A message from the EERI President, Laurie A. Johnson

Laurie Johnson (M.EERI,1990)Laurie Johnson (M.EERI,1990)

While at the University of Washington a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit with a few members of the local student chapter of EERI. Their enthusiasm for EERI and the Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) program is so exciting. Two of the graduate students participated in the LFE travel study program to New Zealand in May 2019 and we had a lively discussion about the recovery and resilience efforts following the 2010-2011 Canterbury and 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes. Reflecting on this during my flight home, I was filled with gratitude and hope.

As 2019 and the first year of the LFE Endowment campaign come to a close, over 90 members have pledged more than $1.8 million to securing the future of LFE for these and other future leaders in earthquake engineering and risk reduction. This breaks down to $970,000 in cash pledges and $845,000 in testamentary/estate pledges and is nearly halfway toward the $4 million goal we set for the campaign. This is a remarkable milestone for the Institute since, for the past decade, EERI has been funding the LFE program and individual event reconnaissance efforts from annual membership revenue, the Institute’s general endowment fund, Institute reserves, and event-specific grants. The funding uncertainty year-on-year has been a strain on the program and a concern for the health of the Institute as a whole. Our $4 million target can provide an estimated annual income of $200,000 dedicated to LFE post-earthquake reconnaissance, the travel study program, and other core program activities as well as future innovations and initiatives.

As I write this, an LFE team is in Indonesia studying population displacement and relocation aspects of the September 28, 2018 Palu, Indonesia earthquake and tsunami. Their work will build upon EERI’s ground-breaking research and development of the LFE Seismic Resilience Observatory framework to better understand earthquake impacts over time, space, and societal systems. EERI also deployed quickly following the July 4 and 5 earthquakes near Ridgecrest, California. EERI (as part of the California Earthquake Clearinghouse) established physical and virtual clearinghouses to facilitate the timely exchange of reconnaissance observations. The physical clearinghouse brought together more than 50 investigators including EERI members. Following the physical clearinghouse, EERI organized a webinar where reconnaissance team members from multiple agencies and organizations presented observations. A recording of the webinar is now available at

In September, EERI, in partnership with the Alaska Earthquake Center, hosted the successful “One Year Later: Symposium on the 2018 M7.1 Anchorage Earthquake” in Anchorage, Alaska. More than 130 diverse stakeholders attended the three-day symposium that highlighted findings from ground motion recordings, structural and nonstructural performance, port and lifeline performance, and response and recovery efforts, including a field tour of impacted sites. The webinar recording and poster sessions are available at Highlights of the symposium are also available in Heidi Tremayne’s Leadership Communique in October as well as the October 1 issue of The Pulse. EERI appreciates the support provided by NSF, USGS, NIST, and FEMA for the symposium.

As the year comes to a close, EERI’s membership renewal campaign is now underway. The Board of Directors appreciates the 200+ respondents to the 2019 membership survey. We heard very clearly that members want relevant and timely information to help them in their careers and professions. We are working with staff and have launched a new Professional Development Committee to help enhance the Institute’s programming in this area, including a growing portfolio of webinars.

Surveyed members also rated LFE and Earthquake Spectra as the top offerings of the Institute. Your membership in EERI comes with a full-access subscription to both the regular and special edition issues of Earthquake Spectra. We are really looking forward to the January 2020 start of EERI’s publishing partnership with SAGE that will enhance members’ experiences with the journal both as a reader and an author. SAGE will publish the first issue of Earthquake Spectra in February 2020 (Issue 1, Volume 36). 

So, I hope you feel like me that it is an exciting time for the Institute and that your investment as an individual or subscribing member is delivering both the value and opportunities to connect, learn, and lead with EERI. I also encourage you to reach out to at least one other person or organization and ask them to consider joining EERI. Details on membership benefits and levels are available at, and our Membership and Communications Manager, Van Nguyen, is available if you need information materials or any other help. 

As you think about your year-end giving, I ask that you please consider making a pledge to the LFE Endowment Campaign so that LFE and its unique suite of post-earthquake, multi-disciplinary learning and sharing opportunities will be strengthened and sustained for years to come. “Why I give” testimonials from some of our early donors highlight the importance of the program and the transformative impacts it has had on individual careers and seismic safety both nationally and abroad. I also invite you to read our full case statement online or contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Past-President David Friedman (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Executive Director Heidi Tremayne (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), or call 415-491-0905 for more information.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to express our sincere appreciation to Heidi Tremayne and staff at EERI for all of your hard work delivering an incredible array of programs, meetings, seminars, and member services this past year. I look forward to all that is in store for 2020, including the National Earthquake Conference and 72nd EERI Annual Meeting, March 2-6, 2020 in San Diego.

And, I wish everyone a very joyful holiday time and thank you for your membership and service to EERI. 

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
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Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-451-0905
Fax: 510-451-5411

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