Robert Pekelnicky Principal

Office San Francisco

Direct 415.392.6952 Email

Named to Building Design and Construction magazine's 40 Under 40 which recognizes "the brightest stars in the AEC universe," Bob specializes in making community and business infrastructure resilient against earthquakes, explosions, and other hazards. He has applied his mulit-hazard mitigation knowledge to various projects for government, high technology, and healthcare clients. His career has focused on taking new, innovative structural engineering concepts from research and applying them to practice to better meet clients' needs. Bob advocates for public policies that promote disaster resilient cities and is very active in developing better performance based earthquake engineering methodologies, building codes and standards.

Practice Areas:
Science & Technology, Forensic Engineering

Joined the Firm:

Little Known Fact:
I can stand on my head.

Client or Design Philosophy:
Providing fist-class service means understanding that first-class service means something different to everyone. Only by actively listening and learning from each client on each project can we actually provide that first-class service.

I spend a lot of my free time outside of work engaged in helping other better their lives.

Being a foodie – From eating out all the time to buying high end cookware and cutlery.

Favorite Project Story:
Around the end of August we were called to a meeting at a client’s office. When we got there, there were representatives from a general contractor, an architecture firm, and an MEP firm. We toured a building next door and were then taken into a conference room, where the client proceeded to tell us we were the design-build team and the project had to be designed built in 9 months. The existing building was a 500,000 sf warehouse that was to be seismically upgraded to an advanced damage control performance level and built-out to be a green-tech manufacturing facility complete with new four exterior structures. We had to complete the seismic upgrade design and construction documents for the more complicated half of the building in 7 weeks and then the remainder of the construction documents 6 weeks after that. Everyone was freaked out over how little time we had for everything, but everyone stepped up. At the height of it, I was managing 13 people broken up into 4 separate teams, while being supervised and mentored by a senior principal. The fast-pace was so exciting. We were able to meet every deadline and then keep working really hard to support the construction.

Special Interests:
Yoga, culinary arts, international travel.

B.S. Civil Engineering with Honors, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2000
M.S. Structural Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2001

California - Structural Engineer, 2007 - License No. S5083
California - Civil Engineer, 2003 - License No. C64989
Tennessee - Professional Engineer, 2011 - License No. 114509
LEED Accredited Professional

Professional Affiliations

American Society of Civil Engineers
Vice Chair & Secretariat Standards Committee on Seismic Rehabilitation (ASCE 41)
Chair of ASCE 7 General Structural Requirements Subcommittee
Member of ASCE 7 Main Committee
Member of ASCE 7 Steering Committee
Member of ASCE 7 Seismic Task Subcommittee
Building Seismic Safety Council
Member of NEHRP Provisions Update Committee
Member of the Code Recourse Support Committee
Structural Engineers Association of Northern California
Member of Seismology Committee and Structural Standards Committee
Member of Existing Buildings Committee
American Concrete Institute
Associate Member of Seismic Repair and Rehabilitation Committee
Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association

  • Solar Manufacturing Facility
  • Cowell Student Health Center Seismic Strengthening and
  • Expansion, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • DHS/FEMA A. P. Murrah Building and Steel Building Seismic/Blast Studies
  • Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Peer Review

Structural Engineering Rising Stars – 2012
ASCE Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award for Professional Recognition – 2011
"40 under 40" Building Design and Construction – 2010
National Academy of Engineering China-US Frontiers of Engineering – 2009 Invitee
University of Illinois Civil & Environmental Engineering Distinguished Young Alumnus – 2007