About Us

About the US Resiliency Council

Our Mission

“Improving community resilience, one building at a time.”

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Our Vision

“A future where we not only have a low impact on the environment, the environment has a low impact on us.

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Accomplishments

  • 60+ buildings rated to date, including housing, civic, religious, commercial and educational facilities.
  • The USRC has 92 members who have contributed more than $1.1 million to support our mission.
  • The US Green Buildings Council formally included the USRC rating system in its new RELi resilience standard.
  • Los Angeles included the USRC as a preferred method for assessing city owned buildings.
  • A USRC Rating was included in design criteria for California’s most recent government office tower and for two Oregon state buildings

What’s Next

  • Collaborations are underway with a major insurance company to offer insurance discounts for USRC rated buildings.
  • The USRC system is being studied by Fannie Mae in developing “resilience mortgage” discounts.
  • With partners, USRC is helping to develop wind and wildfire rating systems, with flood beginning soon.
  • USRC is working with cities and states to promote resilient design through transparency, design criteria, and incentives.
  • Currently in production with Optimum Seismic, a 12-part webinar series on the why, how-to, and dividends of resilience will be released beginning April, 2020.

Meet Our Leadership Team

The USRC’s executive leadership consists of engineers, and experts in public policy, insurance, lending, construction and housing. Together with advisory committees and membership that include architects, researchers, scientists, civic leaders at all levels, industry suppliers, and disaster and emergency response related professional organizations, the USRC brings an unparalleled level of capability to the mission of improving community resilience in the built environment.

Each of our directors joined the USRC with a unique passion for resilience that reflects our vision to create a world in which building performance in earthquakes and other natural hazards is understood.

“I believe that consistent and credible ratings like the USRC’s are critical to dispel myths about building performance and support effective resilience efforts.”     

– Sorrel Hanson, FM Global

Evan Reis, PE, SE

Executive Director

Evan Reis is a Registered Structural Engineer in California, Hawaii and Texas. He graduated with his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Structural Engineering from Stanford University in 1988. The following year he was helping the University recover from the Loma Prieta Earthquake and playing an integral part in its long-term seismic program, a relationship that continues today. He was the structural engineer for the seismic retrofit of several of Stanford’s most historic buildings, including the Memorial Church and Stanford Art Museum, each of which won national awards for their technical excellence and creative design.

Evan co-founded the US Resiliency Council (www.usrc.org) in 2011 as a way to educate building stakeholders and the public about the gap between the growing sustainability movement and true resilient design. The country was made painfully aware of this gap little more than a year later, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Evan noted that even though there were more LEED certified buildings in the New York area than anywhere in the world, these buildings were built to have a low impact on the environment, not for the environment to have a low impact on them.

The mission of the USRC is to educate, advocate and promote resilience-based design that considers the impacts of natural disasters as an essential component of long-term sustainability. Its earthquake building performance rating system is being used by public and private owners and communities, and is forming the basis of economic and financial incentives being developed by lenders and insurers to reward high performing buildings.

Evan is a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, BizFed, the California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo Architectural Engineering Advisory Board, and the National Institute of Building Sciences. He is Chairman of the Alliance for National and Community Resilience and the Ravenswood Youth Athletic Association.

Evan Lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Kristine and their three sons.

Sharyl Rabinovici, PhD

Director of Strategic 

Communications

Sharyl Rabinovici is a researcher and policy entrepreneur in the natural disaster risk reduction space. Trained in both environmental science (BS, ‘97, Stanford) and public policy (MPP ‘00 University of Chicago and PhD, ’12 UC Berkeley), Dr. Rabinovici’s work spans the spectrum, from behavioral research and risk assessment to solution design, implementation, and program evaluation. As an independent consultant since 2014, she has orchestrated several interdisciplinary research projects to understand what moves individuals, businesses, and jurisdictions forward in managing their risk exposure. Her mission is always to put evidence-based best practices into use, be it through risk communication product design, strategy development, facilitating collaborative decision-making, or training teachers and neighbors in emergency readiness as a PTA or CERT volunteer. Recent clients include the California Earthquake Authority, City of Palo Alto (CA), FEMA, and the California Office of Emergency Services.

Dr. Rabinovici is currently a Visiting Scholar with the UC Berkeley’s Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER). Past board appointments include seven years with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute-Northern California Chapter and three years with the US Resiliency Council before joining as USRC’s Director of Strategy and Communications. She lives with her husband and two children in El Cerrito, CA, ½ a mile from the Hayward Fault.

Ron Mayes, PhD, PE

Director and Board Chair

Senior Consultant, Simpson Gumpertz Heger

Ron received his Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1972 and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to perform post-doctoral research at the Earthquake Engineering Research Center at Berkeley. Ron has 40 years of management and technical expertise in earthquake and structural engineering and his technical experience includes working with many of the world’s leading authorities in earthquake and structural engineering. He recently served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) and is a past Vice- President of The Masonry Society (TMS). He was selected “Structural Engineer of the Year” by the Wiley Journal “Design of Tall and Other Buildings” in 2006 and is a Fellow of both the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) and SEAONC.

