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2017 EERI Board Election: Meet the Candidates

The following candidates were nominated for the 2017 EERI Board of Directors. EERI members vote for their candidates from October 1, 2016 to November 1, 2016. EERI members are notified via email, with voting instructions, including a unique link to an online ballot.

Director A:
Brent A. Maxfield, Structural Engineer, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT (M. EERI, 2005)
Barry H. Welliver, Structural Engineer, BHW Engineers, Draper, UT (M. EERI, 2002)

Director B:
John G. Anderson, Professor, Seismological Lab, University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, NV (M. EERI, 1980)
William U. “Woody” Savage, Geophysicist/Professor, USGS/ University of Nevada-Las Vegas, NV (M. EERI, 1975)

Below is a full list of the candidates’ biographies and vision statements


Brent A. Maxfield: Biography

Brent A. Maxfield

Brent A. Maxfield

Brent Maxfield is a structural engineer with the Special Projects Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with more than 30 years of experience in the field of structural and earthquake engineering. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Civil Engineering degree from Brigham Young University (BYU) and then earned a Master of Engineering Management degree from BYU.

During his 24 years of work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brent has designed and reviewed the structural design of scores of church projects throughout the United States and the world. These projects ranged from straightforward new construction to very complex evaluation and retrofit of existing historic facilities. The projects varied from religious worship structures and temples to assembly buildings, manufacturing facilities, warehouse facilities, and office buildings. Brent has studied the structural and seismic codes of many countries and worked with engineers in many parts of the world.

In his role as an owner’s design representative, Brent has stayed abreast of current codes and also current research that will be affecting the codes in future code cycles. He has an active interest is seismic topics. During the past several years, Brent has made a consistent effort to bridge the information gap between structural engineers and earthquake ground motion experts. The March 2016 issue of Structure Magazine published his article, Are You Communicating Seismic Concepts Correctly?

Brent is finishing a three-year term in the EERI Utah Chapter, currently serving as Past President. During his term as president, the Utah Chapter published the report, Scenario for a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake on the Wasatch Fault – Salt Lake City Segment: Hazards and Loss Estimates. This was a collaborative effort of many members of the Utah Chapter. The chapter also hosted lectures with David Wald, David Boore, Ivan Wong, and Robert Olshansky. Brent was the organizing chair for two EERI day-long events: 2015 Short Course on Seismic Ground Motions and 2016 Utah Earthquake Resiliency Workshop.

Brent has been an active member of the Structural Engineers Association of Utah (SEAU) for more than 25 years. He has twice served on the Board of Directors and has been active on multiple committees. In his position on the Structural Engineers Emergency Response (SEER) Committee, he was instrumental in the adoption of the Building Occupancy Resumption Program (BORP) in Salt Lake City and other cities along the Wasatch Front. This program allows for the preauthorization of post-earthquake building inspection, allowing businesses to get back into operation significantly faster following an earthquake event. Brent has served on the Utah Structural Advisory Committee to the Utah Uniform Codes Commission and served as chair of the committee.

In 2012, Brent was awarded the Utah Engineers Council’s Utah Engineer of the Year award. He was nominated by SEAU. He is the author of three books on the use and application of Mathcad as an engineering tool. Brent has mentored many students from BYU and has sponsored several Capstone projects.

Brent A. Maxfield: Vision Statement

In my 30+ years as a structural engineer, I have seen a great evolution in the structural and seismic design codes. It has been an interesting journey seeing the progression of the structural engineering community. On this journey, I have loved my involvement with the structural engineers in the Structural Engineers Association of Utah (SEAU) and the other national organizations to which I belong. Much my efforts over the past 30 years has been geared towards making buildings better able to safely resist earthquake ground motions.

EERI allows me to get out of my structural engineering world and view earthquakes and their effects from the perspective of many other talented and respected professionals who are not structural engineers. It provides me the opportunity to expand my vision and to see things differently, so that when I go back into my structural engineering world, I am better able to take a more holistic approach to seismic engineering.

My service on the EERI Utah Chapter Board has also expanded my view. On the Board, I have had the opportunity of working with structural engineers, seismologists, geotechnical engineers, geologists, and emergency managers. I have interacted with planners, architects, scientists, building owners, civil engineers, emergency responders, and building officials. All of these individuals were dedicated to reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes in Utah.

