List of Visiting Professionals

List of Visiting Professionals

The 2023-2024 FFVP Program student chapter application is now open! Click here to apply. Applications are due Monday, November 6, 2023 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.

Geotechnical Engineers

Ramin Golesorkhi, Principal/Vice President and Director, Langan, San Francisco, CA 

He is a registered civil (California and New York) and geotechnical engineer (California) and a Fellow of ASCE. He is a principal/vice president and director of earthquake engineering services at Langan, an over 1,050-person geotechnical, environmental, and civil design engineering firm, with more than 30 years of experience in seismic analysis and foundation engineering. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Tufts University and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Golesorkhi directs the development of seismic and geotechnical design criteria appropriate for industrial, residential, private and government office buildings, hospitals and healthcare facilities, bridges, elevated freeways and viaducts, base isolated structures, tunnels, and seismic strengthening of existing structures. He has developed seismic design criteria for performance-based design of structures since early 2,000’s and has been active in the development of seismic design criteria in building codes. He is one of the primary authors of Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Technical Guide on Performance-Based Seismic Design for Tall Buildings (2017). Some of his projects include: the new Asian Art Museum, numerous high-rise towers, a major refinery in Peru, AT&T Park, Levi’s Stadium, and the State office building in San Francisco. His experience stretches throughout the United States, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East.

Faiz Makdisi, Senior Principal Engineer, Gannett Fleming, Inc., Oakland, CA 

He received his Bachelor of Engineering degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He has over 40 years of specialized experience in geotechnical and earthquake engineering. Dr. Makdisi has been actively involved in studies of the seismic behavior of earth and rock fill dams and embankments. He developed and published (with the late Professor H. Bolton Seed) widely used simplified procedures for estimating the dynamic response and permanent deformations in earth and rock fill dams. Recently, Dr. Makdisi has been involved in development of seismic design criteria, evaluation of seismic stability, and design of alternative remedial measures for more than 25 embankment dams. He has authored and co-authored many papers dealing with the seismic stability of dams and with various aspects of earthquake ground motions and seismic design criteria for critical facilities. He is a recipient of the 1977 Norman Medal award of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for the paper (co- authored with Seed, Lee and Idriss) on the analyses of the slides in the San Fernando Dams during the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. As a member of a team of Technical Advisors to the Los Angeles District, Corps of Engineers, on the design and construction of Seven Oaks Dam in California, Dr. Makdisi was a co-recipient of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chief of Engineers “Design and Environmental Honor Award for 2002.” Dr. Makdisi has served as a member of the Independent Board of Consultants for the Oroville Dam Spillway Restoration Project, and the Director’s Safety Review Board for Perris Dam, Castaic and Crafton Hills Dams, B. F. Sisk Dam, and five Delta Dams, for the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Division of Safety of Dams. He also served as a member of the Consulting Review Board for Conconully Dam, and El Vado Dam for the US Bureau of Reclamation.

In 2017, Dr. Makdisi was awarded the Danny K. McCook Medal by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), for his lasting contributions to dam safety; and in 2019, he was elected by the University of California, Berkely to membership of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni.


  1. Evaluation of the seismic performance and stability of embankment dams (earth and rockfill dams).
  2. Assessment of earthquake ground motions for the design or evaluation of critical structures.
  3. Potential failure modes evaluations for risk assessments of dams.

