Hammontree & Associates uses exploding job offers and bait and switch.


JT O’Donnell recently discussed the new tactic that companies are using to get people to work for them:  the exploding job offer.  We at Structural Stupidists will discuss a firm that uses this tactic and introduce you to another bad engineering firm.  This particular one is unique because it is the first one with an exploding job offer.  Let us tell you what happened with a candidate.

The Applicant applied for a Project Manager at Hammontree & Associates back in 2012.  They have offices in the Akron, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA, areas.  At that time, they were a growing Structural Engineering firm.  Here is the ad they posted on their website:

PROJECT MANAGERS and SENIOR DESIGNERS, who have demonstrated that they can develop a solid client base & have excellent technical skills in the areas of land development, municipal engineering & planning services, water/wastewater, environmental engineering & structural engineering. Professional Registrations preferred.

The Applicant received his/her first phone call in November 2012 from Charles Hammontree himself.

The Applicant received this email from University of Dayton alumnus Charles Hammontree on November 1, 2012.

Excellent credentials Mr./Ms. X.

Needless to say we are very interested in the prospect of you joining our firm. Thank you for the response.

Charles Hammontree wrote this email:

Ok Mr./Ms. X. Would you appreciate a job with more opportunity to advance in an area with a much lower cost of living and the ability to assist with building your backlog of work? Other firms seem to hire and layoff as the big contracts come and go. We keep good staff between contracts and are slow to layoff especially talented engineers. Of course big salaries with little work is tough business model for any firm.

What the Applicant got as a response back from Charles Hammontree floored him/her.  The Applicant received this email on January 15, 2013:



This is obviously a bait and switch because it was not a full-time, long-term career opportunity that he stated earlier.  This was an exploding job offer plain and simple.

There were plenty of unanswered questions:

  • Where did the full-time position go? Why work for only a month?  Would anyone in their right mind move to Akron, OH, to work only a month?  So much for career opportunities that he promised!

Imagine if Hammontree & Associates were a car dealership and they ran an ad for a luxury car for $10K.  You go to the dealership and the advertised car was not there.  Would you trust that dealership again?  Absolutely not!

  • What happens when someone works more than 40 hours a week? Is the time banked for use later?  According to the company’s handbook, there is NO comp time.  In fact, the company expects salaried employees to work 5 hours above the 40 hour week for free.  So the Applicant would have been screwed out of my money.
  • What happened to the job he was offering? According to his job offer letter, it would happen pending an in-person interview with Charles Hammontree himself.  Did Charles forget that the Applicant interviewed him for three months for a permanent position with his firm?  This sounds like he wastes time.  If he were movie characters, he would be Ten Second Ted from 50 First Dates!  Perhaps the Men In Black showed up and had Charles Hammontree’s memory erased!

Guess what happened, folks?  The Applicant called the firm repeatedly and did not get a call back.  It is an exploding job offer because the Applicant had a very short time to respond to it.

The four reasons for exploding job offers are because the employer:

  • Tends to have a really hard time recruiting candidates

(b) Is desperate to fill the position immediately

(c) Knows you’ll never choose them if you have the chance to consider other offers

(d) Sees candidates as virtually identical, and is perfectly happy moving quickly to someone else

Hammontree & Associates fits all of these red flags to a tee.  Charles Hammontree may have attended a Catholic high school but he is in no way Catholic.  In our encounters, Charles Hammontree’s Bible is short a few commandments like “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

As painful as this situation is, it’s actually a blessing in disguise, and the Applicant handled it correctly by walking away. Because when an employer uses a bait-and-switch tactic, it means at least one of the following:

* The company is unethical.

* The manager Charles Hammontree is unethical.

* The environment is chaotic.

* The company is going through a reorganization.

* The corporate culture is abusive.

* The job is different from what you were told it would be.

* The company will rescind other things it offered you, such as bonuses, benefits, or vacation time.

Hopefully, you never experience a bait and switch, but if you do, count your blessings! You have just dodged a career bullet.

The reason we believe Charles Hammontree only wanted to hire the Applicant for a month is because they had a problem they wanted to be solved immediately.  Charles Hammontree was using the Applicant to buy time for the candidate they really wanted.  If this is not an example of how candidates are used, we do not know what is!

