Coffman is pleased to celebrate a 35-year career milestone for Beverly “Bev” Ishii-Nakayama, SE, a structural engineering Principal Advisor in Coffman’s Honolulu office. Throughout her 35+ years of experience, Beverly has completed more than 200 multimillion-dollar projects throughout the Pacific Rim in Hawaii, Guam, Japan, and Korea, including projects for private clients and the Department of Defense. She continues to design structures that endure some of the highest seismicity and tropical storms in the world.
“We congratulate Bev on a long, respected, and outstanding 35-year structural engineering career. We are fortunate to have Bev’s influence as part of the structural team and across the entire office and company,” said John Thielst, Coffman’s Senior VP and Pacific Region Managing Principal.
Prior to Coffman, Bev was a Vice President at Shigemura, Lau, Sakanashi, Higuchi & Associates, Inc. (SLSH). She joined SLSH as a structural engineer in 1988 and spent many years growing with the firm. In November 2022, SLSH joined Coffman through an asset purchase agreement where she joined as a Principal Advisor.
In recent years, Bev’s projects focus on educational facilities, including campuses for Kamehameha Schools at Kea’au, Punahou School Kosasa Community for Grades 2-5, and the Department of Defense in Okinawa, Japan. Her extensive work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Japan Engineering District has provided experience in Japanese construction practices, specifying products and materials meeting the Japan Industrial Standards, and producing drawings in metric and constructible in Japan.
In her role as Principal Advisor at Coffman, Beverly works with department managers to manage the project workload for team members by leveraging experience, monitoring project progress, maintaining quality control, fostering client relationships, and mentoring staff members.
“Having known Bev for 35 years and seen her career growth firsthand from a junior engineer to a senior principal engineer now, I am proud to say that Coffman certainly landed one of the best structural engineers in Hawaii. Early on, Bev being probably the first woman structural engineer in private practice in Hawaii, I was a little concerned about her being in the male-dominated construction industry where there are many gruff male superintendents and contractors in the field. But she not only did so with flying colors but became a trailblazer for other women engineers to enter the tough structural engineering field. Kudos to her for being a great role model for many young women”, said Howard K.C. Lau, SE, Principal Advisor, Structural Engineering.
Beverly was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated from the University of Hawaii with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. She then pursued a master’s degree in civil engineering at Stanford University with an emphasis in structural engineering. She continued her education at the University of California, Berkeley to attain her Master of Business Administration. She began her engineering journey at the age of 22 and was one of the first women in Hawaii to practice structural engineering in the private sector.
In honor of Beverly’s career milestone, clients and colleagues across the industry celebrate her dedication by reflecting on her impact.
What can you expect when you work with Beverly Ishii-Nakayama?
“As an architect, for peace of mind, you demand a lot from your structural engineer, so it is reassuring that Bev is very involved, responsible and takes ownership. She is what we call a working principal, very hands-on. When working with Beverly, you can expect creativity, commitment, and competency. Beverly addresses structural design holistically, considering cost and constructability to meet the design aesthetic. Her strength is in communicating with the design team on coordination of the multitude of systems to create a harmonious whole. Once in construction, her hands-on approach has her in the field frequently where she works with the contractors on field conditions to assure structural integrity.” – Katie MacNeil, G70
“Good coordination and communication, helpful reviews and comments, and a very professional work ethic.” – Dennis Toba, RNS
How would you describe Beverly Ishii-Nakayama?
“Bev is an excellent professional and has a very nice personality. I have been working with Bev for 10+ years and it is always a pleasure for me to see Bev in our project teams. Even when she is very busy, she is always calm and provides superb support to the project.” – Jimmy Oshiro, ESC Pacific
“She is a people person, a strength that shows in how she builds good camaraderie with those she works with, but I think it is her intelligence that defines her; she’s so smart, she makes it all look easy.” – Katie MacNeil, G70
“I can best describe Bev as a friend that I love to work with on any project.” – Dennis Toba, RNS
Do you have any words to congratulate Bev on her 35-year career milestone?
“I appreciate Beverly so much! She’s always responsive, always caring, and always so smart! Bev has helped me out so much in the last 20 years that I’ve known her. And she’s been a very good friend to me. 35 years is a definite milestone and needs to be celebrated with sake and sushi! Here’s to 20 more years!” – Diane Kodama, AECOM
“Congratulations Beverly on your 35 anniversary! I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you these past 25+ years. We have designed so many projects together in Hawaii and Japan. Really appreciate the great structural engineering design you have provided us. Your dedication and passion is unparalleled. You are the very best! Looking forward to more great years working together.” – Kendall Ellingwood, Design Partners Incorporated
“Congratulations on your 35-year work anniversary Bev! You are an incredible team member and it is always a pleasure to work with you. Thanks for being a great colleague and a mentor.” – Jimmy Oshiro, ESC Pacific
“How is it 35 years? Time sure flies. You have been a great role model in showing me that it can be done – that you can love what you do and have fun while doing it! I remember when Yuki Takemoto told me that I was working with the best structural engineer in the State. How lucky I was to meet you on my first project in Hawaii! I sure did enjoy designing with you, and working through the structural integration with the architectural vision. Great projects arose – Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Campus, the Salvation Army Kroc Center and the Girl Scouts of Hawaii STEM Center for Excellence. Cheers to you my friend for reaching this milestone and to the best structural engineer in the state – Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!” – Katie MacNeil, G70.
“Wow Bev, 35 years! Congratulations from everyone here at Ronald Ho & Associates on a very successful career.” – Dennis Toba, RNS.
Beverly Ishii-Nakayama’s Personal Legacy
When asked what advice she would give to her younger self as a female engineer beginning her career in Hawaii, Bev answered: “Be confident.”
Looking back 35 years, Beverly’s most valuable lessons learned would be “communicate efficiently and effectively, and always be a great team player.”
Her commitment to the design industry has been shaped by her community, clients, and friends. She is a former President for the Structural Engineers Association of Hawaii (SEAOH) and American Council of Engineering Companies of Hawaii (ACECH), a member of the Chi Epsilon Alumni Association, past Chairperson for the City and County of Honolulu Building Board of Appeals, and much more. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, attending the USTA National Tournament and University of Hawaii football games, and watching plays at the Diamond Head Theater.
The past three decades fuel Beverly Ishii-Nakayama’s desire to train up the next generation of leaders, especially women, and she looks forward to the years to come serving her colleagues and clients in the Pacific Region.