Keynote Speakers


Michael Pender SmallMichael Pender is a staff member of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University.  He is Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, a position he has held since 1985.  In addition he is a Visiting Professor to the European School for Advanced Studies in the Reduction of Seismic Risk, University of Pavia. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, a Life Member of the New Zealand Geotechnical Society and the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering.

His primary areas of interest in teaching, research, and consulting are: the elucidation of the geotechnical properties of NZ materials, particularly soils of residual or volcanic origin; the earthquake resistant design of foundations; limit state design in geotechnical engineering; the engineering behavior of closely jointed rock masses.



Robert ReithermanRobert Reitherman, Executive Director, CUREE
Robert Reitherman is the Executive Director of CUREE, the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering, an association of 22 American universities with civil engineering programs devoted to earthquake engineering. Reitherman obtained his undergraduate degree in government from Harvard and his master of architecture degree from Berkeley, at the latter specializing in earthquake engineering. He is the author of the book published in 2012 by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Earthquakes and Engineers: An International History, and has authored papers and monographs on architectural aspects of seismic design, reviews of US federal government earthquake policies, unreinforced masonry buildings, and nonstructural earthquake damage. He has directed several projects aimed at informing the general public about civil engineering, most recently as project director of the Golden Gate Bridge Permanent Outdoor Exhibition. For the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), he directs its oral history program.


David WaldDavid Wald
David Wald is a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Golden, Colorado and is on the Geophysics Faculty at the Colorado School of Mines. David is involved in research, management, operations, and development for the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) and the Advanced National Seismic System. He developed and manages “ShakeMap” and “Did You Feel it?”, and he is responsible for leading the development of other systems for post-earthquake response, information, and pre-earthquake mitigation, including “ShakeCast” and “PAGER”, among others.


Under the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, David is Coordinator of the Earthquake Effects topical area and manages the NEIC’s Real-time Products Research & Development Team. In these roles he provides guidance to USGS management on diverse topics ranging from basic earthquake research, monitoring, earthquake hazard and risk, and earthquake response. Due to the impact of USGS projects under his leadership, they have been funded externally by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Global Earthquake Model, the California Department of Transportation, the American Lifelines Alliance, the Veterans’ Administration, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The earthquake information systems he has developed in the course of his career have presented many opportunities for important long-term interactions with users from educational, engineering, consulting, loss modeling, utility, critical facility, emergency response and management, government, and international arenas, as well as for public outreach and service. He has also lectured at dozens of universities nationally and internationally.

Previously at Caltech, and now at the Colorado School of Mines, Wald has advised dozens of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student research projects. His own scientific interests include the characterization of rupture processes from complex recent and historic earthquakes using combined geodetic, teleseismic, and strong motion data; waveform modeling and inversion; analysis of ground motion hazards and site effects; earthquake source physics; and modeling earthquake-induced landslides, liquefaction, and losses.  This research has resulted in more than 450 professional publications that David has authored or co-authored, including journal papers, USGS publication series, conference papers, and published abstracts.

Wald has been the Seismological Society of America (SSA) Distinguished Lecturer and Associate Editor, and serves on the Society’s Board of Directors. He is an Associate Editor for Earthquake Spectra. He was awarded SSA’s 2009 Frank Press Public Service Award, and a Department of the Interior Superior Service Award in 2010. He earned his B.S. in Physics & Geology at St. Lawrence University in New York, an M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics at Caltech.


Invited Speakers


Jonathan Jonathan Bray SmallD. Bray, Ph.D., P.E., Faculty Chair in Earthquake Engineering Excellence, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Prof. Bray has three decades of experience in practicing, teaching, and performing research in geotechnical engineering and earthquake engineering. He has authored nearly 300 research publications. His expertise includes the seismic performance of earth and waste fills, earthquake fault rupture propagation, earthquake ground motions, seismic site response, liquefaction and ground failure and its effects on structures, and post-earthquake reconnaissance. He is the Chair of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, and he served as Vice-President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. He has received several honors, including the Peck Award, Joyner Lecture, Huber Research Prize, Packard Foundation Fellowship, and NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award.