Clients may have no idea he is doing this.  If their deadlines were not being met, they have the right to know why.  And Charles Hammontree’s recruiting process may be the key reason.  Are you a client of Hammontree & Associates?  You are if you are:

Steve Katz, Vice President, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce

Anna Capaldi, Truste, Perry Township

Steve Paquette, President, Stark Development Board 

Bob Sanderson, Director, Stark County Regional Planning Commission

Bob Nau, AICP, Director, Stark County Regional Planning Commission 

James McGrath, Project Manager, Ohio Department of Transportation

Joe Race, Executive Director, Stark County Building Industry Associations

Jamie Wagner, Director of Franchise and Corporate Construction, Subway

Paul Pickett, PE City Engineer, City of Green

Bob Fronte, Director, Stark Parks

John Kilgore, P.E., Manager of Trail Projects, Cleveland Metro Parks Engineering and Design 

Al Brubaker, P.E., P.S., Summit County Engineer, Summit County

Robert Graham, P.E., Principal, ME/IBI Group 

Bill Yen & Ian Ainslie, Elliot & Associates Architects  

We do not expect Charles Hammontree to apologize to Applicants ever.  But we do want to warn others that exploding job offers are real at Hammontree & Associates.  Other firms may have them.  The bright side is that people will know who is doing them.akr_fl_hammontree_0511


Dave Bowles of Shums Caoda Associates runs an employment scam! Jeff Falero benefitted from it!

We will discuss an example that proves this perception that structural engineers are morally corrupt:  Shums Coda Associates.  For those who do not know who they are:  Shums Coda Associates, Inc. is a privately held company providing professional Building and Safety Consulting Services to Cities to verify conformance with California Building Codes.  They are based in Pleasanton, CA.

After seeing articles on LinkedIn that discuss getting rid of HR departments, we now have an actual case that demonstrates why this is true:  Shums Coda Associates.

One person we know applied for one of the plan reviewer positions that was advertised on the ICC website.  This person was more than qualified to do the job.  Here is the ad that was posted on the ICC website.

“Shums Coda Associates, Inc. is a privately held company providing professional Building and Safety Consulting Services to Cities to verify conformance with California Building Codes.  We are currently seeking both a full-time and a part-time experienced Building Plans Examiner Engineer in our Pleasanton office.  The position will report to one of the Principals, with day-to-day supervision and direction of assignments provided by the Municipal Building Dept. Clients.

ICC Certified: Reviews plans, calculations and specifications for compliance with the most current California adopted codes and ordinances.  Performs related work as assigned, meets, and may confer with the applicants at permit services counters.  Responds to inquiries from the public; and when serving in jurisdictions assists at the public counter in issuing permits and other duties as required.  Must have knowledge and full understanding of the current CBC, CMC, CEC, CPC, CalGreen, CalEnergy and CRC provisions and must have at least two (2) years of experience working for a jurisdiction or providing consulting plan reviews.

Engineer: Seeking experienced Registered Plan Review Engineers with ICC Certification.  It is highly desirable if you can complete life safety review (B. P. M. & E.) in addition to structural review.  This is a long term position.  Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering or Architecture,  and five (5) years of design experience as a structural design engineer or architect in building design, construction, or related field; or five (5) years of experience as a plan checker in the State of California.”

After having this person interview with him and one of the firm’s principals, the applicant got this gem of an email on January 21, 2015:

“Hi Mr. X,

I hope you enjoyed speaking with Dave.  His feedback was very positive, however as I mentioned the Partners need to conduct further strategic planning to validate the skill set required in the next Shums Coda employee.  Part-time work is also a possibility.  So, if you accept a job offer, consider checking back with me when or if you might consider working on the side.  I do not have a firm timeline for our strategic planning, but my new estimate is in the 2-3 week range.  Whatever the result, I will be in touch once I have more clarity.

Best Regards,

Dave Bowles

Director, Human Resources & Staffing

Shums Coda Associates

510-907-0287 mobile”

 DaveBowles  Flying_Pigs.jpgFlaming Snowballs


Dave Bowles says he didn’t know what he was looking for in a Shums Coda employee.  We say he is full of crap.  Don’t take our word for it.  Just look at his email above.

Based on this email response, we do not believe Shums Coda knows what they want in their employees. Dave Bowles is proof that non-engineers should never review engineers for jobs at engineering firms.  This is an employment scam because the job the applicant interviewed was for full time while Dave Bowles wanted the applicant to work only part time. Based on this email, it demonstrates that Dave Bowles views employees as expendable.

Here is why Dave Bowles is completely wrong about this applicant.

  • ICC Certification as a Building Plans Examiner: The applicant has this and it was verified on the ICC website.
  • 2 years of providing consulting plan reviews: This applicant has five years.  Clearly Dave Bowles cannot use his fingers and toes to count, a skill mastered easily by toddlers over 2!
  • Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering: This applicant has a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering
  • Five years as a building designer: This applicant has 12 years of building design experience.
  • And did Bowles forget this applicant was a Licensed California Structural Engineer? Of course he did.

Did Dave Bowles ever read this applicant’s resume?  Of course not!  Did he ask for help from people in his firm?  Most definitely not!  If this is how Dave Bowles understands the basic reading comprehension of a job posting he published, we can only imagine how the firm he works for reviews engineering plans that are submitted to his firm by other building departments for his review.  We would have to assume it is not good at all!

