2021 EERI Annual Meeting: Call for Session Proposals

Mark your calendar — we’re excited to announce the 2021 EERI Annual Meeting will take place virtually from March 23-25, 2021! The new virtual format will provide an interactive experience with timely and engaging content to help you connect, learn, and lead — all from the comfort of your home or office.

EERI and the Annual Meeting Organizing Committee ask members to help shape the program agenda to best serve your needs and our community by submitting a session proposal

We’re seeking sessions proposals covering diverse disciplines such as structural and geotechnical engineering, seismology and earth science, lifelines, risk modeling and insurance, policy, social science, architecture, planning, and emergency management. Sessions will be 50 minutes of content in a variety of formats, including but not limited to:

  • 3-4 person moderated panel discussion with audience participation. 
  • Facilitated audience (or small group) discussion on interesting and timely topics. 
  • Three 15-minute presentations or two 25-minute presentations with Q&A.
  • Lightning format of 3-5 slide presentations within 5 minutes each for a total of ~10 presenters.
  • 3-4 mini-presentations (total of ~20 minutes) or single presentation (~20 minutes) followed with interactive discussion and audience sharing on the topic.
  • A highly interactive format such as a debate or game.

We’re particularly interested in sessions that approach a topic with a multidisciplinary lense and/or merge perspectives from academia and practice. 

Submit your session proposal today! The deadline to submit is Friday, October 16, 2020. No conference papers will be accepted or required. In place of formal proceedings, we will record and post presentations on the meeting website for attendees to view on-demand.

Presenters will be responsible for their own meeting registration fees. We expect to provide a limited number of registration grants for students, early-career academics, and professionals. We look forward to your participation in our very first virtual annual meeting and can’t wait to share more details as they become available.

EERI 2021 Board of Directors Election

EERI is pleased to announce the 2021 Board of Directors election to select two new members to serve four-year terms. This election includes two director positions. The candidate bios and vision statements are presented below. All eligible voting members will receive an email with a link to access your secure online ballot and cast your vote on Thursday, October 1. The election will close on Sunday, November 1, 2020 at 11:59 pm PT.

Director A:

Ayse Hortacsu (M. EERI, 2000)
Director of Projects, Applied Technology Council 
San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Keith Knudsen (M. EERI, 2001)
Deputy Director of the Earthquake Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey 
San Francisco Bay Area, CA 

Director B:

Carlien Bou-Chedid (M. EERI, 2011)
Independent Consulting Structural and Earthquake Engineer 
Accra, Ghana

David Johnston (M. EERI, 2013)
Professor of Disaster Management and Director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, School of Psychology at Massey University 
Wellington, New Zealand 

Director A


Ayse Hortacsu

Ayse [eye-sha] Hortacsu is Director of Projects at the Applied Technology Council (ATC) in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been a member of EERI since 2001, ever since she graduated from Stanford University. She is currently serving as the Chair of the EERI Oral History Committee that seeks to connect current members to those who have had pioneering careers in the field of earthquake engineering by recording their impressions, judgments, and experiences. As a Housner Fellow in 2014, Ayse helped complete a project on building code implementation in Nepal. She served as a Director for the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) in 2016-2018 and the EERI Northern California chapter in 2009-2012.

At ATC, Ayse brings together teams with diverse professional backgrounds (researchers, practitioners, stakeholders) to develop solutions and products that further earthquake hazard mitigation. Ayse has managed the preparation of over thirty publications for NEHRP agencies (FEMA and NIST) to improve our understanding of existing building evaluations and retrofit, design of new buildings, post-disaster safety evaluations, soil-structure interaction, and performance of nonstructural components. She has also worked with local and international governments to develop strategies for seismic interventions. She frequently organizes, moderates, and speaks at technical and professional events.

Both at her job and in her daily life, Ayse enjoys connecting people. After observing a lack of female structural engineers at upper management levels, Ayse founded the Women in Structural Engineering (WiSE) network in 2011 to facilitate communication and provide networking opportunities. WiSE also hosts fun happy hours at EERI Annual Meetings. She is a core member of the Structural Engineering Equity and Engagement (SE3) committee of SEAONC and founder and president of a non-profit advocating for better and safer facilities at her local park. Ayse is originally from Turkey and of Turkish-Filipino-Chinese descent, and now lives in San Francisco with her husband and two (Zoom) school-aged children.

Ayse’s vision

I am honored and excited by the opportunity to participate as a member of the EERI board. I consider EERI my professional home because its multi-disciplinary membership mirrors my personal approach: it is an organization that is built on connecting people dedicated to reducing earthquake risk.

