MLA serves a variety of local, national and international projects. As designers of buildings and specialty structures that require critical thinking and creativity, MLA provides unique engineering opportunities within a small business culture.

The Firm

MLA Engineering is a structural consulting and design firm founded in 1999. We have an impressive record of designing new buildings and renovating existing structures in concrete, structural steel, masonry, and wood-framed structures.  Our projects vary from small to large-size buildings and facilities. MLA specializes in the structural design of buildings, zoos and aquariums, entertainment facilities, and specialty structures.

The MLA staff is a team of motivated and highly qualified professionals who listen and respond to clients with focused solutions. We confirm project requirements and goals at inception and then develop a communication and work plan that facilitates meeting those objectives. Our project engineers inform our clients of structural options, recommend solutions that provide value, and develop construction drawings that respond to the project delivery method. With access to state-of-the-art resources, tools and continuing education, our engineers provide current, innovative and technically sound solutions. 

Strong client relationships and trust are crucial to the success of our clients and our firm, which we achieve by providing consistent, dependable and responsive service. More than 80% of MLA's business is from return clients, which demonstrates our commitment to making the success of your project our first priority.  

KEY Personnel


Michael Leonard, P.E., S.E.

Michael Leonard has a passion for developing outstanding structural solutions. After earning his BSCE from the University of Washington and his MSCE from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Leonard has continuously built his knowledge base upon more than 30 years of providing engineering for regional, national and international projects. As the founding owner and principal of MLA, Mr. Leonard strives to continuously advance the firm by learning and applying technological developments in engineering. His professional experience includes:

  • Ocean Wonders Shark Building at the New York Aquarium, Brooklyn, New York;
  • Phase one of the Blue World pool and exhibit expansion at SeaWorld San Diego California;
  • specialty structures for the 80+ acre zoo in Doha, Qatar;
  • aquatic concrete, guest facilities, and animal exhibits at the Houston, Fresno, Cheyenne Mtn, Minnesota, Hogle, and Woodland Park Zoos;
  • long-span steel roof and superstructure for the King County Bow Lake Transfer Station in Tukwila, Washington;
  • foundations and seating bowl framing for Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington; the deep foundation included 1,400 driven steel pipe piles;
  • a 220-foot long composite steel and concrete truss, with a post-tensioned hollow pipe bottom chord, located at the University of Washington Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle, Washington;
  • construction engineering and quality control for a high-strength, lightweight post-tensioned concrete floating drilling structure used for oil exploration in the Beaufort Sea, built in Tsu, Japan;
  • a 60-foot tall,  three-quarter mile long permanent tied-back retaining wall that provides soil retention and stability at the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle, Washington;
  • a variety of public and private buildings that are constructed of steel, concrete, masonry and timber.

Mr. Leonard is a licensed Professional Engineer in Washington, Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas.


Daniel Rich, P.E.

Daniel Rich joined MLA Engineering after moving to Seattle from his native country of Australia.  In addition to his experience designing buildings and specialty structures with MLA, Mr. Rich has engineered commercial, heavy industrial, mining, oil and gas, and food manufacturing facilities.  His design skills combined with his work as a field engineer and multi-disciplinary coordinator on large scale projects is the basis for his effective project management at MLA. 

Mr. Rich provides finite element analysis; Revit designs, 3D frame analysis software, and utilizes the Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow processes.  His experience includes design with reinforced concrete, structural steel, and light gage steel.  Mr. Rich provided structural engineering project management of the Phase One design of the Blue World pool and exhibit expansion at SeaWorld in San Diego, California.


Serena Baxter, P.E., S.E.

Serena Baxter has over 14 years engineering experience, with 11 of those years as a structural engineer in the buildings market.  Working closely with architects and various engineering disciplines as a senior project engineer and project manager with MLA Engineering, Ms. Baxter brings critical communication and organizational skills to the team. 

Ms. Baxter's experience includes building facilities and remodels, large hospital towers and bridge design.  This variety of projects has given her a broad range of experience working with both public and with private clients, as well as with contractors.  She has engineered structures for the municipal, commercial, healthcare and institutional sectors in the United States and abroad. Her recently completed design project with MLA is the Ocean Wonder: Shark Exhibit Building at the New York Aquarium. Ms. Baxter is currently managing the structural design of the platform and canopy expansion of the Sound Transit Station at the historic Freighthouse Square in Tacoma, Washington.


Nguyen Ngo, P.E., LEED AP BD+C

Nguyen Ngo brings value to the team with his experience designing buildings and specialty structures.  Nguyen has worked on a variety of project types including structural design for new commercial and multi-family structures, seismic retrofit work for existing buildings, and evaluation of existing piers and marine infrastructure.  Over the years, Nguyen has developed proficiency with all major types of building materials.  He has experience in building and managing 3D structural models and is also proficient in Revit and AutoCAD.  

Nguyen has a strong interest in sustainable design and has taken a role at MLA to document and inform the team on new environmental trends and strategies. He became a LEED accredited professional in 2009.


Linda Ji

Linda Ji joins MLA Engineering from Vancouver, Canada, where she has over four years of engineering experience in structural design in the industrial and defense industry. Linda is experienced at working in close collaboration with architects and other engineering consultants to achieve client vision. Linda’s experience includes structural designs for power substations, maintenance facilities, building renovations, and marine infrastructure.


Jeff Thompson, P.E.

Jeff Thompson has a combined 15+ years of experience from his time in the Northwest and Chicago. His experience has covered a wide range of project types and materials and include building design, existing building retrofitting and preparing reports of existing building structural assessments. As a senior structural engineer, Jeff strives to produce the most efficient design for the project and provide the client with concise and responsive communication.

Jeff’s experience includes state/municipal, institutional and privately developed projects. These projects include airport expansions, maintenance facilities, University lecture/dining/residence halls, public school additions and new facilities, mixed use residential buildings, hospital renovation projects and custom residence design.


Wendy Hussey, Administrator

Wendy Hussey brings multiple years of administrative and operational experience in both private sector firms and government organizations to the MLA team.  We are delighted to have an administrative lead with such a diverse background. 

Wendy helps make our team hum and our clients sing.  She lives by the motto, “how can I be of service”.