If you see an ambitious sandcastle at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, it may well be the work of Ben Au — or one of the students he mentors through Leap, an outreach program that connects play with engineering and architecture. Born in Canton, China, and raised in San Francisco’s Chinatown and Sunset neighborhoods; Ben witnessed the seismic vulnerability of structures from the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Admiring the city’s buildings as a child is what led him to a career in engineering. “Plan and prepare” is his mantra.
Ben’s work at Holmes Structures has ranged from schools to large-scale hotel developments. He’s especially proud of a school where the exposed structure has become part of the curriculum. With over 20 years at Holmes Structures, Ben has contributed to many facets of the firm during his tenure, from the recruitment and mentoring of new engineers to the development of new market sectors.