In 1999, I was a junior at Stanford University in civil engineering. I was studying engineering, but did not really have a purpose in mind. That August, the magnitude-6.7 Kocaeli earthquake killed 40,000 people in Turkey and I had the opportunity to visit the area. I was able to see and hear the stories of which buildings survived and why. This experience allowed me to realize that what I was learning in school could actually make a meaningful impact and save lives. Over the last 20 years, even though my profession is engineering, my passion has been reducing earthquake risks, which means that my work has to extend beyond engineering and borrow from other areas of study, such as social sciences, earth sciences, emergency management, business, and geotechnical engineering.

My work at the Applied Technology Council has taught me the value of a multi-disciplinary team. Many of our products are intended to reach beyond the engineer’s desk, so these project teams benefit greatly from participation and collaboration from other disciplines. For example, it is impossible to write a book about school seismic hazard safety without talking to school administrators; hoping for implementation of “beyond code” seismic safety is not feasible if you do not talk to the owners who have concerns about the cost difference. Since 2001, I have made an effort to attend almost every EERI annual meeting, because I know that these events present me the opportunity to sit next to a member who has a different approach to the same question that I am studying. Being able to learn from and connect with all the EERI members is one of the things I value most about being part of this organization.

My vision for EERI is to expand the multi-disciplinary character of membership by forging critical connections with organizations and researchers that may not say “earthquake engineering” in their title, but whose work serves the same goal as ours. I believe it is also critical to increase participation of international members in EERI so that we can learn from their solutions and they can learn from ours. This year has taught us that we can remain connected from a distance, so we can lower the barriers for connecting with international members and learn from them via webinars. In addition, EERI can create venues for members to connect in small groups online for two-way communication with staff, board, and simply other members.


Keith Knudsen 

Keith L. Knudsen, P.G., C.E.G., and M. EERI, 2001, has been the U.S. Geological Survey’s Deputy Director of its Earthquake Science Center for more than ten years, and the Earthquake Hazards Program Northern California Regional Coordinator for a couple of years. In this role, he helps to manage and lead activities of the USGS’s Earthquake Hazards Program in the western U.S., including cooperatively responding to earthquakes with other organizations. Recently he has helped to steer a new twitter channel dedicated to earthquake science and hazards information – check out @USGS_Quakes. Prior to joining the USGS, he characterized seismic hazards for large engineered facilities while with URS Corporation and with William Lettis & Associates. Between these two consultancies, Keith managed groups at the California Geological Survey’s Seismic Hazards Zoning Program that were responsible for liquefaction zoning and San Francisco Bay Area regional geologic mapping. In these roles, Keith met with many local government agency representatives to help them understand and effectively implement California’s Seismic Hazards Mapping Act products. He also produced widely used liquefaction susceptibility maps of the 9-county San Francisco Bay area.

Keith served on the inaugural Board of EERI’s Northern California Chapter as a Director and as President. In addition to chapter activities, Keith has participated on EERI’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee, the Membership Committee, and two Annual Meeting Organizing Committees, as well as an Annual Meeting Advisory Committee. He also was awarded the EERI-FEMA Professional Fellowship to pursue and develop better tools for assessing liquefaction hazard and developing regional hazard maps. Some of the ideas developed during this fellowship in Kobe, Japan have been incorporated into the California Geological Survey’s Seismic Hazard Zone maps and into new, rapid USGS post-earthquake ground failure products. More recently, Keith has served as the Principal Investigator for the USGS-PGE Cooperative Research and Development, under which PGE supports USGS research in areas of mutual interest.

Keith volunteered for nine years as Secretary of the Seismological Society of America, and received SSA’s Distinguished Service Award. He has lived about one mile from the Hayward fault for almost 30 years and is a Community Emergency Response Team member in Albany, CA. He is regularly asked to give public lectures, provide interviews to the media, and assist organizations in outreach activities.

Keith’s vision

I am delighted and honored to be nominated as a candidate to serve on the EERI Board of Directors! The multidisciplinary nature and the breadth of institute activities are what I most value about EERI. My several-year involvement in leadership of the Northern California Chapter was one of my more rewarding and educational professional experiences. The energy and enthusiasm leading up to the 100th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake was contagious, and EERI’s Northern California Chapter was at the heart of many risk-reduction efforts. My experience with the Northern California Chapter demonstrates that local chapters provide terrific opportunities for members to play a part in projects and activities that benefit their communities and themselves. As a board member, I would thus seek to foster growth and investment in regional and student chapters, the principal conduits for growing and diversifying our membership.

