2008 Alfred E. Alquist Medal Winner:
Susan Tubbesing

Susan Tubbesing's career has been dedicated to reducing losses from natural hazards. From 1977 to 1988 she was manager of the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center at the University of Colorado, where she integrated the activities of researchers, practitioners, and policy makers around the world. In 1988, Susan became EERI’s first executive director, where she has increased its involvement in research, public education, and seismic safety policymaking. She has distinguished herself as an informed and persuasive leader of EERI and as a champion of earthquake loss reduction in the U.S. and abroad. Under her direction, EERI’s membership grew and its budget increased to over $1 million. In addition to organizing memorable annual, national, and international meetings, Susan advises the EERI President and Board of Directors, oversees the EERI staff, and maintains good connections with the news media. She also organized and managed the first interdisciplinary earthquake clearinghouse after the Northridge earthquake that today serves as the model for collection of post-disaster field observations. 

Because of her excellent relationships with national and international funding agencies, EERI has expanded its activities during her tenure. The National Science Foundation supports the exemplary Learning from Earthquakes Project for post-earthquake field investigations. Since 1988, she has served as the principal investigator for six US-Japan conferences on urban earthquake hazard reduction and, more recently, two international conferences on urban disaster reduction. Susan has been successful in securing funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support EERI publications, programs for students and young professionals, technical seminars for engineers, and the web-based Mitigation Center . The U.S. Geological Survey engages EERI to develop workshops on the uses of earthquake scenarios and other mitigation tools. In collaboration with the International Association of Earthquake Engineering, EERI has created the first-of-its kind, web-based World Housing Encyclopedia. 

Since 1988, Susan has walked the halls of Congress for NEHRP reauthorization; testified at state and national legislative hearings; and served on numerous boards and advisory committees for earthquake engineering centers and organizations throughout the country. Notable appointments include service on the following:

  • Editorial Board, Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Steering Committee, 2008 National Earthquake Conference
  • Steering Committee, Earthquake Information Providers Network
  • Management Group, California Post-Earthquake Clearinghouse
  • Advisory Committee, National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering
  • Advisory Committee, California Integrated Seismic Network
  • Steering Committee, National Academies Natural Disaster Roundtable
  • Executive Advisory Board, Mid-America Earthquake Center
  • Advisory Council, Southern California Earthquake Center
  • California Seismic Safety Commission Research Implementation Committee

Susan’s collaborative spirit, unflagging memory for details, keen vision, and good humor have made her an articulate and influential advocate for earthquake loss reduction nationally and internationally. EERI’s preeminence as THE international multidisciplinary forum for earthquake risk reduction is a product of Susan’s leadership and stewardship. Please join the California Earthquake Safety Foundation in recognizing Susan K. Tubbesing's contributions to earthquake safety in California and the nation.