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Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

Founded in 1948, EERI's mission is to reduce earthquake risk by (1) advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering, (2) improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment, and (3) advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes.

News of the Institute

W.D. Liam Finn to be awarded George W. Housner Medal

finn liamW.D. Liam Finn (M.EERI,1976), Professor Emeritus,The University of British Columbia, will be presented with the George W. Housner Medal in recognition of his extraordinary and lasting contributions to public earthquake safety through the development and application of earthquake hazard reduction practices and policies. The award will be presented to Dr. Finn on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the EERI Honors Ceremony and Annual Business Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

W. D. Liam Finn graduated from the National University of Ireland in 1954 with a B.Eng. in Civil Engineering. He got his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1957 and 1960 respectively. He started the first program of geotechnical earthquake engineering in Canada at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver where he pioneered the development of dynamic effective stress analysis with the program DESRA in 1975. He was Head of Civil Engineering and Dean of Applied Science at UBC. In 1999, he was appointed as the first Anabuki Professor of Foundation Geodynamics at Kagawa University, Takamatsu, Japan. He is an Honorary International Member of the Japanese Geotechnical Society and the Chinese Society of Soil Dynamics, PRC. He is also an Honorary Professor of the Metallurgical Institute in Beijing. He was Editor of the International Journal of Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering. He served as Chairman of ISSMGE/TC-4 on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering. Finn’s main research interest is geotechnical earthquake engineering with particular interest in liquefaction, seismic response of sites and earth structures, seismic safety evaluation of dams, seismic response of pile foundations and seismic risk. He has published over 350 papers on these topics and has won several awards including the Legget Medal, the highest honor from the Canadian Geotechnical Society and the H. B.Seed medal from ASCE. Finn consults internationally especially on the seismic safety of dams and liquefaction problems.  


Fred Turner to receive the 2019 Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal

Fred Turner Fall 2019 ImageaFred Turner (M.EERI,1985), Structural Engineer, California Seismic Safety Commission, is the 2019 Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal winner. The Alquist Medal is awarded annually to an individual, company, or organization that has made substantial contributions to the field of seismic safety and earthquake risk reduction, having directly affected the seismic safety of the general population. The Alquist Medal recognizes career contributions or notable and/or singular achievements: a significant contribution to the public good is the primary selection criterion. Fred will be presented with the Medal on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the EERI Honors Ceremony and Annual Business Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Fred Turner first became interested in earthquake engineering in the 1970’s as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. Those years after the San Fernando Earthquake were an exciting era of rapid change and many research and development opportunities. As a result, Fred became a research assistant at Cal’s shaking table facility.

For nine years after graduation, Fred designed buildings and helped retrofit vulnerable buildings with two firms in San Francisco. During that time, Fred became involved with the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California’s nascent post-earthquake safety assessment program, efforts to lower the costs of inventorying and retrofitting brick buildings and to encourage homeowners to retrofit. Fred was fortunate to have Frank McClure as a mentor who received the Alquist Medal in 1993. Growing tired of long hours in the design profession, Fred sought a change in his career path. Based on Frank’s advice, Fred interviewed for a job in State Government.

On October 17, 1988, Fred joined the staff of the now-named Alfred E. Alquist California Seismic Safety Commission. It was a busy but uncertain time with waning public support for the state’s new Unreinforced Masonry Building Law. One year later, the Loma Prieta Earthquake changed all that. Over the next three years, compliance with that law improved and 192 other earthquake-related bills were signed into law. In that time, the staff worked long hours helping local governments, participating in hearings, suggesting amendments, and recommending positions on legislation. Commissioners held marathon, multi-day hearings, taking on active roles in public policy development. Its Earthquake Hazard Reduction Plan titled California at Risk was a source for many policy changes.

For the past three decades, Fred has been privileged to serve the State of California in support of the Seismic Safety Commission’s efforts. Notable among these have been improvements to the Hospital Seismic Safety Act, the Homeowner’s and Commercial Property Owner’s Guides to Earthquake Safety, Turning Loss to Gain in the aftermath of the Northridge Earthquake, protecting the Field Act for public school seismic safety from efforts to weaken requirements, the state’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, funding for the retrofit of state and local government buildings, funds for training building inspectors, and the state’s ongoing support for the development of Performance Based Earthquake Engineering. Throughout these years, Fred served as a policy advisor in support of these and other efforts while helping and collaborating with many of the prior awardees, including Senator Alquist.

Some of the more thought-provoking and rewarding aspects of Fred’s career have been opportunities to learn from earthquakes, exchanging insights and risk management strategies with other states including Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Utah, and countries such as Canada, Turkey, Italy, New Zealand, Greece, Azerbaijan, Japan, and China. EERI has been instrumental in encouraging this type of collaboration.

Fred thanks EERI’s Honors Committee and Board of Directors for recognizing his efforts.


Yousef Bozorgnia to be awarded Bruce A. Bolt Medal

Bozorgnia photo 211x300Yousef Bozorgnia (M.EERI,1986) a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in both the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences, has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Bruce A. Bolt Medal, which is awarded jointly by the Seismological Society of America (SSA), the Consortium of Organizations for Strong-Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS), and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), for his extensive contributions to earthquake ground motion models, seismic hazard analysis and structural earthquake engineering.

The Bolt Medal highlights the work of individuals who promote strong-motion instrumentation and data processing, make technical contributions to the fields of seismic engineering or engineering seismology and improve seismic safety through a transfer of knowledge into practice or policy. The Medal will be presented Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the EERI Honors Ceremony and Annual Business Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“It is indeed a great honor to receive the Bolt Medal,” says Bozorgnia. “Bruce Bolt was a role model to me, and that makes this Medal even more special. I sincerely thank COSMOS, EERI and SSA for this award.”

As principal coordinator of the Next Generation Attenuation research projects, Bozorgnia organized an interdisciplinary team of researchers that helped develop earthquake ground motion models used worldwide for seismic analysis and infrastructure design. In 2015, the NGA-WEST project was awarded the 2015 Excellence in Structural Engineering award from the Structural Engineering Association of California (SEAOC).

Bozorgnia has served as executive director (2009-2016) and associate director (2004-2009) of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, a multi-university research center. Beyond his academic career, Bozorgnia also has many years of experience as a licensed Professional Civil Engineer in California.

In addition to his own extensive publication record, Bozorgnia has served as the associate editor for Earthquake Spectra and Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. In 2004, he co-edited Earthquake Engineering: From Engineering Seismology to Performance-Based Engineering, which featured contributions from a range of experts, including Bruce Bolt.

He received his Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has previously received awards from EERI, Applied Technology Council, Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, SEAOC and others.



Ross Boulanger named EERI's 2019 Distinguished Lecturer

R Boulanger

Ross Boulanger (M.EERI,1992), Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of California, Davis, has been selected the EERI 2019 Distinguished Lecturer. The award will be presented Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the EERI Honors Ceremony and Annual Business Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The annual Distinguished Lecture Award of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute is awarded to members of the Institute to recognize and encourage communication of outstanding professional contributions of major importance for earthquake hazard mitigation. The award is established to communicate developments on topics of major significance for earthquake hazard mitigation.

Professor Boulanger is a world leader in the assessment of liquefaction triggering and effects. He is the Director of the Center for Geotechnical Modeling, and his research focuses on liquefaction and its remediation, seismic soil-pile-structure interaction, and seismic performance of dams and levees. Over the last 25 years, he has produced over 250 publications and has served as a technical specialist for private, state, and federal seismic remediation and dam safety projects.

Ross is a member of the EERI Board of Directors and serves on several committees. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the United States Society on Dams from 2009-2015. He has been a member of the Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics Committee of ASCE since 1996, serving as chair from 2004-2009. He served as vice-chair from 2009-2016 and chair from 2016 to the present of the Technical Committee on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering for the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. He was co-leader of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance team for the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan, and was a member of the Research Committee for the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center from 2003-2010. Ross has been a member of EERI since 1992 and was a speaker at EERI’s seminar series in 2010 and 2012.

EERI Student and Regional chapters are encouraged to request a presentation of the 2018 Distinguished Lecture by sending an email request to Professor Boulanger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Interested groups should not delay to request a presentation as opportunities fill fast.


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EERI 2019 Annual Meeting

Early Bird Discount Extended! Save $100

Have you registered for EERI's 2019 Annual Meeting yet? If not, there's good news!
EERI has extended the early bird discount through February 1, 2019.
Save $100 by registering before 2/1/19.


MARCH 5-8, 2019
JW Marriott Parc Vancouver Hotel
Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Click here to visit EERI's 2019 Annual Meeting website.
Click here to Register.

