Academy of Distinguished Alumni
Donald W. Davies P.E., S.E.
Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on
Don Davies received his M.S. degree (1990) in Structural Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.S. degree (1987) in Civil Engineering from Washington State University. Davies joined Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA) in 1989 as a Design Engineer and progressed through the ranks before being named MKA's President in 2016.
Davies is an industry champion for sustainably-driven design solutions that actively promote low-carbon construction, and a leader in Performance-Based Design for high-rise towers. His portfolio of work includes the structural design of 180 high-rise projects and 55 Performance-Based Seismic Design towers in more than 19 countries and 50 major metropolitan centers. Pioneering the use of Life-Cycle Analysis, he has authored more than 15 publications on embodied carbon optimization and tall-building systems, and frequently lectures on bio-mimicry and resilience in structural design. Throughout his career, Davies has been an active member, leader, and co-founder of a variety of professional societies, committees, and organizations. He is a board member of the MKA Foundation, a founding member of the Carbon Leadership Forum and BuildingTransparency.org, and a member of the leadership team responsible for the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator(EC3)—a free, open-access database and tool that helps identify the embodied carbon footprint of different building materials. Davies serves on the Advisory Board of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, as well as the Executive Board of the International Association for Life-Cycle Civil Engineering.
Named a Senior Fellow by the Design Futures Council in 2020, Davies has spent much of his career encouraging generations of young people to pursue the structural engineering profession. At the University of Washington's Department of Architecture and its School of Civil Engineering, he has been a guest lecturer of undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, as well as a speaker and panelist during organized workshops and design critiques. He also has been a presenter at the University of Illinois, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Davies is a strong supporter of Berkeley CEE. As a Director of the MKA Foundation, he has supported numerous research projects at UC Berkeley through active technical engagement and funding. In 2014, he was invited by UC Berkeley's Structural Engineering Mechanics of Materials (SEMM) Faculty Club to be a guest speaker for 60 graduating masters and doctoral students. In addition, Don was a Research Engineer at the Earthquake Engineering Research Center at UC Berkeley, where he contributed to a base isolation analysis and study of high-energy dissipation systems and provided structural reviews and dynamic analyses of the San Francisco Bay Bridge superstructure and building inspections in San Francisco and Oakland.