Jorge Meneses, Advisian, The Worley Group, San Diego, CA

Jorge Meneses

Jorge Meneses is an expert in geotechnical and earthquake engineering. Areas of expertise include seismic hazard analysis, selection and modification of earthquake time histories, liquefaction and lateral spread evaluation and mitigation, deep and shallow foundations, seismic stability of earthworks, site response and characterization, numerical modeling and advanced geotechnical testing. Dr. Meneses specializes in seismic soil-structure interaction analysis, and analysis and design of pile foundations subjected to liquefaction and lateral spread. He has experience with seismic hazard evaluation and ground motions development in different earthquake environments. Dr. Meneses was the lead member of one of the GEER (Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance) missions to evaluate damage and seismic performance after the M9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake in April 2011. Dr. Meneses has research and working experience in USA, Japan, Peru, Venezuela, India, and Mexico. He has been involved in numerous projects serving as a technical lead in earthquake geotechnical engineering and foundation engineering for various markets including nuclear, energy, transportation, high rise buildings, commercial and industrial. He is currently a part-time faculty in the graduate school of San Diego State University and part-time instructor at the University of California San Diego Extension. He is the President and Founder of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) San Diego Chapter, Honorary Chair of the ASCE Geo-Institute San Diego Chapter, and a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He was also a member of the California Seismic Safety Commission appointed by the state governor and confirmed by the state senate (2017-2021).


  1. Practitioner approach to site-specific seismic hazard evaluation
  2. Development of earthquake ground motions for seismic deformation analysis of earthworks
  3. Earthquake Safety for All: The challenge of reducing seismic risk in developing countries
  4. Impact on practical design of low-probability events with large consequences
  5. Significance of Earthquake Scenarios for Mitigation and Planning

Sissy Nikolaou, Leader of the Earthquake Engineering Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Sissy Nikolaou

Dr. Sissy Nikolaou is the Leader of the Earthquake Engineering Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Earthquake Engineering Group (EEG) is one of four research groups in the Division, which serves as a world-class resource for developing, advancing, and deploying measurement science for reducing the risks to buildings and infrastructure lifelines from earthquake hazards. Nikolaou provides leadership for EEG to support global competitiveness of U.S. industry through innovations in building materials and construction technology and enhance the security, safety, and sustainability of the built environment across the nation. Her group also supports the National Construction Safety Team (NCST), and National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).

Nikolaou earned her 5-year Civil Engineering Diploma from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece on Structural Engineering, and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University at Buffalo with focus on Earthquake and Geotechnical Engineering. She has served as Director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), Applied Technology Council (ATC), and is an advisory member of the NSF-funded Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association. She is currently a Governor and Treasurer of the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-GI), where she holds the Fellow status, and is member of the Executive Committee of the Infrastructure Resilience Division (ASCE-IRD). She enjoys developing and teaching graduate classes in Manhattan College where she serves as an Adjunct Professor. Her recognitions include receiving the Prakash Prize for Excellence, the WSP Technical Fellow of Earthquake Engineering distinction, and a Board Certification by the Academy of the Geo-Professionals (AGP).

She has led national reconnaissance missions around the world that brought together universities, agencies, and firms, following major earthquakes and hurricanes. She was part of the response/recovery work of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 Terrorist Attack and Hurricane Sandy, while she has played a key role in the development of new generation of seismic guidelines and frameworks for buildings, bridges, tunnels, and other lifeline infrastructure systems in the US and abroad. One of her passions is to support and inspire the new generation of engineers, and she is meaningfully involved with organizations that enhance the inclusion and equity of women, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and other underrepresented groups in the engineering community. Nikolaou’s experience has highlighted the need to emphasize quality of life in developing solutions to earthquake, climate, and other human-induced problems. Her future oriented approach connects research and practice to innovate and improve standards which help communities bounce forward, rather than simply bouncing back, after an earthquake or other extreme events.


  1. Functional Recovery: The Next Frontier of Earthquake Engineering
  2. Geo-Seismic Design: From Empirical Methods to Performance Based Frameworks
  3. Learning from Success rather than Failures after Extreme Events
  4. Soil-Structure Interaction: Basic Concepts and Future Direction