Should I be elected to EERI’s Board, I would seek to encourage and broaden the multidisciplinary aspects of membership activities and strive to grow a diverse membership through existing and innovative activities directed at students, early and midcareer earthquake professionals. Many recent participants in early career EERI initiatives and programs (e.g. Seismic Design Competitions, Housner Fellows, Student Leadership Council, and Virtual Earthquake Reconnaissance Teams) are already assuming leadership roles in our communities, and I hope that we will build on these successes and redouble efforts to recruit the next generation of multidisciplinary leaders to EERI. Further, encouraging young as well as more experienced members to ensure that research is used to change practice and public policy leads to a more informed, engaged profession and ultimately benefits all of society.

In my role with the USGS I have organized our response to earthquakes throughout California, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and internationally, and participated in several EERI-led Clearinghouses. I will work to strengthen EERI’s Learning From Earthquakes program and help it evolve to ensure its long-term viability, even with an increasing number of organizations seeking to provide related or comparable services.

EERI is unusual in its breadth, and as a board member, I would strive to increase and diversify membership, in part by advocating for financially accessible membership and meetings, projects tailored to increasing resilience in underserved communities. We should encourage early career professionals, and those who might not have financial support from their employers, to join EERI and participate in meetings and projects. Through my role as Secretary of the Seismological Society of America, I became well versed in the financial and ethical operations of nonprofit professional societies and would work to ensure the long-term financial viability and accountability of EERI. This includes recognizing the important role Spectra plays both in EERI’s finances and in fulfilling the Institute mission. I am appreciative of this opportunity and would be honored to represent EERI membership on its Board of Directors. I hope you’ll support my candidacy!


Director B


Carlien Bou-Chedid 

Carlien Bou-Chedid an Independent Consulting Structural Engineer in Ghana. Her career has spanned more than 35years and covers a breadth of activities. She worked as a structural engineer with the Architectural and Engineering Services Corporation (AESC now AESL) where she was engaged in the design, supervision of construction and rehabilitation of several structures in Ghana. She was later engaged as Director, Education and Training of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE) during which period she was involved in designing policies and programs for the education and training of engineers. She also served as the Executive Secretary of the GhIE responsible for management of its administrative and financial affairs.

Carlien was a Housner Fellow in its inaugural class which undertook a group project on School Seismic Safety in Ghana. For this project, she was the liaison between the Fellows and local stakeholders and since its completion and promoted its findings by presenting it to government.
She serves as a member of the technical committee on geological disasters of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in Ghana and has advised on issues related to structural failures and Ghana’s earthquake hazard and risk. In 2019, Carlien was appointed chair of a committee of experts from various disciplines to advise the Government of Ghana on “Refocusing Ghana’s Earthquake Preparedness and Response”. This involved an examination of issues related to Ghana’s Earthquake Disaster Risk Profile, Risk Governance Structures, Risk Reduction Measures, Response, Recovery, Communication, Funding and International Cooperation. 

Carlien has been involved in corporate governance through service on a number of governing boards and currently serves on the Boards of the Electricity Company of Ghana, Architectural and Engineering Services Ltd, the CSIR College of Science and Technology (CCST) and North Ridge Lyceum (A Primary and Junior Secondary School). Carlien was President of the GhIE (2017-2018) and is the President-Elect of the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO). She will begin her two-year term of office as President of FAEO in January 2021 and will also serve on the Board of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations.

Carlien’s vision

An ideal world would have been one without natural disasters but unfortunately, earthquakes continue to wreak havoc globally. Over the years, EERI has engaged in several activities to ensure that we live in a world where potential earthquake losses are widely understood and prudent steps have been taken to address the risks but we still have some way to go before we achieve the world EERI envisions.

The mission of EERI to mitigate the impact of earthquakes by providing a platform for collaboration among stakeholders from diverse disciplines is one that I am honored to support. Under competent leadership, EERI has taken some very helpful initiatives and projects that are all geared towards mitigating the risk of earthquakes such as those on Schools Earthquake Safety (SESI) and Learning From Earthquakes (LFE).

As a structural engineer with several years of experience in diverse capacities, my vision for EERI is to push the agenda of building and strengthening earthquake resilient societies. I will like the voice of EERI to be heard in the space of global governance to effect the changes that are required. We need to empower the various stakeholders of the EERI to make both local and global impact.

Considering the mode of communication in our world today, a stronger social media presence will be a helpful as it will enable EERI reach out to more societies. We must create and deliver more interactive and educational content to a wider audience. In summary, I believe that EERI has the necessary human capital (with cultural and expertise diversity), promising long-term projects and initiatives. However, there is an urgent need to advance the mission of the EERI by reaching out to larger audiences.


