A message from the EERI President, Laurie A. Johnson

Laurie Johnson (M.EERI,1990)

I hope all of you, your families and friends are keeping safe and healthy. 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year, presenting each of us, our families, professions and communities with a myriad of unprecedented resilience and adaptation challenges. I am so proud of Heidi Tremayne and the EERI staff, our Board of Directors, chapter officers and committee chairs, and our many volunteers who have helped EERI adapt and ensure that we remain committed to you, your success, and our collective mission to advance earthquake resilience in the United States and globally. 

In fulfilling that commitment, EERI will be lowering 2021 dues to ensure that our membership and important resources remain accessible, and we are continuing to build out our capabilities to offer timely and relevant webinars and other online engagement opportunities that help deepen both our technical and practical skills. The organizing committee for the 2021 Annual Meeting is working hard to develop an exciting and engaging agenda for our first-ever virtual meeting format. And, we continue to look for ways to serve as a convener and facilitator of multi-disciplinary conversations to help us exchange knowledge and join together for greater impact.

Our flagship program, Learning from Earthquakes (LFE), has also been adapting and still remains quite active despite travel and other safety restrictions. Following the M5.5 earthquake that struck Zagreb, Croatia on March 22, several EERI members in the region collaborated on a reconnaissance report and their insights will be part of a November 19 webinar hosted by the Northern California Chapter on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted earthquake responses in Europe, and conversely how earthquakes have influenced regional infection rates. This past year, we established virtual LFE clearinghouses to compile, share, and disseminate valuable resources following the M6.4 and M6.5 earthquakes in Puerto Rico and Idaho, respectively, and we hosted webinars on LFE missions following recent earthquakes in Magna Utah, Sparta North Carolina, and Palu Indonesia. These are just a few examples of how LFE continues to provide you with the latest resources on major earthquakes when they happen, as well as thoughtful reflections and lessons learned from past events.

So as we move into 2021, you can be confident that EERI is more committed than ever to LFE and excellence in earthquake investigations and learning. However, we still need your help to reach our campaign goal and ensure that LFE will be financially sustainable as we strive to expand earthquake reconnaissance efforts, develop innovative programming, and invest in the next generation of leaders. For the first time in EERI’s history, I’m excited to share our participation in #GivingTuesday — a global movement of generosity. On Tuesday, December 1, I invite you to join me in giving to the Learning from Earthquakes Endowment Fund. How you can help:

  1. Donate to the Learning from Earthquakes Endowment Fund through either a one-time donation, five-year pledge, or testamentary gift. 
  2. Share our message about #GivingTuesday to your friends, colleagues, and networks, so that together we can build more resilient communities.

In June, we announced our search for a new Chair or Co-Chairs of LFE and I am pleased to say that the Board has selected two amazing individuals, from among a crowded field of excellent applicants, to serve as the program’s next leaders. Stay tuned as their formal announcement will be forthcoming by email later this week. In the meantime, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Charles Huyck, outgoing LFE chair, for his four years of dedicated service in one of the Institute’s most demanding voluntary roles. 

During Charlie’s tenure, we launched the LFE Endowment campaign to ensure the continuation of a robust and dynamic LFE program for generations to come. As the second year of fundraising comes to a close, I am pleased to report that more than 158 members have pledged nearly $1.9 million to secure the future of LFE. What an incredible milestone — we are almost halfway to our $4 million goal! Because of your incredible generosity to date, EERI is able to start accessing funding from the Endowment in 2021 and the new LFE Co-chairs will be working with the EERI Board and staff on the strategy that supports and grows post-earthquake reconnaissance, the LFE travel study program, and other core program activities, as well as future innovations and initiatives. 

I understand that it can be a challenging time for giving, but if you are able, I hope you will please consider including the LFE Endowment among your annual philanthropic priorities. Your contributions are tax-deductible and will help us to do more and to do better. 

Finally, I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season. I am still coming to grips with how different the season will be, perhaps more peaceful without all the hustle and bustle, but also missing some of the joy that comes from gathering together for holiday dinners and parties with extended family, colleagues and friends. I am optimistic that we will all be able to gather together again soon and very much look forward to that day. Thank you so much for your membership and support of EERI.

Webinar: Earthquakes in Pandemics – Experiences from Earthquakes in Europe

Webinar: Earthquakes in Pandemics – Experiences from Earthquakes in Europe

Thursday, November 19 at 12 am PT / 3 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members and non-members (PDH hours included upon request)


The EERI Northern California Regional Chapter (EERI-NC) is hosting a webinar series on how the current COVID-19 pandemic can affect the earthquake community. This webinar will feature a panel discussion on the impacts of earthquakes on infection rates and actions immediately following earthquakes in Europe (Portugal and Croatia). Attention will be placed on lessons learned that may be important for the United States.

Two of our panelists will give a brief summary of their recent article in Earthquake Spectra titled, “Potential Impact of Earthquakes during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.” Another two of our panelists were in Zagreb during the March 2020 earthquake (M5.5) and will provide eye-witness accounts. Bruce Maison, Consulting Engineer & EERI-NC Board Member, and Rob Olshansky, Professor Emeritus of University of Illinois & EERI-NC Board Member, will moderate the panel.


Vitor Silva is the Risk Coordinator of the Global Earthquake Model Foundation in Pavia, Italy, and an Associate Professor at the University Fernando Pessoa in Porto, Portugal. His research focuses on the development of open-access models and open-source tools, some of which are currently being extensively used by the public and private sector. 

Nicole Paul is a Risk Modeller at the Global Earthquake Model Foundation, where she is involved with the Modelling Exposure Through Earth Observation Routines project (focused on Nepal and Tanzania), Regional Risk for European Union Member States, and the Global Risk Model. Prior to GEM, Nicole worked at Arup’s San Francisco office. 

Nenad Bijelić is a postdoctoral researcher in the Resilient Steel Structures Laboratory (RESSLab) at EPFL, Switzerland. In 2012, he received the Fulbright Science and Technology award to study earthquake engineering in the United States. His research is in the area of structural and earthquake engineering, focusing on the dynamics of nonlinear systems and the application of statistical and machine learning tools.

Josip Atalić is a licensed civil engineer and a member of the Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers. He led a team of experts for the National Risk Assessment in the Republic of Croatia – Seismic Risk — a risk management capability assessment and national strategy in cooperation with the National Protection and Rescue Directorate and Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning of Republic of Croatia (2014-2018). 

EERI Releases Earthquake Spectra Special Issue on GEM’s 2018 Global Hazard and Risk Models

Today, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), released a special issue of Earthquake Spectra titled GEM’s 2018 Global Hazard and Risk Models. 

This special issue documents the supporting research critical to the development of the Global Seismic Hazard and Risk models by the GEM (Global Earthquake Model) Foundation, representing a major step in understanding earthquake risk globally. Seismic hazard and risk models are needed for accurate assessment of risks in order to promote risk reduction and mitigating actions, such as the improvement of building codes and construction practices, sustainable land use, emergency response, and protection of critical infrastructures, as well as risk transfer through insurance.

“The assessment and subsequent mitigation of earthquake risks are among the ultimate goals of both seismology and earthquake engineering,” said John Schneider, GEM Secretary General. “During the last two decades, these goals have never been more important and relevant due to rapid urban development and the rise of megacities in earthquake-prone areas which have considerably increased the seismic risk worldwide.” 

This collection of papers is intended for scientists and researchers in the hazard and risk modeling sector, and risk professionals for application to disaster risk reduction around the globe. The issue contains studies covering probabilistic seismic hazard assessment, exposure modelling, vulnerability assessment, and earthquake loss estimation. The results can be used to understand earthquake risk at the national and regional level and as the basis for developing custom models and risk profiles at higher resolution, e.g., at the city level. Engineers and scientists through risk managers, urban planners, emergency responders and humanitarian agencies can use the models for input to a wide range of disaster risk reduction activities.

