Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Spann’

2013 Pi Day

Happy Happy Pi Day – Happy Happy Pi Day


Another successful HOK Structure’s Pi day has come and nearly gone as I write this.  As always it was an enjoyable event for all; we brought pie, we ate pie, we recited pi.    This was the St. Louis Structural Engineering group’s sixth annual event to celebrate the mathematical constant pi, an irrational and transcendental number represented by the Greek letter “π”.

To celebrate, we hosted an event inviting colleagues in our office to bring in a pie and participate in a “Best In Show” pie contest (and of course to eat pie) in addition to hosting the “most recited digits of pi” contest.  Winners were awarded with …

Diversity Quilt (Part 3) – The Squares

A continuation of the HOK Diversity Quilt posts … today we are featuring “all about me” squares.  We’ve found that each square represents the maker in a unique way, and the next two were uniquely made:

Donovan Oliff (Assistant General Council)“Donovan”

1. Did you have any inspiration in making your square (and what process did you use to make it)?

I wish I could point to something interesting as a source of inspiration.  To tell you the truth, I was a little intimated by all the stunningly creative people working in our office.  My knowledge of artistic media is limited to what I was taught to use in grade

Diversity Quilt (Part 2) – The Squares

As part of the HOK Diversity Quilt posts, I’ll be highlighting some squares.  I want to share the ideas and talent that have come from this project; I also want to give others inspiration; I mostly want to show you that making a square is easy and fun!  Today I’m sharing three squares…each a simple idea basically using blank fabric squares and some fabric markers.  Simple says a lot!

Matt Lindsey (ARC Print Shop)“Tic Tac Toe”

1. Did you have any inspiration in making your square?

I loved playing Tic Tac Toe as a kid and I wanted to put my inner child in to the quilt.

2. Anything fun we …

Diversity Quilt (Part One)

2012 Diversity Week in St. Louis brought some fun activities to the staff, but the one I was (and still am) most excited about is the Diversity Quilt. 

The quilt, a scheme brought to life by Penny Malina, represents the “joining of small pieces of fabric as a whole allowing us to see how each individual square is integral to the completed quilt”.  The drive for squares began in July.  The Interiors group donated old (discontinued) fabric samples, new muslin squares were cut, and notions were provided.  It’s been wonderful to see …

What Do You Do Online?

Like most of you, I tend to be limited with free time.  Having added a child to my family (a year ago today, Happy Birthday girlie), I’ve found many of the things I used to enjoy limited in some fashion or just replaced with new and fun activities with the little one.  One of the things I had enjoyed pre-baby was reading.  Then the little one came along and it was as if my brain turned to mush.  Difficulty came with not only finding time to read, but with committing to memory any part of the paragraph I had just read.  I let reading fall by the wayside assuming I’d pick up where I left off …

99% Invisible – Elegy for WTC -Buildings Speak

As a structural engineer, it was great to hear this podcast.  It was also heartbreaking, eerie.  If you have about 6 minutes, this is REALLY worth listening to (especially if you are a structural engineer)!

The link below is to a podcast that I listen to called “99% Invisible” done by an architect in San Francisco.  It is a short 6 minutes and is a recording of Les Robertson (structural engineer of the WTC) talking about his thoughts of his (and his team’s) design of the WTC structure.  Such a tough moment to listen to him take responsibility for the criteria used to design the structural solution for the WTC. 


The US has unfortunately seen a record amount of tornadoes this year, in fact a total to date of 1151 tornadoes with 875 in April alone.  Compare that to a year ago this time of 566 tornadoes (total!).*

Image by Dan Gill for The New York Times
Picture courtesy of  Dan Gill for The New York Times

It’s very disheartening to see the death and destruction that a tornado leaves behind.   The St. Louis area saw the Good Friday Tornadoes sweep through terrorizing the area and Lambert International Airport (see Gyo’s response to the airport’s damage, pictured above). Not even a week later, we saw the Tuscaloosa Tornado killing hundreds …

“Doesn’t Have to be Fancy”

I welcomed myself back to work on January 11 after only 8 weeks of maternity leave.  I wasn’t excited about coming back, afterall I now had to leave my precious new baby girl (Dani).  I was only relieved by the fact that I was able to leave my baby with my sister Holly instead of a random daycare and that I had a privacy room to use at the office for the purposes of expressing breastmilk.