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EERI Member Spotlight

Veronica Cedillos: New President of GeoHazards International

GeoHazards International has announced the selection of Veronica Cedillos (M.EERI,2008) as its new president, beginning January 2, 2019. She succeeds Brian E. Tucker (M.EERI,1982), Founder, who has led the organization since 1991. The nonprofit serves communities that are extremely vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and major storms.

Ms. Cedillos is a licensed civil engineer who has worked to reduce the impacts of natural hazards in Armenia, Haiti, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, and the United States. She holds a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Veronica CjpgIn her prior role as Director of Projects at the Applied Technology Council, she guided over 200 consultants and opened ATC’s international market. Several of her efforts focused on safer schools, and she directed a program to develop trainings and webinars on seismic risk reduction that reached close to 30,000 people in 70 countries. Previously, as Project Manager at GeoHazards International, she lived for periods in Peru, Indonesia, and Haiti. Her efforts targeted seismic and tsunami safety in Haitian coastal cities; mitigation for extreme tsunami risk in Padang, West Sumatra; and training rural masons and villagers in seismic construction.

In recognition of her work, Ms. Cedillos was awarded the 2010 American Society of Civil Engineer’s New Faces of Engineering and the 2011 Shah Family Innovation Prize through the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). She participated in post-earthquake investigations following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2009 Padang earthquake, and 2008 Sichuan earthquake. She serves as the Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the EERI School Earthquake Safety Initiative. In 2017, EERI selected her as a Housner Fellow.

Ms. Cedillos is also an accomplished violinist who plays in various philharmonic orchestras and the occasional mariachi band. She grew up bilingual in the border city of El Paso, Texas.
Photo credit: GeoHazards International

To learn more about Ms. Cedillos, see "7 Things to Know About Our New President."
For more information about GeoHazards International, see


John Aho named to ENR's 2018 Top Newsmakers List

John Aho 2EERI congratulates John Aho (M.EERI,1976), longtime EERI member and past-president of EERI's Alaska Regional Chapter, for being recognized as one of 2018's Top 25 Newsmakers by Engineering News Record (ENR). The following is reprinted from ENR's January 10, 2019 article: "John Aho: Engineer Pushed for Seismic Safety in Alaska Ahead of 2018 Earthquake"

The son of a pioneer bush pilot in Alaska, structural engineer John Aho spent decades working toward earthquake preparedness. He helped found a key seismic safety commission in the state, and serves on the City of Anchorage’s geotechnical advisory group. The fruits of his labor were clearly demonstrated on the morning of Nov. 30, when the magnitudes 7.0 and 5.7 earthquakes that struck the city caused limited structural damage, partly due to stringent building requirements.

Aho also played a vital role in securing funding for Anchorage’s dense network of strong-motion seismometers, most of them installed by 2002. “We were trudging around Washington, D.C., in 100˚ heat trying to convince congressional reps and senators to fund this network,” says John Filson, scientist emeritus with the U. S. Geological Survey.

Aho also worked with building owners to allow the sensors’ installation and helped raise additional private money to fund the 50-sensor network. The instruments recorded massive amounts of data during the Nov. 30 quake, and officials are working to present this data at a technical conference this year.

A now-retired former vice president and principal project manager at CH2M, Aho spent 30 years working to establish the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission, launched in 2002, and served as the group’s chairman. He holds a PhD in aerospace engineering from Cornell University, but slim job prospects in that field in the early 1970s shifted his energies to seismic resilience. 

Aho was also an instructor for earthquake mitigation and post-earthquake safety evaluation, training many of the experts who investigated damage from the recent temblor. He still serves on Anchorage’s Geotechnical Advisory Commission, which helps write local amendments to strengthen the International Building Code. The group also works to ensure seismic resilience in new development. Aho points to the limited quake damage to the 1996 Nesbett Courthouse, built on a bluff atop precarious soil, as an example of the group’s effectiveness.

“All this stuff is really a fight, because earthquakes of the size we felt don’t occur every day, so people are more interested in fixing the roads and less interested in phenomena that could occur in 100 years or maybe tomorrow,” he says.