In December 2018, the GEM Foundation announced the completion of the first version of its Global Earthquake Model and released the Global Seismic Hazard and Risk Maps following a comprehensive international effort combining datasets, models, tools, and knowledge from hundreds of scientists. The open release of the 2018 GEM Global Hazard and Risk maps signifies a major advancement over efforts prior to GEM’s, which were based on less comprehensive datasets and strategies, and were typically proprietary.

GEM’s Global Seismic Hazard Model comprises a mosaic of 30 probabilistic seismic hazard models. The global seismic hazard map expresses the spatial distribution of peak ground acceleration on rock for a 475-years return period. Using this collection of hazard models as input, GEM computed a Global Seismic Risk Model depicting the average Annual Economic Losses (AEL) caused by ground shaking on the residential, commercial, and industrial building stock. The underlying models and datasets were developed following an open and transparent approach, thus allowing scientists to reproduce the results and customize the various components based on their needs. 

“GEM’s open, transparent and collaborative approach is critical in gaining the trust of stakeholders and promoting local ownership of the results, thus making the information more likely to be used for risk reduction efforts,” said Schneider.

International earthquake modelling experts — Marco Pagani, Vitor Silva, Kishor S. Jaiswal, and Trevor Allen — served as guest editors for this issue. Pagani is the Seismic Hazard Coordinator at GEM and Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Catastrophe Risk Management of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Silva is the Risk Coordinator at GEM and an Associate Professor at the University Fernando Pessoa at Porto, Portugal. Jaiswal is a research civil engineer at U. S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, where he leads the development of the Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response system’s earthquake casualty and economic loss estimation models. Allen is the Earthquake Hazard Activity Lead at Geoscience Australia.

This special issue of Earthquake Spectra is made possible with partial support by the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation. Founded in Pavia, Italy in 2009, GEM is a non-profit public-private partnership that drives global collaborative efforts to develop scientific and high-quality resources for transparent assessment of earthquake risk and to facilitate their application for risk management around the globe. Learn more at www.globalquakemodel.org.

About Earthquake Spectra: Earthquake Spectra is the premier journal on earthquake engineering and resilience, serving as the publication of record for the development of earthquake engineering practice, earthquake codes and regulations, earthquake public policy, and earthquake investigation reports.


Development of a global seismic risk model | Authors: Vitor Silva, Desmond Amo-Oduro, Alejandro Calderon, Catarina Costa, Jamal Dabbeek, Venetia Despotaki, Luis Martins, Marco Pagani, Anirudh Rao, Michele Simionato, Daniele Viganò, Catalina Yepes-Estrada, Ana Acevedo, Helen Crowley, Nick Horspool, Kishor Jaiswal, Murray Journeay, Massimiliano Pittore

The 2018 national seismic hazard assessment of Australia: Quantifying hazard changes and model uncertainties | Authors: Trevor Allen, Jonathan Griffin, Mark Leonard, Dan Clark, and Hadi Ghasemi

Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis model for the Philippines | Authors: Henremagne C. Peñarubia, Kendra L. Johnson, Richard H. Styron, Teresito C. Bacolcol, Winchelle Ian G. Sevilla, Jeffrey S. Perez, Jun D.Bonita, Ishmael C. Narag, Renato U. Solidum Jr, Marco M. Pagani and Trevor I. Allen

Probabilistic seismic hazard assessments for Northern Southeast Asia (Indochina): Smooth seismicity approach | Authors: Teraphan Ornthammarath M.EERI, Pennung Warnitchai, Chung-Han Chan, Yu Wang, Xuhua Shi, Phuong Hong Nguyen, Le Minh Nguyen, Suwith Kosuwan, Myo Thant, and Kerry Sieh

Forensic PSHA: Benchmarking Canada’s 5th generation seismic hazard model using the OpenQuake-engine | Authors: Trevor I. Allen, Stephen Halchuk, John Adams, and Graeme A. Weatherill

Development of the 2017 national seismic hazard maps of Indonesia | Authors: Masyhur Irsyama, Phil Cumminsc, M. Asrurifak, Lutfi Faisal, Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, Sri Widiyantorob, Irwan Meilano, Wahyu Triyoso, Ariska Rudiyanto, Sri Hidayati, M. Ridwan, Rahma Hanifa, Arifan Jaya Syahbanaa

Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment for Taiwan: TEM PSHA2020: Authors: Chung-Han Chan, Kuo-Fong Ma, J. Bruce H. Shyu, Ya-Ting Lee, Yu-Ju Wang, Jia-Cian Gao, Yin-Tung Yen, and Ruey-Juin Rau

The GEM Global Active Faults Database | Authors: Richard Styron, Marco Pagani

A probabilistic seismic hazard model for Mainland China | Authors: Yufang Rong M.EERI, Xiwei Xu, Jia Cheng, Guihua Chen, Harold Magistrale, and Zheng-Kang Shen

Challenges and opportunities in New Zealand seismic hazard and risk modeling using OpenQuake | Authors: Elizabeth Abbott, Nick Horspool, Matt Gerstenberger, Rand Huso, Chris Van Houtte, Graeme McVerry, Silvia Canessa

The 2018 version of the Global Earthquake Model: Hazard component | Authors: Marco Pagani, Julio Garcia-Pelaez, Robin Gee, Kendra Johnson, Valerio Poggi, Vitor Silva, Michele Simionato, Richard Styron, Daniele Viganò, Laurentiu Danciu, Damiano Monelli, Graeme Weatherill

Exposure model for European seismic risk assessment | Authors: Helen Crowley, Venetia Despotaki, Daniela Rodrigues, Vitor Silva, Dragos Toma-Danila, Evi Riga, Anna Karatzetzou, Stavroula Fotopoulou, Željko Žugic, Luis Sousa, Sevgi Ozcebe, Paolo Gamba

Re-thinking site amplification in regional seismic risk assessment | Authors: Graeme Weatherill, Sreeram Reddy Kotha, and Fabrice Cotton

Seismic risk assessment for the residential buildings of the major three cities in Colombia: Bogotá, Medellín and Cali | Authors: Ana Beatriz Acevedo, Catalina Yepes-Estrada, Daniela Gonzalez, Vitor Silva, Miguel Mora, Mónica Arcila, and Gustavo Posada

Variable resolution, probabilistic modelling of residential exposure and vulnerability for seismic risk applications | Authors: Massimiliano Pittore, Michael Haas, Vitor Silva

Probabilistic seismic risk assessment of India | Authors: Anirudh Rao, Debashish Dutta, Pratim Kalita, Nick Ackerley, Vitor Silva, Meera Raghunandan, Jayadipta Ghosh, Siddhartha Ghosh, Svetlana Brzev, Kaustubh Dasgupta

View the Earthquake Spectra special issue here

Webinar: Citizen Advocacy — Tools to Advance Seismic Safety Policy

Webinar: Citizen Advocacy — Tools to Advance Seismic Safety Policy

Wednesday, October 28 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members and non-members (PDH hours included upon request)


Presented by the EERI Younger Members Committee, this webinar will introduce how you may take steps to become a seismic safety policy advocate. While getting started in advocacy may seem daunting, advocating for seismic safety policy and advocacy is an important facet of EERI members’ expertise and professional practice. The discussion will cover the recently released Citizen Advocate Toolkit, explaining government structures and guides for interacting with representatives and policymakers.

We will review case studies of past and current seismic safety-related laws, ordinances, and bills, and provide information on how to best communicate science and engineering concepts to non-technical audiences. The webinar will also cover what it’s like to work with and for a public agency on various types of policies, and leave you with actions you can take today in progressing seismic safety in your locale and state.


