12NCEE Conference Highlights

The 12th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Salt Lake City concluded after a fantastic week of sessions, workshops, special events, committee and chapter meetings, and tours. Over 1200 people participated in the conference, including more than 300 undergraduate students in the Seismic Design Competition. A particularly bright spot was the record rate of participation by younger members and graduate students, who made up more than a third of the conference attendees—when counting the SDC teams, the number rises to half! EERI thanks Computers and Structures, Inc. and FEMA for their generous support in funding the registration grants that made it possible for so many early-career participants to take part in 12NCEE.

governor cox speaking at the opening plenaryAfter a day of board meetings and a welcome reception on Monday, the conference program began Tuesday morning with the Welcome and Opening Plenary. Governor Spencer J. Cox opened the conference with a keynote emphasizing the importance of ongoing work to advance seismic safety in Utah. “I am grateful that you chose Salt Lake City,” he said. “Having the best experts from all over the world here will help us prepare for the worst to come.” In the roundtable that followed, Professor Lisa Grow Sun of Brigham Young University School of Law led a discussion with State Representatives V. Lowry Snow and Clare Collard, and Utah Seismic Safety Commission members Jessica Chappell and Robert Grow that delved into those issues. The opening plenary received press coverage in The Salt Lake Tribune and kicked off a special track of programming focused on Utah, including sessions on the 2020 Magna earthquake and the Wasatch Front URM risk reduction strategy.

Wednesday morning’s plenary featured the 2022 Distinguished Lecture by Ken Elwood on using the lessons learned from Christchurch to shift from designing for ductility to designing for repairability, followed on Thursday by David Wald’s Joyner Lecture on the future of rapid earthquake impact estimation. 12NCEE also featured in-person committee and regional chapter meetings, special events like the Meet the Leaders networking session, and an engaging panel exploring the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in earthquake risk mitigation and engineering education. As usual, one of the highlights of the conference was Shake Day, when 34 teams from nine countries, nine US states, and Puerto Rico gathered to test their Seismic Design Competition model structures. Over 10,000 people viewed the live streams of the shaking table tests.

On Thursday evening, the 12NCEE Closing Plenary brought members of the organizing committee and Utah chapter together to reflect on the lessons learned during the conference, before the Awards Ceremony recognizing EERI’s honoraries. EERI Board President David Cocke presented the Housner Medal to Mary Comerio, the Alquist Medal to Barry Welliver, and the Bolt Medal to C.B Crouse. Jack Moehle and Robin McGuire were recognized with Honorary Membership. Ashly Cabas and Samuel Yniesta received the Shah Family Innovation Prize; Maha Kenawy and Jack English received the 2022 Younger Member Awards; and Patrick Bassal and Alan Poulos were recognized as the recipients of the FEMA/NEHRP Graduate Student Fellowship. Spectra Editor-in-Chief David Wald presented the 2020 Outstanding Paper Award to Vitor Silva; the 2021 Outstanding Paper Award to Adrian Rodriguez-Marek; and the Graduate Student Paper Award to Rodrigo Costa. EERI congratulates all of the awardees!

SDCFinally, the Student Leadership Council took to the stage to present the 2022 Seismic Design Competition awards. The winner of the T-shirt design competition was UC San Diego, with honorable mentions to McMaster University and Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest. Universitas Indonesia won the new Fan Favorite Poster Award, and the Best Architecture Award went to University of Toronto. The Seismic Performance Award was won by Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, the Charles Richter Spirit of the Competition Award by the University of British Columbia, the Best Communication Skills Award to the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, and the Structural Innovation Award to Oregon State University. In the overall competition, third place went to the Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, second place to Cornell University, and first place to the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca! Congratulations to all the SDC teams for their hard work and achievements.

Thank you to the 12NCEE Organizing Committee and everyone who came together to make 12NCEE a success!