John Thornley, Senior Geotechnical Engineer, WSP USA, Anchorage, AK

John Thornley

John Thornley, PhD, PE, BC.GE is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer at WSP USA in Anchorage, Alaska. He has over 18 years of geotechnical and earthquake engineering experience. Recently, John was a co-lead for the EERI Learning from Earthquakes Reconnaissance effort for the November 30, 2018 M7.1 Anchorage, Alaska Earthquake. John is currently the chair of the Municipality of Anchorage Geotechnical Advisory Commission. He has served as field manager of geotechnical studies and prepared recommendations for a variety of infrastructure projects including buildings, roads and airports, large liquefied natural gas and water storage tanks, pipelines, wind and cellular towers, and utilities. As part of John’s work across Alaska, he has been involved in seismic hazard studies, seismic site response analyses planning studies for large infrastructure buildouts, and cold regions and permafrost engineering. His design work includes ground improvement in liquefiable soils, deep and shallow foundations, slope stabilization, retaining structures, and embankments. One of John’s study areas relates to thawing permafrost and the resulting liquefaction hazard that can develop. John has led a variety of repair and post-earthquake mitigation projects in southcentral Alaska including repair work for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. John completed his MS focused in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Nevada Reno and a PhD focused in geotechnical earthquake engineering at University of Strathclyde Glasgow, evaluating the variability of earthquake site response within Anchorage, Alaska.


  1. Observations from the November 30, 2018 M7.1 Anchorage, Alaska Earthquake.
  2. Anchorage Geotechnical Advisory Commission – Engineers and Planners shared impacts on public policy.
  3. Deep Dynamic Compaction – A case study on two buildings and how ground improvement works.
  4. Liquefaction-related deep soil mixing ground improvement projects – lessons learned from design and construction.
  5. Slope stabilization using ground improvement – Protecting a shoreline from an Alaska Subduction Zone earthquake.

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Risk Analysis, Lifelines, and Industrial Facilities

Ronald T. Eguchi, President and CEO, ImageCat Inc., Long Beach, CA 


Mr. Eguchi is President and CEO of ImageCat, Inc., an international risk management company that supports the global risk and catastrophe management needs of the insurance industry, governments and NGOs. Mr. Eguchi has over 30 years of experience in risk analysis and risk reduction studies. He currently serves or has served on several editorial boards including EERI’s Journal SPECTRA. In 1997, he was awarded the ASCE C. Martin Duke Award for his contributions to the area of lifeline earthquake engineering. In 2006, he accepted an ATC Award of Excellence on behalf of the ATC-61 project team for work on An Independent Study to Assess Future Savings from Mitigation Activities that showed that a dollar spent on hazard mitigation saves the nation about $4 in future benefits. He was recognized by EERI as the 2008 Distinguished Lecturer where he discussed the topic of “Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and other Disasters: A View from Space.” He recently chaired the Technical Committee on Advances in Information Technologies for the SEI Division of ASCE, a committee he started in 2015. He has authored over 300 publications, many of them dealing with the seismic risk of utility lifeline systems and the use of remote sensing technologies for disaster response. He has lectured on a variety of topics including a) using remote sensing technologies for disaster response, b) evaluating the resilience of complex lifeline systems to earthquakes and other natural disasters, and c) the truth about starting your own consulting company in a technology-driven environment. He was awarded the 2017 Civil & Environmental Engineering Department Distinguished Alumnus Award from UCLA.

Charles Scawthorn, Principal at SPA Risk LLC and Visiting Researcher at Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center at UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA


Charles Scawthorn is internationally recognized as an authority for the analysis and mitigation of natural and technological hazards. He retired in 2008 as Professor and head of the Earthquake Disaster Prevention Systems Laboratory, Kyoto University (Japan), has been Visiting Professor at Stanford, Beijing Normal and Waseda (Tokyo) Universities and is now Visiting Researcher, Univ. California at Berkeley. He is widely recognized for the development of methods for rapid risk analysis of buildings (FEMA 154), seismic vulnerability assessment of US national infrastructure (FEMA 224), stochastic models of fires following earthquakes, models for optimizing urban land use with respect to natural hazards risk, general loss estimation models for earthquake, wind and flood, and seismically reinforcing low-strength masonry buildings. From 1998 to 2003 he led technical development of the US national Flood Loss Estimation Model (HAZUS) for FEMA. He teaches a course on Disaster Risk Assessment, Mitigation and Financing at the World Bank and has taught a weeklong seminar on California earthquake risk for the London Market Association. As President of SPA Risk LLC, he consults to the global insurance industry, the World Bank, local/state/federal agencies and Global 1000 corporations. Dr. Scawthorn is a graduate of the Cooper Union, holds an M.S.C.E. degree from Lehigh University and received his D.Eng. from Kyoto University. He is the author or co-editor of a number of books and technical papers on earthquake engineering, fire following earthquake, catastrophe risk and human casualties.


