Lucy Arendt, Ph.D., is the Associate Dean and Director of the Cofrin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She is also an Associate Professor of Management. She earned her Ph.D. in Management Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has been a full-time faculty member since 2006. She was the recipient of the 2008 Founders Association Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2010 Student Nominated Teaching Award. Currently, she is a member of EERI’s Initiatives Development Committee and serves as the lead trainer for EERI’s Housner Fellows Leadership Development Program. The program targets young to mid-career professionals interested in developing their leadership and advocacy skills around seismic safety. Lucy was a member of the Organizing Committee for the 9th US National and 10th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering. She has participated as a speaker at the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012 EERI Annual Meetings.
Lucy has loved being an EERI member since she joined in 2008. She conducts research on individual and organizational decision making vis-à-vis disasters and on community resilience and recovery. She participated in reconnaissance research in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the September 2010 Canterbury, New Zealand earthquake, the former funded by MCEER and the latter as part of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes program. Her current scholarly work, published in October 2014, examines what communities need to do to recover from extreme natural hazard events. Co-authored with Daniel J. Alesch, Long-term community recovery from natural disasters (Taylor & Francis), targets both scholars and practitioners. In addition, Lucy and her co-authors, Dr. Daniel Alesch and Dr. William Petak, extensively researched SB 1953, California’s controversial hospital seismic safety law. Their findings are described in the 2012 book, Natural hazard mitigation policy: Implementation, organizational choice, and contextual dynamics (Springer). Lucy has been a collaborator on several NSF, NEES, and NIST grants.
I’m sincerely excited about the opportunity to join the EERI Board of Directors, and hope that you’ll cast your vote in my favor. EERI is a dynamic organization that attracts the very best people dedicated to reducing earthquake risk. What that means to me is that we in EERI care deeply about our fellow human beings and their physical, social, cultural, and political structures.
EERI’s mission is to “reduce earthquake risk by (1) advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering, (2) improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment, and (3) advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes.” It’s the latter two components of the mission that I think I can best help EERI achieve. My research in decision making and the culture of business gives me insight into why individuals and organizations do what they do.
I understand the decision making criteria that people use, the biases that dominate, and the perceptions that need changing in order to reduce the consequences associated with earthquake risk. In other words, I know what makes business people tick, and I know how to communicate with them. With an understanding of why people might choose to put themselves in harm’s way, we can better devise the means to protect them, their property, and their communities. As a member of EERI’s Board of Directors, I will work actively to persuade business owners, legislators, and others to implement the policies and practices that our best science tells us will save lives and maintain building and infrastructure functionality.
EERI is a great organization, thanks to its proactive membership – you! – and its leadership. I believe that EERI can take several steps to ensure its sustainable future. First, EERI must continue to embrace and enhance global opportunities for research and education. Second, EERI must actively recruit members who will contribute to its multidisciplinary mission, since we all gain insight when we discuss issues of seismic safety with people outside our own fields. Next, EERI must actively engage professionals at all stages in their careers. Creating opportunities for newer and more seasoned professionals to interact is absolutely key to our collective success. Finally, EERI must continue to work well with government, both to secure funding for its efforts and to communicate the necessity of seismic risk reduction.
My participation in EERI has been incredibly fulfilling so far, and I hope to have even more opportunity to serve EERI’s membership.