David Johnston 

David Johnston, Ph.D is the Professor of Disaster Management and Director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, in the School of Psychology at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. He is also the Deputy Director of the multi-institutional QuakeCoRE research program in New Zealand. His research has developed as part of a multi-disciplinary theoretical and applied research program, involving the collaboration of physical and social scientists from several organizations and countries. His research and teaching focus on human responses to earthquake, tsunami, and weather warnings, crisis decision-making, and the role of public education and participation in building community resilience and recovery. Previously, he was a Principal Scientist at GNS Science (New Zealand’s Geological Survey), where he worked for 25 years (1993-2018).

He has initiated and maintained an extensive peer network of national and international collaborators, working closely with a range of New Zealand government departments and agencies, as well as international partners. He has, by invitation, provided expert advice through various international working groups, science committees, and presentations. As former Chair of the global Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Scientific Committee (IRDR), he had a central role in the development of the United Nations Sendai Framework. He was appointed as a scientific representative to the New Zealand Delegation to the Open-ended Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva in 2014 and delivered the statement for the Science and Technology Major Group at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in 2015.

He received the 2016 New Zealand Civil Defence Emergency Management Ministerial Award for outstanding and sustained contribution to the New Zealand emergency management sector over the past 25 years and was made a Fellow of the New Zealand Earthquake Engineering Society in 2019. He is currently the Editor of The Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Emergency Management. In 2017 he was invited to become a member of the USGS Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) External Working Group.

David’s vision

I have been involved with EERI for more a decade and I am honored to be nominated for the Board of Directors. As we all know a significant portion of the world’s population is at risk from earthquakes. While the timing of the next earthquake may be unknown or uncertain, their impacts and long-term effects can be assessed. Recent earthquakes continue to demonstrate the devastating impacts they have on communities.

I sincerely believe earthquakes must be planned for using a comprehensive risk management approach that links mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities. Over the last few decades EERI has recognized that integrated multi-disciplinary research is needed to provide an understanding of the social, economic and cultural factors that influence the development of strong communities that are resilient to the impacts of earthquake hazards and able to respond effectively when events occur.

Several global initiatives are seeking to promote these concepts and EERI is a key part of many such programs. In 2010 the Integrated Research for Disaster Reduction (IRDR), a decade-long integrated research program co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) was initiated. IRDR made a significant contribution to the 2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. In 2020 a new set of programs are under development. EERI has an important role to play in supporting both national and international multi-disciplinary research and teaching collaborations for improving the resilience of communities to earthquake risk.

Webinar: Preliminary Geological and Structural Reconnaissance Observations from the August 9, 2020 Sparta, NC Earthquake

Webinar: Preliminary Geological and Structural Reconnaissance Observations from the August 9, 2020 Sparta, NC Earthquake

Wednesday, September 30 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members and non-members (PDH hours included upon request)



On August 9, 2020 at 8:07AM, the largest recorded earthquake to strike North Carolina occurred near Sparta. The 5.1 magnitude earthquake (MMI 6) was preceded in the days before by several small foreshocks felt by local residents and followed to date by ~100 aftershocks. In this webinar, a multidisciplinary team from NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, USGS, and NC Geological Survey will discuss their observations including ground shaking characterization, geological features, and structural damage assessment.

The earthquake caused ground deformation and surface rupture, which is expressed by several fissures and small scarps, disposed with en-echelon patterns roughly striking 100° along a narrow deformation zone that is traceable for 2–3 km. The rupture has a maximum vertical displacement of ~20 cm, with an average vertical displacement of 8–10 cm with a reverse motion and/or folding/flexure. Preliminary InSAR data shows consistency with the focal mechanism, suggesting the existence of a NW-SE structure and relative uplift of the hanging wall and subsidence of the footwall. The surface rupture seems to be associated with pre-existent discontinuities, which can be reactivated under favorable conditions. Questions arise related with the seismogenic source and secondary structures that may have accommodated the deformation closer to the surface.

This event caused damage to more than 600 houses and the distribution of damage and shaking reports (“Did you feel it?”, USGS) suggests a stronger shaking in the hanging wall, as expected in a reverse motion. Structural damage was sufficient to condemn many houses, with substantial damage to some unreinforced masonry (especially chimneys). Based upon calculations of rocking response, peak ground accelerations of at least 0.2g likely occurred, which is compatible with USGS estimates. In addition, non-trivial damage to building contents in the town center was observed.


