We Engineer The Change We Want To See

As a collaborative woman and minority-owned structural engineering firm, we own the concept of diversity, from our projects to materials, skillset and staff. We empower our engineers to lead.

Interested in learning more? Learn more about our team members and what makes our firm unique.

Looking for a new opportunity where you can create an IMPACT? We’re hiring!

Element Team

The ESE team is qualified to perform advanced structural design and analysis for many project types from concept to construction support administration. We have experience in both new and renovated construction; some of which have participated in both the Green Point Rating System and LEED certifications.

Our engineers are well-versed in all building materials; some of which are beyond the standard repertoire of most structural engineers, including post-tensioned concrete design and light gauge steel stud framing (complete building system). We maintain an extensive library of current standards and codes, and are committed to the continuous improvement of our knowledge through continuing education and training.

Associate Principal & SE 2050 Embodied Carbon Champion

James Enright, PE, SE, LEED AP

Show Full Bio

Senior Engineer

Ian Provan, PE

Show Full Bio

Senior Engineer

Stefanie Rae Arizabal, PE

Show Full Bio

Senior Engineer

Sarah Aher, PE, SE

Show Full Bio

Administrative Coordinator

Gabriela (Gaby) Silva-Lecca

Show Full Bio

People Cultivator

Jennifer VanderArend

Show Full Bio

Project Engineer

Anisa Awad, P.Eng.

Show Full Bio

Project Engineer

Justin Bose

Show Full Bio

Senior BIM Technician

Billy Dela Torre

Show Full Bio

Senior BIM Technician

Ying Li

Show Full Bio

Senior BIM Technician

Gene Contreras

Show Full Bio

Marketing Assistant

Bao Hoa Pham

Show Full Bio
James Enright

James Enright, PE, SE, LEED AP

Associate Principal & SE 2050 Embodied Carbon Champion

Degree:

MS Structural/Earthquake Engineering (San Francisco State University)
BS Civil Engineering (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)

Why did you choose this profession?

I enjoy the combination of problem-solving and the close relationships developed with contractors, architects, and co-workers. Growing up, I was always interested in math and science. I have always been someone who enjoys working with my hands and it was in high school that I learned to work with wood and repair cars. My auto tech instructor and coworkers at the auto shop where I worked, encouraged me to go to engineering school to become a designer. Today, I like working through the practical side of construction issues, but I also thrive on developing relationships; working together as a team towards a common goal.

What do you like most about it?

To me, design has to be constructible. I enjoy detailing and seeing our projects come to life in construction.

What do you do for fun?

I still love wrenching on old cars! My wife and I enjoy traveling and camping with our cat in our 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia.  I’m also an avid cyclist and enjoy riding around the Bay Area as well as in the mountains.

What do you do to relax after work?

Despite the hills, San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods are fun to explore on foot. I often walk around the city or go for a bike ride after work.

Why do you like working for Element?

I got to know Thuy through professional channels and realized we shared a similar mindset on many topics including the future of the industry. We envision embracing diversity and inclusivity, contributing to communities, and continuing to be open to remote/hybrid work. The team here at Element is eager, friendly, and genuinely enthusiastic about what we do. I value being part of a leadership team and helping a firm grow, and aim to contribute beyond my job title.

Ian Provan

Ian Provan, PE

Senior Engineer

Degree:

MS Engineering Sciences (University of the Pacific, CA)
BS Civil Engineering (University of the Pacific, CA)

Why did you choose this profession?

Although I’ve been a structural engineer for several years, every day brings a unique challenge. I appreciate that component of my job. Projects range from commercial buildings to single-family homes. This field enables me to help team members complete their tasks and find solutions. It’s also fun helping client’s bring their visions to life.

What do you like most about it?

The systematic approach to design; breaking everything down into components. And progress is made every day.

What do you do for fun?

My wife and I like to hike with our boxer-lab mix, Garby. Her family is here in California and we enjoy spending time with them.

What do you do to relax after work?

Every afternoon without fail, I walk around the neighborhood with our dog, Garby. To totally disconnect, I watch TV and cook with my fiancée, or get lost in YouTube videos.

Why do you like working for Element?

Every time anyone contributes or collaborates on a job, you feel appreciated. It’s quite special. And at Element you stay with a project from start to completion, and often beyond. It’s a real feeling of accomplishment.