A privacy room, so it seems HOK is following the new health care bill that requires employers (of 50 employees or more) to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from …

HOK Baby

Some of you may know that I affectionetly refer to HOK as my version of a cult.  It’s rare to see people so excited to work where they work.  I have been caught in the past wearing my very own HOK t-shirt or touting around my HOK water canteen.  So, you can imagine my surprise and elation when out of no where, a magical fairy (we’ll call her Michelle Pinkston) swooped in to my desk and dropped off a congratulatory gift…my baby’s very own HOK onesie!!  I don’t know how the onesie came to fruition, but I LOVE it!!  [I have a sneaking suspicion her sister who seems to recently have had

On the (Sustainable) Road | News from St. Louis!

We’re on a road.  It’s not a road to nowhere as the Talking Heads might have thought, it’s a sustainable road.  It’s a long road for us, and somehow, we still seem refreshed and eager to keep on going!  A few summers ago, HOK St. Louis started what is now referred to as “a green feeding” list.  It’s a score card of places that the office uses for catering lunches.  It’s really a great idea the more I think about it.  Where can we make another impact?  By the very thing we do everyday, eating!

This scorecard in a sense was first created by JoAnne Brookes along with former intern Thomas Jarrett

The …


I received one of those e-mails that gets sent around to just about anyone who has an e-mail address.  Most of the time I ignore them, but this one I found not only funny, but helpful and ingenious [thanks to fellow engineer David Bruce].  Here are some of the highlights, you can find more at There I Fixed It

Who needs those fancy plug organizers?

Uh huh, structural books...

As a currently pregnant woman of her first child, I believe I need to utilize this in my future!

The Future of Cantilevers

If you hang out on Twitter, you may have seen a few Back to the Future tweets about today (or yesterday) being the day in which Marty McFly goes into the future!   I’m not really going to dispute that here (I honestly believe the actual year is 2015, and I also think it should be in October).  My whole point to this blog is about hover-boards!  For those of you that may not remember (or worse, are too young to know), a hover-board is a board much like a skateboard without wheels that was used in Back to the Future II.  It is, as it says, a hovering board that is supposed to be abundant in the near future.  I’m …

3.15 Pi Day Round Up

Math nerds around the world celebrated a little known, but widely growing holiday called Pi Day.  The St. Louis Structures Group celebrated our 3rd Annual Pi Day on Monday, March 15.

This year’s events included two awards: 1 for the “Best In Show Pie”; 1 for the most recited digits of Pi.

Each recipient recieved a $30 gift card to Pi Pizzera in St. Louis courtesy of the Structures Group!

And the winners were:

Lemonade Pie by Jason Wandersee (of the Justice Group) (recipe below)!

111 digits (including the 3) – Yong Yu (of the Strurctures Group)(Erich Friesen from the Healthcare Group was a very …


There is so much that can be said about the Idiotarod that it just won’t fit in this space.  So, I’ve decided to give you the condensed version.  Here, you’ll have, the who, what, when, where, and why of the St. Louis Idiotarod! [–Video (my team 27 secs in) —]

IDIOTAROD: Idiotarod pays homage to the Alaskan tradition of the Iditarod (going on right now) in which dogs pull a sled and musher across the Iditarod Trail. Idiotarod is similar, except replace the dogs with people and the sled with a shopping cart, put it in a downtown city, and add a heavy dose of weirdness. [This sounds exactly like my kind of

Lessons on Earthquakes

I thought with all of the recent Earthly activity, I’d give a small lecture on earthquakes via the blog.  I’d like to make it clear that I am no seismologist.  I simply went to the Unites States Geological Survey (USGS) to get some info to share with you!  It’s a great resource of information!

Some Interesting Things To Look At…
This “animation” map shows where earthquakes are happening over a period of time, worldwide. 
The USA Earthquake map shows earthquakes in (you guessed it) the US.
By going to the USGS site, you can find out about earthquake myths, like “earthquake weather” and “California falling into the ocean”.
You can even …

Caution – Book Xing

I learned about a site today called that is the “Where’s George?” for books.  You leave a book for a new person to read, they read it and pass it along where its adventure through the world is tracked online!

The site says the following…

BookCrossing is earth-friendly, and gives you a way to share your books, clear your shelves, and conserve precious resources at the same time. Through our own unique method of recycling reads, BookCrossers give life to books. A book registered on BookCrossing is ready for adventure.