  1. Designing your career in engineering
  2. Infrastructure – analysis and design
  3. Modeling of natural hazards (foundation of planning and design, and also for the insurance industry)
  4. National risk management strategies – their design and implementation
  5. Earthquake engineering
  6. Fire following earthquake
  7. Optimization of infrastructure networks

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Ivan G. Wong, Senior Principal Seismologist, Lettis Consultants International, Walnut Creek, CA


Ivan has nearly 50 years of experience in the fields of engineering seismology and seismic geology. A major focus in his career has been earthquake hazard reduction and awareness and public outreach. He has directed the site-specific seismic hazard analyses of more than 700 critical and important facilities worldwide including some of the largest evaluations performed in the U.S. such as the Yucca Mountain Project. For FEMA, Ivan has been involved in the education and implementation of the seismic risk assessment software HAZUS in several regions in the U.S. He has been the recipient of numerous NEHRP external research grants from the USGS that have supported the development of urban probabilistic and scenario hazard maps and other earthquake hazard-related studies. Ivan is a past member of the EERI Board of Directors, past President of the EERI Northern California Chapter, and past member of the Editorial Board for EERI’s Earthquake Spectra and numerous EERI committees including the Seismic Earthquake Safety Initiative Committee. He has been an Associate Editor for the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America for 24 years. He is a member of numerous scientific and engineering committees, panels, and working groups including Chair of the Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities and member of the ANSS National Steering Committee, the American Nuclear Society Working Groups on Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis and Surface Fault Rupture and Deformation, and the International Atomic Energy Agency Working Group on Probabilistic Fault Displacement Hazard Analysis. Ivan has also been particularly active in serving the U.S. Geological Survey on several review and advisory panels including the review panel for the 1996 and 2023 National Seismic Hazard Maps. In 2017, Ivan was appointed to the California Seismic Safety Commission by Governor Jerry Brown where he served for four years. Ivan has authored or coauthored more than 400 professional publications.


  1. Learning From Earthquakes: Lessons Learned for Evaluating Seismic Hazards
  2. Induced Seismicity: Addressing the Hazard and Risk With Energy Development and Its By-Products (includes oil/gas wastewater injection, geothermal development and carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration)
  3. Keeping Up With the Science for Seismic Design in the Pacific Northwest (or other regions in the U.S. including the Intermountain, Central, Eastern, or Southeast U.S.)

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Structural Engineers

Erik Bishop, Associate, Reid Middleton, Inc., Everett, WA

Erik Bishop

Erik Bishop is an Associate at Reid Middleton, Inc., in Everett, WA and has experience working on a variety of earthquake-focused projects types throughout the western United States, Japan, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates. Erik’s experience includes new design, seismic evaluation and rehabilitation design for buildings and lifeline utilities, seismic resiliency studies, and the development of seismic instrumentation and earthquake response technologies. Erik has also had opportunities to participate in post-earthquake reconnaissance and response efforts following the M8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake in China (2008), the M8.8 Chile Earthquake & Tsunami (2010), the M7.1 Puebla, México Earthquake (2017), and the M7.1 Searles Valley, CA Earthquake (2019). After observing the devastating effects of these events first-hand, he has worked in several capacities in order to improve the seismic safety and resiliency of our communities, including providing post-earthquake safety evaluation trainings, working on the development of innovative earthquake response tools for emergency managers, and participating in various earthquake preparedness advocacy and professional committee efforts. He was selected as a Housner Fellow in 2017 through the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI).


