Laurie A. Johnson

Term: 2019-2020


Laurie Johnson (M. EERI, 1990) has nearly 30 years of experience in urban planning and disaster recovery planning, management and research. She has written extensively about land use and risk, disaster recovery and reconstruction, and the economics of catastrophes and studied many of the world’s major urban disasters, including the 2011 Tohoku Japan, 2010-2011 Christchurch New Zealand, 2008 China, 1995 Kobe Japan, and 1994 Northridge earthquakes.

She has coauthored the books: After Great Disasters: An In-depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery and Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans.

In 2006, she founded her consultancy focusing on resilient communities, governments, and industry sectors. She was formerly a Vice-President with Risk Management Solutions working with global property and casualty insurers to manage their exposure to natural catastrophe risk, and a consulting planner with EQE International (now ABS Consulting) and Spangle Associates.

Laurie Johnson is a member of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) Executive Committee and Oral History Committee, co-chair of the LFE Resilience Observatory project, and on the editorial board of Earthquake Spectra. She has also served on the EERI Board of Directors (2006-2009) and Northern California chapter board (2003-2006) and been a member of several LFE reconnaissance missions.

She chairs the U.S. national Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR) and is on the Steering Committee of GEER – Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance association and Science Board of the Global Earthquake Model (GEM), and a Visiting Project Scientist with the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center. She completed her Doctor of Informatics degree at Kyoto University, Japan and also holds a Master of Urban Planning and Bachelor of Science in Geophysics, both from Texas A&M University.


It is with great excitement and appreciation that I stand for election as EERI’s president, and ask for your support.

Like most members, joining EERI was not a requisite for my professional accreditation; rather, it was a choice. I still remember the pride I felt the day my EERI welcome package arrived in the mail back in 1990. I was just two years into my career, the Loma Prieta earthquake had spotlighted the large-scale vulnerabilities that modern metropolitan areas face, and EERI and its members had pivotal roles in scientific investigations, governmental boards of inquiry, and professional gatherings to reflect and recommend change. I wanted earthquake risk reduction to be a central focus of my career and my community service. And, for nearly three decades, EERI has been vital to my professional learning, connections and service, and a great deal of my work and collaborations stem from my involvement in EERI. In sharing this with other members, I have been inspired to find that I am not alone.

As social media and information technology change the way we both network and learn, many professional associations are rethinking their value proposition to members. I believe the core value of EERI lies within its vision: to improve the understanding and management of earthquake-related risks to society. In working to fulfill this vision, EERI offers a range of high-quality, traditional membership services, including the annual meetings, technical seminars, student and regional chapters, and our professional journal—Earthquake Spectra, as well as more unique research and community service opportunities like the Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) program, School Earthquake Safety Initiative and Concrete Coalition. Through this mix of traditional and unique services, EERI has helped foster the multi-disciplinary, but singularly-focused, “earthquake community” that is the envy of other hazards professions.

My vision for EERI is that we continue to innovate in ways that help us to achieve our core mission while also providing a robust suite of traditional and unique learning, connection and community service opportunities for all our members. With programs like the student design competition and Housner Fellows, EERI has expanded its offering for younger professionals, and there are other opportunities to strengthen our career continuum of engagement—for older members, perhaps in mentoring the next generation; cultivating leadership and stretch opportunities for mid-career professionals; and expanding our diversity, disciplinary and geographic reach.

We need to uphold our global leadership in earthquake investigations and information dissemination by securing the long-term sustainability of LFE, the Earthquake Clearinghouse, reconnaissance tools and training, as well as expanding our understanding and education on earthquake impacts over time, space, and societal systems through the Resilience Observatory, LFE Travel Study Program and other initiatives. We must also reinforce our commitment to local-to-global earthquake safety through advocacy for Congressional reauthorization and funding for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program and local and state adoption and implementation of resilient building codes, retrofit and infrastructure standards, as well as collaboration with other professions and initiatives whose work can influence earthquake risk management, both nationally and internationally. In the coming years as climate-related effects become more pronounced, EERI and the earthquake community can offer a wealth of technical and policy experience to ensuring that climate-resilient communities are earthquake-resilient too.