Inside This Issue
2016 NEC Conference
CUSEC Executive Director Update
National Awards in Excellence
America's PrepareAthon!
White House Executive Order
National Updates
CUSEC Spotlight: James Hawkins
Calendar & Upcoming Events
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate will provide a keynote address during the 2016 National Earthquake Conference (NEC), May 4-6 in Long Beach, CA, where CUSEC and many other organizations and national leaders will highlight efforts to improve the nation's strategy for earthquake resiliency.
The 2016 NEC theme is What's New? What's Next? What's Your Role in Building a National Strategy? The conference will bring together earth scientists, engineers, emergency managers, first responders, insurers, policymakers, practitioners, subject matter experts, and many more to highlight new research and new best practices within the program. Major topics of the 2016 NEC include (Download the full conference agenda here):
  • National Seismic Hazard Maps and Induced Seismicity
  • Earthquake Early Warning and Operational Earthquake Forecasting
  • Earthquake and Tsunami Risks in Schools
  • Performance-Based Seismic Design of Buildings
  • Resilience Through Design: New initiatives in L.A., San Francisco, and Memphis
  • Role of Insurance in Building Resilient Communities
  • Developing a Strategy for Moving Resiliency Forward, and much more.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit the conference website at    

Changes to the CUSEC Board of Directors 
When you find something that works, it's often difficult to embrace the possibility of change, but that's just what CUSEC is doing.  CUSEC was formed more than 30 years ago to address earthquake hazards affecting states within the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ).   As the years have passed, Associate States, those states that surround the original Member States, have become an important part of the organization, each with some unique role, either with respect to a specific seismic source, or as a support resource to surrounding states should an earthquake occur.

Also occurring over the course of time was a greater knowledge about other seismic zones in the region such as the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone (WVSZ), as well as the induced seismicity that has become prevalent, causing a shift to a larger perspective than just New Madrid.  With these changes came a need to look at the organizational structure of CUSEC.  Earlier this year, the CUSEC Board of Directors voted to expand the board to include two Associate States on a rotational basis.  The two members will represent the interest of the 10 Associate members.  The first two states in this rotation will be Oklahoma and South Carolina. 

I would like to welcome both Mr. Albert Ashwood (Oklahoma) and Mr. Kim Stenson (South Carolina) as the first Associate State representatives on the CUSEC Board of Directors. We look forward to the expertise they will bring, providing new resources to help us achieve our mission of reducing deaths, injuries, property damages, and economic losses resulting from earthquakes in the central United States.

Mississippi's Robert Latham retires from MEMA 
There's an unfortunate reality of being an emergency management director in that at some point your time in office comes to a close. For Mississippi's Robert Latham that came twice, following his second retirement from state government earlier in 2016.  For CUSEC, this means we are once again faced with saying goodbye to one of our senior Board members.  Robert and I have had a unique relationship over the years, as we both started careers in emergency management at the same time - he as a local EMA Director in Tate County, Mississippi and myself as the Earthquake Program Manager at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Tate County was considered one of the "at risk" earthquake counties, and our interactions were frequent.

Later, after becoming MEMA Executive Director, Robert brought with him that understanding of the seismic risk and the challenges that a rural community faces.  That perspective has helped guide the way CUSEC programs have been applied at the local level. I've enjoyed the many years that Robert and I worked together on earthquake issues, his insights have been invaluable to CUSEC and me personally.  The entire CUSEC Staff and Board thank Robert for his service to CUSEC and offer our best wishes upon his retirement.
CUSEC Chairman Art Faulkner (right) and Executive Director Jim Wilkinson (left) present outgoing MEMA Executive Director Robert Latham with an appreciation award for his many years of service to CUSEC.
Welcoming the new MEMA Director
I would like to welcome Lee Smithson to CUSEC as the newest member of the Board of Directors. Director Smithson was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant as the new MEMA Director, but he's not unfamiliar with the CUSEC or the earthquake program.  Coming to emergency management out of the Mississippi National Guard, Director Smithson is well versed in the seismic issues Mississippi faces.  He understands the risk, having worked on earthquake plans while a full-time member of the Mississippi National Guard.  Director Smithson is motivated to keep Mississippi's earthquake program moving forward, and to address the overall risk faced by the CUSEC states.

