A structural engineer and licensed professional civil engineer for over forty years in the San Francisco Bay Area, David Ovadia served as lead seismic engineer for a number of California power plants including the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant while employed at Bechtel Corporation and Pacific Gas & Electric. Ovadia was Associate and lead Project Manager for 14 years for the structural engineering firm Rinne & Petersen, where he had a major impact on ensuring the structural integrity of numerous commercial, industrial, educational, and technology buildings in Silicon Valley.
Most recently and prior to his retirement from Rinne & Petersen in 2013, he served as lead Project Manager for the seismic analysis and design retrofit of five Intel Corporation building structures in Haifa, Israel. He is a member of the Structural Engineering Association of Northern California and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Ovadia currently serves as President (and past Treasurer) of the Board of Directors of Heavenly Valley Townhouses Association in South Lake Taho; as well as Principal Partner with wife Maryellen Himell-Ovadia in Ovadia & Associates, Strategic Development Consulting.
Throughout his business career, Ovadia has been an engaged Jewish community leader as past President and current Board Secretary of his synagogue, Congregation B’nai Israel in Daly City, the only synagogue in the United States serving the Karaite Jewish community founded in Cairo, Egypt in the 7th century. He is deeply committed to the survival of this unique and ancient community within the Jewish world, and to furthering awareness in the larger Jewish community of Karaite Jewish traditions. To this end, Ovadia serves as a member of the JCRC, the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council.
Ovadia currently chairs the “Foundation for the Future” Campaign for Congregation B’nai Israel. The Campaign’s objective is to renovate and expand the synagogue and to establish a national Jewish Karaite Cultural Center as a center for learning, community building and advocacy for Jewish Karaites throughout the Bay Area, the United States, and beyond. His overarching objectives are to find pathways that will keep his community’s traditions alive and relevant to coming generations, and to enhance relationships with the larger Jewish world.
The eldest of four children, Ovadia emigrated at the age of twelve with his family from Cairo to Paris, and then to San Francisco in 1963 with help from HIAS and other Jewish organizations.
Ovadia earned his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University, his M.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, and an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley.