Webinar: Functional Recovery – Designing for Community Resilience

Explore the emerging and timely concept of functional recovery as a basis for earthquake-resistant design in the 2020 EERI Distinguished Lecture, featuring David Bonowitz.

WEBINAR: Wednesday, April 29 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET 
FREE for EERI members and non-members | REGISTER HERE

In this webinar, you’ll gain insights on how design for functional recovery is a necessary tool for assessing and improving community resilience. The lecture will examine four dimensions of functional recovery: definitional, technical, policy, and implementation. While designing buildings and infrastructure for limited downtime — or an acceptably quick functional recovery — is not new, it’s receiving more attention through state and federal legislation and showing new feasibility through research and technology. As this concept becomes more influential in our field, the lecture will also explore the roles you can play in shaping this thinking into design practice.

The Distinguished Lecture Award recognizes EERI members who have made outstanding contributions to earthquake risk reduction. The award encourages communications and dialogue on important and timely topics.

About David Bonowitz

David BonowitzBonowitz is a structural engineer and a consultant on disaster risk reduction policy. His work links what engineers know to what policymakers, decision-makers, and stakeholders need, consulting to city, state, federal, and international agencies. 

He is an appointed member of the new Federal Emergency Management Agency-National Institute of Standards and Technology working group on Functional Recovery of the Built Environment and Critical Infrastructure. He is a co-author of “Functional Recovery: A Conceptual Framework,” an EERI white paper, and lead author of “Resilience-based Design and the NEHRP Provisions,” now in review by the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Provisions Update Committee. 

Bonowitz is also a Fellow Member of Structural Engineers Association of Northern California and Structural Engineers Association of California, and past chair of the National Council of Structural Engineers Association Existing Buildings and Resilience committees. He is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering from UC Berkeley.

EERI Response to M5.7 Magna, Utah Earthquake

On Wednesday, March 18, a M5.7 earthquake struck near Magna, Utah. EERI is currently monitoring the situation from media reports and notes from colleagues in the impacted region as part of its Learning from Earthquakes Program

As EERI’s current policy for COVID-19 health concerns prevents all in-person events, meetings, and activities for the remainder of March and April 2020, EERI will be considering a virtual response for this earthquake. We ask EERI members to avoid group meetings and consider this policy in any response.

EERI’s Virtual Earthquake Earthquake Reconnaissance Team (VERT) has activated to develop a summary report of impacts based on online sources. If you’d like to contribute to the report, please sign up for VERT here

The Utah Geological Survey has established a virtual clearinghouse website for the earthquake here. Visit the USGS website for more information.

Architect and disaster recovery expert Mary Comerio profiled in latest EERI’s oral history

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is excited to release the 27th volume of Connections: The EERI Oral History Series, featuring Mary Comerio (M.EERI,1988), an internationally recognized expert on disaster recovery. 

A trailblazer in the merging of architecture and disaster resilience, Comerio is the first woman to be featured in EERI’s oral history collection. The volume is available free of charge in PDF format here. This ongoing series publishes interviews with prominent figures in the fields associated with earthquake engineering and earthquake resilience to preserve the rich history of those who have shaped seismic design theory and practice. 

“One of Mary’s lasting legacies is her passion for the historically underserved and her willingness to speak up on their behalf,” said Lucy Arendt (M.EERI,2008), interviewer of this volume and a professor of business administration at St. Norbert College. “She used her voice and expertise to make buildings in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco safer for people who needed an advocate. Mary once engaged Fidel Castro – yes, that Fidel – in a debate about the need to provide housing that served all kinds of families. She won the debate.”

In 1978, Comerio joined the faculty in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and served as chair of the Department from 2006-2009. She holds Master’s degrees in Architecture and Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. As an architect, Comerio has designed numerous public and private facilities, including market-rate and affordable housing. Her research focuses on the costs and benefits of seismic rehabilitation (particularly housing), post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, and loss modeling. She is the author of Disaster Hits Home: New Policy for Urban Housing Recovery. 

