First inspired at the age of 3 when his dad walked him by a construction site with jib crane and steel frameworks, Eric played with his Legos and building blocks, and in high school was mentored by Todd Wales with four years of drafting and housing design and William Bell with architecture. Eric was welcomed by George Hasslein into the stellar Architectural Engineering program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, learning from many fine professors, including Jake Feldman, Sat Rihal, Clay Pharoah, David Hatcher, Robert Liu, and Celina Penalba. Eric interned in the Riverside, CA office of Johnson & Nielsen, learning from Per Ron, Don Irving, Clarence Behling and Rick Bird. Upon graduating from the program in four years in 1987, Eric worked in New York, NY with great companies Leslie E. Robertson Associates – mentored by William Faschan, Monica Svojsik and Hal Roet, Robert Silman Associates – mentored by Bob Silman, Marie Ennis and Donald Friedman, and Thornton Tomasetti – mentored by Tom Scarangello, Peter Rottas, Charlie Thornton, Dan Cuoco, Manny Velivasakis, Dave Peraza, Aine Brazil, Kirk Mettam and Richard Tomasetti. With Thornton Tomasetti, Eric returned to California, mentored by John Coil, Stephanie Welsh, Ed Kasparek and Jim Ebrahim, and also worked with Miyamoto, mentored by Chris Smith. Eric has had the blessed fortune of always working in a profession that he loves. Eric started his company Critical Structures in the spring of 2009 with supportive prayers, emotional support, generosity and well wishes from so many family, friends, clients and one very special angel — JP — in particular. In the winter of 2009, Eric acquired Breiholz Qazi Engineering, a company established in 1973 by David Breiholz. It has been fantastic to work closely with Dave and to continue to serve his clients. Eric’s current phase is to build on the strong foundation of a great group of people and continue working with great clients and friends in this profession of endless possiblities.
Stephen Fong | Senior Project Manager
Originally interested in architecture and design at a young age, Stephen changed his focus to the more technical side of buildings after taking AP physics at Berkeley High School with teacher Richard White, who inspired him to always think creatively and introduced him statics and dynamics and the foundation of what would later become Stephen’s career. Following high school, he attended the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UCLA for 3 ½ years and graduated with a BS in civil engineering with a structural emphasis. Stephen’s first job out of university was with Stuart Engineering, a civil engineering firm located in San Diego. After several months with Stuart Engineering, he was hired as a structural designer at Wynn Engineering, a structural and civil engineering firm. Stephen spent several years working at Wynn Engineering developing his skills in custom home design and various other small scale residential and commercial projects. In addition, whenever the civil engineering department was overloaded, he took the overflow and provided design for many grading plans. After working in San Diego, Stephen moved to New York, NY and took a job with Goldstein Associates Consulting Engineers, where he worked for the following 3 years, starting as a Structural Engineer and becoming Project Engineer shortly thereafter. During his time in New York City, Stephen was the project manager for several high rise residential and commercial buildings, as well as the restoration and rehabilitation of a prominent New York City landmark apartment building. In 2010, Stephen returned to California and began work with Breiholz Qazi Engineering in Lomita, CA, which later became Critical Structures. He has continued his work with Critical Structures, always striving to produce creative designs while keeping in mind efficiency and cost effectiveness. Stephen is now located in Berkeley, CA, his hometown. He is proud to be a part of the Critical Structures team.
Kathy Kovshilovsky | Project Manager
Raised in a household full of engineering parents and grandparents, Kathy Kovshilovsky was born and raised to be an engineer. She completed her Bachelors and Master Degrees in Civil Engineering at UCLA. David Breiholz took her under his wing at Breiholz Qazi Engineering in her last year of her studies. Kathy welcomed the fresh energy and new challenges that Eric Stovner brought when he took over the company in 2009. Since then, she has contributed to the company’s learning and growth and aspires to continue to do so in the future. She doesn’t always sign her work, but when she does she signs it “KK”.