Dr. Mervyn J. Kowalsky is the Christopher W. Clark Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. He earned his BS, MS and PhD degrees at the University of California, San Diego.His research interests are in the development of seismic design and analysis methods for structural systems, with a special interest in Direct Displacement-Based seismic design. His work includes large scale structural testing and non-linear modelling aimed at understanding the mechanisms that characterize the seismic behavior of structures.

Ariadne L. Palma Parra began her university studies at Universidad de La Salle in Bogota, Colombia and continued to earn her Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering at NC State University in 2017 and her Masters of Science in Structural Engineering in Fall 2019. As part of her doctoral studies at NC State, she is currently conducting computational work on response spectra definitions used in seismic design and experimental research on the evaluation of steel bridge structures. Her primary research interests are in performance based seismic engineering and large scale testing of structures.

Dr. Paula M. Figueiredo is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. She earned her BS, MSc and PhD in Geology at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she researched the Neotectonics and Active Tectonics of SW Portugal. Her research focus on active tectonics, paleoseismology, tectonic geomorphology, Quaternary geochronology and surfaces processes. In particular, she applies terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide and optically stimulated luminescence dating to obtain timings and rates of deformation. She has been conducting research at several locations in southern California and Nevada, Baja California, Portugal and other locations, supported by NSF, SCEC and NEHRP. She has published several papers related with active tectonics, paleoseismology in plate boundary and intra-plate settings.

Dr. Arthur J. Merschat is a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct research professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He is a co-project chief of the USGS Piedmont and Blue Ridge Project. Arthur’s primary research goal is to create accurate, detailed geologic maps, with a special interest in complexly deformed crystalline rocks. He has spent the past 20 years studying the structure and tectonics of the Appalachians and has worked on geologic mapping projects in the southern Appalachians (Blue Ridge and Inner Piedmont), New England, and Adirondacks. He has published several papers, geologic maps, and field trip guidebooks on Appalachian geology with an emphasis on the geology of the Blue Ridge and Inner Piedmont.

Dr. Lewis A. Owen is Professor and Head of the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at NC State University in Raleigh, N.C. He received his B.Sc. in Geology, from Imperial College, University of London, and Ph.D. from the University of Leicester, U.K. He has held faculty positions at the University of Cincinnati, the Hong Kong Baptist University, Royal Holloway – University of London, and the University of California – Riverside. Dr. Owen’s research focuses on the Quaternary geology and geomorphology of tectonically active mountain belts and their forelands, particularly in the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen and the Cordilleras of North and South America. He has also undertaken research in other tectonically active regions, including the Red Sea margin in Yemen and the Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Dr. Kevin G. Stewart is an Associate Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his BS degree from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research is focused on the structural geology and tectonic history of mountain belts including the southern Appalachians, Apennines and Rocky Mountains. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the US Geological Survey, and several Foundations.

Richard Wooten is the Senior Geologist for Geohazards and Engineering Geology at the North Carolina Geological Survey. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology at the University of Georgia. His work includes landslide investigations and applied geotechnical geology with the USDA-Forest Service on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State. His work with the North Carolina Geological Survey includes geologic mapping in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge, and research on landslides, landslide hazard mapping and modeling. He has a special interest in the relationships of ductile and brittle faulting and other bedrock structures with geomorphology, and landslide processes and hazards.

Webinar: Lifeline Infrastructure System Resilience – Exploring What Is It and How We Can Implement

Webinar: Lifeline Infrastructure System Resilience – Exploring What Is It and How We Can Implement

Thursday, September 10 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members | $50 for non-members (PDH hours included upon request)



Lifeline infrastructure system resilience — prior to and following disruptions due to natural or technological hazards — is intimately linked to and supports community resilience. Lifelines are interdependent socio-technical systems vital in the day-to-day operations of our communities and their basic services are essential for community recovery after earthquakes and other extreme events. Lifelines include electric power, gas and liquid fuel, water and wastewater, telecommunication, and multi-modal transportation systems.

In this webinar, you will gain an understanding of key concepts needed for lifeline systems to be resilient to earthquakes and other hazards. You’ll also gain insight into the needed future work to fully operationalize lifeline system resilience using functionality, operability, and functional recovery measurements.

Functionality and operability are continuous expressions useful for measuring lifeline system resilience. These expressions are explored along with the basic lifeline services and their recoveries needed to ensure communities can achieve their resilience objectives. The concept of functional recovery is being further developed by FEMA and NIST as part of the 2018 National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) reauthorization and is closely related to operability.


