2017 EERI-NC Chapter Awards

This year’s Chapter Awards for Innovation and Exemplary Practice in Earthquake Risk Reduction go to Dr. Stephen Mahin and The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission for their Water System Improvement Program.

EERI-NC Chapter President Sharyl Rabinovici presents the Individual Award to Colin Mahin, Dr. Stephen Mahin’s son, accepting on his behalf.

Dr. Mahin has made exceptional contributions to the fields of earthquake engineering and performance-based design of structures by advancing understanding of structural behavior, innovating new experimental testing approaches using hybrid methods, and improving computational design methods.  As the Byron L. and Elvira E. Nishkian Professor of Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials at UC Berkeley, Steve has helped shape countless local careers through his mentorship and has contributed to the design of many buildings in the Bay Area and beyond.  He has contributed to innovation and idea sharing globally through relationship building with professionals all over the world, in places like Mexico, Japan, and Italy to name a few. As an international leader in the field of resilient structural design, Dr. Mahin has won numerous honors and awards, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Steel Construction and Japan Association for Earthquake Engineering.

Further attesting to his commitment to cross-disciplinary and synergistic efforts of resilience research, Dr. Mahin directed the NHERI Computational Modeling and Simulation Computation Center (SimCenter), a cloud-based computational modeling ecosystem for diverse multidisciplinary groups to work in tandem on solutions to complex problems in natural hazard engineering. Dr. Mahin also served as Director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) from 2009 to 2015, where he most recently focused on the reliability and efficiency of power networks and electrical distribution infrastructures and creating cross-institutional dialogue amongst the research community.  

Dr. Mahin has been an outstanding asset and pillar in our earthquake engineering research community in the Bay Area. We particularly recognize his inexhaustible enthusiasm and unique ability to come up with creative solutions with a holistic, inclusive approach to problem-solving. He never hesitates to generously share his time and assistance with students, fellow researchers and practitioners, and public officials. His collaborative spirit has drawn in the social sciences to engineering research, as well as encouraged the presence and advocacy of women and minorities in the practice of engineering.

Sharyl presents the Organization Award to Terry Robertson, Assistant Metro Editor, accepting on behalf of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Chronicle’s Editorial Board and Staff were chosen this year for their long history of attention to earthquake issues in our region and beyond.  Research shows that the more frequently people encounter risk information from trusted sources, the more likely they are to take action. Regional residents, businesses, and civic leaders need access to high quality, timely information that keeps the long term consequences of earthquakes on the mind. People furthermore need to hear about what is being and can be done now to make things better —plus regular nudges to pay attention and not let these opportunities slip by.  The Chronicle has made an impact on these challenges over the past ten years through:

  • Thought-provoking reporting on major California earthquake anniversaries and when local events strike, such as in Napa in 2014.
  • Consistent coverage of the scientific and policy developments and issues of the day, for instance, new research findings, the pitfalls and potential of homeowner earthquake insurance, and relevant implications of significant events abroad, including Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy and elsewhere.
  • Helped the public understand the actions and outcomes of San Francisco’s Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) project and subsequent ground-breaking Earthquake Safety Implementation Program (ESIP) from 2000 to present.

An important contribution of The Chronicle, given its roots and role in the ultra-wired Bay Area, was to take advantage of new opportunities for online information sharing. The Chronicle hosts a dedicated earthquake information page with resource links (http://www.sfgate.com/earthquakes/), issues online bulletins on California earthquake occurrences over M2.5 (approximately weekly), and has over time featured multiple guides topreparedness, retrofitting, and insurance. Most recently, its “Survival” Guide Sunday pull-out, co-produced with the California Earthquake Authority, provided readers with a comprehensive yet practical A-to-Z primer on what it means to live and work in earthquake country and what can be done to understand and address your risks.

As a result of the above, the Bay Area community is more aware and prepared. Over time, many individuals associated with the Chronicle news organization — too many to name—have contributed to these efforts.

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