Dave Bowles can say he wants qualified people, but this is not true at all. Heck, Dave Bowles demonstrated he is willing to violate California Labor Law to get what he wants.  He does this by discriminating against applicants over the age of 40!

We think there may be something else going on.  We believe that Shums Coda Associates could be hiring people on H1B visas instead of qualified Americans like this applicant.  Notice we said “could”.  We do not know if they are, but based on the tactics they used on this applicant, it seems possible.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the video I discovered on Youtube that shows how employers can get around H1B visa laws.  Just look under Cohen & Grigsby under PERM Fake Job Ads. It shows how employers lie to job applicants during the process.  Why else would this firm say this applicant is more than qualified and then reject this applicant with a lie shown in Dave Bowles’ email?  Because Dave Bowles is incompetent – that’s why!

Also, Dave Bowles did something completely unexpected!  He admitted Shums Coda Associates does not use full time employees!  This is problematic because he committed breach of contract with several municipalities.  When a firm like Shums Coda Associates uses part time employees, they are essentially saying they do not care who doe the plan review work as long as they receive money!  A part time employee is used to fill a position where they are meant to fail!  If Shums Coda Associates does not like the way an employee reviews plans, Shums Coda Associates fires them, even if that employee violates state laws related to fire and life/safety!  This proves “prostitute” David Bowles and his firm are willing to do anything for cash!



Just take a look at what David’s job description of Shums Coda Associates is according to his LinkenIn profile:

Director, Human Resources & Staffing

Shums Coda Associates

September 2010 – Present (4 years 6 months)  Pleasanton, CA

  • Lead quarterly Strategic Planning Meetings with partners to define purpose of the business, growth objectives, establish action items and priorities. (ongoing) • Coach management through staffing requirements, methods of sourcing, and selection process.  • Guide management through defining and implementing Partner bonus structure based on revenue generation, with MBO’s taking a reduced value. • Evaluate benefit options. (ongoing) • Establish policies & procedures to assure compliance with California Labor Law.

We wonder how his professors at CSU Chico would feel if they know about his stupidity.  He has a BS in Business Administration, or BA for short.  BA must be short for Bad Answers!

Based on this applicant’s encounter with David Bowles and one of their employees, they should change their name to Scum Cobra because they are snakes to their applicants.  We can only imagine how they treat their employees who work for them.  Would people have an issue of being employed by them?  We believe the partners of this firm need to counter this person’s behavior.  After all, if we were a client, we would not use them!

Dave Bowles promised to contact this applicant two weeks later.  He never did.  Dave Bowles has shown why he is a member of the 4-H club, short for Huh, Hey, Hadn’t Heard of Ethics, and Heck If He Knows How To Hire Engineers for His Company Shums Coda Associates!  Heck, Dave Bowles shows us he is dumber than a second grader.  Second graders can read calendars, unlike Dave Bowles!

Right now, we have emailed every one of Shums Coda Associates’ clients so they know what is going on.  In their case, they happen to be municipalities.  And when it comes to elections, use this incident to prove that the politicians hire morally corrupt firms – and what better way to do that than with Dave Bowles’ emails.  Does you municipality use Shums Coda Associates?  Here is the names of municipalities that use them:

Brentwood, CA

Folsom, CA
Grass Valley, CA

Menlo Park, CA

Mountain View, CA

Sunnyvale, CA

Hailey, ID

We bet Shums Coda Associates head Talat Abbasi has no idea this is going on.  Recently, Talat Abbasi chose to leave the firm instead of apologizing to the applicant and addressing the issue. Instead, Dave Bowles did something completely unexpected, as you will about to see.


The applicant received a call from Dave Bowles.  He is the HR representative for Shums Coda Associates.

The phone call started with a congenial tone at first.  Later you will see Dave Bowles did nothing but get very angry.  What Dave Bowles did not know is that his entire conversation was broadcasted on live radio.

DAVE BOWLES:  I am calling to tell you I have decided to keep your resume on file in the future shall a position open up.

MR X:    Thank you for that.  Dave, let me ask you a question:  If I saw an ad for a car in a newspaper and I went to the car dealership to buy it and it wasn’t there, would I trust that dealership?

DB:         What do you mean?

MR X:    If the car that was published in the ad wasn’t there, would you trust the dealership?

DB:         What do you mean?

MR X:    You ran an ad for a full-time position.  Then you wrote me an email stating it wasn’t available.  It was a full-time position instead.  Isn’t that lying?

DB:         What do you mean?

MR X:    Dave, explain to me why this ad was posted.

DB:         What do you mean?

MR X:    Who placed the ad on the ICC website?

DB:         We post it because we are looking for qualified people.

MR X:    Dave, let’s go over the ad.  Explain to me why I am not qualified.  Did you check to see if I had an ICC certification?

DB:         No.

MR X:    Did you check to see if I have a California Structural Engineering License?

DB:         No.

MR X:    Then why I am not qualified?

