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News of the Profession

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.

Learning from Earthquakes

EERI responds to M6.4 earthquake near Mamurras, Albania

Early in the morning of November 26, 2019, a M6.4 earthquake struck the western coast of Albania near the capital of Tirana. The EERI community extends its sympathy to the victims as rescue and relief work continues. 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 and is considering an EERI response.  More information about EERI’s plans will be posted soon, so please check back frequently.

If you have information on this event or would like to participate in reconnaissance operations, please contact

Visit the USGS website for more information and to access the PAGER Report.

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NEC 2020 and EERI Annual Meeting

Two reconnaissance workshops announced!

NEC Registration Email

Don’t miss out on an exciting line-up of all things reconnaissance at the National Earthquake Conference and EERI Annual Meeting, March 2-6, 2020 in San Diego, California — register today to take advantage of our early-bird rate!

CONVERGE Training Modules Workshop

How do natural hazard researchers stay ethically grounded while conducting research around the people most impacted by a disaster? This workshop will build capacity for post-earthquake reconnaissance participants and extreme event researchers in the areas of social vulnerability, cultural competence, mental health, and institutional review board procedures. Haorui Wu and Rachel Adams of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder will present the CONVERGE Training Modules, part of a larger initiative to advance social science and interdisciplinary disaster research efforts through identifying, mapping, and training a diverse group of researchers. Explore this topic further in a recent Nature piece by JC Gaillard and Lori Peek, arguing that disaster-zone research needs a code of conduct.

LFE Reconnaissance Training Workshop

This interactive workshop will provide an overview of EERI’s Learning From Earthquakes program and the Virtual Earthquake Reconnaissance Team. Participants will receive training on EERI's field data collection tools and on virtual reconnaissance methods. EERI members who complete this training will be well-positioned to contribute effectively to reconnaissance efforts following future earthquakes. EERI staff Maggie Ortiz-Millan and Simone Nageon de Lestang, and VERT co-chair Manny Hakhamaneshi will facilitate this training.

Call for posters: 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence

We’re seeking poster abstracts on the 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence, due Wednesday, December 11. Submit your proposal here. Proposals are welcome on a variety of topics, including:

  • Tectonics
  • Surface Rupture
  • Seismology
  • Geodesy
  • Ground Motions
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Building Operations/Recovery
  • Emergency Management and Response
  • Recovery
  • Public Health and Social Impacts
  • Lifelines and Utilities
  • Data Collection and Coordination

Abstract submissions are limited to 250 words or less. Selected poster presenters will be notified in mid-December 2019. The poster session will take place on March 5, 2020 from 6:00 - 7:30 pm. In addition to the poster session, the 2020 NEC will feature several sessions on lessons and impacts from the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence. For more information about the 2020 NEC, please visit

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NHERI UC San Diego joint researcher workshop with Lehigh and SimCenter

Join this collaborative workshop on December 16-17, hosted by the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) experimental facilities UC San Diego, Lehigh, and the SimCenter at UC Berkeley. The workshop will be held at the NHERI@UC San Diego’s Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table facility (LHPOST) in La Jolla, CA.

Over two days, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about all three facilities capabilities, network with colleagues in the natural hazard mitigation field, and seek guidance on planned research proposals. Register here.

Seminar at the Istanbul Technical University: Historic Structures in Seismic Areas

This one-day seminar will reflect on the 20 years since the Kocaeli earthquake and will explore historic structures in seismic areas. For more information, contact Oguz C. Celik (M.EERI,2000) at

2020 Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series at Lehigh University

Lehigh University just announced its line-up for the 2020 Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series, featuring Philip Gould (M.EERI,1982), Greg Deierlein (M.EERI,1989), and Jon Pickard. Learn more about the lecture series and the speakers' presentation topics.