Comerio led the Building Systems Research in the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, during the ten years when PEER was one of three NSF-funded national earthquake centers. She also served as co-principal investigator on one of the National Science Foundation’s Grand Challenge projects focused on the mitigation of collapse risk in nonductile concrete buildings. She serves on the Governing Board of the QuakeCoRE Center for Earthquake Resilience in New Zealand and continues to consult internationally on disaster recovery and resilience planning.

Comerio also brings a long and rich history of service and leadership to EERI. She served as president of EERI, as a member on its Board of Directors, Honors Committee, and Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) committee, and as a Distinguished Lecturer. She was also a member of the EERI reconnaissance teams to Umbria and L’Aquila and leader of the teams to Christchurch. In 2019, EERI honored Comerio with one of its highest distinctions — an honorary membership to the Institute. 

“Over the course of her career, Mary has made a material difference in the lives of thousands of people – as the president of EERI, LFE reconnaissance leader, professor, scholar, mentor, advocate, community member, wife, and mother,” said Arendt. “She seamlessly walks among all these roles. Mary is the kind of hands-on leader we all wish we could be – she’s brilliant, caring, funny, determined, incisive, energetic, pragmatic, generous, hard-working, and always other-focused.”

“As an architect working in the realm of earthquake engineering research, I have always tried to bridge the gap between our technical understanding of earthquake (and other disaster) impacts on the built environment, and the social and economic consequences of disaster losses,” said Comerio. “Architecture is a field in which the diverse understanding of many building issues can be brought together in a creative way.”

The full Connections: The EERI Oral History Series (volumes 1–27) is available free of charge in PDF format on the EERI website. Click here to download Mary Comerio’s volume. To read more about the series and access all its volumes, click here.

EERI wraps up successful Annual Meeting and NEC in San Diego

EERI’s sold-out 72nd Annual Meeting and the quadrennial 2020 National Earthquake Conference (#NEC2020) took place March 4-6 in San Diego. The successful conference brought together more than 600 global attendees from across the academic, public, and private sectors to examine and share the latest advances in earthquake science, policy initiatives, practice, and engineering. The conference was organized in partnership with the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH).

The NEC2020 offered attendees a robust conference agenda, including 35 sessions, 8 plenary keynote sessions and panels, 27 concurrent breakout sessions, 9 individual events, two awards ceremonies, a diversity networking event, classroom outreach, a training workshop, student events, a breakfast for young members, and more.

NEC2020 highlights include:

  • Release of the San Diego Earthquake Scenario (M6.9 earthquake along Rose Canyon fault) a report that examines the impacts of an earthquake intersecting the urban core of San Diego and identifies important steps that could be taken to improve the seismic resilience of the region’s buildings and infrastructure.
  • Three special sessions and 27 poster exhibits featuring the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence of July 2019 that shook Southern California, the 2019-2020 Puerto Rico earthquakes, and 47 on other topics
  • The 17th Annual EERI Seismic Design Competition, where more than 350 competitors from nearly 50 universities tested four-foot-tall model high-rise buildings designed for San Diego on an earthquake simulator. Congratulations to the team from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca in Romania for winning the top prize!

The NEC2020 pre-conference activities included the National Earthquake Program Managers Annual Meeting, seven EERI committee meetings, pre-conference workshops, and tours, including to the NHERI@UCSD Large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table at the University of California, San Diego and the San Diego Central Library walking tour.

We are so grateful to all of our sponsors and volunteers, including all the resources, talents, and time, that they shared in making this conference a success. 

Photo credits: Marshall Lew and Van Nguyen

Save the Date: EERI 2021 Annual Meeting

You can start making plans now for EERI’s 73rd Annual Meeting which will take place March 17-19, 2021, in Seattle, Washington!