Sharon Nixon-Escochea | Office Manager
My Life – Born & raised in NC (chicken ‘n’dumplins; homemade biscuits; sweet tea which I still make all the time; fried okra; amazing thunder & lightening rain storms; lots of greenery & floral…) / College – Meredith College (Home Economics major & Business Admin minor; Little Sister @ Sigma Chi NCSU; College Marshall my Jr year) / Moved to NYC for 3 years (studied acting, waitressed – more “hep u” moments & I often served Al Pacino who lived around the corner; Asst. Mgr of an Off-Broadway theatre; picnics in Central Park & Simon & Garfunkel reunion there on my 21st Birthday; Zabar’s Deli; friends & I hanging out one night w/Andy Warhol (he loved my Timex watch); was a Nanny) / Moved to CA (more waitressing @ the legendary El Cholo Rest; more acting classes; met my husband and 2 children later – lots of “hep u” in this position; Office Mgr of The Designory in Long Beach for 16 years; trying to “hep u” through my beloved church / currently @ Critical Structures, Inc.) I do love to help & serve people. Life is good & I am grateful.
Mary Caldera | Senior Drafter
If you are reading this bio, congratulations, you have achieved a Level 5 Security Clearance from CSI. Once upon a time, Mary Caldera took a History of Architecture course for fun. After changing her major to Architecture, she received her Certificate and AA in Architecture from El Camino Community College. Near the end of her first CAD course she saw a flyer for a drafting position in the school lab and started working for Breiholz Qazi Engineering, Inc. in the fall of 2005 and has stayed with the company through its transition to Critical Structures, Inc. Mary enjoys translating architectural info for our structural plans, walking catwalks (the rigging kind), historic building visits, getting plans approved for permit and coffee breaks. Outside of work she can be found gardening, drawing or acting like she’s 12 at Disneyland.
Andres Medina | Structural Designer
I grew up in the Wilmington/Long Beach Area knowing that I wanted to be some sort of scientist. So through my time in middle and high school I took time to explore those interests. In high school I joined the Solar Cup team which gave me great exposure to engineering concepts. The Metropolitan Water District’s Solar Cup is a large high school competition to promote water conservation and alternative energy use. I knew I wanted to be an engineer by the time I entered the Structural Engineering Department at the University of California, San Diego. At San Diego I became involved with the steel bridge competition and did some mentoring of my lowerclassmen peers. It was a tight knight community that developed my passion and dedication to the profession. I received a great education in the science and practice of Structural Engineering. I am currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Structural Engineering at California State University, Long Beach. I am happy to now be a scientist dedicated to ensuring the safe performance and behavior of structures.
Rosa Ocegueda | Structural Designer
I grew up across the street from the construction site of the Los Angeles County + USC hospital. For 8 years that was the first thing I saw as I stepped foot outside my house and it deeply influenced my interest in buildings. I considered studying architecture until I took physics in high school. From building rockets to calculating exactly where a ball would land, I knew I wanted to continue learning physics. I went to UC San Diego and studied Structural Engineering; a combination of physics, buildings, and a little bit of architecture. My favorite (and most challenging) courses involved design. I loved the fact that we created models of the projects we designed. This brought back my interest in architecture and resulted in a minor in Urban Studies and Planning where I focused on Urban Design / Built Environment. However, I believed this was not enough exposure to architecture and decided to look into architecture for graduate school. I received a Master of Science in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo advancing my studies in both structural engineering and architecture. I look forward to starting my career as a structural designer.
Sergio Suarez | Structural Designer
Sergio grew up in the city of Garden Grove and attended Westminster High School, where his interest in pursuing a higher education sparked. When Sergio began taking the prerequisite courses for college admission, he was not exactly certain on which career he wanted to pursue. It wasn’t until he took 3 semesters of an R.O.P. course in residential construction that he unknowingly began developing a passion for structures. Sergio went on to attend California State University, Long Beach and attained his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. After graduation he was offered a position as a Junior Engineer at Landmark Structures, Inc., where he worked for a year producing the structural design and draft work of remodels, additions, and new homes. He currently continues his education in the Master’s program at the university, and is specializing in Structural Engineering. His hobbies consist of playing chess, pool, poker, watching movies, bowling, drawing, working out, and anything that sounds like fun. He loves roller coasters, and plans to one day skydive. Sergio seeks to bring his upbeat and versatile personality to the table at CSI, and wishes to be a contributing factor in the growth of the company.