Ron was the Co-Chair of the SEAONC Ratings Committee for eight years and is a Co-Founder and the acting Executive Director of the US Resiliency Council. In 1982, Ron formed and became President of Dynamic Isolation Systems, Inc. (DIS). DIS specialized in the design, analysis and supply of base isolation systems. At DIS, Ron had a national leadership role in developing and implementing base isolation technology and code procedures for buildings, hospitals and bridges. He joined the consulting firm of Simpson Gumpertz and Heger Inc. (SGH) in June 2001 and is currently their in-house specialist in the application of innovative technology. Ron was the base isolation project engineer on SGH’s unique application of base isolation technology on the China Basin project. This involved the use of base isolators to add two additional stories on top of an existing three story building with the goal of minimizing the seismic force on the structure below. This project was awarded SEAOC’s Excellence in Engineering award in 2008 and won the SEI/ATC Retrofit Project of the Decade award in 2009.

Ron was a member of the original ATC 58 project team that defined the scope of the performance based FEMA P-58 project that defines the earthquake performance of buildings in deaths, dollars and downtime. Ron was a co-leader of the EERI reconnaissance team for the 2011 Christchurch earthquake that once again demonstrated the disconnect between the public’s understanding of the performance of a code designed building and that given in the commentary to our building codes. Ron believes that the mission of the US Resiliency Council to be the administrative vehicle for implementing rating systems for buildings for earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, floods and blasts and to educate the building industry and the general public about these risks is a mission that is very timely

USRC Statement

Ron was a co-leader of the EERI reconnaissance team for the 2011 Christchurch earthquake that once again demonstrated the disconnect between the public’s understanding of the performance of a code designed building and that given in the commentary to our building codes. Ron believes that the mission of the US Resiliency Council to be the administrative vehicle for implementing rating systems for buildings for earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, floods and blasts and to educate the building industry and the general public about these risks is a mission that is very timely. 

Michael Cochran, SE

Director

Vice Presient, Thornton Tomasetti

Michael has an extensive background in the design of both new building structures as well as the seismic retrofit and renovation of existing buildings starting in the mid 1980’s.  Building types include multi-family; multi-story wood framed residential buildings, steel and concrete commercial office and retail buildings, as well as facilities work for local Southern California aerospace companies.

He has given multiple presentations over the years on building design for SEAOSC, SEAOC and the AISC North American Steel Construction Conference (NASCC).  He has also been a repeated guest speaker for the USC School of Architecture for undergraduate students design projects and discussing building structural systems.  He is a past president of both the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) and the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC).  He currently serves as a director on the Applied Technology Council Board of Directors.

For more than 20 years, Michael has been an active member of the California engineering community. He has given educational presentations, held leadership positions for several professional organizations and is currently a member of the advisory council for the architectural engineering program at California Polytechnic State University, San Louis Obispo. He remains an active member on various American Institute of Steel Construction committees and SEAOSC committees. Michael in 2014 served on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s seismic safety task force and contributed to the development of “Resilience by Design,” a report which addressed the city’s greatest vulnerabilities from earthquakes and offered recommendations for improving seismic preparedness. 

USRC Statement:

The USRC provides the public the opportunity to better understand the important roles buildings play in community resiliency planning.  If buildings can’t remain occupied after natural disasters, current community economic recovery plans will take years, if not decades to recover.   The USRC serves as a community spearhead to help assist the general public understand the significance of the built environment and how buildings are expected to perform during natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Johanna Cunningham Photo

Johanna Cunningham

Director

Founder, National Short Term Rentals

Johanna M. Cunningham is the Founder of National Short-Term Rentals headquartered in Southern California. Johanna has been exposed to the real estate industry through her mother, uncle and grandparents since the early 70’s. Johanna ‘s background initially led her on a different path as she pursued a career in the health club industry for more than 17 years.

Johanna earned her Bachelors Degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco and began her own consulting firm, Creative Corporate Solution.  She facilitated Strategic Planning Retreats and offered Executive Training solutions for non-profit boards of directors.  Her consulting business eventually led her back to the real estate industry where she took the helm as an Executive Director.  More recently she expanded her involvement and education to include the multi-family industry.  This path led her to the USRC as she realized how important it is to acknowledge building performance and resilience.

USRC Statement

Johanna has been involved with the USRC since the beginning and now serves as a Board Member.  As a lifelong Californian Johanna has a personal as well as a professional interest in keeping our built environment safe.  Seismic risk is not taken as seriously as it should be and the USRC’s mission is positioned to help residents understand why they should take notice and become proactive to protect their family and friends.  The USRC has qualified and strategically placed professionals in all aspects of the built environment.  They know what it takes to become a resilient community.

