Organizational News

ATC&SEI Hold Inaugural Conference

The ATC&SEI Conference on Improving the Seismic Performance of Existing Buildings and Other Structures took place on December 9-11, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  The first of what is hoped to be a series of joint events between the Applied Technology Council (ATC) and the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineering (SEI/ASCE), this inaugural conference was well-attended with more than 500 participants from 23 countries.  In addition to the technical sessions, there were more than 25 poster displays and 20 exhibitors in the exhibit hall.

Daily plenary sessions included world-class presentations by Mary Lou Zoback and William Holmes on National Seismic Hazard and Risk and the Report Card on Seismic Rehabilitation Progress, respectively, by Ron Hamburger and Maryann Phipps on a 2020 Vision for Performance-based Seismic Rehabilitation of Building Structural Systems and Seismic Anchorage and bracing of Nonstructural Components, respectively, and by Lucile Jones and Chris Poland on the Great California Shake Out and a Call to Action at the Professional and Political Level, respectively.  Luncheon plenary speakers were Thomas Tobin, who spoke on San Francisco’s Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety, and Masayoshi Nakashima on the Role of Large Scale Structural Testing in Seismic Rehabilitation.

The Conference offered a strong program on state-of-the-art seismic evaluation and rehabilitation of existing buildings in four concurrent tracks of technical sessions including papers and presentations on:
•  Improvements to Guidelines, Standards and Analysis Procedures,
•  Seismic Performance and Rehabilitation of Non-Building Structures,
•  Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Components,
•  New Materials and Innovative Approaches for Seismic Rehabilitation,
•  Innovative Approaches to Rehabilitation,
•  Mitigation Policy Issues, Strategies and Ongoing Programs, and
•  Case Studies on Analysis and Rehabilitation.
By attending these sessions, participants could earn up to 16.5 professional development hours.

Among the technical sessions, one highlight was a presentation by Kit Miyamoto of Miyamoto International on work in Turkey to protect the population from the devastating effects of earthquakes.  Outlining a broad program funded by the World Bank, the presentation illustrated the dramatic difference committed professionals can make in raising awareness of the need to improve a community or nation’s response to seismic risk, thus impacting the lives of millions who benefit from buildings, schools or bridges that can withstand the rigors of seismic loading.  Another highlight was the hands-on demonstration in the hotel lobby by Patrick Buscovich of Buscovich Associates and Laurence Kornfield of the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection on the use of garage doors to resist lateral forces with a full-scale model.

Submitted paper abstracts and presentations from the conference are available for download here. In addition, if you  were a registrant at the conference but did not obtain a copy of the Proceedings on site, please contact the ATC office for your complimentary copy. If you would like to purchase a copy of the Proceedings, you can do so in the ATC and ASCE online stores.



ATC Staff Member Elected to EERI-NC Board

On November 18, ATC Research Applications Manager, Ayse Hortacsu, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute's Northern California (EERI NC) Chapter . The Chapter is dedicated to reducing the earthquake risk in the Northern California by advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering, by improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political and cultural environment and by advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes.



ATC Sponsors 2-Day Symposium Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Hurricane Hugo

On October 22-23, 2009, ATC sponsored a 2-day symposium commemorating the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo that hit Charleston, SC in 1989.  The symposium theme was “Building Safer Communities – Improving Disaster Resilience.”

23 papers were presented at symposium, on topics ranging from discussions of coastal flood mapping to building code compliance.   There were two plenary sessions: one was given by Margaret Davidson, the Executive Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center and Dr. Tim Reinhold, the Vice-President of Engineering for the Institute for Business and Home Safety.  Both plenary sessions were well received and seemed to perfectly start and end the symposium, respectively.  Lunch times were also full of information shared by Drs. Peter Sparks and Ben Sill, both retired professors in Civil Engineering from Clemson University and Todd Davison, the Director of NOAA’s Gulf Coast Services Center.

Feedback from the approximately 80 participants has been very positive, and ATC is proud to have been actively engaged with the wind and flood engineering community in sponsoring this symposium.



ATC Board and Staff Investigate Flood Hazard Mitigation Issues in the Netherlands

In July 2009, ATC Board members and staff visited Netherlands, in order to learn about flooding and flood management from those who have considerable practice in it.

The ATC visit had two segments: First, there was an exploratory visit by three ATC
Board members and two ATC staff members.  The site visits included the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier in Maasluis, shown below, as well as other major flood protection systems.  The purpose of this exploratory segment was to meet with representatives of the flood community and travel to sections of the country that are at high risk of flooding.  Second, a workshop was held for the Dutch and the US contingents.  In this workshop, the Dutch contingent, consisting of flood mitigation professionals, explained many parts of the flood hazard as viewed and managed by the Dutch, including some issues with current policies and future projects that are necessary to continue to protect the country.  ATC Board and staff members discussed aspects of hazards in the US.

In the recent years, ATC has been expanding its outreach into the flood hazard area by adding several ATC Board members who are active in the flood hazard, and most recently, by adding a Director of Wind and Flood Hazard Mitigation to ATC staff in 2008.  As a result of the site visits and the workshop, the ATC Board and staff have recognized areas where ATC could contribute significantly to reducing losses caused by floods in the United States.

Photo of Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier



Board Member Bret Lizundia honored by Structural Engineers Association of Northern California

At the 2009 Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) Award Banquet ATC Board Member, Bret Lizundia, was named to the SEAONC College of Fellows.