James M. Wilkinson, Jr. 
CUSEC Executive Director
CUSEC is pleased to announce that the Indiana Department of Homeland Security's (IDHS) "Indiana Building Emergency Assessment and Monitoring" (I-BEAM) team is one of five recipients of the 2016 National Awards in Excellence, Multi-Jurisdictional Planning category. The awards are presented every four years by the Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC) Board of Directors in partnership with CUSEC, the Northeast States Emergency Consortium (NESEC), and the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW).

I-BEAM performs structural and safety assessments of buildings following man-made or natural disasters. After responding to several disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the F-3 tornado that struck Evansville on November 6, 2005, state officials, along with volunteer architects and engineers, realized that Indiana needed an organized safety assessment program. I-BEAM has been a crucial partner in CUSEC's regional post-disaster safety assessment/building inspection workgroup. They stand ready to assist surrounding states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) following a damaging earthquake (or other major disaster) and have also been a leader in regional response and recovery training and planning.

I-BEAM will join four other award recipients who will be recognized for outstanding programs that address earthquake risk reduction at the 2016 National Earthquake Conference this May.
According to a recent FEMA survey, nearly 60 percent of Americans have not participated in a preparedness drill or exercise in their home, school, or workplace in the past year.

America's PrepareAthon! is a grassroots campaign for action to increase individual and community preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific group discussions, drills, and exercises for hazards relevant to their area.  PrepareAthon! helps citizens:  
  • Understand which disasters could happen in their communities;
  • Know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage, such as making property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage;
  • Practice drills and share information to better prepare employees, friends and family, affiliates, and the communities; and
  • Participate in community resilience planning.

April 30 is America's PrepareAthon! National Day of Action.  Through events such as PrepareAthon, Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, QuakeSmart, and other community-based outreach programs, we can reduce earthquake risks and improve resiliency.  For more information about America's PrepareAthon! National Day of Action, visit

In an Earthquake Resilience Summit hosted by the White House this February, the Obama Administration confirmed its commitment to increase national resilience to earthquakes with an Executive Order that establishes a federal earthquake risk management standard.

2015 assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that more than 143 million Americans could potentially experience damaging earthquakes. According to the White House, the commitment is needed to improve warning systems, help with better building protections, keep citizens informed to help them to mitigate their losses, injuries and deaths, and to help communities recover faster following a major seismic event.
The Executive Order addresses eight areas, most notably "Requirements for Earthquake Safety of New Federal Buildings, Improvements to Existing Federal Buildings, and Federally Leased, Financed, or Regulated Buildings", "Codes, Standards, and Concurrent Requirements", and "Agency and Committee Responsibilities".

Resilience Summit attendees included scientists, engineers, public officials, nonprofit entities, and private companies. To read the entire Executive Order visit: .

To view presentations given at the Earthquake Resilience Summit visit: .
The US Geological Survey (USGS) has recently announced a new " 2016 One-Year Model " earthquake hazard map. Essentially a one-year seismic hazard forecast for 2016 for the Central and Eastern United States (CEUS), the map includes both induced and natural earthquakes in its forecast.  This map will co-exist with the USGS National Seismic Hazard Maps, which look at a 50-year forecast and primarily include natural earthquakes.
New USGS earthquake hazard map shows one-year forecast.
An easy to understand USGS feature story and overview of the new map can be found at:   

There is also an Open File Report at:

Recently the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announced a new report on lessons learned during the M8.8 earthquake off the coast of Chile in February 2010. The report is intended to provide structural engineers with important information that will help improve building codes and earthquake resilience in the United States.

Now available for purchase online at the ASCE Bookstore the Chile Earthquake of 2010: Assessment of Industrial Facilities around Concepcion, demonstrates how heavy industrial facilities might perform during a major earthquake. The ASCE/SEI Assessment Team focused on identifying strengths and weaknesses in their observation of industrial structures in the affected zone. Structures that were studied include a steel plant, a bio refinery, a petroleum gas terminal, a power station and a base isolated pier. 

The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) recently issued a press release addressing uneasiness about the use of the term "Emergency Manager" in the press and in the public as it relates to the Flint, Michigan water situation.

" One thing must be made absolutely clear: the term 'emergency manager' in the Flint, Michigan, situation refers to a fiscal-only function that bears no relationship to the term as it is commonly and universally used on a national and an international basis," stated Robie Robinson, IAEM-USA president. " In the context of the Flint situation, emergency managers are actually municipal 'emergency financial managers' (EFMs) established by the Michigan legislature and appointed by the governor to oversee jurisdictions in Michigan that are threatened with financial insolvency."

