Invited Speakers

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Welcome and Opening Plenary - Creating Change in Southern California and Beyond (8:00AM - 10:00AM)

Session Description: This opening plenary session will showcase recent achievements in seismic mitigation policy in Southern California and discuss the opportunities and challenges faced during the implementation phase.  Dr. Lucy Jones will provide an overview of the work that has been done, followed by an interactive discussion panel with local officials designed to better understand what it takes to create successful mitigation policies and challenges to implement them successfully.  Panelists include Ron Takaguchi, Assistant Community Development Director and Building Official for the City of Burbank,Marisa Aho, Chief Resilience Officer for Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti in the City of Los Angeles, and John Bwarie, Founder & CEO of Stratiscope, a firm that assist businesses, non-profits, government, and institutions develop a community impact strategy that includes relationship-building, public affairs, and civic engagement.  They will be followed by Ashraf Habibullah who will discuss the invaluable role earthquake scientists, engineers and risk reduction experts play as change makers to ensure enhanced seismic safety for the good of society, and the critical need for the entire earthquake engineering community to work collaboratively to reach this goal. EERI President David Friedman, and 11NCEE Organizing Committee Chairs James Malley and David Cocke will also welcome attendees.


  • Dr. Lucy Jones, Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society
  • Ron Takaguchi, Assistant Community Development Director - Building Official, City of Burbank
  • Marisa Aho, AICP, Chief Resilience Officer, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles
  • John Bwarie, Founder & CEO, Stratiscope
  • Ashraf Habibullah, President/CEO, Computers and Structures, Inc.
  • EERI President David Friedman, Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc.
  • 11NCEE Organizing Committee Co-Chair James Malley, Degenkolb Engineers  
  • 11NCEE Organizing Committee Co-Chair David Cocke, Structural Focus


Nazarian web edit

    The Honorable Adrin Nazarian
    California State Assemblymember, District 46

Adrin Nazarian was elected in November 2012 to represent California’s 46th Assembly District, which includes the Hollywood Hills, Lake Balboa, North Hills, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Universal City, Van Nuys, and Valley Village.

Since his election, Adrin has passionately advocated for increased mass transit in the San Fernando Valley, smarter management of vital water resources through infrastructure improvements, protecting and expanding the film industry, and much-needed earthquake preparedness. He sits on the Assembly Committees on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media; Health; Rules; and Transportation.

Not only is Adrin an influential voice for his constituents in Sacramento, he’s actively engaged in his district. To date, he has organized over 30 free women’s self-defense classes, reaching over 1,500 participants; and hosted or co-hosted over 200 events throughout the district—ranging from child car seat safety, ADA workshops, pet adoption events, and map your neighborhood events.   

Adrin has always believed in civic engagement and the importance of giving back to his community. He has served on the boards of several community-based organizations including the East Valley YMCA and the YWCA. Adrin was one of the founding members of Generation Next Mentorship program, which worked with local public schools to give young people alternatives to a life of gangs and drugs.

Prior to being elected, he served as Chief of Staff to Paul Krekorian in both Mr. Krekorian’s capacity as Assistant Majority Leader in the California State Legislature and Los Angeles Councilmember. Adrin also served as an aide to Congressman Brad Sherman, participated in the prestigious CORO Fellowship in Public Affairs program, and was appointed as Special Assistant to the California Trade and Commerce Agency by former Governor Gray Davis.

Adrin attended UCLA, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He and his wife, Diana, live in West Toluca Lake with their children Alex, David and Maggie.


Lucy Jones Headshot web

 Dr. Lucy Jones
 The Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society

Dr. Lucy Jones is the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, with a mission to foster the understanding and application of scientific information in the creation of more resilient communities. She is the author of the forthcoming book, The Big Ones (Doubleday, April 2018) and is also a Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech, a post she has held since 1984. Working with both the public and private sectors, Dr. Jones seeks to increase communities' ability to adapt and be resilient to the dynamic changes of the world around them. The aim is to understand and communicate where the greatest vulnerabilities lie and what actions can be taken to reduce the risks that are the most cost-effective. With a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from MIT, Dr. Jones has been active in earthquake research for decades, furthering earthquake risk reduction through seismological research and integrated disaster scenarios. Dr. Jones is the EERI Distinguished Lecturer for 2017. 


