Chris Poland to be Awarded Housner Medal in 2017

Chris Poland

Chris Poland

Chris Poland (M. EERI, 1978), a practicing structural engineer whose career includes a wide range of professional activity spanning structural design, public policy, advocacy, and service to EERI and the profession, will be presented with the George W. Housner Medal for 2017. The Housner Medal is awarded to recognize Institute members and others who have made extraordinary and lasting contributions to public earthquake safety through the development and application of earthquake hazard reduction practices and policies.

Poland’s design work includes seismic analysis and strengthening of existing buildings, structural failure analysis, and historic preservation. After serving as President, CEO, and Chairman at Degenkolb Engineers, Poland left in 2014 to pursue a specialized consulting practice aimed at community resilience and the buildings and systems that contribute to it. He brings a broad, multidisciplinary approach to reducing risk and promoting disaster resilience that reflects the necessity to look beyond the physical environment to include the social, economic and cultural fabric of our cities.

He has represented the profession in testimony to Congress supporting the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and is a passionate seismic safety advocate at the local, state and national levels. He served as the first Chair of the Advisory Committee to NEHRP, responsible for evaluating and advising the earthquake programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Science Foundation. He currently serves as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Structural Safety of Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities.

Poland’s energy and vision in raising public awareness to the risk of earthquakes has had a lasting impact on California and the nation. He served as Chair of the 100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference in San Francisco in April 2006; the Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings Standards Committee, which completed both ASCE 31 and ASCE 41; Chairman of the California Strong Motion Advisory Committee, and Member of the Advisory Committee of the California Integrated Seismic Network. He is engaged in innovative local initiatives as a member of the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), where he co-chairs their Resilient City Initiative. He acted as lead in drafting the publication The Disaster Resilient City, a comprehensive plan now being implemented to promote the resilience of the structural, social and 85 economic elements of the City to reduce risk and improve response and recovery from future disasters.

Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2009, Poland is also a Fellow of the American Council of Engineering Companies and the American Society of Civil Engineers Structural Engineering Institute, as well as an Honorary member of the Structural Engineers Association of California and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Chris served as President of the EERI Board of Directors in 1999-2000.

The presentation of the George W. Housner Medal to Chris Poland will take place at the 69th EERI Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, on March 9, 2017.