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March 28, 2022

Engineer of the Year

Shelley Clark

Magnusson Klemenic Associates


The Engineer of the Year for 2022 is Shelley R. Clark, an owner and senior principal at Magnusson Klemencic Associates. She currently leads the firm’s Retail/Mixed-Use Specialist Group and has been responsible for some of the most significant projects in the firm’s history.

Clark joined Skilling Ward Rogers Barkshire — now known as MKA — as an entry-level engineer. Throughout her 37-year career in structural engineering, she has proved to be an outstanding leader — both within the firm and the profession — whose contributions exemplify technical, management, and service excellence.

Clark is responsible for the structural engineering of some of the world’s most iconic, impactful, and creative mixed-use projects. Her experience working with the industry’s top developers gives her unique insights into the creation of structures that are efficient, economical, and offer a special “sense of identity.” Shelley’s impressive portfolio of over 250 structural engineering projects showcases her incredible technical knowledge, engineering prowess, and leadership skills.

The massive retail, mixed-use, shopping, and entertainment projects in her portfolio are larger and more complex than Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world today with 3.6 million square feet. One example is the City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, an ACEC national award-winning project. This 5.5 million-square-foot, $1.5 billion mixed-use development serves shoppers, residents, and office workers and covers two city blocks. City Creek Center is the only shopping center in the United States with a retractable glass roof that provides an open-air or covered experience as desired and a water feature “city creek” running through the center of the site, including two 15-foot waterfalls.

Another example is Miami’s Brickell City Centre, a 5.4 million-square-foot, $1.05 billion mixed-use development serving shoppers, residents, office workers, and hotel visitors. It features an innovative steel-and-glass “climate ribbon” that collects rainwater and harnesses ocean breezes to provide comfortable and natural climate control.

Shopping centers across the U.S., Panama City, Panama, and Washington state feature Clark’s innovative designs. Many local favorite shopping centers were completed under her watchful eyes, in addition to the Pacific Science Center Boeing Imax Theater, Inn at Suncadia, and Microsoft Redmond West, to name just a few.

Throughout her distinguished career, Clark has provided leadership and service to the engineering profession, serving at one time as president of the Seattle Chapter of the Structural Engineers Association of Washington, the first and only woman honored in SEAW history. Clark is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the only structural engineer to claim a leadership role in the organization, and a recognized ICSC Certified Development, Design, and Construction Professional. She is sought after by professional organizations and industry peers to speak and share her insights on topics ranging from the design of mixed-use retail projects to strategies for anchor box redevelopment.

Clark believes women bring new perspectives to the engineering industry, and she takes seriously her position as a mentor to young women who aspire to become successful engineers. Through her contributions to promoting STEM education at local elementary and middle schools, Clark recognizes the importance of expanding diversity, equity and inclusion in engineering. She has taught graduate-level classes at the University of Washington on retail engineering and structural facilities management.

Clark is particularly interested in sharing her knowledge with peers and advancing the profession by offering presentations that address vital issues facing the retail industry. Current topics include retrofit versus demolition, anchor box redevelopment, mixed-use integration, retail repositioning, strategies for successful mixed-use projects, and incorporating high-rise tower designs into retail centers.

“Shelley has an innate ability to explain very complex structural principles in a way that laymen can understand and fully appreciate,” says Mark DeCapri, senior vice president at Brookfield Properties. “Anyone who has sat through thousands of meetings like I have in which, ultimately, a decision needs making that commits millions of development dollars to construction knows the importance of this skill. She epitomizes this spirit of collaboration through full engagement on a project,” he says.

“It starts with her selecting the structural project team for compatibility with the project needs,” DeCapri says. “She continues with initial input based on a depth of broad experience during the concept phase, and throughout the project has thoughtful exchanges through discourse on solution-based engineering options.

“Shelley Clark’s highest qualification for this honor exists in her commitment to excellence. No matter how large of a project Shelley is working on, she consistently provides leadership on structural engineering solutions that meet the owners’ and clients’ highest expectations, as well as budget considerations.”

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