Ashraf Habibullah .web

 Ashraf Habibullah
 President/CEO, Computers and Structures, Inc.


EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING: Celebrating the Grandeur and Glory of Our Profession
In this keynote presentation, Ashraf will inspire you with his intense passion and enthusiasm for the earthquake engineering profession. He brings into focus the invaluable socio-economic contributions that earthquake engineering professionals make to humanity.  From the protection of life and property to the preservation of peace and stability, the impacts of our profession are vital and should be both applauded and celebrated.  You will leave with a renewed appreciation for the ways in which our profession makes the world a safer and better place to live, for all of us today and for countless generations to come.

Ashraf Habibullah, Registered Structural Engineer, is President and CEO of Computers and Structures, Inc. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970 and founded CSI in 1975. Today CSI is recognized globally as the pioneering leader in the development of software for structural and earthquake engineering. The software is used by thousands of engineering firms in over 160 countries.

Ashraf has led the development of CSI's products for over four decades. He has been active as a developer and educator, conducting seminars in dozens of cities across the world on the theory and techniques used in structural and earthquake engineering software.  

Ashraf’s presentations highlight the immeasurable contributions made by earthquake engineering professionals and how their work has saved lives, protected property and preserved peace and prosperity for all of humanity. Ashraf is also a co-founder of the Diablo Ballet and the founder of the Engineering Alliance for the Arts, an organization that involves school children with technology, focusing on the technical and artistic aspects of bridge engineering.


Lunch and EERI Distinguished Lecture (12:00 - 1:30PM)

The Promise of Smart Materials in Earthquake Resistant Design

170818 Reggie DesRoach 0035 headshot.web   Reginald DesRoches, PhD, F. ASCE, F. SEI
  2018 EERI Distinguished Lecturer
  William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering
  Rice University

Damage from recent earthquakes underscores the importance of developing new approaches and technologies to improve the performance of structures during earthquakes. The presentation will highlight applications of one class of smart materials — shape memory alloys — in improving the performance of structures subjected to earthquake loading. Shape memory alloys belong to a class of smart materials that can undergo large deformations while reverting back to their original, undeformed shape. This unique property has led to the development of numerous applications in the biomedical, aerospace, and commercial industries. A multi-scale and multi-disciplinary approach is taken to explore the potential use of these materials for applications in earthquake engineering. Component testing, full-scale testing, and detailed analyses show great potential for shape memory alloys to significantly improve the earthquake performance of nonductile buildings and bridges.

Reginald DesRoches is the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering at the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. In this position, he provides leadership to a top ranked engineering school with 9 departments, over 125 faculty, and 2500 students.  His primary research interests are in design of resilient infrastructure systems under extreme loads and the application of smart and auto-adaptive materials. His research is highly interdisciplinary and spans micro- to macro-scale. He has published approximately 300 articles and served as thesis advisor to 30 doctoral students.

Dr. DesRoches served as the key technical leader in the United States’ response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, taking a team of 28 engineers, architects, city planners, and social scientists to study the impact of the earthquake.  Dr. DesRoches serves on the NIST National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee (NCST), National Academies Resilient America Roundtable (RAR), the Board on Army Science and Technology (BAST), the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Advisory Committee, and the Global Earthquake Modeling Scientific Board. He has chaired the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Seismic Effects Committee as well as the executive committee of the Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering.In recent years, Dr. DesRoches has testified before U.S. House and Senate subcommittees on earthquake resilience and the state of the science, and he has participated in Washington, D.C. roundtables for media and congressional staffers on topics ranging from disaster preparedness to the critical role that university research must play in addressing the country’s failing infrastructure.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Plenary Session  - Seismic Hazard (8:00AM - 8:50AM)

