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News of the Profession

Subscribing Member Spotlight

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

A Message from the 2019-2020 President Laurie A. Johnson

Johnson August 2017 5.125x180Today, March 1, 2021, is about halfway between the 10th anniversaries of two of the most destructive earthquakes of the past decade – the M6.2 earthquake that struck directly underneath Christchurch, New Zealand on February 22, 2011, and the M9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan’s Tohoku coast 17 days later on March 11th. EERI and its members have helped assess the geophysical, engineering, and societal impacts of these disasters, innovated solutions for the complex response, restoration, and rebuilding efforts in both countries, and heeded lessons for other localities and generations to come. This is why I first joined EERI and why I am so grateful to have served as the Institute’s president these past two years.

In drafting this message, I looked back at the vision statement that I prepared when I stood for election back in September 2017 to consider what I had envisioned then for the Institute and hoped to achieve during my tenure. The first thing that popped out was an assertion I made about how social media and information technology are changing the way we both network and learn. Never had I imagined that we would face a global pandemic and that EERI would have to adapt as quickly as it has, in order to continue to provide the array of services and support that our members rely upon. Heidi Tremayne, the EERI staff, and our many volunteers have done a truly outstanding job in keeping our members connected, learning, and leading. 

My point at the time was how technology and communications are forcing professional associations to rethink their value proposition to members. I believed then as I do now that EERI’s strength and value rests with its mission to improve the understanding of earthquake risk and increase earthquake resilience in communities worldwide. EERI’s special mix of high-quality, traditional membership services, like annual meetings, webinars, student and regional chapters, and our journal—Earthquake Spectra, along with our more unique research and community service opportunities, like the Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) program and School Earthquake Safety Initiative, help foster the diverse multi-disciplinary, but singularly-focused, “earthquake community” that is the envy of other hazard professions. 

I am especially pleased by what we have accomplished in just two years with the LFE Endowment Campaign. At its launch in March 2019, we set an ambitious goal to raise $4 million over a 5-year period through a combination of cash pledges and testamentary gifts. To date, 171 donors have pledged nearly $1.1 million in cash and $845,000 in planned giving. The Institute is now in a strong position to draw upon the fund if needed to support reconnaissance missions and program enhancements, while also ensuring that a robust and dynamic LFE program will endure.

Over the past six months, the Board of Directors and EERI staff have been working hard on a Strategic Plan for the next 5 years that aims to enhance EERI’s presence and impact by strengthening the Institute’s operations, programs and activities. Our incoming president David Cocke (M.EERI,1992) will be presenting the newly-adopted 2021-2025 Strategic Plan to the membership at the 2021 Annual Meeting. 

With my remaining year as Past-President, I am going to be helping David, Heidi, the Board, and staff to implement key aspects of the new Strategic Plan. I will also be working to strengthen EERI’s continuum of career engagement, which starts with our students and younger members, to ensure that we are staying connected, supporting, and tapping the experience of our mid-and late-career members too. 

In closing, I’d like to thank retiring Board members, Barry Welliver (M.EERI,2002) and John Anderson (M.EERI,1980) for their abounding energy and many contributions these past four years and welcome in new Board members Carlien Bou-Chedid  (M.EERI,2011) and Ayse Hortacsu (M.EERI, 2000). I look forward to seeing everyone online at the 2021 Annual Meeting and am hopeful that we will be able to gather together in person again soon. 

Thank you for your membership and support of EERI.

The EERI Annual Meeting is this month!

Registration is open 2021 AM

The EERI Virtual Annual Meeting is a few weeks away! We have an incredible program designed for you: 15 interactive technical sessions, 11 exciting information sessions, 4 training workshops, and 40+ poster presentations all included in your registration fee. The EERI Board purposefully kept prices between $75-$150, hoping that we could all come together for this event. Join us and over 200 of your colleagues around the world that have already registered! 

There are sessions for everyone. If you're interested in practical guidance and current case studies, you will enjoy the two sessions on Resilient Design for Functional Recovery. If you're interested in governance, definitely check out the session on Resilience, Risk Reduction, and Municipal Governance! A young professional? We suggest Post-Earthquake Reconnaissance Experiences of Graduate Students and Young Professionals and our many info sessions on EERI Committees and Regional Chapters. 

Check out the 2021 EERI Annual Meeting website to find: 

  • Full list of technical sessions and speakers,
  • List of workshops and special events,
  • Registration form and pricing, 
  • And much more!



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Upcoming Resilience Advantage webinar

Optimum SeismicEarthquake Retrofits Protect Investments, Improve Safety

Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET | REGISTER HERE 

In this webinar from Optimum Seismic, structural engineering, architecture, and policy experts discuss our growing understanding of earthquakes, steps that can reduce seismic risks, and the importance of being resilient. 

Small Project Opportunity: Developing Scenarios Publication

EERI is seeking a member familiar with scenario development and planning to prepare a publication based on the EERI-hosted NERHP Developing Scenarios website.

The NEHRP Developing Earthquake Scenarios website guides communities through the process of developing and using effective earthquake scenarios by providing tools and examples. Scenarios can be powerful planning tools that help communities understand and plan for the future, telling the story of a defined earthquake and its specific impacts. This information on this site is helpful to jurisdictions and organizations that do not have access to the financial resources needed to hire consultants for this purpose and provides a wide range of earthquake scenarios – from very simple examples to more complex models. The website includes resources that can inform local planning efforts based on earthquake scenarios and features several insights from emergency managers who have participated in earthquake scenario development.

The information on this NEHRP Developing Earthquake Scenarios website continues to be valuable. However, the site has become a static repository for this information. In preparing the publication, the selected member will preserve what’s on the site as an essential reference. If time allows, this project will involve incorporating input from colleagues engaged in recently completed scenarios to ensure that the common challenges and best practices in scenario development are incorporated. The selected member will meet with EERI staff as necessary to prepare the publication.

The compensation for this project is a lump sum of $10,000. Interested members should indicate their interest by using this form by March 15, 2021. EERI staff will notify applicants about a decision by April 1, with work beginning immediately. A final publication, as a formatted word document, is due June 1, 2021. 

If you have questions, please contact

2021 SEAOC Convention Call for Abstracts

Abstracts are requested for papers to be presented as part of the Technical Program for the 2021 SEAOC Convention, to be held September 22 through 25, 2021. The convention planning committee is continuously evaluating state and federal guidelines to determine if the convention will be hosted in-person at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, CA, or virtually from the safety of your own home.

The Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) is respected as an authoritative world leader in the practice of structural and earthquake engineering, as a nationally influential participant in structural code and standard development, and as a valuable resource to practicing structural engineers in California. To this degree, we encourage those with educational topics to share with our engineering community with subject areas that include but are not limited to:

  • Building codes & standards
  • Cities & politics,
  • Business & economics
  • Legal, innovation & resilience
  • Recent project case studies,
  • Diversity, equity, & inclusion.

Submit abstracts here. If you have any questions, please email 

Spring 2021 Khan Distinguished Lecture from Lehigh University

Performance-based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings

Thursday, March 11, 2021, at 1:30 pm PT / 4:30 pm ET | REGISTER HERE 

Speaker: Jack Moehle 

Sponsor: Lehigh University’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Department of Art, Architecture and Design

Performance-based seismic design of tall buildings in the western United States began in earnest shortly after the turn of the 21st century. Although even the first designs were subject to independent peer review, there were no guidelines or accepted criteria for how to conduct and review a performance-based design, with the result that similar buildings were often designed to satisfy distinctly different criteria. Guidelines and building code provisions were soon developed to improve uniformity in design approaches and to foster the adoption of the performance-based approach. This lecture will review the development of performance-based seismic design of tall buildings, document a typical design application, and summarize results of over a decade of experience in tall building designs. 

Upcoming Kinemetrics webinars

Kinemetrics newWhat Else Can We Do With This Stuff? Using Seismic Instrumentation for Non-Seismic Applications

Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at 9 am PT / 12 pm ET | REGISTER HERE 

Speaker: Dr. Robert Nigbor

In this session, special guest speaker Dr. Robert Nigbor will discuss the use of seismometers and seismic data systems for short-term measurements of vibrations related to construction, transportation, sensitive equipment, and experimental modal analysis. This informative webinar + Q&A will be full of real-life case studies of non-seismic applications.

Earth’s Rock ‘n’ Roll - Measuring Rotational Motions in Seismology

Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at 9 am PT / 12 pm EST | REGISTER HERE 

Speaker: Professor Heiner

We all know that seismology is science, based on measuring ground motions using seismometers. This measures three components of translational motions. But is that all the ground does? No, there are other motion components.

In this session, special guest speaker Professor Heiner Igel will discuss new developments in seismic instrumentation - in particular rotation sensing - with applications ranging from earthquake physics, ocean bottom seismology, seismic tomography, volcanology, earthquake engineering to planetary seismology. The key to these new applications is optical technology making use of laser light and relativistic effects getting hold of the wavefield gradient-related information. This informative webinar + Q&A is a must-see, focusing on concepts and results from innovative pilot projects.

Bridging Technology and Policy: The Case of Earthquake Early Warning Systems in the 2030 Agenda

Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 9 am PT / 12 pm ET | REGISTER HERE

Speaker: Dr. Jair Torres

Earthquake and Multi-Hazards Early Warning Systems (EWS) ) disseminates timely information about the eminent impact of hazards to the public, emergency responders, and managers in the public and private sector, providing time to implement emergency measures, including some automatically.

In this session, special guest speaker Dr. Jair Torres will discuss how recent international agreements such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2015–2030, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda, have all recognized the importance of EWS in moving the development agenda forward. This informative webinar + Q&A will focus on the challenges and opportunities of turning current technologies on Earthquake EWS into practice and policy.

We look forward to seeing you there! 

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Member Spotlight

3 PEER Colleagues Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Three PEER colleagues were recently honored with an election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) which is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Election to the NAE honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

  • Anne S. Kiremidjian (M.EERI,1976) for research and dissemination of probabilistic seismic hazard methods and mentoring. 
  • James O. Malley (M.EERI,1990) for leadership in improving seismic design. 
  • Mark Peter Sarkisian (M.EERI, 2008) for innovation in efficient and aesthetic design of tall buildings and structures. 

Congratulations Anne, James, and Mark!

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Subscribing Member Spotlight


Kinemetrics newSince 1969, Kinemetrics, Inc. and its subsidiaries have been the global market leaders in designing technology platforms, products, and solutions for monitoring earthquakes and their effects on people and structures. Through innovations that matter, Kinemetrics is the premier partner for those who seek actionable solutions that take seismic research and resilience further, faster.

One of such technology platforms is OasisPlus – an Earthquake Business Continuity platform designed to provide the tools and information needed before, during, and after an earthquake to minimize impact and ensure an effective emergency response. Learn more at

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Oral History

Did you miss it? Roland Sharpe's Oral History volume

Roland SharpeDid you miss the latest volume of Connections? The EERI Oral History Series features Roland Sharpe, a notable structural engineer, EERI member, and lifelong advocate for earthquake-resistant design and construction. Volumes 1-28 of Connections: The EERI Oral History Series are available free of charge in PDF format on the EERI website. Click here to download Roland L. Sharpe’s volume. 

Here's why should you read Roland's volume: 

“Roland was highly skilled in identifying big picture problems and issues in earthquake and structural engineering and then formulating and managing engineering projects to address them,” said Christopher Rojahn (M.EERI, 1392), Director Emeritus of the Applied Technology Council (ATC).

Roland "Rol" Sharpe's long and distinguished career commenced upon earning a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Michigan, following his service in the Marines during World War II. In 1950, Sharpe joined the engineering firm of John A. Blume and Associates in San Francisco, where he rose to Executive Vice President. There he consulted on large-scale projects, including the Wind Tunnel at Moffett Field, the Federal Building in San Francisco, and the South Terminal at San Francisco International Airport. After his 23-year career at Blume, Sharpe went on to play a critical role in establishing the Applied Technology Council, the Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC), and eventually, his own firm, Engineering Decision Analysis Company (EDAC), which focused on work for the nuclear power industry.

Many professionals associations have recognized Sharpe’s outstanding commitment to the development of seismic and structural design criteria, assessment and strengthening of hazardous buildings, peer review of major retrofit and new design projects, and new projects.

EERI gratefully acknowledges production support provided by FEMA under grant EMW-2020-CA-00029-FY2020 and the ATC Endowment Fund.

To read more about the EERI Oral History Series and access all its volumes, click here. Select EERI membership categories (regular, retired, honorary, and young professional) with mailing addresses in the United States may request a complimentary print copy here.

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In Memoriam

Remembering Chris Arnold October 1925 – January 2021

selfportrait ca 03 03 09 edit 272x300Contributors: Susan Tubbesing, Marjorie Greene, Rich Eisner, Bob Reitherman, Teresa Guevara, Chris Poland, David Friedman, Mary Comerio


Chris Arnold passed away on January 18, 2021. A prominent architect and longtime resident of Palo Alto, he designed several houses in town and some of the Stanford dormitories. For many years, he was principal at Building Systems Development, an architectural firm conducting innovative research and design projects for Stanford University. He designed the unique building on Pampas Drive that was a prototype for schools and now houses the Stanford Federal Credit Union. A specialist in seismic design, he helped oversee the Bay Bridge’s re-design after the Loma Prieta earthquake. He also taught seismic design at UC Berkeley’s Department of Architecture and collaborated with Eric Elsesser on the book entitled “Building Configuration and Seismic Design.” An active member of the seismic community, he traveled extensively to earthquake sites and served as president of Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) from 1999 – 2000 and a Board Director from 1992 – 1994.  For several years he was active in the AIA Research Foundation, giving seismic seminars for architects around the United States. Everywhere he went, he brought warmth, laughs, and smiles. 

Chris Arnold 1906 water color

Chris had a powerful influence with his quiet, low-key, deliberate style of thoughtful leadership. He was an active proponent for broadening the EERI technical perspective to include the social science and public policy perspective. During his presidency, he led a concentrated effort to explore acceptable risk concepts and increase EERI engagement in Public Policy development and advocacy for seismic safety. He introduced both internal educational and external advocacy programs that have become mainstream for the Institute. When serving as a member of the Endowment Committee, Chris proposed the idea for what became the World Housing Encyclopedia, a joint project of EERI and the IAEE that is still ongoing. He enthusiastically participated in that project as well as many others supported by the Endowment Committee.  

Chris had a life-long interest in fine art and studied painting with David Bomberg. He was an accomplished water-colorist, and friends and family adored his hand-drawn yearly Christmas card. For many years Chris painted a special watercolor scene in honor of the EERI Endowment Fund, which EERI printed and sent as a gift to Endowment donors. The scenes were always earthquake-related, typically focused on retrofitted buildings or bridges. The vacation home he designed in La Selva Beach, California, is also a much-beloved memorial to his creativity and love of mid-century modern architecture.

As David Friedman says, “He was a true Renaissance man. Smart and worldly, and with a robust sense of humor.” For example, he is very well remembered for a poem and play he wrote in jest for EERI members and performed at EERI’s 50th Anniversary conference in 1998, titled “A Shakspearyan Fragment.”  A short excerpt is below:

To retrofit or not to retrofit, that is the question: whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the risks and hazards of brittle failure, or to take arms against a sea of consultants and by negotiation best them.  To die,to sleep; perchance to dream, ay, there’s the rub, for who would bear the engineer's confusion, the geophysicist’s wrong, the architect’s waffle, the law’s delay, the insolence of inspectors, when he himself might his quietus make with a bare rebar? 

Thus liability doth make coward of us all and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied oer with the pale cast of litigation and enterprises of great skill and innovation with this regard their concepts turn awry and lose the name of action.