Leave it on a park bench, a coffee shop, at a hotel on vacation. Share it with a

5000-Mile Man

I feel like a proud parent!  Our little (er -giant) Steven rode 5000 miles in 2009!

It’s quite a feat if you consider the reality of it.  There are many of you that ride your bike, often to and from work (see Jodi’s post); but think about the actual number of miles you rack up!  I’d be happy if I made it to 50 (Tour de France is ~2241 miles)!  Also think about the conditions in which you ride your bike!  Not even cold and mild rain keeps Steven Crang off the double wheeled transporter!

To celebrate his enormous amount of hard work he brought in a Gus’ Pretzel (a St. Louis’ …

I Needed A Funnel

With a little encouragement from Rachel Peine I am posting a picture from my breakfast this morning.  You see, in this design intensive industry, when an item is not available to us, we create one…

I used a piece of scrap paper to make a funnel so that I could chocolatize my milk with chocolate powdery goodness!  [Really chocolatize is a word, consult the special edition of my dictionary, not yet on bookshelves].

Perception of Engineers

Not too long ago, fellow HOK blogger Justin wrote about the perception of architects.  I rather enjoyed that blog and wanted to do a sort of counter/comparison with the perception of engineers.

For starters, I went to a search engine and typed in “structural engineer” images.  I was not surprised to see some rather silly images…but also a lot of construction site images…



The next thing I did was to ask around to see what the perception was of an engineer, or …

LEED the Way with Pretzel Crumbs…

This week we received word that our 50th project received LEED certification, and what better way to celebrate than with a big ole pretzel from Gus’ Pretzel Shop, a south St. Louis tradition since 1920.  HOK’s 50thproject to be certified was Herbalife at LA Live, which earned the LEED-CI Certified rating.  This makes the 15th project this year alone to receive certification (plus two BREAAM certified projects).  And we now have 942 employees LEED accredited.  Keep up the good work!


[Information and post content via Chris Trowbridge]

HOK St. Louis ‘r’ Square

Most of us have had the awkward experience at a grade school dance where everyone lines the walls and looks at his or her own feet.  If we haven’t gotten to experience it first hand, we’ve surely seen it joked about on television or in movies. This timid experience was recently part of HOK St. Louis’ Arts and Education Campaign! The final day of activities was wrapped up with a Happy Hour and Square Dance!

HOK St. Louis employees spent all day eagerly awaiting the moment that they got to use their well rehearsed excuse to NOT dance!  Some of these excuses were:

“I’d be too embarrassed to dance with everyone …

Blog Buzz

We live in a world where the Internet is nearly everywhere we go. 

This means blogs are also nearly everywhere we go!  We can start at our own blog and click a link in the blogroll in order to weave through as many blogs as our brains can handle.  Sometimes it’s to see things like this or that!  Sometimes we learn things we didn’t know yesterday!  Sometimes we learn nothing at all and the only things gained are exercised eyes

I have certainly read enough blogs for the entire state of Illinois.  I’ve learned a lot from blogs too!  For instance, as mathy (one of my great made up

St. Louis Bike To Work Month

They may not look like what you would first imagine. 

They may not look like anything TV makes them out to be. 

But they are . . .

the St. Louis HOK Biker Gang!

[It may be necessary to say “the St. Louis HOK Biker Gang!” in your best dramatic theatrical voice over; go ahead, try it again, I’ll wait]

HOK Bikers
[l-r: Seth Teel, Jason Kerensky, Paul Wilhelms, Derek Prior, Brett Kostial, Tim Gaidis]

HOK Bikers
[l-r: Jon Cohen, JoAnn Brookes, Bruce Brunner, Derek Prior, Seth Teel,
Brett Kostial, Matt Snelling, Jason Kerensky, Tim Gaidis, Mark Rosen,
Paul Wilhelms, Steven Crang,

HOK Engineering at Career Fair

Students Talking with HOKs Crystal Stone

I have to admit that I didn’t really know what an engineer was until late in high school when I started looking at colleges.  Even then I wasn’t sure what an engineer did, I only knew they took a lot of math classes.  That seemed right up my alley so I pursued it.  Now, years later, it’s what I do, I have a better understanding of what an engineer does (or so you all hope), and I …