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The Latest Happenings and Updates

Newsletter – October 2015

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October 2015
Education projects take shape;
Executive team expands by two;
Latitude 33 turns 22

Latitude 33’s commitment to education takes shape in many forms, including projects in San Diego County. Serving as executive campus engineer for UCSD, the firm is working hard to bring the new Mesa graduate student housing project to life. Design is close to wrapping up so construction can begin with an early 2017 opening date expected. The finished product will provide a net gain of 1,035 beds from what currently exists on the site. It’s all part of a major campus expansion and update to accommodate more students and give greater area flow through road improvements, new bike lanes, increased bus service and expanded trolley access.

The University of San Diego recently opened its high-tech Betty and Bob Beyster Institute of Nursing Research. Latitude 33 provided civil engineering services for the design, permitting and construction on this three-story project, adjacent to the existing Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Building on campus. Conceptual design, schematic design, design development, construction drawings, bid support and construction administration were additional services that the firm provided. This facility will support extensive training for current and future nurses.

Click here for an in-depth look at Latitude 33’s education projects.


September 23, 1993 is the day it all started

Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering is proud to celebrate 22 years of operation. The firm recently took a moment to enjoy how far it has come and look back at how its incredibly talented team has grown through the years. Latitude 33 has worked with so many wonderful people and contributed to amazing projects during the past 22 years. The team is very thankful for today and excited about what the future holds. Thank you to everyone for believing in and supporting Latitude 33.


Newsworthy Items... Just in Case You Missed It

In August, Tara Lake and Giovanni Posillico were promoted to partners at Latitude 33. The addition of them as associates expands the firm’s leadership to eight. Each brings a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in both the industry and San Diego to Latitude 33’s management team. A firm laden with talented professionals, these two leaders represent the best and the brightest at Latitude 33.  Click here for the official partner announcement.

Katie Yee has joined Latitude 33 as its director of business development and marketing. A San Diego State graduate, she has more than 13 years of marketing experience in town working in housing, construction and engineering. Her local industry involvement includes CREW San Diego, UCREW, BIA and Downtown San Diego Partnership among others. Recognized by SD METRO Magazine as a  40 Under 40 Award winner for 2015, please welcome Katie to the Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering team.

On September 15, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved the Union-Tribune mixed-use project in Mission Valley that will include 200 rental units, retail, creation of a river walk promenade and a pocket park for the community to use. In addition to the city council, community groups like the San Diego River Park Foundation and Mission Valley Planning Group along with the San Diego Planning Commission all voted to support this plan.

Latitude 33 senior principal planner Randi Coopersmith spoke with U-T reporter Roger Showley about approval of the project  here. The Mission Valley News talked with Latitude 33 senior associate Matt Semic on how the riverfront development will transform the San Diego River into an asset instead of an afterthought  here. Construction could start as early as summer 2016.


This annual industry event was held on September 19 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. Katie Yee (who was a BIA Consultant of the Year finalist), Brad Sager, Gio Posillico and Melissa Krause attended on behalf of the entire Latitude 33 team.


This social media campaign helped celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Latitude 33. It provided a look back at what was going on in San Diego in 1993 and what Latitude 33 team members also looked like at that time.

Newsletter – July 2015

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JULY 2015
The Entitlement and Planning Process:
What It Means Exactly and How It Works

Projects Need a Plan and Purpose – Latitude 33’s Behind-the-scenes Leadership Makes It Happen

Led by senior principal planner Randi Coopersmith, senior project managers Melissa Krause and Tara Lake
deftly guide Latitude 33’s team of entitlement and planning experts through working on projects of all scopes and sizes.

A prime example is Latitude 33’s cornerstone project, Pacific Highlands Ranch (PHR) Subarea. The project encapsulates what the entitlement process is all about. PHR includes a master-planned community, village center, mixed-use housing, schools and preserved open spaces among other things. Development of the land included an extensive approval process that involved multiple regulatory agencies to create a positive, impactful neighborhood inside the northern city limits of San Diego, where none existed prior to its creation.

In-depth research and planning, coordination with government agencies and community groups, strategic public outreach and incorporation of ideas from key stakeholders, along with time invested to secure permits and approvals, the construction process for PHR has been all encompassing. Latitude 33’s steady leadership made the project a reality over the course of the past two decades.