Stefanie Rae Arizabal

Stefanie Rae Arizabal, PE

Senior Engineer

Degree:

BS Civil Engineering (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)

Why did you choose this profession?

Many people will say they had a passion for architecture but were more mathematically inclined- I used to. Today, it’s more about why I still choose this profession. My passion lies in utilizing my engineering skills to help uplift communities in need. Leading disaster emergency services and becoming a part of FEMA’s urban search and rescue program has been a highlight of my career. Additionally, consulting on projects that help underserved communities allows me to retain the meaningfulness of my work.

What do you like most about it?

I appreciate the different facets of our profession; consulting is just one aspect. Disaster response, technical writing, and forensics have afforded me additional opportunities to utilize my skill sets beyond the work desk.

What do you do for fun?

I have practiced Muay-Thai for 15 years in the Bay Area. I also love to cook and am an amateur barista. Leisurely when time permits, I enjoy many activities such as basketball, volleyball, and dance.

What do you do to relax after work?

R&R is equally as important as being active is to me in self-care, especially in a profession where burnout is prevalent. After work, I’m most likely to run 5k with my dog, work out, enjoy a home-cooked meal, and unwind to a movie or book.

Why do you like working for Element?

I have known Thuy since 2019. Like her, I am a first-generation Asian-American female with a deep-rooted love for family and an earnest desire to make a meaningful difference through the things I endeavor to do. Thuy created this company after going through a lot of the same issues myself and many others have faced navigating this profession, and it is a company whose values and business ethics I align with. The ability to work for someone who has gone through the same hurdles and exists as an example of overcoming some and persistence through others is a blessing. It is the first time I can be my authentic self at work without code-switching or retaining a “work persona”, which I feel is rare. I know Thuy to always do the right thing over the easy thing, and my experience with her has only reinforced that truth.

Sarah Aher

Sarah Aher, PE, SE

Senior Engineer

DEGREE

MS Design & Construction Integration, Stanford University, CA
BS Civil Engineering, B.S. Music, Stanford University, CA

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION?

I liked the idea of working with architecture and enjoyed math and science, so I figured engineering in the built environment would be a good fit. I particularly wanted to work with structures that I could see and relate to.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT?

I find it fulfilling to see buildings and structures in places I pass by and know that I helped design them!

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?

I enjoy playing and teaching piano and playing viola. I also like having picnics with my husband at different parks and playing board games or card games.

WHAT DO YOU TO DO RELAX AFTER WORK?

To unwind, I will usually read a book, play music, or watch a movie.

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING FOR ELEMENT?

I value the inclusive culture at Element, the flexible work options, and getting to work as part of a team on interesting projects.

Gaby Silva-Lecca

Gabriela (Gaby) Silva-Lecca

Administrative Coordinator

Degree:

BA Interior and Architectural Design (Academy of Art University, CA)
Certification, Early Childhood Education (Cañada College, CA)

Why did you choose this profession?

I love organization and space planning, and I have always had an interest in how people utilize the space they inhabit.

What do you like most about it?

My current position allows me to use my project management skills on a more intimate level and my organizational skills on a larger scale.

What do you do for fun?

As a recent transplant to Napa, I enjoy discovering new places in Napa and nearby, but always look forward to time with family and friends.

What do you do to relax after work?

My husband and I like to cook dinner and catch up over a bottle of wine. Bacco, our rescue dog, is the sous chef and I’ve been upgraded to a dishwasher.

Why do you like working for Element?

I’ve known Thuy for a long time and when she started Element Structural Engineers, I was really excited for her. Not only is she a friend but also a female-owned engineering firm, which was a big deal back then and even today. As time progressed, I saw that she was also helping her community while running a company. The energy Thuy gives off makes me want to be better as a person and help create a better company. I wanted to be a part of a community-driven company where I could give back and also grow both professionally and personally.

Jennifer VanderArend

People Cultivator

Degree:

MBA Marketing Concentration (University of Portland, OR)
BFA Graphic Design Concentration (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)

Why did you choose this profession?

I have always had a creative side and an analytical/strategic side. I love being able to see the big picture while also focusing on operations, multi-channel campaigns, and programs all through a creative and storytelling lens. As my career has evolved, I’ve started to develop a strong passion for creating inclusive spaces that provide opportunities for future leaders to grow. I also enjoy the adaptive learning that naturally happens when in a role that can cross multiple industries. Today, I like being able to take my past experiences in different industries, past roles, and passions and identify opportunities that will help a brand grow towards a common goal, whether that is external or internal.

