The MNSEA SEER (Structural Engineers Emergency Response) Committee is a committee of the MNSEA consisting of structural engineering professionals that are focused on bringing information forward to our MNSEA members and the public on the structural engineer’s role in responding to emergency situations involving damage to our built environment.

The MNSEA SEER Committee mission statement: “To prepare and provide for rapid mobilization of qualified structural engineers to assist emergency management agencies and the public in responding to disasters.”

The committee intends to work closely with the National SEER Committee and with other state SEER Committees to bring forth information on how to meet the objectives of the MNSEA SEER Committee, including the following:

■ Reporting on the status of the national and state SEER committee activities.

■ Identifying training and certifications that would be required and/or beneficial for structural engineers engaging in emergency response activities.

■ Providing opportunities to receive emergency response training and information through seminars and other events.

■ Inform how structural engineers can assist with government entities and private parties in an emergency event.

■ Inform how to participate in the roster program for responding to emergencies.

■ Other information as appropriate.

The committee hopes to bring in speakers for the various relationships/players that may be involved with emergency response projects, to hear what they look for from structural engineers at the scenes, what concerns them, what they like to see on site, etc., Guest speakers will present the concerns of, but not be limited to: OSHA, ATF, CSB, NTSB, Fire Marshalls, building departments, emergency responders (police, fire, ambulance, etc.), DOT (for bridge and other transportation structures), attorneys, insurance companies, contractors, and others as appropriate.

Please contact if you have any questions or comments regarding the SEER Committee.

For more information visit NCSEA SEER website.


MNSEA SEER Logo Patches, Logo Stickers, and Logo Badges.

The MNSEA SEER Committee has approved the new logo to represent the MNSEA SEER program.

MNSEA SEER Brochure.

The MNSEA SEER Committee has created a brochure covering the MNSEA SEER Committee and its purpose. The brochure covers the national roster and provides a link to the NCSEA SEER Committee website for further information. The purpose of the brochure is to inform the public and MNSEA members of the activities of the MNSEA and NCSEA SEER Committees and the resource of trained and experienced structural engineers to respond to catastrophic events damaging our built environment. Please request a copy of the brochure via e-mail at


Disaster Response Alliance.

In the past two years, more than 100 million people in the United States, a third of its population, suffered in some way from natural disasters, including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and flooding. The International Code Council and the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations—which have had a long-standing partnership in support of the design, construction, and administration of safe and resilient buildings—have joined forces to create the Disaster Response Alliance (DRA) to help communities get up and running as quickly as possible after a major disaster.

The DRA maintains a single, national database of skilled volunteers willing to assist with response and recovery activities. These activities include post-disaster safety assessments, rapid safety assessments, detailed safety assessments, other building damage assessments, inspections, and other code-related functions in the aftermath of a disaster. The DRA’s national database of volunteers is available to local and state jurisdictions as well as federal government agencies for pre- and post-disaster assistance.

The Disaster Response Alliance website:


MNSEA SEER Committee Train the Trainer.

The NCSEA SEER Committee has provided funding for two representatives from the MNSEA SEER Committee for train the trainers of the CalOES SAP. That training occurred in January 2019. The intent of having trainers within our MNSEA SEER Committee is to be able to provide increased availability of training opportunities within our region for our members and to assist with additional trainer resources for training as necessary from NCSEA SEER Committee. This is in standing with our goal of providing emergency response training to our members.

We have started offering CalOES SAP training opportunities via website and in-person in 2019. There will be an NCSEA offered CalOES SAP training webinar on June 12, 2019 and on October 23, 2019 with Doug Fell as the trainer. Please revisit our website for updates on these and other training opportunities.


Past Events

ACECMN Presentation on “The Business Side of Emergency Response”.

Doug Fell presented “The Business Side of Emergency Response” to the ACECMN on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, at the Marriott Minneapolis West.

All firms have received phone calls from clients or others requesting help with an emergency problem. Something has happened to affect the building structure—no heat/ventilation, a chemical spill, a fire, flooding, something is making a bad noise or deflecting and there is a high concern that something bad may happen. When these calls are received, we must consider what we are being asked to do, if we can handle it as quickly as needed, the potential risks we may encounter as well as how this may benefit our business.


Annual Institute for Building Officials Presentation “Understanding the Roles of Participants in Emergency Response to Catastrophic Damage”.

Sarah Durphy and Doug Fell facilitated and presented with others on “Understanding the Roles of Participants in Emergency Response to Catastrophic Damage” held from 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on January 14, 2019 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center located at 6155 Earle Brown Drive in Minneapolis, MN.

This course addressed how to deal with catastrophic damage to structures after a natural disaster. The roles of various participants of a catastrophic event were introduced and there was a focus on the adaptability of building departments to meet the high demands to address the situation. This session also covered the many different entities that become engaged in the emergency response and especially the importance of involving experienced structural engineers to assess structural stability in the built environment.



MNSEA SEER Committee Creates Risk Mitigation Subcommittee.

MNSEER started exploring the area of Good Samaritan laws within the state of Minnesota and nationally to understand the status and to consider the possibility of legislative adjustments to accommodate those Minnesota professional engineers that “volunteer” their efforts to assist in responding to emergency events. The concern was to have appropriate risk mitigation devices (contracts, memorandum of understanding, laws, and other devices) in place for the structural engineer. To better address this topic, the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee was created initially to address the Good Samaritan topic, but quickly discovered that Good Samaritan laws provided a very narrow level of liability protection to volunteers including engineers. They quickly defined three categories to address the provision of structural engineering emergency responses and volunteering structural engineering services. The three areas are “walk-upon” volunteering, providing services under normal business protective systems (contracts) possibly at a reduced fee, or as a pure volunteer with protective devices in place (being deputized, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), etc.).