Also, Latitude 33 successfully led bi-national entitlement and planning efforts on the San Diego-Tijuana International Airport Cross-Border Terminal Facility, set to open in November 2015. Known as Cross Border Express, the unique international airport link required working

simultaneously with both the U.S. and Mexican governments. Security and international infrastructure were among a lengthy list of issues that had to be addressed as did overseeing approval from many layers of government agencies on both sides of the United States-Mexico border.

For more information about Latitude 33’s planning and entitlement process or its catalog of projects, please contact Melissa Krause at

Welcome To Our Expanding Brain Trust – Melissa Krause

Melissa Krause recently joined the Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering team as senior project manager. She has more than 17 years of experience as a project manager in residential construction throughout Southern California. Her professional experience ranges from entitlements to land development as well as land feasibility and planning to asset management among other areas. Professional accomplishments for Krause include working on major infill, commercial and master-planned communities in San Diego and Los Angeles. She earned her degrees from National University (graduate) and Northern State University (undergraduate).

Preparing San Diego’s Next Generation of Planners And Engineers

Latitude 33 was proud to sponsor the ACE Mentor Program in San Diego again this year. ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering) hosted its 12th Annual Awards Banquet at San Diego Marriott Mission Valley on May 20, 2015. More than 600 students, parents and ACE mentors attended this event that highlighted student projects and honored scholarship recipients.

Participating ACE Mentor high schools included: Castle Park, e3 Civic, Eastlake, El Camino, Helix, Hoover, Kearny, La Costa Canyon, Patrick Henry, San Diego, Santana, Southwest. Latitude 33 looks forward to continuing its support of this valuable training program that helps prepare local students to be the planners and engineers of tomorrow.

Helping Out Habitat for Humanity in Escondido

14 team members from Latitude 33 volunteered their time and construction skills to help build houses for the community of Escondido on June 12, 2015. Below are images from the project site.

Newsletter – April 2015

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Improving America’s Armed Forces Infrastructure

Designing is currently underway for three military projects that Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering has been heavily involved with. Principal Brad Sager and project manager Sean Drake are overseeing Latitude 33’s efforts. All of these projects will enter the construction phase within the next year.

P-328 – F-35 C Facility Addition NAS (Lemoore, CA) – In preparation for the arrival of F-35 fighter jets, Latitude 33 provided A&E services for renovation and additions to Hangar 5 at NAS Lemoore (pictured above). Design responsibilities included surveying, utility rerouting, demolition plans and ultimate condition design. 


NAVFAC P-771 SOF Desert Training Facility 
(Niland, CA)
Navy SEALs conduct advanced-level land warfare training for west coast teams here. Latitude 33 provided civil engineering services for this 45-acre project (pictured below) that included site improvements, clearing, utilities, roadways, water, sewer, storm drainage and magazine compound design. 

MCAS Yuma Pistol and Rifle Range Repair (Yuma, AZ) – Serving as the Corps’ premier aviation training facility, Latitude 33 was called in to refurbish both its pistol and rifle ranges. This Sonoran Desert locale is home to 80 percent of the Corps’ air-to-ground aviation training, meaning the importance of this project (pictured below) can’t be overstated.

For more information about Latitude 33’s military projects, please contact Brad Sager at
Award-winning Team, Award-winning Work
Kris Taylor, Latitude 33’s chief financial officer was recognized as a finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Awards for the tremendous positive impact she has made at the planning and engineering firm for the past 13 years.


Matt Semic, Tara Lake, Kris Taylor, Brad Sager and Jim Kilgore were among those in attendance at the San Diego Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Awards held at Paradise Point on March 31, 2015.




Latitude 33’s Tara Lake and Randi Coopersmith were in attendance for the 2015 Crystal Globe Award LAI Installation and Initiation held at The Lafayette Hotel.


Lambda Alpha International

, the honorary society for the advancement of land economics, officially inducted Tara Lake as a member on February 28, 2015. Her addition, along with Randi Coopersmith, means that Latitude 33

has two members in the San Diego Chapter of this prestigious organization.    


Newsletter – January 2015

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New Beginnings: Latitude 33’s Scripps Ranch Home
Latitude 33 moved to its new headquarters (pictured above) located at 9968 Hibert Street, 2nd Floor, San Diego, CA 92131 in fall 2014 after being located in Sorrento Valley. The newly remodeled building provides meeting space to visit with clients and much needed room for the growing firm’s 45 employees. Latitude 33 plans to host an office open house on February 12, 2015. Please RSVP here to attend.


Award-winning Team, Award-winning Work
San Diego Metropolitan Magazine has named Latitude 33 to its San Diego’s Most Admired Companies list for 2014. Latitude 33 was honored for its adherence to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and accountability. The firm is very honored and humbled to receive this recognition.
Shannon Davis, design engineer, received the honorable mention award from the San Diego Business Journal at its Emerging Generation: 25 In Their 20’s reception and awards presentation. The second annual event took place at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park on Dec. 3, 2014. Young professionals were recognized for significant career achievements while demonstrating social responsibility.
Davis chased her dream of being an engineer. A tough job market led her to advanced schooling, which opened up additional opportunities to gain experience. Helping design a water filtration system for an orphanage in rural Mexico prior to her arrival at Latitude 33 certainly places her among San Diego’s best and brightest young professionals.


Tara Lake, senior project manager, was named a finalist by the San Diego Business Journal for its 2014 Women Who Mean Business Awards. The 21st annual event took place on Nov. 5, 2014, at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley. The Women Who Mean Business Awards recognize dynamic female business leaders for their significant contributions to San Diego businesses. 
She was also awarded membership to Lambda Alpha International (LAI), the honorary society for the advancement of land economics, for her leadership in the field of land use economics. Lake was recognized by LAI for her outstanding contributions to urban planning, park and open space planning, her commitment to public outreach in the community and achieving goals and objectives that make San Diego a better place to live and work.
Lake’s extensive organizational leadership and development, incomparable ability to formulate group consensus around a vision, as well as her ability to achieve goals and objectives, both as a member of the community and as a leader at Latitude 33, certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed in San Diego.

Welcome To Our
Expanding Brain Trust


Cara Hilgesen 

Senior planner, has more than seven years of planning experience in San Diego County. She has worked on a variety of projects in the cities of Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, San Diego. Hilgesen earned her master’s degree in City Planning and Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Real Estate Finance from San Diego State University.

Martin Jones

Senior project engineer, brings nine years of design experience to the Latitude 33 team. He has worked on a multitude of projects in San Diego and Bakersfield, California as well as Des Moines and Iowa City. Jones earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa.  



Sean Scaramella

Senior project engineer, arrives at Latitude 33 with eight years of experience. He spent most of that time working on many projects in Carlsbad. Scaramella earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from San Diego State University.

Newsletter – January 2013

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Latitude 33 Planning and Engineering is thriving and we are starting 2013 with exciting news and business opportunities!  We finished 2012 very strong with a growth of 20% over the previous year.  Latitude 33 is positioned with a more diverse client base and project workload than ever before!  We have found that maintaining a diverse client base, good working relationships with clients we choose to work with has been key to our success and staying strong through difficult financial and economic times.  


Other exciting news in Latitude 33 includes a recent well deserved promotion of Matt Semic, along with a couple of our recently awarded contract, and project news on the Village at PHR.


Latitude 33 Planning and Engineering is pleased to announce the promotion of Matt Semic from Sr. Project Manager to Associate. Matt is a registered civil engineer with over ten years of experience in land development, public works and construction.  Matt is proficient in site design, land use, permitting and plan preparation at all stages of a project; agency standards, utility studies, estimating, construction services and project closeout.  His representative projects include the recently LEED Platinum and Gold Certified San Diego County Operations Center (Institutional); The San Diego Union Tribune (Infill / Mixed-Use); La Jolla Centre III (Office); Broadstone (Infill / Residential); and Temecula Creek Inn (Resort Community / Golf). 

Recently Awarded Contracts

University of San Diego

Betty and Bob Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, Advanced Practice, and Simulation Building

University of San Diego

Colachis Pedestrian Mall

The University of San Diego (USD) Betty and Bob Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, Advanced Practice, and Simulation Building is located adjacent to the existing Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Building on the USD campus. This project includes a three-story, 25,000 square foot building, on a approximate 0.5-acre site. The new building will double the school’s research and teaching facilities.  The one of a kind institute for nursing research will be transformative for the school.  Latitude 33 is assisting the Client in providing the following services: Conceptual Design, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Drawings, Bid Support, and Construction Administration.


