With gratitude, from Ashraf

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With gratitude, from Ashraf

-a thank you note-

„I graduated back in 1970 so it’s been kind of 50 years since I’ve been in this profession. So, I’ve been thinking about the amazing things that have happened to my life, about all the amazing people that have had such an incredible impact in shaping my career. Right from the very beginning I was lucky to get to know some of the stars of our profession. This limitless gratitude that I feel for everyone and everything that shaped me in what I am today is what I find my drive in. You, the professionals from all over the world which use our software to create the most amazing testimonials of the beauty of structural engineering, made CSi what it is today!”

Gratefully, Ashraf

This article is a thank you note and a statement; but most of all, this article is meant to tell a story – a story about vision and initiative, about what it takes to make a difference, a story about passion and purpose!

Static and Dynamic Analysis of Conventional Structures, fall of 1975, UC Berkley – this is how it all started

It all started with this course that I taught through the UC extension soon after I left campus. Working with some of the stars of our profession at that time, it dawned on me that a lot of the technology that was being developed was really not being used by the professionals – they were still using hand calculators – therefore, the idea of teaching a course which bridged what they were doing on campus with what I thought the profession could use at the time, came naturally.

So, I approached Edward Wilson, who was the division chair at the time, about my idea to take his research on programs and software out of the lab, and he just basically said it was a good one. I worked with him, we’ve put together a course outline and the I studied all summer long to get ready. When I entered the room, I saw a sea of 187 people, most of them being way experienced than I was at the time. I remember cleaning that board for 10 minutes – and it was already clean when we entered the room. But they were all just so kind to me, and within 6 weeks of teaching that class, I got to know practically all of the structural engineers in the bay area. Years after, they started using the software and they called me up to be consultant. That’s when I quit my job and I started Computers and Structures.”

Out of gratitude for all the people he met, all the knowledge and inspiration received along the way, Ashraf Habibullah built CSi around the trust and on the community he created.

Ashraf Habibullah – the core essence of CSi

Ashraf Habibullah is President and CEO of Computers and Structures, Inc (CSi). He founded CSi back in 1975, 5 years after graduating from University of California at Berkeley. The beauty of Ashraf’s achievement to start a business stands in the company’s “why”. It all naturally emerged from the wish of an ambitious young engineer to improve the industry, to make it better and easier for the people in it, to develop technology for a better world! And so he did!

He keeps CSi solutions top choice for professionals in over 160 countries, while inspiring people from all over the world to believe in the grandeur of structural engineering.

Who is Ashraf Habibullah, the human?

„I never really wanted to be a structural engineer. Growing up in Pakistan, I always dreamed about being a rockstar. My dream was to come to America and put Elvis out of business. When it started to become more obvious that my dream may not become a reality, I took my father’s advice and became a structural engineer – a very wise decision.”

It was just a matter of time until Ashraf turned each conference he attended into his own stage and each speech into an unforgettable show! It can be said that his dream came true after all – it is all about perspective and how you choose to look at every little thing that happens.

A different perspective on structural engineering

„It didn’t take me very long to recognize the beauty of this profession and the profound impact it has on humanity. And it actually goes deeper than that, more at a human level. Human beings are created for one fundamental reason, and that reason is to make the life of another human being better. That’s the way we are built, part of our basic constitution. The beauty about structural engineering is that we make life better for all of humanity on a daily basis! The beauty is real, we see it all around and it’s part of everyday life! People cross the bridges we design, they leave and work in buildings we design, and they do all this having the confidence they are safe.

When people ask me what we do, I tell them that we develop computer models of buildings and bridges, we blow wind on them, we shake them with earthquake and we fix the weakest parts before the structure is even built. To me, this sounds a lot like saving lives, every time the wind blows and every time the earthquake strikes!