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RE: Seattle Earthquake

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I believe a major factor which lead to AIA prez being on MSNBC was AIA
happened to have an annual meeting of some kind scheduled for the afternoon
of the quake.  I believe AIA prez said that quake occurred as he was
preparing to leave his office to go to this meeting.  Not sure who called
who for interview but, given MSNBC's likely knowledge gap on difference
between architects & SEs, AIA prez must have seemed like a great target of

I don't fault AIA prez for doing interview (however it was arranged,
although it would've been nice to hear him say something like, "SEs/SE orgs
should be consulted for detail/more detail on structural matters"), I don't
fault MSNBC for their knowledge gap, & I don't expect SEs/SE leadership to
behave irresponsibly by doing things like chasing publicity during crises.
I was merely 'jumping on the pile,' which began as follows:

"Keep dreaming.  If anyone in the design industry gets any brownie points
from the media because of low damage statistics it will be the architects.

> Perhaps the excellent performance of most newer Washington state
> buildings will elevate the status of the SEAW and its members?  :)"

We've switched gears since these first few e-mails from 'semi-playful' to
'semi-serious.'  If we're going to get serious, let's identify the problem &
propose some solutions.  

I believe the problem is lack of smarts by the media.  A feature of a good
'get well' plan would be SE leadership doing some education of the media
in-between crises, perhaps even passively by, for example, inviting media to
the some of the many meetings, seminars, conferences, etc. that deal with
'structural response to quakes.'  That way the media would hopefully pick up
on the fact that we're the ones that know 'why things fall down or not,' so
we should be the ones contacted after an event like a large quake.


-----Original Message-----
From: Stanley_P_Johnson(--nospam--at) [mailto:Stanley_P_Johnson(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 1:51 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Seattle Earthquake

Perhaps part of the problem is that SE's are acting in far too responsible
an upstanding a manner.

For instance, if we had a really big quake in California, I would imagine
that most of the SEAOC leadership would immediately bury themselves in
starting the phone tree, coordination post eartquake evaluation teams,
participating on these teams, or rushing to client hospitals to work on
evaluating damage and detailing fixes.

Perhaps the job description for the top brass at SEAOC should say that as
soon as a major earthquake happens, they are to spend all their time
phoning the media and scheduling interviews.

SEAOC is supposed to promote the profession right?

Stan Johnson

> Speaking of architects getting more than their fair share of praise from
> media, I was perturbed by the fact that MSNBC had the president of AIA on
> the air last night during their coverage of the earthquake to discuss
> 'structural' issues (e.g., structural performance of bldgs in the quake,
> advances in bldg code to make structures more resistant to quakes, etc.).
> AIA Prez even had time to mention that AIA dispatches members to
> on quake recovery teams.  As a matter of fact, I don't believe I heard
> "structural engineer" mentioned all night long on any of the various
> channels I was flipping amongst.  Talk about stealing our thunder!

> Glen Pappas, P.E.