DB:         We don’t have the work available.

MR X:    Then why post it?  Is this what you learned at CSU Chico?  To be unethical?

DB:         (Starts stuttering and whimpering!)

MR X:    Dave, let’s face it.  Shums Coda Associates is run by lying liars.  SCA is worse than crooked car salesmen.  I love hearing how firms claim they cannot find people, yet they pull crap like this.  Structural engineering firms are liars.  Dave, you and these firms are the primary reason the media hates the profession hates them.  Based upon this encounter, structural engineering firms must be destroyed!  Like crooked car salesmen, I treat firms like crap now!  If I didn’t consistently get bad experiences from them, this would not be happening!

DB:         I want you to remove your post!

MR X:    Too bad, Dave.  It will do you no good because I have decided to publicize your stupidity to the public at large. I have posted your idiotic response at Stoneridge Mall – which happens to be outside your office.

DB:         Quit humiliating me!

MR X:    Too bad, Dave Bowles!  You should have thought of this before.  As a famous British person once said, you are the Weakest Link – goodbye!

There were lots of radio callers discussing these issues.  Every one of them has a negative impression of Shums Coda Associates.

Also, this conversation is quite telling.  It shows that Dave Bowles of Shums Coda Associates participates in blacklisting of candidates.  Why else would this idiot not check out this person’s qualifications?  The only reason he does this is because he is looking for a new friend like people do on Facebook and eHarmony instead of qualified plan review engineers.

And what did we learn from this encounter?  That Dave Bowles is a liar.  Because he represents Shums Coda Associates, we can only guess his company is pretty unethical.  The company should have a new name:  Scum Cobra!  What Dave Bowles didn’t know is that we used a speakerphone so many people heard how stupid he is.  If Dave had decided to act ethically, his firm Shums Coda Associates would not have any issues getting people to work for them!


We have discovered that Shums Coda Associates is not the company they claim to be.  They can claim all they want that they hire qualified individuals.  The reality is that this is not true at all.  And we have acquired proof that their firm is run by idiots like Dave Bowles.  Let us introduce you to new SCA employee Jeff Falero.  Dave Bowles literally messed up big time because he failed to check out his employee’s background.  And Dave Bowles and his dumb firm is willing to violate their contracts with their municipalities if they want to.  Based on our information, Shums Coda Associates values people that are more incompetent so they can be paid less.

  • ICC Certification as a Building Plans Examiner: Jeff Falero does not have an ICC certification a a Building Plans Examiner.
  • 2 years of providing consulting plan reviews: Jeff Falero has no experience in this according to his LinkedIn profile.
  • Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering: This applicant has a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering
  • Five years as a building designer: This applicant has 9 years of building design experience.
  • Jeff Falero is Not a California Licensed Structural Engineer.

Here is his LinkedIn profile so you can see it for yourself.




Folks, we have shown you how Shums Coda Associates operates – very unethically. If you are a municipality with a contract with Shums Coda Associates, we recommend you cut your contracts immediately.  But consult with your city attorney first before doing so!  If you cannot do this, you should send them as little work as possible to cut off their money supply!  Jeff Falero is proof they use unqualified people to review their work.


Folks, recently Dave Bowles was forced to leave Shums Coda Associates.  We guess he did not like people finding out what scams he was pulling on the potential hires.


Wiseman + Rohy Structural Engineers scammed a potential employee. Little do they know that everyone knows of their hostile work environment.

Have you ever wanted to play wackamole with your profession?  Have you ever wanted to be treated with disrespect?  Have you ever wanted to experience professional immaturity?  Well, now you can by applying to work in the structural engineering profession at Wiseman + Rohy in San Diego, CA.

Here is the ad they posted on the SEAOSD website:

Wiseman + Rohy is a full service Structural Engineering company with four decades of quality projects constructed around the United States. Most of these projects are in Southern California, but recent projects have been in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and New Mexico. We have the advantage of being an established company with a lot of young energy.
Wiseman + Rohy Structural Engineers focuses on retaining quality engineers to ensure a quality design. We encourage our engineers to advance as quickly as possible and take on as many different types of projects as soon as possible. This is a unique opportunity to show your skills while keeping your career interesting.
Wiseman + Rohy Structural Engineers has an extremely diverse list of clients. Our projects are equally varied and include corporate, theater, hanger, religious, medical and educational projects.

Job Title: Project Engineer / Project Manager

Job Start Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Job Description:

Wiseman + Rohy Structural Engineers is looking for an engineer with over 5 years of experience in structural engineering. This position offers the opportunity to participate in challenging and unique projects in all types of commercial structures.