Her intention is to do what she can to inform and educate on all types of risk; fire, earthquakes, mud slides, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters.  Information is critical and saving lives is the goal.

Sorrel Hanson, PE

Director

Assistant Vice President, Sr. Staff Engineering Specialist Natural Hazards and Structures, FM Global 

Sorrel Hanson is an Assistant Vice President and Senior Staff Engineering Specialist with commercial property insurer FM Global. She has extensive property risk consulting experience with businesses owners and insurers in a variety of industries. Sorrel is involved with the development and support of internal risk programs and standards and is a known specialist in structural and non-structural earthquake risk assessments, mitigation, and business continuity planning. Other notable professional experience includes risk consulting with Marsh and McLennan, and structural engineering and expert witness services with ABS Consulting/EQE Structural Engineers and Josephson-Werdowatz & Associates.

Sorrel received an MS in Structural Engineering from UC Berkeley and a BS in Civil Engineering from UC Davis. She is a registered Professional Engineer in California, a Certified California Emergency Management SAP Evaluator, and was involved with catastrophe response efforts following the 2010 Maule Chile earthquake and 2011 Christchurch New Zealand earthquake.

USRC Statement

Sorrel has observed clients worldwide take on substantial risk due to misconceptions about their buildings’ expected performance in disasters. She has the belief that consistent and credible ratings are critical to dispel myths and support effective resilience efforts. Sorrel is honored to serve on the US Resiliency Council Board and contribute to the implementation of a rating system that will benefit property stakeholders and improve businesses and communities.

Farid Ibrahim, PE, SE, LEED AP

Director

Director, Preconstruction Services – Clark Pacific Builders

Farid has 37 years of experience in assisting clients, owners, designers, and builders achieve success with innovative design and cost-effective prefabricated building solutions.After graduating from University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Farid began his career in structural engineering as a Design Engineer. His focus was on analysis, design and field inspection of various commercial, industrial and residential projects. He quickly was promoted to the position of Project Manager where his responsibilities included overseeing design engineers and draftsmen.

In 1985, he started his career in precast concrete where he served various roles ranging from engineering, project management and quality control.For the last fifteen years, Farid has been with Clark Pacific as the , Director of Preconstruction Services. His latest accomplishment was the development and marketing of Clark PARC, a pre-engineered productized parking solution based on standards and best practices.

Farid serves on several professional committees and councils, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado and Michigan and a. Farid is also affiliated and is a member of many professional associations and has served on the board of Habitat for Humanity. He often speaks and presents at industry conferences and professional events.

USRC Statement

The USRC serves an important role not covered by other governing regulations, in that it provides a holistic assessment of the entire building structure along with its support equipment and contents. This assessment provides stakeholders a realistic evaluation on how their building would fare in the case of a natural disaster. This is crucial to how a community, city, state and country would recover or not in case of such a disaster. It is especially meaningful when it has been shown that for a small fraction of the cost, these buildings can be designed to be more resilient and have a lower life-cycle cost.

I was first exposed to the USRC through my current role at Clark Pacific, when we partnered on a series of webinars that addressed building resiliency and its many aspects from sustainability to the vitality of a region. Soon after, I had the pleasure of working with the council on the assessment of one of our projects, the Roseville City Annex, which was the recipient of USRC’s first rated building.

Camilla Seth

Director

Managing Director of The Finance Hub

Camilla Seth serves as Managing Director of The Finance Hub, a grantmaking and investment intermediary working to align capital markets with sustainable food production. The Hub focuses on the financing of globally traded soft commodities and the role of land-use in climate change related financial disclosures and investment strategy. The Finance Hub is a central partner within the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Conservation and Financial Markets Initiative.

Camilla has over 25 years’ experience working on sustainable finance and market development with financial institutions, corporations, and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the Finance Hub in 2018, Camilla was Executive Director for Sustainable Finance at JPMorgan Chase where she focused on conservation and climate finance, environmental risk management, stakeholder management and policy development. Camilla was the chair of the multi-bank group that drafted the Green Bond Principles which set the stage for the development of the $150 billion Green Bond market (2018) and developed and managed the firm’s conservation finance partnership with The Nature Conservancy – called NatureVest. She also advised businesses within the Investment Bank and JPMorgan Asset Management on ESG and impact investing.  Camilla served as Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Citigroup, where she managed implementation of the bank’s sustainability policy (the first such policy in the U.S.) helping to shape work across the investment bank.  She also directed Citigroup’s global environmental philanthropy, doubling its size and linking to the bank’s sustainable business priorities.  Camilla was Program Officer for the Environment at the Surdna Foundation where she managed climate change and biodiversity protection initiatives.  She began her career at EA Capital, one of the earliest financial advisory firms specialized in resource efficiency and productivity in the energy, water, agriculture, transportation and forest product industries.

Camilla has served on several non profit boards, including her current service on the Board of the U.S. Resiliency Council in California.

Camilla lives in Montclair, NJ with her two daughters.