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January 22, 2019

Engineer of the Year


John D. Hooper
Magnusson Klemencic Associates

John D. Hooper is director of earthquake engineering at Magnusson Klemencic Associates, where he has worked on more than 100 projects and has led the earthquake engineering efforts for every MKA project in a seismic zone over the last two decades.

During that time, those projects have been recognized with more than a dozen national ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards, including this year’s platinum award-winning Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. Other notable projects include Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, which incorporates first-of-its kind seismically isolated roof sections over the seating area; and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, which uses a system with the world’s largest buckling-restrained braces. Hooper has also provided earthquake engineering leadership on projects at Harborview Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, and Amazon blocks 14, 18, 19 and 20.

In addition to his project awards, Hooper has been awarded six national and regional individual recognitions, including the Structural Engineering Institute’s Walter P. Moore Jr. Award in 2016 and the Professional Engineer of the Year award from the Washington Society of Professional Engineers in 2008. He was elected a fellow of both the Structural Engineering Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2014. His technical excellence is in great demand by others in the profession, proven by his 12 years as chair of the ASCE 7 Seismic Subcommittee, an influential group that charts the future of seismic design in the United States.

Jonathan C. Siu, principal engineer/building official with Seattle’s Department of Construction & Inspections, has served on many industry committees with Hooper.

“His knowledge on seismic issues is encyclopedic,” Siu says, “and he’s very willing to share it with anyone who asks, without condescension.”

Despite Hooper’s heavy load of project and professional work, he still finds time to teach and mentor. Hooper has delivered more than 125 engineering presentations to professional organizations, university programs and lay audiences, and has written more than 50 technical papers. He has participated in more than 50 conferences, seminars and workshops, and has given more than 30 media interviews related mainly to the seismic hazards and seismic performance of buildings. He has also participated in documentaries for the BBC and National Geographic.

“He is a respected colleague, seasoned leader, trusted business partner, and a down-right good person,” says Ron Klemencic, chairman and CEO of MKA.

Hooper was born in Washington state and earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering from Seattle University. He later earned a master’s in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He was the technical director at Seattle firm Ratti/Fossatti Associates for 10 years before accepting in 1997 a position at MKA (then Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire). In 2001, he accepted an offer to become one of the owners of MKA.

Hooper has been a respected mentor to many, including Jared Plank, currently an associate at PCS Structural Solutions. Plank appreciated Hooper’s guidance when Plank was a young engineer starting out at MKA.

“He was always available to answer technical questions and gave great direction and guidance on the practical and theoretical,” Plank recalls. “John’s knowledge of the code and origin of current practice was and continues to be invaluable.”

Even after Plank left MKA, Hooper continued to be of assistance.

“While I was president of the Indiana Structural Engineers Association, John was nice enough to do me a favor and come to present the new ASCE 7 code changes to the group,” Plank says. “He did this for no speaking fee.”

Over the years, Hooper has volunteered countless hours as a youth soccer and basketball coach. He was a member of the Everett Public Schools Foundation from 1997 to 2005 and has been a member/chair of the Seattle University College of Science and Engineering Leadership Council since 2014. He has also been a member of Seattle U’s Center for Science and Innovation Task Force board of directors for the past two years.

Hooper and his wife of 37 years, Lisa, live in Everett. They are parents to four children and have one grandchild.

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington has selected an Engineer of the Year every year since 1959.

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