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Regional Chapter News

Sacramento chapter organizes successful short course

CBC Event photo

In October, the chapter, along with the Sacramento chapters of the Association of Engineering and Environmental Geologists (AEG) and American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) Geo-Institute, hosted a short course on the upcoming updates to the 2019 California Building Code and CGS note 48. More than 100 practicing geoscience professionals, including geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists, and related fields, attended the course. Representatives from California Geological Survey (CGS), Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), and Kleinfelder presented, including EERI members Zia Zafir (M.EERI,2001), Jennifer Thornburg (M.EERI,2006), and Hussain Bhatia (M.EERI,1994). Alexander Wright (M.EERI,2012) helped organize the event. Stay tuned — selected presentations will be released online soon!

Photo credit: Kartik Atyam of AECOM

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EERI Awards

Jack Moehle to receive the George W. Housner Medal

Jack Moehle smallEERI is pleased to announce that Jack Moehle (M.EERI,1981), the Ed and Diane Wilson Presidential Professor of Structural Engineering at UC Berkeley, is the recipient of the George W. Housner Medal. The medal is awarded for extraordinary and lasting contributions to public earthquake safety through the development and application of earthquake hazard reduction practices and policies.

Jack Moehle received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and joined the U.C. Berkeley faculty in 1980. From 1991 to 2001, he was the director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center at Berkeley, and in 1996 he became the founding director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, where he served until 2008.

His teaching and research include topics in structural engineering, earthquake engineering, and reinforced concrete, with research covering both analytical and experimental methods; buildings, bridges, and infrastructure; materials, components, and complete structural systems, seismic retrofitting and design of new structures, including performance-based earthquake engineering. 

He has played a leading role in the development of building codes and professional engineering guidelines for the design of new construction and the assessment and rehabilitation of seismically vulnerable existing construction, including Guidelines for Evaluation and Repair of Masonry and Concrete Walls (FEMA 306); Guidelines for Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings (FEMA 273 and ASCE 356); Development of Next-Generation Performance-Based Seismic Design Procedures for New and Existing Buildings (FEMA P-58); and Guidelines for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings (Tall Buildings Initiative, PEER). He has been a member of the ACI 318 Building Code Committee since 1989, Chair of the Seismic Provisions subcommittee from 1995-2014, and currently serves as the ACI 318 Chair.

A licensed Civil Engineer in California, Dr. Moehle provides engineering consultation and expert peer review on highway systems (Caltrans, Works Consultancy New Zealand), mass transit systems (Bay Area Rapid Transit, Transbay Transit Center), water distribution systems (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, New York City Aqueducts), existing construction (Stanford, UC Berkeley, US Army Corps of Engineers), and high-rise building consulting and peer review (Los Angeles, Reno, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle).

Tony Shakal to receive the Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal

Tony Shakal smallEERI is pleased to announce that Tony Shakal (M.EERI,1980) is the recipient of the 2020 Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal. The medal is awarded for substantial contributions to the field of seismic safety and earthquake risk reduction, having directly affected the seismic safety of the general population.

Before his retirement this year, Dr. Shakal was the Director of the California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (SMIP) at the California Geological Survey. He served SMIP for 34 years, and successfully grew and led the program for 29 years. Under his direct supervision and innovative management, SMIP became the largest and most advanced strong-motion network in the United States.

The SMIP also became the largest strong-motion component in the U.S. Geological Survey’s Advanced National Seismic System. In 2006 at the commemoration of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, SMIP received the Applied Technology Council/Engineering News Record joint award as the Best Seismic Program of the Twentieth Century. 

Under Dr. Shakal’s leadership, SMIP installed over 5,000 accelerometers at nearly 1,200 stations around the State. These seismic monitors were placed in over 850 free-field ground stations, on more than 80 bridges, and more than 240 buildings. Ground motion and structural response data gathered from this network are directly employed in the California Building Code to make structures more earthquake-resilient. 

