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).


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