  1. Post-Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings (ATC-20/Cal OES SAP/WAsafe) Training Classes
  2. Lessons Learned from Earthquake Reconnaissance following Earthquakes in California (2019), Mexico City (2017), Japan (2011), Chile (2010), and China (2008)
  3. Real-Time Structural Instrumentation as an Emergency Response and Business Continuity Tool
  4. Tools for Advancing Resilience Reconnaissance with a Jojutla, México Case Study
  5. Evaluating the Seismic Resilience of Community Lifeline Infrastructure
  6. Seismic Upgrades for Essential Facilities – Case Studies

David Cocke, Founder and President, Structural Focus, Los Angeles, CA

David Cocke

David started Structural Focus in 2001 after 15 years in San Francisco with Degenkolb Engineers, and another five years founding and managing their Los Angeles office. While at Degenkolb, David worked on notable historic projects such as the EQ repairs to the SF Ferry Building, several quad buildings at Stanford and the Hotel del Coronado. At Structural Focus, David has worked on the design of new buildings including a new Amazon Studios campus, and the evaluation and retrofit of hundreds of buildings including film studio facilities, university buildings, the Red Bull Headquarters, Google LA Headquarters and historic buildings ranging from some historic barns at Rancho Los Alamitos to the adaptive reuse of a 1930’s concrete sound stage at Sony Studios. Some other significant recent projects include the restoration of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the new Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and numerous adaptive reuse projects. David is also co-founder and Managing Director of SAFEq Institute which serves as a resource for post-disaster inspections information and providing direct services to government entities and business owners. He has led the establishment of the Accelerated Building Reoccupancy (formeraly Building Occupancy Resumption) Programs in southern California jurisdictions. In addition to his work in preservation, David has served on the Board of Directors of the Structural Engineers Association of both SEAONC and SEAOSC, as well as SEAOC. He also served on the California Preservation Foundation Board, on the Board of Pasadena Heritage, EERI Board and was President of the USC Architectural Guild in 2007. David has served as the SEAOC-appointed Alternate Structural Member on the State Historical Building Safety Board since 2007, and was formerly on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Conservancy. David also is a member of the Alumni Board of the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech and recently stepped down from the Advisory Board for the Architectural Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He is a past President of the Board of Governors of the Structural Engineers Institute (SEI) of ASCE and a Fellow of SEI, ASCE and SEAOC. David is the immediate Past President of EERI and is a member of the federal government's Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazard Reduction.


  1. Retrofit of historic buildings and some significant case studies.
  2. Private/Public partnerships in support of community resilience.
  3. Real life as a practicing Structural Engineer and life lessons learned.

David Friedman, Senior Principal (retired), Forell | Elsesser Engineers, San Francisco, CA


Senior Principal (retired) and immediate past President, CEO and Board chair, with more than 40 years at Forell | Elsesser and 45 years in the industry, David’s strength is a holistic approach to a project’s planning, design and construction, and the collaborative integration of creative structural solutions with architects, engineers, and builders. With a specialty in designated historic structures, David has creatively solved numerous engineering challenges. Principle examples of his solutions include the base isolation retrofits for both the San Francisco City Hall and Asian Art Museum, the adaptive reuse and retrofit for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the seismic safety corrections and remodel of UC Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium. The practicing structural engineer today must have a broad understanding of not just structural engineering, but must be knowledgeable about architecture, M/E/P systems, construction delivery methodologies, and the construction process. All projects come with their own litany of challenges and constraints, and the structural engineer is one of the key players in achieving the optimal solution: The project’s budget, the selected performance and design criteria, the architectural form, and the operating systems all affect the selection of the appropriate structural materials and lateral force resisting system. Then the analysis must get translated into a design, and the design must clearly and carefully be delineated into construction documents including plans, details, sections and technical specifications, with appropriate attention to sequencing, phasing and constructibility. This all gives rise to the notion of today’s structural engineer as a “Master Builder”, one who can articulate their way through a complex labyrinth of form finding, criteria setting, risk evaluation, design and documentation, and construction.


