Surface to Lead Ross Bryan Associates as New President

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Elizabeth “Ibba” Surface is the new president of Ross Bryan Associates Inc. and the first woman to lead the 67-year-old Nashville-based structural engineering firm.


Surface takes the reins from Don Yarbrough who has served as the firm’s president since 2011. Yarbrough will remain with Ross Bryan Associates as board member and senior principal, providing planning, technical expertise and assistance to staff.

“During our succession planning, Ibba became the clear choice to be the voice of leadership in our firm,” said Yarbrough. “She is well respected and highly qualified, and has worked in every part of our business.”

An experienced, licensed engineer, Surface has worked in all service lines of the firm since joining Ross Bryan Associates in 1979 as an engineering intern. She has served on the company’s board of directors since 2004.

“I’m honored to lead our team of professionals as we continue providing innovative and responsive engineering solutions in structural design,” said Surface.

Surface’s portfolio of projects includes building and parking structures in Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Washington State and Connecticut. Signage projects include the Denver International Airport, Target Field in Minneapolis, Marlins Park, Yankee Stadium and Nissan Stadium, and dealer identification programs for Ford and General Motors. She has also worked in the field of structural forensics.

A civil engineering graduate from Vanderbilt University, Surface is a registered professional engineer in Tennessee, 19 additional states and the District of Columbia. She sits on the board of directors for the Tennessee and Middle Tennessee chapters of the American Council of Engineering Companies. She also serves on the external advisory committee for Vanderbilt University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Surface served on the Metro-Nashville Board of Zoning Appeals for 10 years and was chair for three years. Her community service includes board positions with Richland West End Neighborhood, Outlook Nashville, West End United Methodist Day School and First Unitarian Universalist Church. She chaired fundraising for Sylvan Park School PTA and ML King Magnet High School, where she was also on the school’s Engineering Advisory Committee.

Founded in 1949, Ross Bryan Associates provides innovative and responsive structural engineering solutions for complex projects. The company’s diverse portfolio includes some of the first precast/prestressed building and bridge structures in the country, convention centers in multiple states, a variety of higher education buildings, health care facilities, sports facilities, restoration of historic icons and sign engineering for national brands.

The firm provides structural design and restoration and investigative services throughout the U.S. Its subsidiary, RBA Audit LLC, is an auditing agency for the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and also performs plant certification audits for the National Precast Concrete Association. For more information, visit