Filipino-American Lawrence Mangindin, a licensed structural engineer, advises people planning or about to build their houses here in Michigan to consult first a geotechnical engineer before they start constructing their houses.
A geotechnical engineer, Lawrence says, looks into the condition of the soil to find out if it’s stable or not, and depending on the findings, additional structures may be needed to reinforce the house’s foundation system which, in Michigan, is the basement.
Lawrence has been constructing houses and commercial buildings for 20 years now, and his consulting company, LM Engineering, has been designing and constructing houses and buildings in Michigan.
LM Engineering offers the following services: Structural assessment, design-and-draw construction documents, finite element analysis, solar racking certification, steel fabrication and more. Its clients are architects, builders, contractors and homeowners.
As a structural engineer, Lawrence proudly points to some buildings he had worked on in Michigan.
One of these buildings is the Walsh College edifice in Novi. It has a half-barrel roof, which is visible on the south side of eastbound I-96 near I-275. He also has done a couple of building additions to the Providence Hospital in Southfield. The buildings he had worked on are low-rise and less than 10 stories high.
But he has always enjoyed working on residential buildings. At present, he has many clients who require structural engineering services on new or existing residential buildings.
He has designed a 10,000-square-foot custom home with separate multi-level garage for boats. It includes an interior bridge that connects one wing of the house to the other wing.
He has also designed a solar ground mount system in the middle of a chicken farm in Georgia.
But so far, the most interesting structural components he had designed are engineered wood beams 100 feet long and installed over a community swimming pool in Allegan, Michigan. It took two cranes to lift each beam in place. This kind of beams is not sold at Home Depot or Lowes.
His experience as a structural engineer spans almost 20 years nows. He graduated from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, California with a civil engineering degree in 1993. Because he enjoyed working out in the field, his concentration was on soils (or geotechnical) engineering.
He spent his summer internship with a geotechnical engineering firm in the Bay Area shortly after the San Francisco earthquake in 1989.
He worked with geologists and other geotechnical engineers around the Bay Area where the ground literally separated. They looked for weak soil strata along the many fault lines in California.
He later shifted his professional focus on the structural aspect of residential construction. On this field, he was mentored by a Filipino colleague “who showed me how to frame a house from the roof to the foundation.”
He, his wife Valeri and their two-year-old daughter moved to Michigan in 1996. In 1997, he passed the engineering board exam and became a professional engineer with emphasis on structural engineering. For almost 10 years, he worked as a structural engineer with TMP, an award winning architectural firm in Bloomfield Hills. In 2009, he accepted a position as director of structural engineering for a firm in Lapeer. By this time, he has already obtained a professional engineering license in over 20 states.
In 2010, he joined a new solar venture, and “we opened LevelOne Solar Racking. We designed and manufactured the aluminum framing supports for solar installations throughout the US.”
He is now totally focused on his structural engineering consulting company – LM Engineering.
He is involved in the promotion of green technology by designing solar framing supports throughout the US.
One impressive personality trait of Lawrence is that despite his being here in the US for more than 30 years now, he is still a Filipino through and through. Proof of this: He speaks fluent Ilocano.
Lawrence was born in San Marcelino, Zambales, Philippines. His father was a civil engineer, while his mother was a school teacher. He is the oldest of three siblings.
The family immigrated to the US in 1979. His father passed away when he was five years old. His mother lives in San Diego.
His wife Valeri is an American, and the couple has two daughters — Kersten who is attending Oakland University and Dana who is a sophomore at Athens High School.
Growing up in San Marcelino, he spoke Ilocano, and the family spoke Ilocano while they were already here in the US. To this day, he fully understands Tagalog but feels more comfortable speaking Ilocano. His family visited the Philippines in 2000, and he would love to visit the Philippines again. At this time, he has no plan of returning to the Philippines for good.