Verdant Structural Engineers (VSE) continues the practice of Kevin Donahue Structural Engineers (KDSE), located on Codornices Creek in Berkeley and providing engineering services to owners, builders and architects since 2003. VSE practices collaborative design, balancing building efficiency and design elegance with cost and environmental goals. VSE continues KDSE’s work on a large variety of projects ranging from home remodels to the new construction of schools, wineries and other commercial and public buildings. Above all VSE is sensitive and responsive to clients' needs. VSE works closely with the project design and construction team to understand the project as a complete system, so that project goals are achieved.
VSE is a full service Structural Engineering firm, providing the structural drawing and calculation material required for building permit submittals on a wide array of projects, as well as providing building consultation, expert advice and legal testimony. VSE specializes in projects utilizing optimal and efficient use of conventional building materials as well as projects utilizing environmentally sensitive building materials and methods such as straw bale, rammed earth, cob, adobe and bamboo.
VSE continues KDSE’s history of working closely with the natural and green building community to develop standards, practices and procedures for green building practices, having also helped develop the current Straw Bale Appendix Chapter in the International Building and Residential Codes.
Kevin Donahue has been practicing structural engineering for over 25 years. Kevin’s original background is in mathematics. He earned Bachelor’s degree in Math from Brown University in 1980, and proceeded to branch out into architecture, teaching and music, performing in many well-known Bay Area music venues. He was a visiting lecturer at Cornell University in 1986. In 1989 he earned dual Master’s degrees in Architecture and in Structural Engineering and Mechanics from University of California, Berkeley. Kevin began his structural engineering career with Toft & de Nevers (later Toft, de Nevers & Lee), where he also obtained his Civil and Structural Engineer licenses. Since opening his own office in 2003, he has endeavored to marry the technical with the expressive in his engineering practice, from an interest in working with alternate and “green” building materials, to a collaborative approach to problem solving while working with his architectural and building clients.
Kevin is a contributing author to the book Design of Straw Bale Buildings by Bruce King et. al. (Green Building Press, 2006), is currently serving on a task force of structural engineers and architects charged with introducing straw bale construction to the International Building and Residential Codes, and currently resides happily in Berkeley with his wife and their daughter’s cat.
Megan comes from a long line of technically minded and conscientious engineers and designers. At an early age she was drawn to engineering as an expression of problem solving. Megan has worked in civil and structural engineering design for the past 10 years gaining a broad knowledge of construction. She is committed to finding the simplest and best solutions for each project while providing superior client service. When not working, she spends time with her family and friends in the mountains and enjoys creating new furniture or art for her home. Megan received her Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and her Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from Stanford University. She is a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer in California.
As a licensed Civil Engineer, Anthony is deeply passionate about effective material use for all building systems. He strives to assist the natural and green building community by providing leadership regarding developing design procedures for natural and green materials, increasing the safe and effective options available to future engineers.
Following his graduation with a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and engineering from Pennsylvania State University, Anthony moved westward to practice structural design and in particular straw bale structural design under Kevin Donahue, SE. Anthony also serves as a board member for the Cob Research Institute (CRI). CRI is an organization in pursuit of making the permitting process for cob and other similar earthen matrices more accessible, with an end goal of an adopted earthen building code for North America.
Anthony can also be found throughout northern California and beyond fiddling in his bluegrass band. Although all are always invited to the shows, structural consultation can be limited while on stage.
Starting her engineering career on the East Coast, Kelsey worked on a variety of structures including a space shuttle launch pad, bridges, and dams. Since moving to California in 2014, she has focused her career on structural engineering of residential and commercial buildings, merging the skills needed to design for California-specific seismic loading with the ability to support the vision of architects and designers. She has always been inspired by sustainable design, and is excited to be a part of VSE’s work in the green building community. Kelsey holds a B.A. in economics from Mount Holyoke College, a Bachelors of Engineering from Dartmouth College, and a Masters of Engineering from Tufts University. She is a licensed Civil Engineer in California. Outside of work, Kelsey enjoys crafts like cooking, sewing, and knitting, as well as running and hiking around the Bay Area.
Wilzen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a minor in Sustainable Design. He has been interested in building things ever since he was a little kid, whether it was out of popsicle sticks, cardboard, paper, or whatever he could find lying around. While he was a student, he was part of the Steel Bridge Competition Team, a member of the National Civil Engineering Honors society, and president of a Filipino engineering club.
When not at work, he enjoys DIY projects, learning magic tricks, playing the guitar, and watching sports.
Chia simultaneously earned a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, and went on to earn a Masters of Structural Engineering from San Jose State University. She was first introduced to sustainable design while pursuing architecture and has since been intrigued to continue putting it into practice from an engineering perspective. As a student, she was engaged as a member in the local ASCE and ACI chapter. In her spare time, Chia enjoys hiking, gardening and bouncing between DIY projects.
Rebecca enjoys supporting the team at Verdant Structural Engineers by managing office operations, bookkeeping, and human resources. Previously, Rebecca worked in a similar role at a nonprofit social enterprise. She has also provided money management services and social services to older adults, and held research and information management roles within the fields of publishing and higher education development.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Art in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts and a Master of Social Work from San Jose State University. She has also completed coursework for a certificate in Professional Fiduciary Management for Conservators at California State University, Fullerton. She enjoys tapestry weaving and gardening in her spare time.