  1. Base Isolation: A Primer with Case Studies: San Francisco City Hall & UCSF Center for Regenerative Medicine
  2. The Practice of Structural Engineering Today with Project Examples: UCB Memorial Stadium, Stanford’s McMurtry Hall, Facebook
  3. The Seismic Retrofit of California Memorial Stadium, University of California, Berkeley: Straddling the Hayward Fault

John Hooper, Senior Principal and Director, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Seattle, WA


John Hooper is a Senior Principal and the Director of Earthquake Engineering at Magnusson Klemencic Associates, a 150-person consulting structural and civil engineering firm in Seattle, Washington. John has over 40 years of engineering experience in the fields of seismic renovation, seismic design of new buildings (including the use of performance-based seismic design), structural analysis and standards and code development. He is active on numerous research, standards and code committees, including serving as past chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE 7’s) Seismic Subcommittee, member of the ASCE 7’s Main Committee, and chair of the Building Seismic Safety Council’s (BSSC’s) NEHRP Provision Update Committee. John’s project experience includes major healthcare facilities, high-rise buildings, emergency operations centers, and structures with unique architecture.


  1. ASCE 7-22 Seismic Design Requirements
  2. Performance-based Seismic Design: Current Approaches and Future Trends
  3. Research collaborations between academics and practitioners

Lindsey Maclise, Principal, Forell | Elsesser Engineers, San Francisco, CA

Ezra Jampole

Lindsey is a Principal at Forell Elsesser with over 15 years of experience in the structural engineering field, during which she has led the engineering effort for many large and complex projects. Lindsey received both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UC Berkeley where she is currently serving as a member of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Advisory Board. Lindsey is also an active member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and has been named a Housner Fellow of the EERI.

Lindsey is passionate about sustainability for the built environment and leads many efforts that promote the design, construction, and operation of buildings that are environmentally responsible and healthy places to live and work. Lindsey currently leads Forell Elsesser’s Carbon Neutral Initiative which takes progressive action to help reduce, educate, and implement carbon reduction design strategies in structural systems. Lindsey also served as past chair of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) Sustainable Design Committee and has given many presentations on sustainable design and the vital role that structural engineers can play to design more sustainable and resilient structural systems. In addition, she has lectured nationally and has written many reports and papers that focus on sustainable design strategies for the built environment.


  1. Sustainable Design in Structural Engineering
  2. Career Development
  3. Women in Engineering

Janiele Maffei, Chief Mitigation Officer, California Earthquake Authority, Sacramento, CA


Janiele Maffei received an M.S. degree (1980) in Civil (Structural) Engineering and A.B. degree (1978) in Architecture, both from the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Maffei is licensed as both a Civil Engineer and Structural Engineer in California with over 40 years of experience in the design of new buildings, retrofit designs of existing buildings, seismic evaluations, seismic loss estimation studies, design of equipment anchorages, preparation of construction documents, project management, and construction administration. After fifteen years as a project manager and regional office director with Degenkolb Engineers, she opened her own practice where she managed complex design projects involving many disciplines. In 2011, Ms. Maffei joined the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) as its Chief Mitigation Officer. In this capacity, she serves as the Executive Director of the California Residential Mitigation Program and manages the CEA research department.

As Executive Director of the California Residential Retrofit Program, Ms. Maffei has been responsible for developing policies, plans, and incentives for retrofitting wood frame residential construction throughout California intended to mitigate the consequence of a major earthquake in California. She also co-managed, with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the CEA/FEMA-funded Applied Technology Council (ATC) Project 110, Prestandard for the Seismic Retrofit of Single-Family Wood-Framed Dwellings, now published as FEMA P-1100. For CEA, she managed the 2014 South Napa Earthquake single-family dwelling research project and the CEA/PEER Project, “Quantifying the Performance of Retrofit of Cripple Walls and Sill Anchorage in Single-Family Wood-Frame Buildings” published in 2020.