Jack English is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a dual degree M.S. in Civil Engineering and Master of Public Affairs. He obtained a dual B.S./B.A. degree in Civil Engineering and Political Science from Case Western Reserve University in 2018. He has worked for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the California Assembly. He currently serves on the EERI Public Policy & Advocacy Committee, its California Subcommittee, and as the PPA liaison to the YMC. A native of San Francisco, Jack seeks to improve resilience implementation across levels of government by bridging the gap between policy development and engineering.

Zahraa Saiyed is a disaster risk reduction and public policy consultant with background and training as an architect, building scientist, structural engineer, and educator based in California. Zahraa’s domestic and international work ranges from anticipatory design projects, designing sustainable and resilient built environments, developing practice and personal preparedness guidance, and policy evaluation and development for seismic risk reduction at the federal, state, and local level. She leads EERI’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee, is a member of the Western States Seismic Policy Council’s (WSSPC) Building Engineering, Construction and Building Codes Committee, and is a member of the Infrastructure Policy committee with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Zahraa’s legislative advocacy has ranged from seismic safety and preparedness, to equity in the workplace, as well as medical consumer rights for public health and wellness. She is a co-founder and principal of Scyma Consulting LLC located in the Bay Area, and is an adjunct professor of Architecture and Community Design at the University of San Francisco.

Webinar Series: Applying Lessons Learned from COVID-19 to Earthquake Preparedness

Join us for a special three-part webinar series, “Applying Lessons Learned from COVID-19 to Earthquake Preparedness,” presented by the EERI San Diego Regional Chapter.

Global pandemics and large earthquakes don’t occur often, yet they can produce enormous human and economic losses. Current experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic can be useful for discussing and preparing for these “low frequency/high risk” events. Although our scientific knowledge and technology are better now than they have ever been, COVID-19 has posed tremendous challenges for the world in the past six months despite attempts to prepare for events such as this. This webinar series will explore lessons from the pandemic that can help us prepare for earthquakes.

EERI’s webinar series is made possible with support from FEMA under cooperative agreement EMW-2020-CA-00029-S01. The series is also sponsored by RMA Companies.

First webinar: Using Scenarios for Preparedness: Comparing Pandemics and Earthquakes
Friday, October 16, 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET. | REGISTER HERE

Scenarios are useful planning tools to help us prepare for future events, particularly events that have a low frequency of occurrence, but a high risk of losses, such as large earthquakes and global pandemics. Several public health scenarios were developed in recent years to better understand and prepare for a global pandemic, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar discusses the outcomes and conclusions of these scenarios, comparing our current experiences with COVID-19 and existing earthquake scenarios to improve earthquake preparedness in our community.

Second Webinar: Common Challenges Preparing for Low Frequency/High-Risk Events (Earthquakes and Pandemics)
Friday, October 30, 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET | REGISTER HERE

Preparing and planning for events that have a low frequency of occurrence, but a high-risk of loss associated with them can have a number of obstacles. These obstacles include changing public perception of risk, communicating information to a non-scientific population, obtaining sustained political and financial support, amongst many others. Panelists will discuss these challenges in the context of our current experiences with COVID-19. The webinar will also discuss how learning from the failures and successes of our experiences with COVID-19 will help counter similar challenges in planning for earthquakes and developing more seismically resilient communities.  

Third Webinar: Next Steps for Earthquake Preparedness in the San Diego Community
Friday, November 13, 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET | REGISTER HERE

Developing communities that are more earthquake-resilient and better prepared for large disasters takes time, resources, and lots of planning. This webinar will focus on how to prepare in our community, looking at outreach, developing a group of stakeholders, and identifying short-term and long-term goals for San Diego.  This webinar is intended to be more interactive, with discussion amongst stakeholders. The basis for this discussion will be the San Diego Earthquake Scenario released in March, 2020 before the pandemics hit the San Diego region.

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.