Job Requirements:

Attitude that is focused on responsiveness and superior client service
BS degree in Structural Engineering
Proficient in the design of concrete, steel, masonry and wood structures
Construction Administration experience
Experience with writing reports
Demonstrates experience interacting with clients and staff on projects
Ability to manage projects while working on concurrent projects
Excellent written and verbal communication skills and strong analytical skills
Registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) in California
The responsibilities of this position include producing design calculations and construction documents, coordination with the design team and team members within our office, construction administration services and management of other engineers for a wide variety of projects. The job allows for engineers to see a project from design all the way through construction.
We are looking for a highly motivated engineer to become a long-term part of this established company. We pride ourselves in all of our long-term employees and feel this is due to our varied projects and good working environment.



At first glance, the ad appears to be OK.  The problem is that this ad does not affect reality of Wiseman + Rohy whatsoever.  Let us explain why:

“a lot of young energy” means they perform the illegal act of discriminating against candidates 30 and up.  One applicant for the position wanted to work for this firm because (s)he felt their cultures and engineering work meshed.  Jim Wiseman wrote the candidate an email stating he wanted the candidate to see his excellent company.  But when that candidate took Jim Wiseman up on his offer, Jim Wiseman immediately rescinded the candidate’s application to the company.  For Jim Wiseman and his staff, every day is April Fools Day because he advertises jobs that are nonexistent.

“retaining quality engineers” is another false statement W+R puts in their job ad, evidenced by the firm withdrawing the candidacy of a person who is more than qualified.  And when we say qualified, we mean having 15 plus years of experience and a California Structural Engineering License.  But his ad states he is looking for someone with only 5 years of experience.  Translation:  W+R wants to pay their employees as little as possible!

“demonstrates working with clients” is a slap in the face.  This firm Wiseman + Rohy cannot even demonstrate how they work with potential job applicants who know their clients.


Wiseman + Rohy also has major recruiting problems.  If you check out their former employees’ LinkedIn pages, their claim for long-term employment does not hold water at all.  Just check out the LinkedIn profiles of people who have worked there:

Just ask Barry Speer, currently the regional manager of Donan, who was stuck in the Project Engineer position for 9 years.  Jim Wiseman treats engineers like cogs in a wheel until he can no longer use them.

Another employee W+R treated like garbage is Rosella Moreno.  She only worked for W+R for 8 months before leaving to work for the city of San Diego.

Another employee named Lindsay Patch left W+R after a mere 16 months to work for a contractor.

How does Wiseman + Rohy retain quality engineers if they leave in such a short time?  Answer:  they can’t!

What do all of these people have in common?  They all left because Wiseman + Rohy was too busy screwing them.  For all people know, they could have been fired for no reason at all.

Also, you may notice that Wiseman + Rohy has been attempting to recruit engineers from as far away as Washington. Ask yourself:  why would they do this?  Because their reputation as an engineering firm stinks as much as limburger cheese!

It is so bad at Wiseman + Rohy that one of their Directors of Marketing left after a very short time working there!  Just check out the LinkedIn profile!


We are pretty lucky to get some proof about the recruiting problems Wiseman + Rohy has in attracting qualified people.  Look at the emails where a candidate named Michael asked about arranging an office visit while he was vacationing in San Diego.  As anyone knows, it is great for people to check out the office before they decide to work for Wiseman + Rohy.


WR Email 1

WR Email 2

Did you notice how James Wiseman’s tone changed when they wanted an office visit?  There are many explanations. The best one is that Wiseman + Rohy was looking to fire an employee at the firm without telling them about it.  And the reason may or may not be legitimate.  We would not be surprised if it were a person with a California Structural Engineering License.


Wiseman + Rohy wants candidates to write out their entire job history.  The real reason Wiseman + Rohy does this is that they need free consulting to write job ads.  Why else would Jim Wiseman do this?  What James Wiseman doesn’t know is that he breaks state laws by making employees, potential and current, work for free!

And why would this firm do such a thing?  Does his firm have a high turnover rate?  We bet it does.

Heck, they even harassed an applicant over 40.  What makes people think W+R will not break the other employment laws?  We do not know about that, but we bet you would not even go near them in the future,


Even worse yet, Wiseman + Rohy is too busy screwing candidates over who happen to develop business opportunities for them.  For example, one of Brandon Deems’ projects was the Regal Theater in Issaquaah, WA.  For those that do not know, Regal was busted for cutting employees’ hours to get out of giving them health care.  That city happens to be the HQ for Costco.  Costco is the 8th largest retailer in the world.  The candidate his dumb firm interviewed with happened to help Costco get more locations built and expand their business with his/her ideas.  So W+R has no problem shooting themselves in the foot.

For Wiseman + Rohy, treating candidates like crap appears to be a way of life.

Who are the employees who work there?  Notice very few have advanced engineering degrees.

Steven Crook, SE – 1998 Grad of Cal Poly SLO

Jim Wiseman, SE – 1988 Grad of Cal Poly SLO

Steve Rohy, SE – 1992 Grad of Cal Poly SLO

Michael Sims – 2013 Masters Grad of UCLA

David Maestas – 2003 grad of University of Wyoming


Folks, there are plenty of things that people can do about Wiseman + Rohy.  The easiest way they can do this is to avoid doing business with their clients.  It is much easier than people think.

