The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)'s Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal for 2024 has been awarded to Laurie Johnson (M.EERI 1990) in recognition of her extensive work and dedication in improving the seismic safety and resilience of urban environments and communities by reducing, managing, and communicating risks from earthquakes around the world. The Alquist Medal recognizes an individual, company, or organization that has made substantial contributions to the field of seismic safety and earthquake risk reduction, directly serving the public good. The medal will be presented at EERI's Annual Meeting in Seattle in April 2024.
Johnson is an internationally recognized urban planner specializing in disaster recovery and catastrophe risk management. She holds a Doctor of Informatics degree from Kyoto University, Japan, as well as a Master of Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Science in Geophysics from Texas A&M University. For over 30 years, she has combined her unique blend of professional practice and research in earth science, urban planning and public policy to help communities and the insurance industry address complex challenges posed by natural hazards and disasters.
Johnson founded her consultancy in 2006 and much of her community recovery management and research is captured in her book, After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery. For the past three years, she also held the role of Chief Catastrophe Response and Resiliency Officer for the California Earthquake Authority and California Wildfire Fund. Johnson serves on the Board of Trustees of Geohazards International and the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative, as well as the advisory boards of the Global Earthquake Model and the WIFIRE Convergence project. She was the chair of the national Advisory Committee for Earthquake Hazards Reduction from 2012-2018.
Johnson was President of EERI from 2019-2020, and served on the Board of Directors from 2006-2009. A member of several EERI reconnaissance missions, including to Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, she has also served on the Earthquake Spectra Editorial Board and the Northern California Regional Chapter Board. She is currently co-chair of EERI's Oral History Committee and a member of the Learning From Earthquakes Committee.