"Involving Stakeholders...Igniting Innovation...Securing Resilience"


MCEER Annual Meeting Provides “Rush” in Sacramento

Event Convenes Stakeholders, Partners, Students and Researchers in California’s Capital City

It wasn’t a rush for gold that brought them to Sacramento, but it was certainly a rush of interaction and ideas that they generated at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER). The “they” are the record number of practitioner stakeholders that attended and joined in presentations and dialogue at the event, which jump starts planning for MCEER’s coming year of research, education and outreach activities.

Under the theme of “Involving Stakeholders … Igniting Innovation … Securing Resilience,” MCEER’s 2005 Annual Meeting reached out from California’s state capital, and engaged stakeholders from up and down the West Coast. The purpose was to begin a process to ignite innovation and engineer solutions that help communities secure heightened resilience against earthquakes and other disasters nationwide. The meeting was held in the Sacramento area at the invitation of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), a vital partner in MCEER’s hospital research thrust.

In all, more than 100 participants, including business, industry and government stakeholders, as well as MCEER Industry Advisory Board members, students and investigators, took part in the event. The large “practitioner” turnout made for countless invaluable contributions of insight and perspective to the Center’s research, education and outreach programs.

The meeting was also marked by a number of other noteworthy activities that heightened stakeholder-investigator interaction.

Meeting Opens with OSHPD-Hosted Reception at State History Museum

MCEER’s 2005 Annual Meeting opened with an Icebreaker reception on the evening of Thursday, February 24. Hosted by OSHPD the event was held at California’s beautiful State History Museum, which was opened exclusively to MCEER annual meeting participants. More than 60 attended, partaking in fine food, good conversation, ample networking opportunities, and a host of exhibits and interactive displays marking California’s storied past.

2nd Annual Practitioners Day Forum Attracts 40+ Participants

Friday, February 25 marked the second annual Practitioners Day Forum, involving more than 40 practitioners and consultants from:

The day opened with an informational plenary session in which MCEER Director Michel Bruneau, and thrust area leaders (Masanobu Shinozuka, Tom O'Rourke, Andre Filiatrault, and Kathleen Tierney) laid the foundation for dialogue, with brief presentations on each of the Center’s three research thrust areas:

Eisner Luncheon Address looks at Post 9/11 Emergency Management

A luncheon address by Richard Eisner served as a springboard for practitioner comments and gave impetus to discussions on response and recovery issues. Eisner, of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services spoke of the changing landscape and challenges facing emergency managers in these post 9/11 times.

More than 24 Practitioner Presentations Provide Perspective & Insight

Following lunch, practitioners and MCEER Industry Advisory Board (IAB) members joined researchers and students in breakout sessions specific to each of MCEER’s research thrusts. Sessions provided members of the various practicing communities with a platform to voice their perspectives on real-world challenges to improving seismic resilience. Each session included a number of practitioner presentations followed by discussions.

Breakouts were led by MCEER researchers Stephanie Chang (University of British Columbia), Manos Maragakis (University Nevada, Reno), and Ron Eguchi (ImageCat, Inc.), who submitted reports on the discussions.

A plenary session featuring presentations from Center IAB members followed, adding further perspective. In all, practitioners and IAB members gave more than 24 presentations throughout the day, each contributing vital input to help shape MCEER’s research, education and outreach programs for the coming year. 

An evening reception featured student posters as well as exhibits by Center industry partners. Seventeen members of MCEER’s Student Leadership Council engaged industry partners and other practitioners, as they presented posters on their MCEER-funded research.

Asian Tsunami/MCEER’s Remote-Sensing Research are Banquet Topics

The Annual Meeting Banquet featured a presentation by Ron Eguchi of ImageCat, Inc. Ron spoke on "MCEER’s Remote Sensing Research following the December 26, 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami." (The reconnaissance report on the Tsunami/Earthquake can be viewed here).

Although originally developed for earthquake response, MCEER’s remote-sensing capabilities hold significant promise for improving pre-event loss estimation and post-event emergency response and recovery from a variety of disasters, including tsunamis. One member of Eguchi’s ImageCat team represented MCEER in post-disaster field investigations following the tragic event.

Eguchi illustrated ImageCat’s deployment of the VIEWS (Visualizing the Impacts of Earthquakes With Satellites) system to record, document and analyze field data from the disaster which claimed more than 250 thousand lives in 11 countries. The system was also deployed last September on South Florida’s west coast, following Hurricane Charley. (MCEER's RESPONSE to Hurricane Charley can be viewed here)

VIEWS is a notebook-based system, which integrates GPS-registered digital video footage, digital photographs and observations with high-resolution satellite images of a disaster.

MCEER Partners, Researchers and Students Engage in Day of Planning

On Saturday, February 26, MCEER partners, students and investigators joined together for the annual meeting’s Strategic Research Planning Day.

Industry Advisory Board Meets to Provide Strategic Input/Comment

MCEER’s Industry Advisory Board (IAB) opened the day early with a breakfast meeting to review Center progress and discuss their desires for the coming year. The meeting was chaired by Ellis Stanley, Sr., in the absence of IAB Chairman, Gary Hart. Stanley, vice chair of MCEER’s IAB, is director of the City of Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Department.

Thirteen IAB members participated in the meeting. They began with a SWOT analysis on MCEER activities, to convey their thoughts on Center Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to Center management. Discussions also focused on MCEER’s nonstructural components and electrical utilities research, professional and continuing education, ways to increase interaction between IAB member firms and MCEER’s Student Leadership Council, and strategies for continued IAB growth and development.

IAB Executive Committee members later met jointly with MCEER’s Executive Committee to convey IAB member insights and opinions to Center leadership.

Linking the Outside World to MCEER Resources: Reinhorn Discusses MCEER’s Networking Program

Saturday’s morning session opened with Andrei Reinhorn providing an overview of MCEER's Networking Program. The MCEER Networking Program is an advanced framework for sharing experimental and computational resources and data through advanced electronic and computerized networks using the latest information technology tools. It links MCEER partners, investigators, students and other users to Center resources – experimental facilities, computational platforms, research projects and sub tasks, seminar webcasts, etc. – via the web. It may be accessed via mceer.buffalo.edu/research.

SLC Activities/Berman’s Best Student Article Highlight Education Recap

A review of student leadership council activities by new SLC chair, Michael Pollino, followed the Networking presentation. The MCEER–SLC is a formal incarnation of students who are involved in performing MCEER research under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Pollino reported on the progress of SLC activities, including:

Outgoing SLC chair, Jeffrey Berman followed Pollino, with his presentation titled, "Testing of a Laterally Stable Eccentrically Braced Frame for Steel Bridge Piers." Berman’s paper was chosen tops in the MCEER 2004 Best Student Article Competition. The competition featured 11 submissions by SLC members. Members of MCEER’s IAB served as judges.

Berman was awarded a plaque and a $500 check for his winning article. He was also presented with an inscribed desk clock and pen set recognizing his years of service and contributions as chair of MCEER’s Student Leadership Council.

The day continued with a series of research thrust area breakout sessions to continue MCEER’s strategic planning. It concluded with reports on each breakout session and a presentation by Michel Bruneau on "MCEER’s Strategic Post-Graduation Plan."


Involving Stakeholders...Igniting Innovation...Securing Resilience
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