If you want to go to the movies, avoid the Regal and Century/Cinemark Theaters.  Wiseman + Rohy designs them.

Do you want to buy your next new or used automobile?  Avoid AutoNation dealerships.  Wiseman + Rohy designed them, too.

Are you looking for some office space to rent?  Do not get it from City Heights Center in San Diego.

Do you need to go to a hospital?  Avoid the Scripps Memorial Hospital in Chula Vista.

Retailers, are you looking to locate your business in a shopping center?  Avoid Bella Terra in Huntington Beach.

This list will be updated constantly as we find out more information.  For right now, you can think of the firm as unWiseman + Whore-y!




Building officials are the most trusted people when it comes to construction and design of buildings.  The public’s safety is quite literally in their hands.  But all Building Officials are not this caring.  Building Officials can be unethical.  In fact, they can do unethical things like run employment scams.  Let us introduce you to one such person:  Novato, CA, Chief Building official Annette Chavez.  Annette Chavez did the unthinkable before coming to the city of Novato, CA:  Annette Chavez ran an employment scam where engineers were scammed for jobs.  They applied for one fulltime position, but were offered one part-time position with as few hours as possible, about as many hours as men using the bathroom for 3 months!

We got emails from Annette Chavez while she was employed at the Roseville, CA, office of Willdan.


Back in December 2014, Mr. X applied for a plan review position at Willdan for the Supervising Plan Check Engineer position in Roseville, CA.  Here is the ad they posted on their website:

“We currently have an opening for a Supervising Plan Check Engineer in our Roseville, California office.  The qualified candidate will be responsible for overseeing plan review (architectural and structural) for commercial and private buildings to ensure compliance with building code regulations.  The qualified candidate will also provide Building Official services to local jurisdictions when necessary.


  • BSCE

  • ICC Building Official Certification

  • ICC Plan Examiner Certification

  • 5 – 10 yrs plan check experience

  • Professional Registration in California

  • Municipal experience

  • Thorough knowledge of building codes

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills”


Since Mr. X was a certified as a Chief Building Official and a California Licensed Structural Engineer, this position would be a great fit.  Mr. X was a plan reviewer at three different jurisdictions, two of which were in California.

Mr. X had a phone interview and an in-person interview in their Roseville office with Willdan employee Annette Chavez (now Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA) and Michael Graham.  The problem is that it was for a Plan Review Engineer position for Willdan instead of the one Mr. X applied for.  Annette Chavez decided to pull a bait-and-switch with this applicant.

Willdan employee Annette Chavez (now Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA) promised the proverbial moon because she said there would be lots of work to do.  She stated there would be at least 30 hours of work a week.

After Mr. X signed the job offer, they never gave him any work to do for several weeks.  This should have been a red flag.  No work showed up for weeks on end.  Willdan employee Annette Chavez (now Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA) was mentally AWOL by not returning Mr. X’s calls.  When it did show up, it was as only for a two hours a week many months later.  Mr. X knew this was not going to be a full time job like they stated.

Chavez Email 022015 A
Annette Chavez email to employee about WillDan offer

PARs letter


Check out the email and offer letter, folks.  On the top is the email from Annette Chavez representing WillDan.  On the bottom is the offer letter from Public Agency Resources.  Looks like someone named Annette Chavez is scamming job seekers, don’t you think?  We say a big fat yes!  PAR is the company that WillDan uses to avoid paying benefits to their employees as required in their contracts.

Guess how many hours Mr. X actually got?  15 hours for the whole year!  That is the equivalent amount of time for men spend using the bathroom for three months.  The work stopped coming a short time later.  Mr. X did not consider this a full-time job at all.  And why would a company like Willdan do this?  There could be plenty of reasons for this:

  1. They were looking to use Mr. X’s name in proposals to get work. When they didn’t get the work, they gave Mr. X none.
  2. They were cheaping out on salary and benefits, because they have none.
  3. They were using Mr. X until they could find someone much cheaper.
  4. Willdan did not want Mr. X working for someone else. That is pretty stupid when the contract says that Mr. X have to find a full time position.
  5. Willdan wanted samples of Mr. X’s review letters so they could get free consulting.

But why does a company run ads requesting engineers and then not have the work for them to do?  Nowhere in the contract does it mention that Mr. X would have to ask for the work at all.

What really should have tipped Mr. X off is that the name of the firm was changed to Public Agency Resources, compliments of Willdan employee Annette Chavez (now Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA).  And they have no benefits at all for their employees!  When Mr. X interviewed with Willdan employee Annette Chavez (now Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA), Michael Graham & Patrick Johnson, Mr. X was told there would have 30 to 40 hours a week of work because they were so busy.  This firm reminded us of a Joe Isuzu ad where they lied about their cars in an effort to sell them!