We will all miss his leadership, humor, and creative spirit. View his family’s obituary in the Palo Alto Daily Post.

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Earthquake Spectra

2019 Outstanding Paper Award

EERI is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Outstanding Paper Award from Earthquake Spectra, “Development and Testing of a Friction/Sliding Connection to Improve the Seismic Performance of Gypsum Partition Walls,” Earthquake Spectra, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 653-677, authored by Gerardo Araya-Letelier, Eduardo Miranda, and Gregory Deierlein.

Earthquake Spectra gives Outstanding Paper Awards to authors who offer outstanding earthquake hazard mitigation contributions. Winning papers significantly impact the profession, advance in the state-of-the-art or understanding of a particular topic, exceptional technical quality with concise and informative illustrations, and are well written for a broad audience.

2021 OSP Araya Letelier Photo

Gerardo Araya-Letelier is an Associate Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. One of his main research interests is the design and evaluation of engineered structural and nonstructural components under performance-based earthquake engineering methodologies, specifically the evaluation and reduction of earthquake-induced collapse risk and economic losses.

2021 OSP Miranda PhotoEduardo Miranda (M.EERI,1987) is a Professor of Civil And Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, specializing in structural engineering with an emphasis on performance-based earthquake engineering. One of his areas of interest is the seismic performance of nonstructural components. He has been a member of EERI since 1986 and is currently the co-chair of the Learnings From Earthquake program.

2021 OSP Deierlein PhotoGreg Deierlein (M.EERI,1989) is a Professor and Director of the John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center at Stanford University.  His research focuses on performance-based engineering with emphasis on nonlinear analysis, design, and behavior of structures. He is a past board member of EERI and active in technical committees and projects to advance earthquake engineering. 

Members can view the paper here. 

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EERI Awards

EERI 2020 Student Paper Awards

EERI is pleased to announce the winners of the EERI 2020 Student Paper Awards! The winners will be honored at the EERI award ceremony at the 2021 Annual Meeting.

The Graduate Student Paper Award goes to Sabine Loos (M.EERI, 2016) of Stanford University, with co-authors for the paper, “G-DIF: A geospatial data integration framework to rapidly estimate post-earthquake damage.” Sabine’s co-authors include David Lallemant, Jack Baker (M.EERI,2004), Jamie McCaughey, Sang-Ho Yun, Nama Budhathoki, Feroz Khan, Ritika Singh. 

2021 Grad Paper Loos Photo

Sabine Loos is a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford Urban Resilience Initiative (SURI) and the Disaster Analytics for Society Lab (DASL, Singapore). She uses 

statistical learning techniques that bridge engineering with the natural and social sciences to develop tools to support effective and equitable disaster recovery. The transdisciplinary nature of her work has led her to collaborate with Kathmandu Living Labs, the World Bank, NASA-JPL, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and others. She also co-chaired the recent Natural Hazards Center Researchers' Meeting devoted to ethical usage of data for disaster research and co-hosted the Risk & Resilience DAT/Artathon focused on developing data visualizations using disaster data. In the final year of her Ph.D. from Stanford University, she holds a master's degree in Sustainable Design & Construction from Stanford University (2018) and a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University (2016).

Members can view it here. 

2021 Undergrad Paper Lee PhotoThe Undergraduate Student Paper Award goes to Jeonghyun Lee (M.EERI, 2019) of UCLA for the paper, “Tracking the Progression of Retrofits for the Los Angeles Soft Story Ordinance: Effect of Socioeconomic Factors and Inequities in Temporal Seismic Risk Reduction.” 

Jeonghyun Lee is a senior pursuing Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCLA. Outside of class, he is responsible for managing the external affairs of the EERI- SEAOSC student chapter, serving as a liaison for SEAOSC; he is also part of the GeoWall project of the UCLA ASCE chapter. Witnessing the demolition of his grandparents’ century-old house in South Korea inspired him to pursue structural engineering. He has been part of the Burton Research Group for the past three years and aspires to leverage computational tools to make structural rehabilitation more accessible to the public.

This paper is available on the EERI website.


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