What Changes to Expect in Seismic Hazard Analyses in the Next 5 Years

norm abrahamson web

 Norman Abrahamson                   
 UC Berkeley

Traditionally, global GMPEs have been developed for three broad tectonic categories: active crustal regions, stable continental regions, and subduction zones.  As empirical data sets have grown in the last decade, it has become clear that there are significant differences in the distance scaling and site scaling within these broad tectonic categories.  The NGA-W2 GMPEs incorporated systematic regional differences in the in VS30 scaling, basin depth scaling, and large distance scaling for large regions (California, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Turkey, ... ).  The key differences between the 2008 NGA GMPEs and the 2014 NGA-W2 GMPEs are due to these regional differences.  The effects of regionalizing the GMPEs were clearly seen in the site factors: the 2014 NGA-W2 GMPEs for California showed much stronger scaling with VS30 than the 2008 NGA GMPEs based on the global average.  This change reflects the different geologies in these regions that have different correlations between the shallow shear-wave velocity (VS30) and the deep VS profile that controls site amplification.

The NGA-W2 GMPEs considered the differences for broad regions, but there are systematic differences in the ground-motion scaling over a much small scale.  Within California, the regional differences can be observed over distances of 15 to 30 km for the distance scaling and over even shorter distances for the site scaling, indicating that there can be significant changes in the hazard over short distances.  The current efforts to include site-specific basin effects into the national hazard maps is one of the first steps in this move to site-specific GMPEs to capture regional differences over short distance within a broad tectonic region.  As new GMPEs regionalized over shorter distance scales are applied, there can be significant changes in the estimated hazard at specific sites: some sites will have increased hazard and some sites will have reduced hazard.  Example hazard calculations using non-ergodic GMPEs that include finely regionalized distance and site scaling effects will be shown.  These examples show that there can be up to a factor of 2 increase or decrease in the ground motion for return periods of 1,000 to 10,000 years.  Initially, hazard analyses based on non-ergodic GMPEs will be limited to site-specific studies, but non-ergodic terms, such as site-specific basin factors, are currently being considered for the national hazard maps.  Regionalized path effects are the next step in this move to non-ergodic hazard.

Dr. Abrahamson is an internationally known expert in seismic hazard and risk analyses with 30 years experience in the practical application of engineering seismology to the development of deterministic and probabilistic seismic criteria for engineering design and evaluations of seismic risk.  He has been involved in developing or reviewing design ground motions for hundreds of projects around the world including dams, bridges, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste repositories, water and gas pipelines, rail lines, ports, landfills, hospitals, electric substations, and office buildings. The focus of his research has been the interface between the earth sciences and earthquake engineering. His work on ground-motion models includes the statistical methods for empirical ground-motion models such as the random-effects regression methodology and incorporation of hanging-wall effects, directivity effects, fling effects, and basin effects into empirical ground-motion models using constraints from numerical simulations. His work on seismic hazard has focused on the epistemic uncertainty in the hazard and how to reduce the uncertainty using constraints from fragile geologic features and using recordings of ground motions at the site of interest.  Currently, he is working on partially and fully non-ergodic ground-motion models that transition from using global ground-motion models to using site-specific and source-specific ground-motion models.


 Lunch and 2018 William B. Joyner Lecture  (12:00 - 1:30PM)

 Seismic Landslide Assessments:  Bridging the Gap between Engineers and Earth Scientists

ellen rathje web

 Ellen M. Rathje, 2018 William B. Joyner Lecture Awardee
 University of Texas at Austin 

Ellen M. Rathje is the Warren S. Bellows Centennial Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering and also a Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include seismic site response analysis, earthquake-induced landslides, field reconnaissance after earthquakes, and remote sensing of geotechnical phenomena. 