Her professional leadership positions include: Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC), Board of Directors, (1995-1997); SEAONC, President (2019 – 2021); Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), Northern California Chapter, President (2010-2011); and EERI, Board of Directors, Secretary and Treasurer (2012-2018).

James Malley, Senior Principal, Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco, CA

Jim Malley

James O. Malley is a Senior Principal with Degenkolb Engineers of San Francisco, California. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. A registered Structural Engineer in California, Mr. Malley has over 40 years of experience in the seismic design, evaluation and rehabilitation of building structures. He has specialized in the seismic design of steel frame structures, especially for health care facilities. Mr. Malley served as the Project Director for Topical Investigations for the SAC Steel Program. In that position, he was responsible for directing data collection and interpretation of steel frame buildings damaged by the Northridge Earthquake and all of the analytical and testing investigations performed as part of the SAC Steel Project. In 2000, this work was recognized by AISC in presenting Mr. Malley its’ Special Achievement Award. Mr. Malley serves as Chair of the AISC Specifications Committee and the past Chair of the AISC Seismic Subcommittee that is responsible for developing the AISC Seismic Provisions. He was named the 2010 T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award winner for his work on the AISC Seismic Provisions, and in 2012 was given presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by AISC. Mr. Malley is also a member of the AWS D1.l Subcommittee on Seismic Welding Issues that publishes the AWS D1.8 Seismic Supplement to AWS D1.1. He was a member of the steel subcommittee of the ATC 33 project that developed FEMA 273/274, “NEHRP Guidelines for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings” and is a member of the Building Seismic Safety Council Provisions Update Committee. Jim has served as a member of the SEAONC and SEAOC Board of Directors and was President of SEAONC in 2000- 2001. He was President of SEAOC in 2003-2004. He was named a SEAOC Fellow in 2007 and an Honorary Member of SEAONC in 2014 and Brunnier Lifetime Achievement Award from SEAONC in 2022. Mr. Malley was also a member of the Board of Directors of NCSEA, serving as President in 2010-2011. He was also presented the James Delahay Award by NCSEA in 2014 for his contributions to the development of building codes and standards. He served on the Board of Directors of EERI and was Vice- President from 2017 through 2019. Mr. Malley was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Applied Technology Council and served as President from 2020-2021. He has made numerous presentations on the effects of the Northridge Earthquake on Steel Frame Buildings, as well as the seismic design of steel structures. The author of over fifty technical papers, Mr. Malley was the Co-Recipient (with the late Egor Popov) of the 1986 ASCE Raymond C. Reese Research Prize ASCE for the paper “Shear Links in Eccentrically Braced Frames”.


  1. The basis for the AISC Seismic Provisions
  2. Seismic retrofit project of a 15 story steel moment frame building with connection modifications and viscous dampers
  3. Seismic Evaluation of Tall pre-Northridge Steel Moment Frame Buildings: Observations and Trends on Performance and Examples of Seismic Retrofits
  4. Lessons learned from peer review of complex buildings designed using Performance Based Seismic Design
  5. Innovation in the Seismic Design of Steel Structures