In addition to the bogus job interview, Mr. X was never even given a company computer or engineering software to use.  Mr. X wrote a Glassdoor review to remind other people not to fall for their scams, the ones invented by Annette Chavez.

Engineering is about trust.  This is pretty important because people need to be told that their buildings and structures are safe.  So what kind of message does Willdan send their clients when they cannot even be accurate about the amount of work they give their employees to do?  Even better yet, why would people trust someone who lies about career opportunities?  And why would their clients trust them or use them when it comes to building plan review?  If this is how they are when it comes to work at their firm, just imagine how they are when it comes to public safety?  Do you think they would tell the truth?  Based on Mr. X’s encounter, the answer is a big fat no!

Is this what Willdan CEO Thomas Brisbin meant when he said:  “After the recession, we said to ourselves, ‘The world has changed, and we better change with it.”?  Brisbin is partially right because all Mr. X was left with was change!

We even contacted Willdan’s CEO Daniel Chow and he admitted they do this scam all the time.  He told us Annette Chavez came up with this idea.

Look what they did with the city of Glendale, CA.

The city of Glendale, CA, sued WillDan in 2014 for making fundamental mistakes in a water study that cost that city a loss of $9 million!

We wonder what CEO Thomas Brisbin, CFO Stacy McLaughlin, and Senior VO of Corporate Development Mike Bieber would do about this issue.  So far, we have heard nothing from them.

And because their clients are municipalities, do the municipalities know what is going on?  We do not know about that, but they have the right to know.

Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA, is not even a Licensed Professional Engineer in the state of California.  How can Annette Chavez , the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA, tell people how good they are as engineers when she is not one herself.


You need to ask yourselves why a city like Novato, CA, would hire someone who does this to people who want to work with like Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA.  We believe the city politicians had no idea what is going on.  Now they will all be briefed about the scams pulled by this woman.  We emailed this to everyone in Novato City Hall and all of her staff.  We even used this as an economic development tool against the city of Novato, CA.

If there are any single guys reading this, they need to ask themselves if they would date Annette Chavez.  Based on the information highlighted here, men should not want to consider dating her.  If Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA, is this deceptive to job applicants, just imagine how she is with dating men.

Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA, needs to herself a favor and resign immediately.  If Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA, doesn’t, we will be campaigning against every politician who appointed you.  We will be setting up shop all over Novato and showing off Annette Chavez’s scams.  Annette Chavez, the Chief Building Official for the city of Novato, CA, is proof she is the Chief Building Official you cannot trust.


Anil Verma Associates Uses Job Interviews For Free Consulting

Liz Ryan wrote in one of her LinkedIn columns that people should not give the keys to the proverbial castle in interviews.  That is because unethical companies will use you for free consulting.   Let us introduce you to one such firm: Anil Verma Associates.  For those who do not know who they are, Anil Verma Associates is a consultant for public agencies that design mass transit systems.  The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System (or BART) is one of their clients.

You can check out this link to see if you are one of Anil Verma’s clients.


Back in 2012, Anil Verma Associates posted a job opening for a Senior Structural Engineering position on the SEAONC website.

Anil Verma Associates, Inc. (AVA) is currently seeking for an energetic, motivated, and detail-oriented to join our Milpitas/Oakland, CA staff as Sr. Structural Engineer/Structural Engineer. The qualified candidate will have the following required experience:

  • Minimum 10 years of experience in design of building and transit structures with knowledge of utilizing reinforced and prestressed concrete, structural steel and masonry
  • Knowledgeable in structural modeling and analysis with application of structural software (e.g. SAP 2000 and RISA programs).
  • Proficiency in application of the AISC, ACI, ASCE7, and California Building Codes
  • Familiar with the LRFD criteria
  • Designs and develops structural plans and details; experience in Auto CAD is a plus
  • Coordinates with other disciplines as required
  • S. in Civil Engineering; M.S. in Structural Engineering, preferred
  • E. Structural License in California is required
  • Great verbal and written communication skills are a must

This applicant has designed with all of these materials and both buildings and bridges.  (S)he exceed many of these requirements.  Vic Zikoor called him/her in for an interview.  The applicant was excited because (s)he thought this was their dream job.


Pictured above:  Vic Zikoor & Dary Haghighi

Instead of asking the applicant questions about his/her experiences and what he/she could bring to Anil Verma, Daryoush Haghighi asked the applicant questions about the Berryessa BART Station.  Daryoush Haghighi was asking the applicant very technical questions. Obviously, Daryoush Haghighi had no experience designing structures per the California Building Code.  Daryoush Haghighi could not tell what the lateral system in the Berryessa BART Station was.