She is a founding member of and current co-chair of the Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance Association (GEER) which coordinates National Science Foundation-sponsored geotechnical investigations around the world after major earthquakes and other natural disasters such as floods, to advance research and improve engineering practice. Rathje is also the Principal Investigator of the DesignSafe cyberinfrastructure project, a web-based research platform for the National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) that provides computational tools to manage and analyze critical data for natural hazards research. Closer to home, Rathje is co-principal investigator for the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research and the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, both housed at the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Plenary Session - Seismic Risk (8:00AM - 8:50AM)

"Toward Performance-Based Construction – Better Buildings by Design"

Maryann Phipps web Maryann Phipps,S.E.
President, Estructure

Maryann’s collaboration with the late Professor Steve Mahin is the foundation for this talk, which was originally intended to be jointly presented with Steve. It will instead be presented in his honor. 

Maryann Phipps is a Structural Engineer with over 35 years of experience evaluating, designing and renovating buildings. She has served as Structural Engineer of Record for hundreds of renovation projects designed to enable buildings to remain operational following large earthquakes. Maryann’s hands-on experience designing seismic protection for nonstructural components has helped make her a recognized expert in the field. She was the lead technical consultant for FEMA P-74 Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage, which received an Award of Excellence from the Structural Engineers Association of California. Maryann was co-leader of FEMA’s reconnaissance team for the South Napa Earthquake and co-authored FEMA P-1024 Performance of Buildings and Nonstructural Components in the 2014 South Napa Earthquake. Maryann is currently technical lead for a NIST-sponsored project Seismic Analysis and Design of Nonstructural Components and Systems intended to advance the state of practice in this field.

Maryann is a current member of the California Hospital Building Safety Board, California State University Seismic Review Board, and UCSF Seismic Review Committee. She is also a Past President and Fellow of the Structural Engineers Association of California, and served as Director of the Applied Technology Council.

Lunch and EERI 70th Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation (12:15 - 1:15PM)

Award Ribbon

Lunch will be served at noon, followed by the EERI Awards Ceremony and Annual Business Meeting. EERI will honor I. M. Idriss with the George W. Housner Medal; Michael Mahoney with the Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal; Jonathan P. Stewart with the Bruce Bolt Medal; Vitor Silva with the Shah Family Innovation Prize; and both Thalia Anagnos and Marshall Lew with EERI Honorary Membership. The Earthquake Spectra Outstanding Paper Award will be presented, along with the NEHRP Graduate Fellowship Award, and winners of the EERI Graduate and Undergraduate Student Paper Competitions. Retiring Board Members and EERI Committee Chairs will also be recognized, along with members of the 11NCEE Organizing Committee. The awards ceremony will be followed by a brief EERI Business Meeting.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Plenary Session - Seismic Policy (8:00AM - 8:50AM)

"What Drives the Agenda in Earthquake Policy?"

tom b headshot

 Thomas A. Birkland, Ph.D.
 North Carolina State University

Tom Birkland is a Professor of Public Policy in the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina State University, as well as the associate dean for Research and Engagement in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has studied the politics of natural hazards and technological accidents for more than 20 years. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Washington.  

Before joining NC State, Birkland was an associate professor of public administration in the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at SUNY-Albany. In 2006, Birkland was the program director for the Infrastructure Management and Hazard Response Program at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. 

Birkland is the author of two books and several articles on the public policy aspects of disasters. His 2006 book Lessons of Disaster is a follow-up to his 1997 book, After Disaster. He is is a former editor of the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters and is series editor for Springer's series on "Environmental Hazards," for which he invites proposals for books and edited volumes. He is also an active scholar in the broader policy process research field and he is the author of An Introduction to the Policy Process, published by Routledge. 

Tom’s presentation will be forward-looking based on past experience in public policy and current trends at the federal level.





The objective of EERI is to reduce earthquake risk by advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering; improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment; and advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes.


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