My vision for EERI is to reach out to the thousands of professionals and other individuals who are working hard on earthquake issues in their areas of expertise and help them see the benefit of membership in a multi-discipline organization where their expertise is needed, and where they can benefit by learning from those in other disciplines. Together we can be greater than the sum of the parts.

Resiliency is a big buzzword nowadays. However you define it, EERI will play an important role in helping to promulgate the efforts to reduce the impact of and speed-up the recovery from significant seismic events. EERI will become a leader and facilitator in this arena.

I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for the EERI Board of Directors and pledge my efforts to achieve the mission of EERI.

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Barry H. Welliver: Biography

Barry H. Welliver

Barry H. Welliver

Barry H. Welliver is Owner and Principal Engineer of BHW Engineers, L.L.C. with offices in Larkspur, California and Draper, Utah.

Barry graduated from the University of Connecticut and moved to Northern California in the early 1970’s to study earthquakes and become involved with the newly emerging earthquake engineering community. There he worked for several prominent structural engineering firms before establishing his own private practice in 1979. After twenty-two years of residency, he moved with his family to Utah where he continues his practice while maintaining his Northern California office.

He has been actively involved in the Structural Engineers Associations of Utah and Northern California serving on and chairing several committees. His interests in earthquakes lead to his involvement with the Utah Seismic Safety Commission (USSC) beginning in 1996 as an observer, then delegate for the Structural Engineers Association of Utah and finally as Chair of the commission from 2002-2006. He has also served as president of the Structural Engineers Association of Utah and the Utah Regional Chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

Barry has been involved in a number of seismic renovations of existing buildings in both Utah and California, both as structural engineer of record and advocate for seismic safety. As chairman of the USSC he was instrumental in endorsing the need for the seismic retrofit of the University of Utah Marriott Library helping to capture Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supplemental funds for the project. He has a long history of interest and advocacy for school earthquake safety. In Utah, he helped successfully lobby the state legislature for funding to complete a Rapid Visual Screening inventory of all public school buildings.

He is chair of EERI’s School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI). He was invited last year as the representative of EERI’s SESI to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Second Safe Schools Leaders meeting in Tehran, I.R Iran where he reported on SESI’s activities and learned about the international efforts for school hazard safety. He presently serves as Project Director for the Applied Technology Council’s ATC 122-1 project Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety FEMA P-1000, to be published later this year.

Barry has also helped author FEMA P-420 Engineering Guidelines for Incremental Seismic Rehabilitation, and FEMA P-154 Rapid Visual Screening for Potential Seismic Hazards: A Handbook Third Edition. In Utah he was a member of the teams producing the first Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country and Scenario for a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake on the Wasatch Fault – Salt Lake City Segment publications.

Barry H. Welliver: Vision Statement

My interest in engineering started in high school, when a teacher asked if I’d like to help him build his house over summer vacation. I was hooked. I followed this passion into engineering school, became a licensed structural engineer and was on my way to helping clients build their own dreams and projects. This satisfying career lead me to understand the importance of serving not only my clients, but also a public needing to understand the risks from natural hazards. EERI was there to catch my interest and help me become the advocate I am today.

So, this is an honor for me to be selected as a candidate for director in this organization.

First, I believe that EERI’s mission to advance, improve, and advocate for earthquake engineering has been the hallmark of the organization both here in the U.S. and throughout the world. Through the efforts of dedicated members and staff, this been earned many times over and will need to be continually cultured as we map out the future and engage new generations.

Learning From Earthquakes (LFE), the World Housing Encyclopedia (WHO) and the School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI) are just a few of the many projects that have and are making meaningful impacts. These efforts define the good work we are doing and deserve the dedicated support of our organization was well as the attention to how they can complement one other.

I am continually impressed by the numbers of students and young professionals I see at EERI annual meetings and chapter events. Our ability to help mentor and let them help shape our future path will define who we become. Our regional chapters are the local “faces” of EERI and need to be supported and encouraged to build their programs around the needs of local communities and states. They represent our eyes and ears on the ground and can also play a role in shaping the direction of EERI.

Our multi-disciplined membership offers us one of the most distinct advantages in the field of earthquake engineering. Our challenge is to integrate the non-engineering voices into our programs and advocacy messages. We have a good start, but we need to do much more.