Just released: San Diego Earthquake Scenario

We’re pleased to unveil a new earthquake scenario and risk study for the San Diego region at the 2020 National Earthquake Conference and the 72nd EERI Annual Meeting. Developed by experts over the last five years, the scenario will showcase the impacts and consequences of a potential M6.9 earthquake on the Rose Canyon Fault. 


The Rose Canyon Fault Zone runs through the heart of the San Diego metropolitan area, presenting a major seismic hazard to the San Diego region, the third largest and one of the fastest growing population centers in California. The region’s large population coupled with the poor seismic resistance of its older buildings and infrastructure systems, make San Diego vulnerable to earthquakes.

Over the past five years, experts in geoscience, engineering, and emergency management studied the impacts of a magnitude 6.9 scenario earthquake on the Rose Canyon Fault Zone to raise awareness and prompt action towards reducing risk to earthquakes. The outcome of this report is a vision for a Seismically Resilient San Diego and outline of next steps to take action towards improving the San Diego region’s resilience to earthquakes.


Download the report and technical supplementary materials here. As future studies are conducted, more materials will become available on this page.

Executive Summary

Full Report – San Diego Earthquake Planning Scenario

Technical Supplements 

  1. Scenario Methodology for Liquefaction Hazard Assessment

  2. Methodology for Seismic Landsliding Hazard Assessment

  3. Methodology for Tsunami Inundation


M6.0 Rose Canyon Fault Zone Scenario Earthquake Simulation (video)
USGS Scenario Event Page

For more information, please visit the EERI San Diego Regional Chapter’s website

Update to Membership about NEC and Coronavirus

The National Earthquake Conference and 72nd EERI Annual Meeting is planned to continue, but we ask all members and attendees to review the conference statement about the coronavirus, now posted at the NEC website https://earthquakeconference.org/pdf/Coronavirus_Statement.pdf

Please contact eeri@eeri.org with any questions.

Webinar: USGS Web Tools for Site-Specific Ground Motion Hazard Analysis

202002 USGSWebinar

USGS Web Tools for Site-Specific Ground Motion Hazard Analysis
Wednesday, April 8 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET | REGISTER HERE
FREE for EERI members
 | $50 for non-members (PDH hours included upon request)

You will leave the webinar with a greater understanding of how USGS web tools can be used to perform site-specific ground motion hazard analysis.

The new 2019 California Building Code adopts the ASCE/SEI 7-16 Standard (“Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures”) which requires site-specific ground motion analysis for many more structures than prior editions. For example, now site-specific analysis shall be performed for structures on Site Class D and E sites with S1 greater than or equal to 0.2g, with some exceptions. The webinar will also provide an opportunity for feedback on the USGS web tools from earthquake engineering users.

The webinar will include an introduction from Jorge Meneses (M.EERI,2006), RMA Group, Inc., Nicolas Luco, USGS, will demonstrate the USGS web tools. Following the demonstration, Nicolas Luco and Peter Powers (M.EERI,2018), also of USGS, will be available to answer questions from participants.

Guillermo Diaz-Fanas and Erica Fischer to receive EERI Younger Member Award

We’re pleased to announce Guillermo Diaz-Fanas (M.EERI,2015) and Erica Fischer (M.EERI,2010) as the recipients of the 2020 EERI Younger Member Award! The award is given to early-career members who have made outstanding contributions to the Institute and the pursuit of its objectives — especially contributions that have improved opportunities for and increased the impact of younger members. Due to the nature of this award and its focus on encouraging young member participation in the Institute, the honor’s committee felt it was reasonable to select two winners for the 2020 award since the candidates were both so exceptional. 

9 YMA Diaz Fanas Photo smallGuillermo Diaz-Fanas
Senior Technical Principal in Multi-Hazard Resilience, WSP USA

Guillermo Diaz-Fanas is a Senior Technical Principal in Multi-Hazard Resilience with the GT-TEC of WSP USA. Diaz-Fanas received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) and a master’s degree in structural from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Fulbright Fellow. Guillermo has held several positions of leadership locally and nationally with EERI, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Geo-Institute, the Deep Foundations Institute, and other professional societies. He is also the founding President of the first non-profit organization for LGBTQIA+ students and professionals to pursue careers in the built environment.

