September 24, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Checking the Pulse of the Illinois Construction & Engineering Industry

This program is an SEAOI webinar, with curated panelists discussing timely topics relevant and important to the Illinois construction and engineering industry. We will live stream the third Friday of every other month at noon and recorded content will always be available if possible. 

You must register BEFORE 2 PM ON SEPTEMBER 22ND to receive a code to access the live event.

September 2021 Discussion: How to Design an Impact Load on Social Change

Join us for a panel discussion between not-for-profit leaders who are working to create bridges for the underrepresented to enter STEM, specifically Structural Engineering. Whether you are the owner of a structural engineering firm, work in the HR department, or are a first-year designer, you will learn the role you play in the creation of diversity and how you can positively impact our profession.


  • Marcus E. Woods, Principal, Three Pillar Structural Engineering Group and Founder, Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation


  • Natasha Smith Walker, Executive Director, Project Exploration
  • Adrianne Wheeler, Director of Programs, Project SYNCERE
  • Krisann Rehbein, Executive Director, ACE Mentor Chicago

How to Watch the Panel Discussion

This webinar is FREE to all attendees but you must register before 2 PM on September 22nd.
You will receive an email confirmation with a personalized link to view the webinar page shortly before the event.  

Zoom is offering live closed captioning to users through Fall 2021. If you want it, you need to complete a request form here.



Marcus E. Woods, Principal, Three Pillar Structural Engineering Group
Founder, Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation

Marcus E. Woods earned his B.A. and M.S. in Civil Engineering with a focus in Structures from Washington University in Saint Louis. Marcus is a multi-state licensed Professional Engineer and owns his own Engineering Firm. Previously, he worked with multiple engineering firms in the City of Chicago, with a project list consisting of both domestic and international structural designs. Just as he has been able to touch the lives of many individuals with his designs, he enjoys doing so with his not-for-profit, Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation. The mission of his not-for-profit is, "To inspire and empower underrepresented students to explore education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, providing the skills necessary to thrive in these fields." In his free time, he loves to snowboard and play basketball. 


Natasha Smith-Walker, Executive Director
Project Exploration

Natasha Smith-Walker has 20 years of experience in youth development and education. Her career has focused on supporting youth and communities having access to opportunities that will support their development. As the Executive Director of Project Exploration, she works to ensure that there is equity, access, and opportunity for girls, minority youth, and communities to get high-quality science out of school programming.  In addition, her efforts have positioned Project Exploration to lead the development of a STEM Learning Ecosystem for Chicago including earning a National Science Foundation INCLUDES (Award Abstract #1744523) award. This project focuses on the Austin community where Project Exploration has developed the West Side STEM Learning Center, a STEM community hub, offering out of school time STEM programs for Austin students K-12, and has brought in various resources and activities to continue to build access and equity to STEM learning opportunities for the Austin community.  She serves on the national STEM Ecosystem Advisory Council and Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity working group and the Chicago Public Schools, Instructional Equity Working Group. Her career has included classroom teaching and numerous administrative and educational roles in Chicago’s out-of-school time landscape, including the James Jordan Boys & Girls Club, Mayor Daley’s YouthNet, and After School Matters. She has worked on several projects as a private consultant, including a national examination of public sectors in an effort to identify best practices of leadership. She has a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Adrianne Wheeler, Director of Programs

Adrianne is currently the Director of Programs at Project SYNCERE, a Chicago-based engineering education nonprofit devoted to creating pathways of opportunity for underrepresented students to pursue STEM careers. She received her Bachelors of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently working towards her Doctor of Education at DePaul University. Her research interests are in STEM diversity, K-12 STEM recruitment and secondary pre-service STEM teacher development. Outside of work and school, she serves as the Chair of the American Society of Engineering Education Student Division.

Krisann Rehbein, Executive Director
ACE Mentor Chicago

Krisann Rehbein is a design educator, not-for-profit administrator, and strategic thinker. She is the Executive Director of ACE Mentor Chicago, an organization that introduces teens to career opportunities in architecture, construction, and engineering. While at ACE, she implemented an Alumni Scholarship program, grew the summer internship program, and oversaw the transition of the organization during the shutdowns of Covid-19. 

Prior to joining ACE, she spent over a decade at the Chicago Architecture Foundation where she worked with a wide and diverse audience. During her tenure, she implemented city-wide programming for teens, piloted a fully funded community outreach initiative, placed over 150 students in paid internships, and developed a suite of new adult programs to expand the conversation about the built environment in Chicago. She spearheaded and directed a major institutional project, the development and writing of a textbook to teach high school students about architecture published as The Architecture Handbook: A Student Guide to Understanding Buildings. The award-winning curriculum is part of the official career curriculum for the Chicago Public Schools and is used in schools across the country. 

In addition to running ACE, Krisann is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning at UWM and she is frequently invited to speak on issues about access, equity, and engagement in design. 



Jorge Garcia ( Chicago Learning Exchange )
Jonathan Beckstrom ( Michael Baker International )
Joseph Kauzlarich ( Michael Baker International )
Shawn Waddell ( Smithgroup )
Soliman Khudeira ( CDOT - Engineering )
Michael Haynie ( EXP )
Eduardo Prieto ( Exp Federal )
Helen Torres ( Helen Torres & Associates, PLLC )
Mark Bendok ( Alfred Benesch & Company )
Steven Crang ( HOK - Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum )
Judy Brady ( C.E. Anderson & Associates, P.C. )
Marlene Delaney ( Jensen Hughes )
Guadalupe Gomez ( Buro Happold )
nicole st hilaire ( Jensen Hughes )
Marlene Delaney ( Jensen Hughes )
Jan Blok ( The Structural Group, Ltd. )
John McLean ( Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger )
Michelle Ryland ( Klein & Hoffman )
Gloria Frank ( Raths Raths Johnson )
Johann Aakre ( Michael Baker International )
Karen Grossett ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Kristen Erickson ( Pepper Construction )
Jason Krohn
Nichole Mueller ( Mueller & Associates, LLC )
Nicole McGrath-Patti ( Larson Engineering, Inc. )
Carl Peterson ( Retired from WJE )
Timothy Unger ( S.S.E., Inc. )
Mustapha Ibrahim ( WSP )
Vinod Patel ( exp US Services, Inc. )
Chad Bay ( Alfred Benesch & Company )
Holly McCauley ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Michael Haynie ( EXP )
Kristi Sattler ( AISC - American Institute of Steel Construction )
Matthew Parkolap ( M2 Engineering LLC )
Joel Smit
Mayren Mata ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Sheila Crawford
Rachel Jackson ( Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. )
Chris Linneman ( EFK Moen )
Linda Moen ( EFK Moen )
Jorge Medina ( Burns and McDonnell )
Jonathan Lewis ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Jennifer Traut-Todaro ( AISC - American Institute of Steel Construction )
Vincent Tabor ( Lin Engineering, Ltd. )
Jorge Medina ( Burns and McDonnell )
Steven Beran ( IDOT - Illinois Department of Transportation )
Kevin Griebenow ( FERC )
Mary Lou Kutska ( Michael Baker International )
Andrew Mattson ( David Mason + Associates )
Christine Freisinger ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Soliman Khudeira ( CDOT - Engineering )
Shelley Finnigan ( ArcelorMittal )
Jonathan Pearson ( EXP )
Dana McKane ( Orion Engineers )
Sophie Hui Liu ( ESCA Consultants, Inc. )
Jie Yang ( Jacobs Engineering )
Cathleen Jacinto ( FORSE Consulting, LLC )
Prateek Sangal ( Leidos Engineering LLC )
Robert B. Johnson