John Pepper, P.E.

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John Pepper is the founding principal of the firm and has over 35 years of structural and forensic engineering experience. John is a graduate of the University of Miami. He served as an officer in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, where he obtained the rank of Major. John was one of the first engineers in the country to serve as a structural engineer on an Urban Search and Rescue Team. He was the lead engineer with Florida Task Force One before retiring from the team after returning from the World Trade Center disaster in 2001. John has designed hundreds of buildings and other structures, including the 40-story Mystic Point Tower Condominium, which was one of the tallest concrete buildings in Florida, and has been involved in the investigation of thousands of forensic engineering cases.


Managing Principal - Vice President

Greg McLellan P.E.

Greg has a Master of Science Degree from the University of Illinois where he studied civil / structural engineering and a BSCE from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Greg has many years of experience in structural design and analysis and has completed over 5,000 forensic engineering investigations involving a wide variety of buildings and similar structures. Greg is a licensed Professional Engineer in multiple States, a Special Inspector of Threshold Buildings in Florida, past president of the Florida Structural Engineers Association and a past lead structural specialist with MDFR – Florida Task Force One (FEMA FL-TF1) Urban Search and Rescue Team (US&R). In addition, was a U.S. Coast Guard officer, honorably discharged, serving both in operations and engineering.


Senior Engineer Manager

Diane Riggi, P.E.

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Diane has a BS in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University, Fort Collins Colorado and is a licensed Florida Professional Engineer in Florida.

Diane is a structural and forensic engineer working for PEGroup Consulting Engineers (formerly The Pepper Engineering Group) since its inception in 1993. She began performing storm damage investigations shortly after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Her background experience includes the following areas: structural design and analysis of concrete, masonry, steel and wood structures, design and manufacturing of prestressed-precast structures, land development, and commercial and residential building design and construction.

She has performed thousands of forensic investigations of a variety of failures and defects including, hurricane/storm damage, fire damage, structural collapse, water intrusion, roofing failures and many other conditions. Other projects at PEGroup entailed providing design and specifications for new construction, renovations, and concrete restoration repairs.


Senior Engineer Associate

Marcelo Perla, P.E.

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Marcelo Perla graduated as a civil engineer 40 years ago. His studies, research and experience have led him to specialize in forensic engineering, structural finite element modeling of 3D structures, analysis, design and troubleshooting on distinct structural and non-structural building component materials.

He has completed over 400 forensic engineering investigations. Marcelo has the natural ability to meticulously collect evidence and examine existing and past conditions and damages, and diligently examine surrounding environments, his work is combined with research, analysis, and thorough study of compromised materials to finally determine the true cause and origin of damages.

Marcelo was born in Lima, Peru, where he obtained his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. He moved to Florida where he attended Florida International University (FIU) and graduated as a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, later Marcelo became a Doctoral Candidate in Structural Engineering also from FIU.

Marcelo is a licensed Professional Engineer, Threshold Building Inspector and a retired Structural Specialist Engineer with Florida Task Force One (FL-TF1) – Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR).


Graduate Engineer

Jake Bleier, E.I.

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Jake has a Bachelor Degree of Science in Civil Engineering from Florida State University and holds an Engineer in Training (EI) certification. He started working as a Graduate Engineer for PEGroup Consulting Engineers in July 2021 and is currently studying to obtain his Professional Engineer (PE) license. He is an active member of the Florida Structural Engineers Association (FSEA) and the American Concrete Institute (ACI).


Graduate Engineer

Kevin Porto, E.I.

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Kevin Porto has a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Civil Engineering from Florida State University and is currently studying for an Engineer in Training (EI) certification. Kevin served as a mentor for incoming freshman students as part of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Mentorship Program. He is an active member of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Florida Structural Engineers Association (FSEA), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He started working as an intern for PEGroup Consulting Engineers in November 2020 and is currently a Graduate Engineer.


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