What do you like most about it?

I thrive when there is an opportunity to grow something whether there is an existing structure in place or one that needs to be built. I love taking a vision and turning it into reality.

What do you do for fun?

I am a constant learner and especially love learning languages. I have been studying European Portuguese for the past few years while also knowing a little bit of Spanish as well. I also love being out in nature, whether that is going for a hike or just being by the ocean.

What do you do to relax after work?

Anything, where I can be near nature, is relaxing and rejuvenating for me. I tend to do a lot of meditation and journaling, which is also equally relaxing.

Why do you like working for Element?

Thuy and I developed a friendship over the years through our hiking together. I really gravitated towards her approach to leadership, being community-minded, commitment to DEI, and overall dedication to being a constant learner both on a professional and personal level. I feel that no matter what your role is, you feel like a valued team member. The team camaraderie and support are top-notch and it is a company that truly lives out its IMPACT core values.

Anisa

Anisa Awad, P.Eng.

Project Engineer

Degree:

BS Civil Engineering with emphasis on Structural Engineering (Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia)
P.ENG. – Professional Engineer License – Engineers Nova Scotia, CA

Why did you choose this profession?

In a world so vast, it’s very easy to feel like you are not contributing to it or making a difference. Choosing engineering allowed me to see the tangible difference each project has on the community and its individuals. Designing and building structures touch people’s life directly, and that is instantly rewarding and motivating.

What do you like most about it?

I like that each project is unique and challenging in its own way. I get to learn something new almost every day, and that keeps me engaged and interested.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with family & friends, cooking and gardening. I am also captivated by nature, taking a walk in a forest or by the ocean always makes me happy.

What do you do to relax after work?

Sharing a meal with my family, watching our favorite TV shows, and going for walks around the neighborhood.

Why do you like working for Element?

I cherish the homey atmosphere. Element is like family where everyone cares about you. My real family is overseas so I sometimes feel disconnected, but Element is inclusive and supportive. If I’m ill at home, Thuy will text to ask if I need anything. If you value family, this is the place.

Justin Bose

Justin Bose

Project Engineer

Degree:

BS Civil Engineering (San Jose State, CA) with an emphasis on Structural Engineering

Why did you choose this profession?

As a first-generation American (my father is Filipino and my mom Chinese), I grew up playing with LEGOs and Erector sets. Based on the success I had with those, I knew I eventually wanted to become a structural engineer. And I’m not embarrassed to admit I still play with LEGOs! I have several sets, including NASA rockets.

What do you like most about it?

I find engineering mentally stimulating, and I enjoy meaningful design.

What do you do for fun?

I recently purchased a 3D printer. I’ve been mostly experimenting with paperweights and other simple forms while I get used to the machinery. My niece wants me to print the panda mascot of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing! I’m an obsessed Star Wars fan, so I guarantee I’ll be creating some items related to that.

What do you do to relax after work?

I was a powerlifter in college so I like to lift weights. And to fuel that pastime, my friends and I enjoy exploring different cuisines in San Francisco—like Ethiopian and Mediterranean.

Why do you like working for Element?

My colleagues and co-workers. The work environment is so comfortable and really enjoyable. We’re all pretty close and everyone is easy to work with. There’s respect for other people’s time and we communicate easily if problems arise. Plus, I’m really proud of the work we do.

Billy Dela Torre

Billy Dela Torre

Senior BIM Technician

Degree:

BA Civil Engineering (Pampanga, Philippines)

Why did you choose this profession?

It’s an excellent career for learning and growing. Every project is a challenge, and every day brings a new discovery.

What do you like most about it?

I’m a huge fan of the tools in CAD and Revit, and love using them to meet client goals. Design is another aspect of structural engineering that I love. My work gives my brain a real workout!

What do you do for fun?

My wife and I love to travel. The travel bug really hit us when I worked in Singapore, which led to trips to Bali, the Maldives, and Hong Kong. Because of the pandemic, we’re currently traveling around California and recently toured Yosemite National Park. It was beautiful. We both appreciate nature and the outdoors so are currently planning our first camping trip. But we also appreciate urban landscapes. So far, we’ve explored Los Angeles, Napa Valley, Los Palmas, and Lake Tahoe. Any recommendations?

What do you do to relax after work?

My wife and I work very different schedules, so generally we catch up with each other around midnight. I wait up for her to get home and often have dinner waiting. I also like to work out and attend church when time and energy allow.

Why do you like working for Element?

It’s an enjoyable workplace; there is genuine care and concern for each other. Pre-pandemic team meetings used to include going out to lunch, but right now we catch up via Zoom. We discuss projects and ways we can help each other when a client deadline is at stake, but we also talk about what’s going on in our personal lives. Element develops their staff with the same integrity they use to develop structures.

Ying Li

Ying Li

Senior BIM Technician

Degree:

BS Interior Architecture and Design (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Why did you choose this profession?

The complexity of projects and opportunities for problem-solving make me feel I am contributing to something larger than myself.

What do you like most about it?

I enjoy upskilling my technical abilities. My previous job provided CAD experience, but at Element I’ve had the chance to learn Revit. It’s a complex modeling tool that has taught me to see things differently and better understand how building systems work. I also like using graphics to enhance designs and communicate information with contractors. Design allows me to creatively take the dream in my head to paper.

What do you do for fun?

I really like to hike. One of my favorite spots is Coyote Hills Regional Park, where the elevation gain always leads to great views. I also love to hike by the ocean or in the forest. A couple of years ago, I took up the violin and enjoy playing when at home. I love to read a lot as well.

What do you do to relax after work?

I enjoy a nice meal after work. I sometimes cook, but most often eat out and will try just about everything. My go-to favorite is Asian cuisine.

Why do you like working for Element?

Element’s culture is very transparent and my co-workers are very inclusive. We are a very diverse group which brings different perspectives to our work. It also provides insight into why we do things the way we do. From day one, I’ve felt welcomed and needed. There are no politics. Everything that is said is heard and valued. We are passionate about what we do and put 100% into every project. Individually, we’re accomplished. But together, we’re amazing!

Gene Contreras

Gene Contreras

Senior BIM Technician

DEGREE

BS Architecture (Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines)

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION?

I love sketching. Drawings became second nature to me as I grew up.  After high school, I was asked if I would like to study Engineering but I wasn’t inclined toward Mathematics. As I found out, Architecture is like a song with great harmonies like Do-Re-Me.  As I continued to study, I realized that Architecture is like engineering with the Art of Design. Thus, my love for the profession grew exponentially and with gusto.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT?

CAD is the best thing that ever happened to design and drafting.  Structural CAD design in particular is the closest to Architectural Design.  The copy, edit, and save feature on CAD makes life easier. You can learn a lot about how engineers think about solving particular design problems by sketching out a solution and drawing it in a nice and clear (CAD Drawings) for better understanding.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?

At home, I love when my in-laws prepare and cook my favorite food dishes. I also enjoy watching sports and especially my favorite teams (Golden State Warriors and SF Giants).

WHAT DO YOU TO DO RELAX AFTER WORK?

A glass of wine and my favorite TV show makes me relax.

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING FOR ELEMENT?

Work is work.  The office is the office.  People are people. You meet people and have fun working with them.  No matter the size of the team, with laughter, you enjoy the company and the work.  And that is Element Structural Engineers.

Bao Hoa Pham

Bao Hoa Pham

Marketing Assistant

DEGREE

BA Architecture, Minor in Architectural Engineering, University of San Francisco, CA

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION?

During my undergrad, I learned about the multiple types of aesthetics of a building and was always curious about how they can withstand so many years of natural occurrences. I started to learn the nuances between architecture and engineering. I learned how Architects make a building beautiful and structural engineers are the ones who make those buildings structurally sound and safe during seismic events. Ultimately, I wanted to explore structural engineering more to learn all about the skeletal aspect of buildings!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT?

I enjoy the ever-endless learning opportunity that the field has to offer. Every day is a new chance to obtain more knowledge.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?

I like to watch Korean dramas, grab food and boba with friends, and listen to/discover new music! I’m a BIG extrovert who recharges my social energy with others.

WHAT DO YOU TO DO RELAX AFTER WORK?

I like to go to the gym to get my daily workout in and catch up on episodes of the current show I am watching.

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING FOR ELEMENT?

I genuinely love the environment that the company produces. Everyone has the best intentions for each other’s growth and I can confidently say that I come into the office with a big smile and anticipation for laughter with my co-workers.