Craig A. Davis, Ph.D., PE, GE is a professional consultant on geotechnical, earthquake, and lifeline infrastructure system resilience engineering. In his three-decade long career at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Water System (LADWP), Davis worked as the Departmental Chief Resilience Officer, Resilience Program Manager, Seismic Manager, Geotechnical Engineering Manager, and Trunk Line Design Manager.

There he developed a comprehensive L.A. Water System resilience program and was involved in creating policy for improving infrastructure systems to threats and hazards. He also investigated and evaluated numerous dams and tunnels, managed several multimillion dollar projects, and implemented unique and innovative designs while aiding the development of new technologies and their applications.

He has published more than 140 technical papers and organized international workshops and symposiums on geotechnical engineering and lifeline system resilience. He has served on many national and international professional committees, including the Building Seismic Safety Council, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction, ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division, and the International Society of Lifeline and Infrastructure Earthquake Engineering.

Davis has been honored with many awards, including the ASCE 2016 Le Val Lund Award for Practicing Lifeline Risk Reduction and the 2020 Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award. He received a B.S. from the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an M.S. and Ph.D from the University of Southern California, all in civil engineering.

A message from EERI Executive Director Heidi Tremayne

Heidi Tremayne (M.EERI,2004)We’re living in a time of great uncertainty and difficulty, as universities and schools navigate reopening, and businesses and the construction industry face economic uncertainty. Much of our work remains virtual and impacted by other responsibilities at home and COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many regions. Despite these challenges, EERI and our work together continue. I hope that we remain a consistent and inspiring source of information and activity for you.

To respond to the current environment, member volunteers, committees, staff, and the Board are working behind the scenes to keep us adjusting and thriving in these times. As we head into the fall, here are just a few things that we’re working on to better serve you:

  • Increasing our free webinar offerings for members that are designed to help you learn about new developments in the field. With the help of our Professional Development Committee, we’re continuing to increase webinars through the end of the year and are working on a robust plan for 2021.
  • Conducting a strategic planning process for the Institute. The EERI Board of Directors and staff are in the midst of a strategic planning process to reinforce our values and explore how we want to serve our members and achieve our mission, especially in light of the new and changing global conditions.
  • Considering how EERI can embrace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in a meaningful way. The Board is developing a resolution with specific, measurable actions to ensure that EERI is a welcoming home for all.
  • Enhancing our virtual membership experience. Staff is working on improving our website and membership portal so that you can easily access resources and make the most of your membership.
  • Reviewing record numbers of Earthquake Spectra submissions. The Earthquake Spectra Editorial team, including many volunteer reviewers, is tackling the review of the large surge in submissions that we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic. You will continue to be the first to learn of newly published papers and curated recommendations from our Spectra-specific e-blasts. You can also expect a new special issue with community contributions from the Global Earthquake Model later this year.

As these activities produce results, you will hear more from us. To close, I want to thank the many members who make this exciting work possible, as they volunteer extra time amidst their own personal circumstances and global turmoil. It is truly a testament to the selflessness of our member volunteers and reinforces the need for EERI’s ongoing activities toward earthquake risk reduction. As always, I welcome your participation and feedback.

New Report: Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence Reconnaissance Report

As a managing partner of the California Earthquake Clearinghouse, EERI, along with the California Geological Survey, operated a physical clearinghouse location in Ridgecrest, CA following the M6.4 earthquake on July 4, 2019. Over the course of the weeklong activation, the scientific and engineering communities came together in clearinghouse briefing calls to coordinate, collaborate, and share information. The Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence Reconnaissance Report is a product of this community effort to document impacts and share lessons.

The multi-disciplinary report captures reconnaissance findings from the first months following the main shock and includes sections from over 30 contributors. The report includes sections on geosciences, geotechnical impacts, lifelines, structural impacts, emergency response, clearinghouse operations, and data collection methods and products. The report features a close look at the extent of damage to manufactured homes, which emphasized the vulnerability of these structures, given the limited occurrence of damage to structures overall in the City of Ridgecrest. The report also includes several sections on data collection methods and products that show progress in collecting and coordinating post-earthquake data.

The report, along with many more resources, is available on the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence Virtual Clearinghouse site. This report was published as a part of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes program with funding from FEMA. Read the report here.

Webinar: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Improving Community Resilience to Natural Hazards

Webinar: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Improving Community Resilience to Natural Hazards

Wednesday, August 26 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members | $50 for non-members (PDH hours included upon request)



You’ll hear from John W. van de Lindt, Ph.D., on a timely and important topic — moving from performance-based engineering to multi-disciplinary community resilience, in which engineering merges with social, economic, and information science. You’ll also gain an understanding of how the concepts and practice of multi-disciplinary community resilience are developing.