The MNSEA SEER Committee offered to, and the NCSEA SEER Committee accepted that the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee also be focused on the national front since they would be gathering the data on the current national status of this topic.

This is an area that needs further definition and development of protective devices for those individuals and companies that are assisting by volunteering their professional services to assist others and expedite the return to service of facilities outside of normal contractual agreements.


MNSEA SEER Committee Risk Mitigation Subcommittee Presented at the 2019 NCSEA Summit.

We are excited to report that the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee presented “SEER Risk Mitigation for Structural Engineers Involved with Emergency Responses”. This presentation addressed the risks structural engineers face and possible risk mitigation devices available to them when offering their services responding to an emergency or volunteering their services.

Three presenters offered an update on the MNSEA/NCSEA SEER Risk Mitigation Subcommittee efforts, the view from the NCSEA SEER Committee on this topic and an attorney’s view on this topic.  John Lewis, chair of the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee, David Troxell, co-chair of the NCSEA SEER Committee and Jeff Coleman an attorney presented.

This presentation expanded the discussion of this topic to the national level for all structural engineers that either respond to emergencies or volunteer their services and want to know how to better protect themselves and their firms from risky situations.


CalOES SAP Evaluator training, Friday, March 6, 2020 at SEAWI.

Our past chair and MNSEER member Doug Fell was the trainer at the CalOES SAP Evaluator training course held on behalf of the SEA of Wisconsin in the Milwaukee, WI area on Friday, March 6, 2020.See SEAWI website at

CalOES SAP Evaluator training, October 14 and 21, 2020 by NCSEA.

NCSEA hosted a two-day virtual training event for emergency second responders. The training has been reviewed and approved by FEMA’s Office of Domestic Preparedness.

This SAP training course provides engineers, architects and code-enforcement professionals with the basic skills required to perform safety assessments of structures following disasters. Licensed design professionals and certified building officials will be eligible for SAP Evaluator certification and credentials following completion of this program and submission of required documentation.


Save the Date for “Basic Training for Design Professional Site Visits” training, TBD.

The MNSEA SEER Committee is excited to offer the “Basic Training for Design Professional Site Visits” seminar in 2021. This training session is being created as a strong resource of important information at a great value for the members of MNSEA and the design profession. The Basic Training will be a 3.5-hour session covering the basic training topics in detail. This training will be an excellent course for engineers, architects and other design professionals visiting jobsites in the normal course of business as well as responding to an emergency. It is a solid source of training for design professionals that have not been formally trained to go into the field and a solid refresher for those that have much experience in site visits. The intent of the training session is to provide a one stop source for design professionals to know what they need to know to enter a site and be exposed to “what they do not know” for more complex site conditions. The course will help them get to “I now know what I don’t know”.

A certificate of attendance will be provided at the end of the presentation for those attendees that attend the full presentation. A certificate for 3 PDHs will be provided for Minnesota PE’s that attend the full presentation.

Some of the details of the seminar are currently being refined.  Please email  for more information and registration for the event.


MNSEA SEER  Training Subcommittee.

The MNSEA SEER Committee recently created the MNSEA SEER Committee Training Subcommittee. This subcommittee will coordinate the training and information update opportunities that the MNSEA SEER Committee will be bringing forward to the MNSEA membership for 2020 and beyond. These are topics that are founded in the activities relating to emergency response activities for structural engineers but are of value to the general MNSEA membership. Some of the possible training and information update opportunities may include additional CalOES SAP Evaluator training sessions, updates to the MNSEA membership on the SEER Committee and the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee, the “Basic Training for Design Professional Site Visits” seminar scheduled for 2021, the possibility of an “Intermediate Training for Design Professional Site Visits” later in 2021 or 2022 as a follow-up to the “Basic Training for Design Professional Site Visits” and other possible training events that may be of value to the MNSEA membership.

Request for Emergency Response Photos.

The MNSEA SEER Committee is asking for your help by submitting emergency response digital photographs that may be used for our website, presentations, brochures, etc. These images should be generic, not showing any company information or identifiable images to link it to a company or a location and should not show people or at least faces or identifiable images to link it to a person. Photos of damage due to flood, fire, explosion, wind, impact, collapse from other causes, excessive deformation, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Please email your images to When we receive the images, we will send out a photo image release to be signed to allow use of the photos. Thank you in advance for your assistance with this.



Kevin Vazquez – Meyer Borgman Johnson, Inc.


Vice Chairperson
John Lewis – Opus


Dave Macdonald – Mattson Macdonald Young, Inc.


Risk Mitigation Subcommittee

John Lewis – Opus

Dave Macdonald – Mattson Macdonald Young, Inc.


Training Subcommittee

Jordan Hurst – Mattson Macdonald Young, Inc.


Committee Members

Kerry Rauschendorfer, – Larson Engineering, Inc.

Brad Severson – Kimley Horn



related info



Cathedral of St. Paul Dome Rehabilitation
St. Paul, MN

Meyer Borgman Johnson

ACEC Minnesota Calendar


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