He also promoted the educational and communication links between the structural engineering and seismological communities through financially supporting an annual conference in which SMIP-sponsored research papers are presented. He was an active member of the standards setting committee at Consortium of Organizations for Strong Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS), and worked closely with Caltrans, and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development on projects related to earthquake engineering for hospitals.

Dr. Shakal received his engineering education at the University of Wisconsin. The San Fernando earthquake, occurring while he was in graduate school was a career changer, and Tony went on to MIT to pursue a degree in earthquake seismology.

David Bonowitz selected as 2020 EERI Distinguished Lecturer

EERI is pleased to announce that David BonowitzBonowitz small (M.EERI,1994), a leading structural engineer practicing in San Francisco, is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Lecture Award. David will deliver the Distinguished Lecture, “Functional Recovery: What it Means to Design for Community Resilience,” at the National Earthquake Conference and 72nd EERI Annual Meeting to be held March 4-6, 2020 in San Diego, Calif. Don’t forget to register for the conference today to lock down your first chance to hear the dynamic 2020 Distinguished Lecture in person.

David’s lecture will focus on the emerging concept of functional recovery as a basis for earthquake-resistant design. Designing buildings and infrastructure for limited downtime – or an acceptably quick functional recovery – is not new, but it is receiving new attention through state and federal legislation, and showing new feasibility through research and technology. Most intriguing is the recognition that designing for functional recovery is a necessary tool for achieving community-wide earthquake resilience. And if progress is to be measured at the community level, functional recovery will also be a matter of public policy. The lecture will look at the roles EERI members can play in shaping this thinking into design practice with four sets of questions: definitional, technical, policy, and implementation.

David 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. He 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.

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. Stay tuned for more information on how EERI Student and Regional Chapters can request a local lecture.

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News of the Institute

EERI election results: 2020 President-Elect and Directors

Many thanks to all EERI members who took the time to consider and choose from the exceptional candidates for the 2020 EERI Board of Directors. We are pleased to announce the election results for President-Elect and Directors.

BoD election final

David Cocke, President, Structural Focus, Gardena, CA (M.EERI,1992), received the endorsement of voters to be EERI’s President-Elect.

EERI also welcomes two new EERI Directors: Jonathan P. Stewart, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (M. EERI,1994) and Terri Norton, Associate Dean of Students & Strategic Initiatives and Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA (M. EERI,2004). Stewart and Norton will assume their new posts at the first Board of Directors meeting in 2020.

The Institute extends appreciation to outgoing board members, Past-President David A. Friedman (M. EERI,1988), Director Ross W. Boulanger (M.EERI,1992) and Director Gregory G. Deierlein (M.EERI,1989) for their service and dedication to the institute. EERI’s leadership and staff appreciate the insight and diligence that they brought to the Board during their tenure.

EERI would also like to thank the Election Tellers: Harold Magistrale (M. EERI,2014), Julie Fogarty (M. EERI,2011), and Jessica Feenstra (M. EERI,2017). Per the bylaws: "The President shall appoint three (3) tellers from the Membership-at-large who shall with the Executive Director to certify the electronic election results, and shall report their findings to the Secretary/Treasurer no later than November 10 of each year."

Have you renewed your EERI membership for 2020?

Renewal Email Banner 700
As we start to get busy with the holidays and other year-end festivities, please don't forget to renew your EERI membership for 2020. We've made it simple for you to renew — just click here! For the past several years, dues have remained the same, delivering all the benefits and value you've come to rely on from EERI, like the latest issue of Earthquake Spectra. We hope you have found value in your EERI membership and will choose to remain a part of our passionate and dedicated community. Click here to renew EERI your membership today!

Last chance to apply for the Housner Fellows Program

We're seeking the next cohort of the Housner Fellows Program! As a fellow, you will participate in a week-long Leadership Institute at Asilomar in California’s beautiful Monterey Peninsula. The interactive program consists of classroom training, homework, group work, and other leadership exercises. You will also get the opportunity to develop a group project that makes a real impact in the field. Submit your application by Friday, December 6.

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Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
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