The webinar will use 15 years of whole building shake table tests of resilient and non-resilient wood-frame apartment buildings to enter this discussion from an earthquake engineering perspective. Resilient buildings and physical infrastructure support social and economic institutions within a community and are necessary to achieve urban resilience to earthquakes and other natural hazards. Interdependencies in these systems play a key role and act within networks, across networks, and across disciplines making modeling a complex endeavor. 

Van de Lindt will explore these interactions in a fundamental form for earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods. He will also cover how these complex systems are modeled, which metrics are tracked to identify stability and improvements in resilience, and close with a longitudinal field study being used to help validate these complex models.


John W. van de Lindt, Ph.D., is the Harold H. Short Endowed Chair Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. He is the co-director for the National Institute of Standards and Technology-funded Center of Excellence for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, headquartered at the university. 

Over the last two decades, van de Lindt’s research has sought to improve the built environment by making structures and structural systems perform to the level expected by their occupants, government, and the public. This has been primarily through the development of performance-based engineering and test bed applications of building systems for earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes and floods.

Van de Lindt led both the NEESWood and NEES-Soft project teams between 2005-2013, which consisted of two-story, four-story, and six-story shake table tests on the world’s largest shake tables. He serves on ASCE’s Executive Committee for the Infrastructure Resilience Division and Structural Engineering Institute. He has published more than 400 technical articles and reports, including more than 200 journal papers. Van de Lindt has served on a number of editorial boards and is the incoming chief editor for the Journal of Structural Engineering.

Free webinar: Advances in Seismic Risk Assessment using Simulated Earthquake Ground Motions

Webinar: Advances in Seismic Risk Assessment using Simulated Earthquake Ground Motions

Monday, August 10 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free (PDH hours included upon request)


Presented by the EERI Younger Members Committee, this webinar will discuss recent studies that utilize physics-based simulations to identify the important characteristics of earthquake ground motions and expected structural response. Physics-based simulations of earthquake ground motions have steadily emerged as an alternative for seismic risk assessment of civil structures, particularly for regions expected to experience large-magnitude and rare earthquakes, for which few observational data is available.

Speakers will explore approaches in three regions in the United States: (1) shallow crustal earthquakes representative of Hayward Fault ruptures in the San Francisco Bay Area; (2) large-magnitude earthquakes due the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the Pacific Northwest; and (3) SCEC CyberShake earthquakes in the Los Angeles area. All studies utilize large-scale three-dimensional models that characterize the sedimentary basin in their respective regions. Panelists will also discuss the effects of the geologic structure on the simulated ground motions and the impacts on the structural demands and collapse risk.


Maha Kenawy is a postdoctoral scholar in structural engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research focuses on assessing the performance of reinforced concrete structures subjected to extreme events, and characterizing regional earthquake hazard and risks to the built environment. Maha holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and a M.Sc and B.Sc from the American University in Cairo, Egypt. She is the recipient of the 2016 ASCE O.H. Ammann Research Award in Structural Engineering, and the AUC Laboratory Instruction Graduate Fellowship. She serves as a co-chair of EERI’s Younger Members Committee and a member of the Student Awards Committee, and has previously served as president of the EERI UC Davis student chapter and secretary of the EERI Student Leadership Council.

Nasser Marafi is a Senior Modeler at Risk Management Solutions, Inc. in Newark, California. Prior to joining RMS, Nasser held a postdoctoral research position at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, where he also earned his PhD studying the effects of large-magnitude subduction earthquakes on structures located in deep sedimentary basins. During his studies, Nasser received the EERI/FEMA NEHRP Graduate Fellowship, EERI Graduate Student Paper Award, and the UW-CEE Charles H. Norris Award.

Nenad Bijelić is a postdoctoral scholar at the Unit of Applied Mechanics, University of Innsbruck, Austria. He obtained his Ph.D. (2018) and M.S. (2014) from Stanford University and B.S. (2010) from the University of Zagreb, Croatia all in civil engineering. In 2012, he received a Fulbright Science and Technology award to study earthquake engineering in the U.S. His research is in the area of structural and earthquake engineering, focusing on dynamics of nonlinear systems and application of statistical and machine learning tools.

Earthquake Spectra Highlights – July 2020

The Earthquake Spectra Editorial Team recommends the following recently released OnlineFIRST articles.