The selection committee has recognized Guillermo as follows:

“Guillermo’s ability to advocate for EERI involvement to his peers and colleagues is unique and impactful. The honor’s committee was especially impressed by his service on the Board of the EERI New York – Northeast Regional Chapter (EERI-NYNE). Through his role on the EERI-NYNE, as their Academic Liaison and now Board member, he has helped to promote EERI and encourage the establishment of four new university student chapters in New York City (EERI-NYU), in Dominican Republic (EERI-PUCMM), in Ecuador (EERI-ESPE) and in Peru. He has also organized technical programs for the benefit of local New York members. In addition to these major pursuits, he also participates in EERI’s SESI, PPA, and Seismic Design Competition as a judge, mentor, and regular Master of Ceremonies.”


9 YMA Fischer Photo smallErica Fischer
Assistant Professor of Civil & Construction Engineering, Oregon State University

Erica Fischer is an assistant professor of structural engineering at Oregon State University. She received a B.S. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. Prior to Oregon State, she worked as a structural engineer in New York and Seattle where she focused on renovations and retrofits of existing buildings. Erica has served in a number of leadership positions in EERI, from co-chair of the Student Leadership Council to now a member of the EERI Board of Directors. She is also one of the founding members of the EERI Younger Members Committee and Virtual Earthquake Reconnaissance Team. 

The selection committee has recognized Erica as follows:

“Erica has shown extensive leadership in EERI from the early stages of her career by using her enthusiasm to revitalize EERI activities and develop innovative new ways to engage Younger Members in Institute activities. Since her time as Chair of the YMC, she has continued to expand and refine VERT as a co-Chair in its new location as an official LFE subcommittee. VERT has changed the way that EERI and other reconnaissance organizations approach post-disaster assessment, and provides specific opportunities for younger members to participate in reconnaissance. Erica continues to advocate for younger members on her role on the EERI Board of Directors, since her appointment for a four-year term in 2019.”

NEC2020: Unveiling the San Diego Earthquake Scenario

Held March 4-6 in San Diego, the National Earthquake Conference (NEC) and EERI Annual Meeting is the place where professionals in our field gather to connect, network, and learn. Don’t miss out on this must-attend meeting that happens just every four years!

If you are EERI member, you’ll save $100 off the full-conference rate! Register today and select “EERI Member Rate” to unlock your member benefit.

The dynamic program features the exclusive release of a new earthquake scenario and risk study for the San Diego region. Developed by experts and community stakeholders over the last five years, the scenario will showcase the impacts and consequences of a potential M6.9 earthquake on the Rose Canyon Fault. The sessions below will highlight findings from the study and possibilities to achieve a seismically resilient San Diego by 2050. Please note that more speakers are being confirmed.

Unveiling of San Diego Earthquake Scenario and its Vision for a Seismically Resilient San Diego by 2050 

This session will unveil major findings from the San Diego Earthquake Scenario. The experts and stakeholders who have worked on the scenario will also present their vision for a seismically resilient San Diego. They will also discuss the possibilities and opportunities for action, particularly by local leaders who will be critical to seismic planning and mitigation success.

  • Jorge Meneses, Principal Geotechnical Engineer, RMA Group, and California Seismic Safety Commissioner (M.EERI,2006)
  • Tony Court, President, A. B. Court & Associates
  • Mona Freels, Emergency Operations Services Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric

Designing the Earthquake & Geologic Hazards for the San Diego Earthquake Scenario

This session will showcase the technical work of the San Diego Earthquake Scenario’s “Earth Science” Working Group. The session will describe the San Diego seismic fault zone, the selection of the scenario earthquake, the associated shaking, ground failure, and secondary hazards. Speakers include:

  • Jim Gingery, Chief Engineer, Keller (M.EERI,2002)
  • Ken Hudnut, Research Geophysicist, United States Geological Survey (M.EERI,2000)
  • Mark Legg, President, Legg Geophysical, Inc. (M.EERI,1999)
  • Tom Rockwell, Professor of Geological Sciences, San Diego State University

Infrastructure and Building Vulnerabilities in San Diego and Tijuana

This session will examine the impacts on buildings and lifeline infrastructure as a result of the geologic hazards in the San Diego and Tijuana areas. Using an engineering perspective, the session will describe the studies that helped identify expected impacts, including ones that took place in Tijuana, and discuss opportunities for mitigation. Speakers include:

  • Janna Bonfiglio, Project Geotechnical Engineer, Kleinfelder (M.EERI,2013)
  • Mario Gonzalez-Duran, Professor, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Baja California (M.EERI,2018)
  • Peter Maloney, Project Engineer, Degenkolb Engineers (M.EERI,2020)
  • Jorge Meneses, Principal Geotechnical Engineer, RMA Group, and California Seismic Safety Commissioner (M.EERI,2006)
  • Roberto Ruiz-Salas, Project Engineer, Kimley-Horn

Achieving a Seismically Resilient San Diego by 2050: A Collaborative Workshop

Bring your ideas and passion for seismic resilience policy! This interactive session will discuss how earthquake scenarios have resulted in policy or mitigation actions. You will hear examples of success and engage in interactive exercises and discussions to brainstorm policy options and other possibilities to achieve a seismically resilient San Diego by 2050. Speakers include:

  • Laurie Johnson, Principal and Founder, Laurie Johnson Consulting, and President, EERI (M.EERI,1990)

San Diego Scenario Stakeholder Insight Panel

Diverse stakeholders will discuss impacts from the scenario on their own infrastructure or systems, describe their organization’s seismic mitigation and planning accomplishments, and compare them to their other hazard planning efforts. Panelists will also explore challenges and opportunities in mitigating their seismic risk. Speakers include:

  • David Harrison, Emergency Preparedness Manager, City of Carlsbad
  • James Hackett, Principal Structural Engineer, Division of the State Architect

EERI Honorary Members: William J. Hall and Anne S. Kiremidjian

EERI is pleased to announce that William J. Hall (M.EERI,1973) and Anne S. Kiremidjian (M.EERI,1976) have been selected as Honorary Members of EERI! One of the highest honors from the Institute, Honorary Membership is awarded to members who have made sustained and outstanding contributions to the field of earthquake engineering and to EERI.

5 Honorary Hall Photo smallWilliam J. Hall is Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana‑Champaign, and a consulting engineer. Dr. Hall served on the EERI Board of Directors from 1979 to 1981 and was a recipient of the prestigious Housner Medal. He joined the UIUC faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering in 1954 and served as Head of the Department from 1984-91. There he specialized in structures, materials and structural dynamics and engaged in research and instruction. His research centered on earthquake engineering and military structures. Professor Hall was also involved with many large engineering projects, including being part of the design team for the Trans-Alaska petroleum pipeline, many nuclear power plants, and major projects of agencies of the U.S. government. Dr. Hall received a B.S. degree in civil engineering from the University of Kansas and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

5 Honarary Kiremidjian Photo smallAnne S. Kiremidjian is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. From 1987 to 2002 she served as the Co-Director and Director of the John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center at Stanford University. At Stanford, she teaches courses in structural analysis, earthquake hazard and risk analysis, structural reliability and decision theory. Her research over the years has focused on all aspects of earthquake hazard and loss estimation, regional risk assessment, risk analysis of transportation systems, wireless sensor and sensing system development for structural performance evaluation, and the development of damage detection algorithms using sensor measurements. Dr. Kiremidjian received her B.S. degree from Columbia University in Civil Engineering and her M.S. and Ph. D. degrees from Stanford University in Structural Engineering.