And lastly, my experience with SESI has shown me just how powerful the urge is to “do something meaningful” with our collective talents and experience. Everybody lives in a community with schools, and as professionals we are obliged to tell the story of risk and hazard in words and actions that motivate real changes. And this message of schools needing to be safe from earthquakes and other hazards is so much bigger than just our local communities. It is a platform we need to stand on for our nation and the world.

Thank you for listening (reading). I hope to help serve EERI and hope that you will too.

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John G. Anderson: Biography

John G. Anderson

John G. Anderson

John Anderson is a professor of geophysics in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering and the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). John teaches an annual class on the fundamentals of engineering seismology, along with other classes covering physics of the earth, theoretical seismology, seismic hazard analysis, and earthquake source physics. He has been involved in establishing strong motion networks in the US, Mexico, and Turkey, and in research on fundamental and applied problems related to seismic hazards and strong earthquake ground motions. He is currently Chair of the National Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment Steering Committee, in support of the National Seismic Hazard Map and related products of the U. S. Geological Survey, and a member of their Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee.

In the teaching role, the class on engineering seismology reaches about 30 students each year in civil engineering, geological engineering, and other majors. Anderson has also served on dozens of graduate committees for students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNR, especially students associated with the faculty in the Center for Civil Engineering Earthquake Research and their Large-Scale Structures Laboratory and Earthquake Engineering Laboratory.

Anderson’s current research is on generation of broadband synthetic seismograms suitable for use in engineering applications, characteristics of strong motions, and estimating the magnitude of earthquakes in continental crust based on observations of mapped faults. He is an active participant in the Southern California Earthquake Center, and has collaborated with international scientists, mostly in Japan, Mexico, and Turkey, and to a lesser extent in several other countries.

Anderson has served on the Board of Directors for the Seismological Society of America and COSMOS. He has been an associate editor for the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America and guest editor for the recent Earthquake Spectra volume on the 2014 National Seismic Hazard Model. He was Director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory from 1998-2009, and also chair and then member of the Nevada Earthuqake Safety Council. He received the Bruce A. Bolt Medal of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Seismological Society of America (SSA), and COSMOS in 2015. He earned his B.S. in Physics at Michigan State University and his M.S. and Ph.D in Geophysics from Columbia University in New York.

John G. Anderson: Vision Statement

I am honored to be selected by the nominating committee to stand for election as a Director of EERI. If chosen, I will be honored to serve this community, with a vision to promote the success of future generations of U.S. and international earthquake professionals. Success should be both personal and defined by our EERI Mission and our Vision: “A world in which potential earthquake losses are widely understood and for which prudent steps have been taken to address those risks.”

I have been a member of EERI since 1980. I see EERI as the premier organization for advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering. I have also been a member of the SSA, with the vision to advance seismology and the understanding of earthquakes for the benefit of society. As exciting as the science is, my fundamental motivation has been the belief that a deep understanding of the physics of earthquakes will make the world a better, safer place to live. EERI provides interaction with earthquake professionals who appreciate that purpose, and who move the advancements in seismology into practical applications.

Earthquakes are an opportunity to learn. Many of the worst potential disasters, and also the largest knowledge gaps on the nature of the ground motions, are associated with earthquakes in the continental crust with M>7.5 – events that, fortunately, only happen once every 3-4 years on average. I would like to encourage a global vision in instrumentation especially, and also in analysis, that will reduce the uncertainties in seismic hazard models for such events, and thus refine estimates of the earthquake demands on structures, and on communities, cities, nations, and the world.

More broadly, understanding the hazard is only the first step. The greater challenge is to achieve the EERI vision in widely variable circumstances, from overcoming complacency in communities that believe preparations are adequate, to advancing resilience alongside solutions to other urgent issues in communities that are less fortunate. As a board member I would particularly like to help EERI and our international partners to make earthquake hazards and all of their impacts understood in every hazardous region of the world, in a way that will enable appropriate actions wherever they are needed.
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William U. “Woody” Savage: Biography

William "Woody" Savage

William “Woody” Savage

William U. “Woody” Savage is currently an Adjunct Professor with the Applied Geophysics Center, an interdisciplinary group established by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Geoscience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He works with graduate students on engineering geophysics projects, and promotes the improvement of earthquake monitoring in the greater Las Vegas Valley. He has also served as the Southern Nevada Geosciences representative on the Nevada Earthquake Safety Council since 2010.