Incorporating societal expectations into seismic performance objectives in building codes

June 9, 2020 | Alexa Tanner, Stephanie E. Chang, Kenneth J. Elwood

This opinion paper argues that seismic code objectives should reflect how society expects the built environment to perform in an earthquake. Social science methods can be employed to overcome the challenges of understanding what standards society holds for seismic performance… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Tanner, Chang, and Elwood (2020) note that currently, there is little known about what the public actually expects should occur post-earthquake, what risk tolerance levels are, and if the current building codes meet societal expectations. They go on to discuss the importance of incorporating societal expectations in building codes and suggest guiding principles on eliciting public perspectives.


Fragility curves for toppling of railroad locomotives

June 18, 2020 | Bruce F. Maison

This paper uses three locomotives that overturned (toppled) during strong earthquakes (>6.5M) as computer analytical case studies. The locomotives were at rest or traveling very slowly at the time of the earthquakes. Fragility curves are presented relating ground shaking intensity to the likelihood of toppling… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Bruce Maison’s paper answers the curious question as to what levels of shaking does it take to topple a standard gauge railroad locomotive. Overall, the shaking levels are higher than ground motions often experienced in the western U.S., and there are similar implications for freight and passenger cars with similar characteristics.




A global hybrid VS30 map with a topographic slope–based default and regional map insets

June 9, 2020 | David C. Heath, David J. Wald, C. Bruce Worden, Eric M. Thompson, Gregory M. Smoczyk

Time-averaged shear wave velocity over the upper 30 m of the earth’s surface (VS30) is a key parameter for estimating ground motion amplification as both a predictive and a diagnostic tool for earthquake hazards. This paper highlights the development of a new hybrid global VS30 map database that defaults to the global slope-based VS30 map, but smoothly inserts regional VS30 maps where available… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Heath and others present an updated USGS Global Vs30 map and underlying grids. The mosaic map is a hybrid of underlying slope-based Vs30 with smooth insets of regional or national Vs30 maps constrained by other means (Vs30 data, geology, geomorphology, etc.).



Post-earthquake hospital functionality evaluation: The case of Kumamoto Earthquake 2016

June 15, 2020 | Nebil Achour, Masakatsu Miyajima

This paper investigates the impact of damage on the performance of the healthcare service following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. The study connects earthquake metrics and the loss of healthcare service functionality and reveals the reasons for which facilities were totally or partially evacuated… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes where the stricken areas lost approximately 15% of their healthcare functionality, Achour and Miyajima found that the current building standards increased the performance of hospital buildings by approximately 10%; though more attention is needed to protect architectural and critical systems.




The role of risk measures in making seismic upgrading decisions

June 11, 2020 | Lukas Bodenmann, Panagiotis Galanis, Marco Broccardo, Božidar Stojadinović

This paper leverages advancements in financial risk management to examine the role of risk measures to quantify the seismically induced financial risk, measure the benefit of seismic upgrading, and relate the benefit of seismic risk reduction to a degree of the implemented seismic upgrade… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Seismic upgrading is an upfront investment without an immediate corresponding gain of the Property’s value. And, communicating benefits of upgrading is difficult without a framework to assess seismic performance in financial terms. Bodenmann et al. show that the selection of the risk measure in quantifying the losses avoided by seismic upgrading of an existing building is crucial in formulating systematic seismic risk mitigation policies.




Assessment of the seismic safety of school buildings in Mexico: A first look

June 11, 2020 | Sergio M. Alcocer, José C. Arce, David Murià-Vila, Luciano R. Fernández-Sola, Daniel A Guardia

This paper provides the first comprehensive review of the data and analysis on the seismic performance of school buildings in the aftermath of the 2017 earthquakes… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Alcocer et al. (2020) employ analysis of the observed damage at 12,444 public school buildings across 2,536 campuses in Mexico caused by two earthquakes in September 2017, where about 84% of building stock is made of masonry and concrete. By providing evidence-based information on the observed, measured, and calculated seismic performance (after static analyses) of Mexican school buildings, their study concludes with a series of policy and technical recommendations.

EERI welcomes Concrete West Construction as Subscribing Member

We are excited to welcome our newest Bronze Subscribing Member, Concrete West Construction, Inc.! Concrete West Construction, Inc. is a specialty contractor for existing buildings based in Southern California. CCW specializes in all aspects of structural construction and seismic retrofit, including concrete (sawcut, break/demo, excavation, rebar and pour), shotcrete, steel, rough carpentry, micropiles, and CFR.

EERI Subscribing Membership provides a unique opportunity for companies and organizations to publicly demonstrate their support for earthquake risk reduction, as well as valuable opportunities for recognition, networking, and access within the earthquake resilience field. Learn more about EERI Subscribing Membership here.