Michael Yentile, Project Manager

Latitude 33 Planning and Engineering will be working on the much anticipated expansion of the Colachis Pedestrian Mall.  This project will feature landscaped walkways, open lawns, lines of trees, fountains and seating areas.  The project is located at the intersection of Alcala Parkway/Marian Way and includes the areas between the north side of Marian Way (i.e. Copley Library, Camino Hall, and Founders Hall) to the south side of Marian Way (i.e. Olin Hall, Manchester Executive Conference Center, and Hahn School of Nursing and Health Sciences).  Latitude 33 will be providing preliminary and final engineering services to design and permit the Colachis Pedestrian Mall and Phase 5A of the water main improvements.


Michael Yentile, Project Manager

Project News – The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch

The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch was Entitled in 2010.  The Village was recently acquired by Coast Income Properties.  The project will include mixed-use residential, retail and commercial, a transit center, civic use area, and public library site.  The pedestrian oriented development is the focal point of the award-winning Pacific Highlands Ranch subarea. Currently the project in going through extensive review which includes involvement from the community.


Randi Coopersmith, Sr. Principal

Maykia Vang, Project Manager

Newsletter – March 2013

By Newsletter
As we begin the second quarter of 2013 Latitude 33 Planning and Engineering continues to make strides with exciting news and business opportunities.  We are pleased to announce additions in both our planning and engineering departments.
Welcome Tara Lake as Latitude 33’s Senior Planner – Project Manager

Latitude 33 would like to welcome Tara Lake, who recently joined our team as a Senior Planner-Project Manager. Tara has over 13 years of experience in plan development, park planning, transportation planning, transportation demand management, urban design, landscape architecture, capital projects, redevelopment, long-range planning, CEQA, development review, and community facilitation.  She previously served as a Senior Planner at The Centre City Development Corporation and as an Associate Planner at the City of San Diego.  Tara has a Master of Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University (1999) and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of California in San Diego (1994).  Tara takes pride in outstanding performance and incubation of creative ideas. Tara will be leading our firm’s  urban design and public sector planning projects. Latitude 33 is pleased to have Tara become a member of our outstanding planning department.

Welcome Brad Sager as Latitude 33’s Associate Civil Engineer

We are excited to announce that Brad Sager has joined our firm as Associate Engineer.  Brad brings over 23 years of professional experience in civil engineering, working with a wide range of projects and multi-disciplinary teams, as well as having handled various critical and challenging projects from design to the implementation stage. Brad has extensive experience designing and managing single family and multi-family residential projects, design build projects and public works and redevelopment projects. His strength is bringing together a team of internal and external professionals to produce a quality product using effective communication and responsiveness. 

Other Recent Hires for 2013!!!

Charles Mohrlock, M.S., P.E., CFM

Project Engineer – 5 years of Experience

Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering

San Diego State University

Master of Science, Civil Engineering

San Diego State University

Brad Sonnenburg

Planning Assistant – 3 years of Experience

Bachelor of Arts, Geography

San Diego State Universiy

Master of City Planning

San Diego State University

Mehdi Keshmiri

Civil Engineer – 2 years of Experience

Master of Science, Civil Engineering

University of California, Irvine

Dolvin Buchanan

Sr. Civil Designer – 5 years of Experience

Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering

Layola Maramount University

Fowler Park at University of San Diego

“Fowler Park is an important addition to the University of San Diego’s athletic facilities and will further elevate the Torero’s men’s baseball program, aid in recruiting efforts and provide players and fans alike with a world-class experience,” said Pat Tangen, a Principal at Populous and Project Manager for Fowler Park. “The ballpark was designed with these goals in mind and incorporates renovations that position the team and the university for continued success.”

Latitude 33 provided civil engineering services for the $13.8 million stadium renovation, which included creating an iconic entry plaza in the 16th Century Spanish Renaissance style that connects the ballpark with the existing architecture on campus. Five levels of the ballpark were created to incorporate necessary programmatic elements – an entry level with plaza space, a suite and press level, the main concourse, the Torero Zone and the team clubhouse. The updated venue also includes a renovated playing field, new home and visitor dugouts and renovated batting and practice tunnels. In addition, Fowler Park will debut a new, 6,800 square foot team clubhouse that includes reception, coaches offices, a player locker room, equipment room, lounge space and a training room, providing major league amenities to Torero players.

“Fowler Park brings a premium college baseball venue to San Diego for the first time, which is an integral step for the university in our continued quest for athletic excellence,” said Ky Snyder, Executive Director of Athletics at the University of San Diego. “This ballpark is something that everyone involved can be proud of and is sure to be one of the premier facilities in college baseball for years to come.”