Mr. Tobin has worked on natural hazards, risk management and public policy issues for 45 years. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley in civil engineering and has a Master of Science degree in geotechnical engineering from San Jose State University. He is a registered professional engineer.
Mr. Tobin served ten years as Executive Director of the California Seismic Safety Commission. He has lobbied for legislation, having testified to congressional committees on six occasions and state legislative committees on over 100 occasions. He served on the NEHRP Advisory Committee from 1991 to 1993 and the California State Historical Building Safety Board from 1991 to 1995. He served as a director and vice president of EERI and was our 1996 Distinguished Lecturer. He was the founding secretary-treasurer of EERI’s Northern California Chapter from 2001 through 2003 and currently is the chapter president. He received the San Jose State University, College of Engineering’s 1996 Award of Distinction and the 2004 Alfred E. Alquist Medal for Achievement in Earthquake Safety. He is a director of the Coastal Zone Foundation and vice chair of the Multihazard Mitigation Council.
As a consultant, Mr. Tobin works primarily for government agencies and nonprofit organizations. He has worked with GeoHazards International for 15 years, bringing resources and technical knowledge to developing countries to reduce earthquake risk, and he is the co-manager, for the Applied Technology Council, of the City of San Francisco’s Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) project.
It is an honor to be asked to stand for election as the Institute’s president. I want to thank the nominating committee for expressing its confidence in me, and ask you for your vote.
Serving EERI is a significant responsibility. During the last decade, EERI has grown in stature, become multidisciplinary, and welcomed members with diverse professional backgrounds and from many nations. EERI has benefited from solid leadership, and it now exerts steady influence on Washington, D.C., and many important multinational organizations. Our colleagues, strengthened by membership in EERI, have even more influence through their research and practice and by serving on committees and advising international, national, and local agencies. Earthquake Spectra, a highly respected journal, serves professional and academic audiences in multiple disciplines. Our reconnaissance reports, monographs, seminars, and meetings disseminate information that serves our members and society. EERI is the bridge spanning from the quest for knowledge to its application.
Stature and success reflect our past, but today the Institute is in transition. Susan Tubbesing is retiring after 22 years of steady guidance, and long-term funding sources are decreasing. Our members are aging, and our membership has declined. The financial crisis is affecting our members as well as funding sources. Facing these challenges successfully depends on the active involvement of the entire Board and membership.
EERI exists to serve the interests of its members. As individuals and collectively as an organization, we seek knowledge and improved skills, and we strive to use what we know to reduce risk. But in order for the Institute to continue its mission successfully, it must change while holding fast to what’s made it so effective in the past. With this in mind, my vision for the future of EERI includes the following:
- I will seek to increase our membership. New members will enrich our Institute with new ideas and energy and add more depth and perspective to our disciplines. A larger, stronger organization will have more influence.
- I will seek to serve member needs in several ways. EERI must become more inclusive by providing opportunities to all members regardless of geography, discipline, interest, or age. This requires expanding EERI-sponsored activities.
- I will encourage and support growth in the number, activity level, and disciplinary mix of our regional and student chapters. Our regional chapters provide the way to engage more members, to broaden social networks, and to serve decision makers in our communities. Chapter leaders can influence local policies and activities.
- I will use EERI’s influence to support federal and state programs that support research, ranging from individual inquiry, to focused and systematic investigations, to interdisciplinary efforts to solve broad problems. And I’ll support, through EERI, programs and incentives that put our knowledge to work to reduce earthquake risk.
There could be no more rewarding endeavor than working with you to continue building a more effective Institute, one with active, mutually supportive members who learn and apply their knowledge to improve the human condition worldwide.