April 2015 Chapter Meeting: Earthquake Risk Mitigation, A Bridge Between Policy and Engineering

Join us for an interactive discussion on how policy and engineering can develop together to bring progress on seismic resilience of both individuals and society. The panelists will present for the group’s consideration a new vision for strategic collaboration between the technical and policy worlds to better assist individuals, organizations, and communities in understanding and managing their natural disaster risks. The presentation will highlight, as an example, preliminary results of a California Earthquake Authority study investigating the performance of single-family dwellings during the August 24, 2014 South Napa earthquake, the findings of which can contribute to improving behavior motivation programs, engineering practices, and disaster policy broadly.

Date: Thursday, April 16th 2015
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 (5:30 Networking; 6:00 Program)
Location: The EPICENTER, 245 Third street, San Francisco, CA, 94103
RSVP: chapterinfo@eerinc.org by Wednesday April 15th. Please RSVP so that we order enough food; however, don’t hesitate to bring along a suddenly inspired co-worker at the last minute!

Stillwell3Kate Stillwell (moderator) is an EERI Housner Fellow (2012) and a licensed structural engineer in California. Kate is a co-founder of both the GEM Foundation, which launched its OpenQuake platform in Jan 2015, and the US Resiliency Council, which is poised to begin issuing earthquake ratings for buildings in mid-2015. Kate is currently serving as Vice-President of SEAONC.



Janiele MaffeiJaniele Maffei (Presenter) is Chief Mitigation Officer of the California Earthquake Authority inSacramento, California. Janiele is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she obtained her AB degree in architecture and an MS in civil engineering. Maffei is a registered structural engineer who has worked in the earthquake engineering industry for over 30 years. Her experience includes the design of new building structures and seismic strengthening of existing structures. She designed, launched and is now operating the Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program for the CEA, which provides resources and knowledge to homeowners trying to retrofit their wood-frame homes.



Sharyl RabinoviciSharyl Rabinovici (Presenter) is a behavioral scientist, policy analyst, and strategy consultant specializing in disaster preparedness and community resilience. Sharyl brings a distinct interdisciplinary perspective to this work, drawing up on her PhD in Public Policy from UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy as well as a BA in Geology from Stanford and five years doing loss estimation, cost-benefit analysis, and risk modeling with the US Geological Survey. She is currently working with several California governmental entities and non-profits in implementing and improving their risk communication and earthquake preparedness programs.


2014 Chapter Awards for Seismic Safety

This year’s Chapter Awards for “Leadership, Innovation, and Outstanding Accomplishments in Earthquake Risk Reduction” went to Marjorie Greene and San Francisco’s Private Schools Earthquake Safety Working Group.


Marjorie Greene (right) accepts the 2014 Chapter Award for “Leadership, Innovation, and Outstanding Accomplishments in Earthquake Risk Reduction” from Chapter President Heidi Tremayne

Marjorie Greene is retiring from EERI after an exemplary forty-year career of natural hazard mitigation work in which she focused on developing earthquake hazard mitigation, preparedness, and learning from earthquake programs in the U.S. and abroad. Among her many exceptional professional activities, Marjorie has been the managing editor of the World Housing Encyclopedia since its inception, consulted for the World Bank and the Government of India, advised several countries about their earthquake rebuilding programs, and coordinated over 50 reconnaissance missions by EERI members to investigate damage and glean lessons from major earthquakes around the world.

All who have worked with Marjorie during her career agree that she is generous with her time, insightful with her comments, and discerning in her thinking. She has been an inspiration and model to fellow professionals in the earthquake hazard field, displaying a thoughtful, determined, results-oriented approach to her work. Many of EERI’s active young and early career members can trace their involvement with EERI to interactions and encouragement from Marjorie, who created opportunities for them to engage and participate in EERI activities.

The Private Schools Earthquake Safety Working Group of the Earthquake Safety Implementation Program of the City and County of San Francisco, comprised of a volunteer group of over 30 citizens, parents, architects, engineers, school administrators and other participants, met for over two years to consider seismic safety concerns regarding private schools. Following extensive data collection, policy and technical analysis, survey of public perceptions and expectations, and much debate, a report, Earthquake Safety and Private Schools, was issued. Based on this report and much follow-up work by the Working Group, legislation was enacted in Fall 2014 to require that seismic performance evaluations of private schools in San Francisco be performed and submitted to the City over the next 3 years.


From left to right, working group members Glen Altenberg, David Bonowitz, Laura Dwelley-Samant (chair), Kevin Hart, John Paxton, Reuben Hechanova, and Lucian Blazej accepting the award.

This is California’s first program requiring seismic evaluation of existing private schools. The work of the Private School Working Group in San Francisco is expected to catalyze efforts statewide to address private school seismic safety concerns. The Working Group was chaired by Laura Dwelley-Samant.
This year’s Awards Nominating Committee consisted of Laurence Kornfield (Chair), Craig Comartin, Tim McCrink, and Frank Rollo.

The annual Awards for “Leadership, Innovation, and Outstanding Accomplishments in Earthquake Risk Reduction” acknowledge successful risk reduction efforts outside of the Chapter. Each year the Chapter gives two awards, to an individual and an institution, in recognition of their hard work and dedication towards the reduction of seismic risk in Northern California. The recipients represent best practice examples of putting the science and engineering of earthquakes to work and demonstrate valuable contributions to the various disciplines and pursuits represented in the Chapter. The Chapter presented its first awards in 2003. Recent recipients include the California Earthquake Authority (2013), UC Berkeley (2012), the East Bay Municipal Utility District (2011), BART’s Earthquake Safety Program (2010), Frank Rollo (2013), the Bay Area Earthquake Alliance’s Susan Garcia (2012), City of San Francisco’s Laurence Kornfield (2011), City of Alameda Building Official Greg McFann (2010), and City of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan (2009).


2014 Election Results Announced

The 2014 election came to an end on Monday November 10th. Sixty-one chapter members completed their online ballots to elect three Directors at-large.

We are happy to welcome Dana Brechwald to the Board. Dana was elected to the position of Director at-large to serve a two year term. We also congratulate Directors Sharyl Rabinovici and Ken Mark, who were re-elected to serve a second term as Director at-large.

Congratulations to all (re)elected board members and thank you to out-going Director Chuck Real for your tenure of service to the Chapter.

The board also thanks the nominating committee of Laura Dwelley-Samant, Chair, Danielle Hutchings Mieler, and Ivan Wong, and all voting Chapter members!

See your complete 2015 Board of Directors here.

EERI Northern California Chapter | c/o EERI National | 499 14th Street Suite 320 | Oakland, CA 94612-1934 USA | chapterinfo@eerinc.org