and construction materials research.  He is a NACE certified Cathodic Protection Specialist; is a member of ACI, ASCE, and NACE technical committees; and has authored several peer-reviewed technical papers on the durability of concrete materials.  Matt’s expertise is in concrete materials testing, corrosion testing, cathodic protection design and installation, condition assessment, service life analysis, and repair of concrete structures.

Extending the Life of a Hyperbolic Cooling Tower with Cathodic Protection
Cathodic Protection adds life to a 400 ft tall hyperbolic cooling tower as part of a major design-build restoration effort. Four cathodic protection systems were integrated into the repair strategy. This presentation will address the cathodic protection system selection, design parameters, and installation.



Tejasvee Prasad, Thornton Tomasetti
Tejasvee Prasad began his career with Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. in the structural engineering practice at their Florida office before relocating to the Chicago office to join the Forensics practice in 2018. His strong analytical skills are therefore supported a solid backbone of design experience in concrete commercial and residential buildings with a special focus on post tensioned concrete design and field Inspections. Outside of his core competency, his portfolio covers terrace and bolt remediation work, threshold inspection work in steel and concrete residential and commercial buildings and stadia, respectively.

Forensic Investigation of Post Tensioned Slab Blowout Forensic Investigation of Post Tensioned Slab Blowout
Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. (TI) performed a forensic review of a post tensioned blowout that occurred hours after the stressing of a banded tendon in an elevated concrete slab. The blowout occurred at the banded cable dead end close to a relatively unreinforced thickened slab step.





Daniel Roig ( Roig Associates )
Nancy Collins ( )
Richard Weber ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Christopher Hart ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Scott Wyatt ( KPFF Consulting Engineers )
John Henik ( J.V. Henik, Inc. )
Jeannette Pfeiffer
Moshe Calamaro ( Moshe Calamaro & Associates )
Erik Wetzler ( Envista )
Matt Miltenberger ( Vector Corrosion Services )
Kathleen Hart ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Matt Gries ( WJE )
Thomas Frankie ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (Chicago) )
Edward Swierz ( Integrity Structural Illinois LLC )
Tejasvee Prasad ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Elizabeth Bales ( Simpson Gumpertz & Heger )
Ephraim Dissen ( Brindley Engineering Corp )
Aaron Neuman ( USG Company )
Nezar Abraham ( Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc )
Oana Toma ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Andrew Kolden ( Zenith Tech., Inc )
Eric Heitman ( Zenith Tech., Inc )
David Stanke ( Zenith Tech., Inc )
Tim Fitzgerald ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Jared Marugg ( Zenith Tech., Inc )
Christopher Rockey ( Rockey Structures, LLC )
Kevin Conroy ( Simpson Gumpertz & Heger )
Stephen Schmitt ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Josh Trei ( Nederveld )
George Krupa ( Lakeshore Engineering, LLC )
Roman Szczesniak ( RSJR Engineering Ltd. )
ira Norooz ( Maxima Consultants Corp. )