Maria Mohammed, Project Engineer, Structural Focus, Los Angeles, CA

Jim Malley

Maria Mohammed joined Structural Focus in 2013 after graduating from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2012 and an M.S. in Structural Engineering in 2013. Maria is a licensed Structural Engineer in California and has extensive experience working on the retrofit and renovation of historic structures and existing buildings, as well as the design of new buildings. She has worked on significant projects at Structural Focus, including Google LA HQ, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, CBRE Masonic Temple, and several projects on the Paramount Studios lot, among others. Maria has participated in post-earthquake reconnaissance efforts after the 2019 M7.1 earthquake in Searles Valley, CA. Maria was also selected to participate in EERI’s class of Housner Fellows in 2020. In addition to her involvement within EERI, Maria is also actively involved in the Structural Engineers Association of California and Structural Engineers Association of Southern California. She has served and continues to serve as the Chair of various committees in both associations and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for SEAOSC. As a student, Maria greatly appreciated and was inspired by the limited opportunities she had to interact with practicing structural engineers; now as a practicing structural engineer, she participates in programs like the Friedman Family Visiting Professionals with hopes that her story of becoming a structural engineer, and her day-to-day experiences of working as a structural engineer, will inspire the future generation into entering a field that she’s very passionate about.


  1. Adaptive reuse and working with existing buildings. Especially in the context of earthquake safety, existing buildings are as crucial as improving the practice of design for new buildings.
  2. Business resiliency and back-to-business (B2B) programs.
  3. Advocacy and various community involvements for engineers. I have been involved in various organizations and committees throughout my career and have grown notably through these professional involvements. Sharing my experiences may alleviate the fear that professional involvements are limited for young engineers.

Rafael Sabelli, Senior Principal & Director of Seismic Design, Walter P Moore, Oakland, CA

Jim Malley

Rafael Sabelli is a Senior Principal and Director of Seismic Design at Walter P Moore. Rafael has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Special Achievement Award from AISC, as well as the T.R. Higgins Lectureship award. He is a member of the AISC Committee on Specifications, where he is vice-chair of the Technical Committee on the Seismic Provisions, and a member of the AISC Committee on Manuals, where he is chair of the Seismic Design Manual committee.

He is a member of, the ASCE 7 Seismic Task Committee and the NIST Building Seismic Safety Council’s Provisions Update Committee. Rafael was coeditor for the SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual.

Rafael is co-author of Ductile Design of Steel Structures and has written extensively on the design and behavior of steel seismic systems. He has published technical papers on braced frames, connection design, and structural stability. He is the past President of the Structural Engineers Association of California.

Rafael was Structural Engineer of Record of landmark projects including the award-winning San Francisco International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower and of the Los Angeles Rams Sofi Stadium.


  1. A1. Case Study of San Francisco Air Traffic Control Tower: Performance-based design using a self-centering system.
  2. Case Study of an NFL Stadium: Performance-based design using seismic isolation.
  3. Steel Connection Design: Limit states, equilibrium, load path, and ductility.
  4. Design for Stability: A review of principles and methods.

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Emergency Management

Jay Wilson, Resilience Coordinator, Clackamas County Disaster Management, Portland OR

Jay Wilson

Jay Wilson is the Regional Mitigation and Recovery Coordinator for the Portland Metro Area, Oregon Emergency Management and supports the delivery of mitigation and recovery programs within the communities of Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah and Washington counties in the Portland area. Most recently Jay completed 15 years as the Resilience Coordinator for Clackamas County Disaster Management. He is the past-Chair (2014-17) of the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC) and earlier worked for Oregon Emergency Management and as a Mitigation Reservist with FEMA Regions IX and X. Jay served a two-year appointment as a Resilience Fellow with the National Institute of Standards and Technology during the development of the 2015 Community Resilience Planning Guide. He is a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and has completed post-earthquake reconnaissance trips to Japan (2011) and Central-Italy (2017). Jay holds an M.A. in geography and a B.A. in film and lives in Portland, Oregon.

Professional highlights:

  • Provided invited testimony to the U.S. House Science Committee towards the passage of the 2006 Tsunami Warning and Education Act
  • Lead role in the development of the 2013 Oregon Resilience Plan


  1. Policy advocacy: Aligning seismic risk polices for oil storage tanks with climate adaptation policies to address environmental justice and leverage the transition to green energy in the context of Oregon’s Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub.
  2. Disaster resilience from federal, state, and local perspectives
  3. Role of community values and beliefs in adopting resilience strategies

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