Photo credit: ENR courtesy of John Aho


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Membership Renewal Reminder

Urgent Notice: 2018 grace period ends February 1, 2019

Dont Lose SpectraEERI 2018 memberships expired on December 31st (except students, whose memberships expired August 31, 2018). EERI extends a grace period of one month. This means that if you have not yet renewed your membership status for 2019, you will still receive member benefits, including access to Earthquake Spectra, through January 31st. However, as of February 1, 2019, your 2018 membership will no longer be active and your member benefits will end.

Please renew your EERI membership now for 2019 to access the member directory and members-only resources area, keep receiving The Pulse of Earthquake Engineering, retain access to the premier journal of earthquake engineering, Earthquake Spectra, and be eligible for the EERI member discount to the 71st EERI Annual Meeting, and other exciting benefits, features and events. The links below will take you directly to your personalized renewal form if you click from your Pulse email. 

Please take a moment right now to renew your EERI membership

Renew Your EERI Membership

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Younger Members News

YMC Webinar - January 30, 2019

David Wald ymc webinarTitle: Case Studies of Financial Decision-Making using Near–Real-time Post-Earthquake Information
Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Time: 9:00 am – 10:00 am PST
Speaker: David J. Wald, Ph.D. (M.EERI,1988)


About the speaker

David J. Wald, Ph.D. is a seismologist with the USGS in Golden, Colorado and is on the Geophysics Faculty at the Colorado School of Mines. Wald earned his Ph.D. in Geophysics from Caltech in 1993. He is involved in research, development and operations of several real-time information systems at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC). He led development of and manages “ShakeMap” and “Did You Feel it?", and is responsible for leading the development of other systems for post-earthquake response and pre-earthquake mitigation, including “ShakeCast” and “PAGER.” 

David has served on the EERI Board of Directors from 2014-2016, Earthquake Spectra’s editorial board from 2010-2016, and began as the Earthquake Spectra Editor in October 2018. David was EERI’s Distinguished Lecturer in 2014. He has been the Seismological Society of America (SSA) Distinguished Lecturer, Associate Editor of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America and served on the Society’s Board of Directors. He was awarded SSA’s 2009 Frank Press Public Service Award, a Department of the Interior Superior Service Award in 2010, and its Meritorious Service Award in 2016. Previously at Caltech, and now at the Colorado School of Mines, Wald has advised scores of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student research projects. His own scientific interests include a wide variety of earthquake applications including: real-time monitoring, rupture processes, analysis of ground motion hazards and site effects, macroseismology, modeling earthquake-induced ground failure, citizen-seismology and estimating human and economic losses.

Professional Development Hours (PDH) will be available from EERI after the webinar for $30.
Questions? Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
To register for the webinar please click here.

This YMC Webinar is supported with funding under a cooperative agreement (EMW-2018-CA-00005) with FEMA/U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The EERI Younger Members Committee (YMC) provides opportunities for graduate students and early-career earthquake professionals and faculty members within EERI. YMC Membership is open to all young professionals interested in actively participating with and supporting the mission of the YMC. To apply, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



EERI Younger Members Committee Seeks New Members

The EERI Younger Members Committee (YMC) seeks early-career professionals/faculty as well as current graduate students interested in earthquake advocacy and risk mitigation to join. The committee focuses on providing professional development and networking opportunities within EERI for its members, which include: 

  • Contributing to earthquake clearinghouses through the Virtual Earthquake Reconnaissance Team (VERT) chaired by Erica Fischer (M. EERI, 2010) and Manny Hakhamaneshi (M. EERI, 2009);
  • Coordinating the EERI Annual Meeting “Meet the EERI Leaders” event and collaborating with the EERI Student Leadership Council (SLC) to support tours and judging activities associated with the Seismic Design Competition;
  • Organizing EERI webinars on technical and professional topics for younger members;
  • Participating on other EERI programs, committees, and projects; and
  • Developing activities at the local/national levels to promote younger member engagement.

Additional information is available on the EERI Committees web page. If you are interested in joining, please contact YMC co-chairs Anahid Behrouzi (M. EERI, 2013), Guillermo Diaz-Fanas (M. EERI, 2014), and Maria Koliou (M. EERI, 2009) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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EERI Program Updates

EERI Board Approves Confined Masonry Policy Statement

On September 21, 2018, the EERI Board of Directors adopted a policy statement promoting the use of confined masonry construction. Confined masonry is a technology that, if built correctly, performs well in earthquakes. In this policy statement, EERI states its belief that international building code-writing bodies, academic institutions, and international aid agencies should promote the use of confined masonry as an affordable, earthquake-resistant construction choice for emerging economies in seismically active regions around the world. This statement was developed by Svetlana Brzev (M.EERI,1995), Chair of the Confined Masonry Network, and Marjorie Greene (M.EERI,1982), member of the World Housing Encyclopedia Executive Committee.