In 2001, Woody joined the USGS to manage the ANSS Strong-Motion Program from 2001-2008 in its Menlo Park, California, office. In 2008, he transferred to the Yucca Mountain Project to serve as the Project’s Seismotectonics Senior Scientist/USGS Science Advisor in Las Vegas, Nevada, until 2010, when the YMP was discontinued. He retired to USGS Emeritus Seismologist status in 2010.

During 1986-2001, Woody was a Principal Consulting Seismologist with Pacific Gas and Electric Company in San Francisco, California, serving in PG&E’s Geoscience Department under Lloyd Cluff. Woody was the lead seismologist for the Diablo Canyon Long-Term Seismic Program, and managed cooperative research projects funded by PG&E with USGS, PEER, and other gas and electric utilities. He also managed PG&E’s Seismic Risk Management Program.

During 1974-1986, Woody worked at Woodward-Clyde Consultants as a Senior Seismologist under Don Tocher and Lloyd Cluff. He provided seismological input to many earthquake engineering project teams working on nuclear power plants, major dams, and other critical facilities nationally and internationally. He helped create and subsequently managed WCC’s Pasadena, California, Office.

Woody earned a Bachelor of Arts in physics in 1966 at the University of Oregon Honors College in Eugene, Oregon, and a PhD in Geophysics (Seismology) in 1976 at the University of Nevada in Reno, Nevada.

William U. “Woody” Savage: Vision Statement

I joined EERI in 1975 at the start of my professional career. At Woodward-Clyde, PG&E, USGS, YMP, and UNLV, I found that many of my colleagues were engaged in professional organizations to further their careers in diverse ways. I followed suit, and reaped the benefits of meeting with earthquake engineers, geologists, seismologists, social scientists, and project managers under the EERI tent (and other tents as well).

EERI’s annual meeting programs have broadened in scope to address topics that involve more diverse subject-matter experts and students. I believe this trend should continue; for example, I’ve been pleased to find more discussions of lifelines included in EERI’s meetings.

I have served as Vice President on the Boards of the Seismological Society of America and the Consortium of Organizations for Strong-Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS) (I was one of the small group, including Bruce Bolt and Carl Stepp, who founded COSMOS). Upon the sudden passing of Professor Bolt, the officers of COSMOS (including me) established the Bruce Bolt Medal to recognize individuals for the promotion and transfer of strong-motion earthquake data into practice to improve seismic safety. This annual award is jointly sponsored by COSMOS, EERI and SSA. I think this multi-organizational approach for awards could include additional fields, such as lifelines and site characterization.

I have served as Co-Chair of the SSA Government Relations Committee and have been aware of the efforts of SSA, EERI, and other professional organizations to collaborate in supporting such matters as reauthorization of NEHRP. As an EERI Board member, I would encourage such collaborations regarding Congressional and state-level advocacy for funding of earthquake programs, relying on experienced EERI members and others to lend their advocacy support.

Last year, EERI leadership took the bold action of forming the EERI Public Policy and Advocacy Committee, with EERI members volunteering to participate along with several Board members. With effective guidance by the Coordinator, the participants in the PPAC have produced an initial set of documents that are ready for implementation. I am personally thrilled at the effectiveness of the PPAC to date, and am looking forward to becoming more involved in this ambitious EERI program.

After completing my term on the Board of Directors of SSA, I was asked to assess the potential for establishing a professional ethics policy for SSA, stimulated by the development by the American Geological Institute of “Guidelines for Ethical Professional Conduct.” In January 1998, EERI prepared a document entitled “Ethical Issues and Earthquake Risk Reduction.” Given the developing interactions among public and private agencies in the activities of the EERI Public Policy Committee, it might be timely to promote the EERI document on ethical issues in the context of the AGI and SSA efforts.

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EERI Response to M6.2 Earthquake in Italy on August 24, 2016

norcia-italy-2016On Wednesday, August 24, an M6.2 earthquake struck 10 km southeast of Norcia, Italy (1:36 a.m. local time). The EERI community extends its sympathy to the victims as rescue and relief work continues.

EERI is currently monitoring the situation from media reports and notes from colleagues in the impacted region as part of its Learning from Earthquakes Program.

EERI has launched a virtual earthquake clearinghouse website to archive earthquake data and post observations from this event. Information will be posted as it becomes available, so please check back frequently. For current and timely information about the earthquake, please also see the USGS event page, and the PAGER report.

Any members with information about earthquake impacts or who plan to conduct reconnaissance should contact EERI LFE coordinator Shizza Fatima at