Nick Paveglio

Nick Paveglio

Nick Paveglio is a Senior Associate Engineer with GeoDesign, Inc.


  • Deep Foundations
  • Soil Improvements
  • Seismic Hazard Analysis & Performance-Based Design

How/why did you choose geotechnical engineering as a career?

As a kid I was always interested in how things worked, and was constantly taking things apart and putting them back together. In high school, I enjoyed math and science, so with my interest in how things worked, I went to college to be an engineer. Once I began taking my core engineering classes, I gravitated toward geotechnical engineering because I liked the fact that soils can be so different from location to location and that each site presents different challenges.

Within geotechnical engineering, what are your specific areas of expertise?

My specific areas of expertise include deep foundations, soil improvements, and seismic hazard analysis. I have completed a number of Performance-Based Design (PBD) projects in major cities along the west coast. PBDs are typically completed for very critical or tall structures in seismic areas.

Tell us more about Performance-Based Design (PBD).

PBD is the seismic design methodology of the future. It allows the design team to work together to determine the appropriate levels of ground motion and performance objectives for the building and the nonstructural components in order to meet the owner’s expectations. The process involves the project design team and a peer review team consisting of practicing experts and college professors (academics). Because there is no prescriptive code to follow (besides the code minimum for seismic building design), the design team establishes criteria and completes analysis to be reviewed by the review panel. It is a collaborative process that results in structures that truly meet the owners’ wishes.

Relevant projects that used this skillset?

  • Framework building, Portland, OR (once constructed, this will be the tallest wood-framed structure in North America)
  • Multnomah County Courthouse, Portland, OR (300-foot-tall, 17-story courthouse)
  • Park 8 – Bellevue, WA (two 40-story towers)
  • DTLA Site 1 Building, Los Angeles, CA (37-story tower)
  • 100 East Ocean Boulevard Development, Long Beach, CA (24-story apartment building)

Describe a time when you were able to come up with an innovative solution to a problem.

At the Burnside Bridgehead Project in Portland, we dealt with probably the most complicated geotechnical site in the city. The Portland “Big Pipe” (an overhaul of the City’s combined sewer and stormwater system) was running beneath a portion of the site, which had restrictions on foundations—depth to gravel at the site was 15 feet below ground surface (BGS) on one end and 90 feet BGS on the other, in just one city block! Due to the conditions, we had to support the building on a combination of spread footings, spread footings on rammed aggregate piers, drilled shafts, and battered micropiles. All foundations were designed to meet specific settlements in order to avoid differential settlements of the variable foundation types.