David GittingsDave Gittings, MBIE
Dave Gittings is currently the acting manager for the Consent System team within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). He has a building background and a PhD from Victoria University in non-building related field. He has returned to the building sector and has been working with the Ministry for 3 years.



Jason Ingham Small

Jason Ingham, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland
Jason is a Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of Auckland whose research interests include the seismic assessment and retrofit of masonry and concrete buildings, and sustainable concrete materials technology.  Jason obtained his PhD from the University of California at San Diego and his MBA from the University of Auckland.  Jason has previously been on the management committees of the Structural Engineering Society of NZ (SESOC) and the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE), and is currently immediate past-president of the New Zealand Concrete Society.



Jimmy Higgins1

Jimmy Higgins, Executive General Manager – VERO Earthquake Programme
Jimmy joined Vero in March 2012 and he has overall responsibility for our Earthquake Response Programme.

He has held a number of roles in the Suncorp Group since joining the business in 2008.  Initially, he was responsible for managing major events for the Suncorp Insurance brand before taking up a role as the Executive Manager for claims in Suncorp Insurance.

After the transformation of brands within the Personal Insurance business, Jimmy was appointed to the role of Executive Manager, GI Fraud & Investigation and was responsible for claims fraud management and quality assurance and process governance for personal insurance claims. He was also instrumental in the Group’s response to the natural disasters in Queensland last year as Executive Manager, Queensland Event Recovery.

Born in Ireland, he moved to Australia when he was 15. He attended university in Brisbane where he gained an honours degree in Accounting from QUT and degree in Psychology from the University of Queensland. His interests include golf, camping and he enjoys playing the guitar.


Jan Lindsay, University of Auckland
Jan Lindsay is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland where her position is supported by a Fellowship from the New Zealand Earthquake Commission. She is a volcanologist, with research interests spanning all aspects of volcanoes, including the origin of their magmas, the deposits they generate on the Earth’s surface and the hazards they pose. She has an MSc in Geology from the University of Auckland, and a PhD in Geoscience from the University of Giessen in Germany. She has held positions at GNS Science in Taupo; the GeoResearch Centre (GFZ) in Potsdam, Germany; and the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. Jan is a past president of the Geoscience Society of New Zealand. She is currently working on projects in the broad area of volcanic hazard and risk in New Zealand, the Lesser Antilles and Saudi Arabia, with a very strong focus on the Auckland Volcanic Field through the Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland (DEVORA) project.



Mark Tamura

Mark Tamura, Team Leader, Unitary Plan, Regional and Local Planning

Mark Tamura is a team leader in the Auckland Council’s planning division. He leads the team responsible for giving effect to council’s regional and coastal planning functions as well as rural planning and the management of natural hazards in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

With wide public sector experience in New Zealand and overseas, he re-joined the amalgamated Auckland Council in early 2012 after being involved in native vegetation regulation and the policy response to the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires for the Victorian State Government.

Mark has a background in physical geography and a Masters in Resource and Environmental Planning from Massey University.

John van de Lindt

Dr. John W. van de Lindt, Colorado State University
Dr. John W. van de Lindt is the George T. Abell Distinguished Professor of Infrastructure in Structural Engineering at Colorado State University.  Dr. van de Lindt’s research program focuses on improving the built environment by making structures and structural systems perform to the level expected by their occupants, government, and the public.  He seeks to accomplish this through the development of performance-based engineering and test bed applications of building systems.  Over the last 15 years he has spearheaded performance-based wood engineering efforts in earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, tornado, and flood engineering with the common thread of enabling building stock stakeholders the ability to improve design decisions with the goals of improving life safety and mitigating financial loss.  He was the Project Director for the NEESWood project and the NEES-Soft project, and has conducted multiple full-scale system-level shake table tests in the U.S. and Japan.