More information about the confined masonry policy statement, including the full statement and a white paper with additional background information can be found on the EERI website: Promoting the Use of Confined Masonry Construction

EERI policy statements are developed by members of EERI committees. EERI policy statements can be used by EERI members to promote and encourage action by policymakers to reduce earthquake risk. Additional policy statements that have been approved by the EERI Board of Directors can be found on the EERI website Policy Statements page.

More information about confined masonry is available on the Confined Masonry Network website.

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Job Opportunity: ImageCat Seeks Professional Engineer

ImageCat, Inc.
(EERI Bronze Level Subscribing Member) is a global company specializing in the assessment of risk from natural disasters. ImageCat is seeking an experienced Civil Engineer or Structural Engineer for structural evaluations, seismic risk assessment studies and seismic damage modeling. Travel required.

Requirements: Professional Engineer (P.E. — Civil or Structural) with:

  • 5+ years of experience in seismic risk assessment, with familiarity with “PML” standards ASTM E 2026, E 2557 and ASCE 41
  • 5+ years in structural design of commercial, office and/or multi-family residential buildings for earthquake and other loads
  • Good English skills – both spoken and written
  • Good computer skills
  • Aptitude for client relations
  • U.S. Citizen


  • Experience in post-earthquake reconnaissance and damage evaluations
  • Experience in formulation of earthquake damage models

Qualified applicants should respond by sending a resume and cover letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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News of the Profession

Links to News & Views

Seven (7) recent news articles, stories, opinions and reports from around the web.

1one“The Big One” Podcast: Anticipating a Devastating L.A. Earthquake (The New Yorker) Southern California's NPR station KPCC produced a podcast that aims to prepare the listener by explaining the likely destruction that such an earthquake would cause, its ripple effects, and its science. Even though it inspires a strong urge to avoid living in California—it’s also strangely reassuring. Read more

2twoQuake Connectivity: 3 January 2019 M=5.1 Japan shock was promoted by the April 2016 M=7.0 Kumamoto earthquake (Temblor) Was the small but strong shock in southern Japan a random event? In the late evening on January 3, a M=5.1 earthquake caused strong local ground shaking in Nagomi-machi, ~25 km north of Kumamoto City. Although the quake brought only light damage to the town, it stopped the Shinkansen ‘bullet trains’ and highway services for an emergency check-up during Japan’s well-traveled New Year holiday. Read more

3threeCan Earthquakes Trigger Volcanic Eruptions? (EOS) A new study supports the idea that earthquakes may be associated with increased volcanic eruptions, but over longer time spans than prior research indicated. When an earthquake strikes, seismic waves ripple out from the epicenter, often leaving far-reaching damage in their wake. The energy released can be so enormous that scientists have long wondered if earthquakes could sometimes trigger other destructive events, including volcanic eruptions. Read more

4fourHaiti Marks Ninth Anniversary of Deadly Earthquake (Global News) Nine years after a deadly magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, the country came together on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the disaster that killed more than 200,000 people.Read more/watch the video

5fiveNew Computer Modeling Approach Could Improve Understanding of Megathrust Earthquakes (R&D) Years before the devastating Tohoku earthquake struck the coast of Japan in 2011, the Earth’s crust near the site of the quake was starting to stir. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are using computer models to investigate if tiny tremors detected near the site of the quake could be connected to the disaster itself. Read more

6six10 Earthquake-Related Questions To Ask Your Landlord Immediately (LAist) We get it, we do. Finding (and keeping) a place in Los Angeles is hard enough without adding disaster planning to your checklist. But the reality is that you are living in a region prone to earthquakes. And a "Big One" — a quake that's more than 7.2 magnitude — could happen. Read more

7sevenL.A.’s Earthquake Early Warning System Can Save Lives, But What About the Rest of California? (Mercury News)ShakeAlertLA is the first of its kind in the country. But 25 years after the Northridge Earthquake the rest of the state lags behind. Despite its reputation for both earthquakes and high-tech innovation, the state plan has progressed sluggishly while a handful of other quake-prone countries — including Mexico — have launched successful early-warning programs. Read more



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