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DCI's Jeff Brink Working Through Two-Year Backlog

San Francisco Office

DCI Engineers principal Jeff Brink had a killer 2014: He opened the firm’s new offices at One Post and now has a two-year project backlog. That’s very unusual for an engineering firm, because from a structural standpoint, things typically turn faster. One of DCI’s centerpiece city projects is converting the Goodwill site on Van Ness to city offices and residential space, below (it was actually our breaking Bisnow news that alerted him to the site and he immediately called up the new owner, Related). He’s also got a handful of projects with Trumark Urban set to break ground in 2015; up first is 645 Texas. Another biggie is the 250 4th Street hotel project coming near Moscone Center.

Jeff tells us he keeps thinking things will plateau, but the phone continues to ring. In fact, he’s seen an uptick in work over the past two months. S.F. is filled with cranes, and he predicts we'll see a shortage of land in five years. That’s why his firm is hot on Oakland and is gearing up to plant its first flag there. He’s got an eye on Oakland office projects entitled and ready to go, but owners are waiting to see rents hit $45/SF before they start digging, he says.

He gets his engineering skills from his dad, who worked at GM for years and built this cool clock for the S.F. office (it was shipped in pieces with assembly directions that made perfect sense; Ikea should take note). The 22-person office in S.F. may seem small for their workload, but it's augmented by seven other offices up and down the coast with more than 200 employees company-wide. The Michigan native first put his engineering hat on in the Midwest, then went to Korea for a year to teach English. After that, he landed at DCI’s Seattle office for a decade (after three to four years, the rain really got old). A company acquisition brought him to S.F. in 2013. 

The engineering and design firm—behind the W Hollywood and Moscone Center West projects—hosted a welcome party this spring at One Post with a liquor tasting from Napa's Charbay, above. He calls the Parkmerced project with Maximus Real Estate Partners "complex," with various teams; he’s working with three of five architects on three buildings, now in conceptual design. Various jurisdictional constraints can frequently impact the creativity of a structural engineer’s design, says Jeff, but his firm's mimicking the forward-thinking tech industry by pushing the envelope and bringing innovation to clients’ projects. (A liquor tasting also takes a page out of tech's playbook.)