Most people would feel like they were used.  The applicant certainly felt like he/she was being used.  The applicant decided to have some fun with it.  The applicant thought of a situation where (s)he was the smart kid being bullied for my homework.  Guess what he/she did?  (S)he gave Daryoush Haghighi the wrong information for the project.  (S)he told him that the transit station could be built using wood instead of structural steel.  Most of the applicant’s ideas were ridiculously outrageous.  The applicant thought Daryoush Haghighi would have consulted with the architects in his office first.  Later, you will read what happened.

If only Anil Verma Associates had checked Daryoush Haghighi’s resume before hiring him, they would have discovered quite a few red flags.  The applicant found this information in 5 seconds using Google!

According to his online resume, his body of experience before 2012 included:

  • The design of the Alsea Bay Bridge in Waldport, Oregon
  • Main Street Interchange bridges over I-5 freeway in Orange County, CA
  • The seismic bridge retrofit of the I-280 Southern Freeway Viaduct in San Francisco, California, the SR 91 HOV bridges in Orange County, CA, and the I-5/I-8 Interchange Bridges in San Diego, CA.
  • Dangsan Steel Railway Bridge Replacement Project located in Seoul, South Korea

Notice there is NOT one building project in his resume before 2012.  Bridges in seismically active California behave much differently that buildings in California.

Guess what happened after the applicant’s interview?  Vic Zikoor of Anil Verma Associates sent the applicant an email stating they had no work.  The applicant really felt used after that interview.  Why do firms post ads for non-existent jobs?  In Vic Zikoor’s case, he just wanted to see what was out there.  Or Vic Zikoor and Daryoush Haghighi were really jealous of the applicant and his/her abilities.  Our sources told the applicant that they had no approval to post that position.



The applicant went to work for him/herself designing the BART Milpitas station for another consultant.  The applicant learned later that Daryoush Haghighi & Vic Zikoor presented the applicant’s lousy ideas to the BART Engineers.  They were struck down by the architects and engineers who knew the building code better than they did.  Daryoush Haghighi & Vic Zikoor were literally ridiculed in the meeting.

As for Daryoush Haghighi, he was fired by Anil Verma Associates in 2013.  You can check out his LinkedIn profile so you can see it for yourself.

When BART reviewed the Berryessa Station design, they had over 10,000 design and constructability comments.  The applicant would have figured it out right away.  It took the AVA design team several months to resolve the issues.  AVA decided to hire another structural engineer.  We bet they had to pay big money for him to resolve all the plan check comments.


In 2014, Anil Verma Associates posted the Structural Engineer position again.  The applicant decided to interview for it again.  Maybe AVA got additional work from other transit agencies.  The applicant felt that because (s)he had experience designing the BART Milpitas station, (s)he would be very qualified be part of the design team.  The applicant was completely wrong.

The applicant took a phone call from Vic Zikoor.  The applicant turned on the speaker so people could hear it.  Vic Zikoor told (s)he the position was only for part-time work.  When the applicant asked him why the position was for part-time work, Vic Zikoor stated that he wanted the firm to keep the younger people on the payroll because they were cheaper.  We could tell he posted the ad because he needed someone to resolve an immediate issue.  When the applicant asked whether he would receive a call back, Vic Zikoor stated he would.  What Vic Zikoor failed to recall is that the applicant saved his previous emails.

The applicant recapped everything that was discussed in the email (s)he sent him.


Based on my last encounter in 2012, the work never materialized with AVA after I had my interview with you.  You said it was canceled.  Back in 2012, you posted a Craigslist ad and a SEAONC stating you had work.  After the in-person interview, you asked me for a start date.  Instead of a start date, you stated the job never materialized via email.  Vic Zikoor, why does AVA advertise non-existent jobs?  I have attached the email you sent back in 2012.

Also, why would you hire me part-time?  If you are building a structural engineering team for AVA, don’t you want people to service the job during all stages?  Does AVA value the SE license?  Apparently not from what I have seen!  As you said over the phone, you have to keep the young people at AVA instead of experienced people like myself.
You and your firm cried wolf too many times in the past.  This time, I think this is another trick because of what happened the last time.  Except this time I am not falling for it.  Based on what has happened to me in the past, I note when companies do this to me so that others know who they are and refuse to do business with them.  I have even convinced major retailers not to supply their products in their stores.  It’s worked!

That’s my two cents.  Contact me when you have a place where I can develop my career instead of a part-time job.  As you said, your firm only offers part time work!

The Applicant, SE

Still looking for a design job designing actual structures”


The applicant never heard from Vic Zikoor or Anil Verma Associates after that.  In 2015, he left Anil Verma Associates.  We think he was mad because of all the bad publicity we gave him.   After all, if we owned Anil Verma Associates, we would have fired Vic Zikoor a long time ago.  As for owner Anil Verma, he never contacted the applicant about his/her bad recruiting experience with Vic Zikoor.  It is a shame because unlike that bar Cheers, it is not necessary a good thing when everyone knows your name.