For more than 40 years, the term "Emergency Manager" has been used to describe individuals who are in the business of saving lives, protecting property, and restoring communities. According to the press release, IAEM encourages those in media, government and other leadership positions to help clarify to the public that in Michigan, a person who is appointed to supervise a governmental body or jurisdiction because it is threatened with financial insolvency is not an "Emergency Manager". He or she is actually an "Emergency Financial Manager". 

With his 16-plus years as an Assistant Director of Fire and Building Code Enforcement and leader of the Indiana I-BEAM Team (see article above for more on I-BEAM) with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security's (IDHS) State Fire Marshal's Office, Jim Hawkins has played an important role in protecting citizens in the Hoosier State from harm. Prior to his work in state government, Hawkins career included service in the United States Air Force, farm management, working as a licensed electrician and building contractor, as well as a building inspector for Bartholomew County Code Enforcement.

Hawkins was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Indiana Association of Building Officials (IABO) from 1995-2005 and also was an Electrical Code Instructor. In the last four years, he  has been an instrumental partner and leader of the CUSEC Building Inspection and Resource Deployment (BIRD) working group, helping to create regional plans and training opportunities for post-earthquake building safety assessments. In January of this year, CUSEC presented Mr. Hawkins with an award of appreciation for his dedication to the program. Read below for more on Jim and his service to the State of Indiana and CUSEC.

What led you to start your work in electrical and building contracting and later in building code enforcement? 
In 1981, after the birth of our first daughter, my wife and I decided to move back to our hometown of Columbus, Indiana. This was to be closer to our families and in our opinion, a better community/school system to raise our family. Columbus is a more industrial/manufacturing community, and so the opportunities for farm management were virtually non-existent. By happenstance, a friend was in need of help in his electrical contracting business and I went to work with him. After working in the electrical business, I realized I enjoyed it and was very good in the field.


During your time with the State Fire Marshal's Office and with I-BEAM, what has been your most memorable experience?

While the rewards and experiences of working for IDHS and the State Fire Marshal's Office have been numerous and extremely varied. Probably some of the most memorable were being able to take part in natural disaster recovery efforts in our state as well as national disasters. I was able to help after Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi in 2005, and in Indiana, the 2005 Evansville tornado and 2008 flooding. By being able to participate in these disaster recoveries, I was given the opportunity to see firsthand just how devastating disasters are to people and communities. These events not only spurred my interest in disaster response, but they also convinced state leaders that we had to be ready to respond to disasters quickly. The need for I-BEAM is just one example of Indiana's commitment to be prepared.


You've worked with many different people and organizations (CUSEC in particular), what lessons have you learned that have helped you to do your job better?

We have been involved with many organizations in the response field, FEMA, Applied Technology Council (ATC), California's Safety Assessment Program (CalSAP) and others. CUSEC has been and is an extremely valuable asset for I-BEAM and the State of Indiana. Before our involvement (with CUSEC), we had to build and plan everything on our own. Through the leadership of CUSEC we learned that we weren't in this alone. Lots of other states were doing things much as we were. The contacts and networking made possible by CUSEC has made the development of I-BEAM's response capabilities much more complete. We now understand we don't have to be capable of doing everything ourselves. There are other states with various capabilities that can be called upon in emergency situations.

How do you respond to people who don't take preparedness and building codes seriously?

Unless an individual has been personally affected by a disaster, many choose to ignore the ramifications of what can happen. Education is the only means to bring the possibilities of what can happen to their attention. Media news, school programs, and programs such as the Great Shakeout help inform the public of what can happen and how to be prepared. It is much the same in building safety, our inspectors spend a lot of time explaining why the codes are adopted to provide a safe environment in buildings.

As it pertains to public service, how has working in building inspection and code enforcement been rewarding for you?

My background in the electrical and building trades has enabled me to better understand how a structure is built or how it has been damaged when asked to assess the structural stability of buildings. The reward from this understanding is that our department is able to play a small part in making sure buildings are safe for the public during normal construction or following a disaster.

April 2016
April 3-7 - NEMA Mid-Year Forum; Alexandria, VA
April 5-8 - EERI Annual Meeting; San Francisco, CA
April 13 - FEMA P-154 Training; Eureka, MO
April 13-14 - CUSEC GIS/IT Working Group Meeting; Nashville, TN
April 19 - Missouri SAVE On-Site Leader Training; Springfield, MO
April 19-22 - Missouri SEMA Conference; Branson, MO
April 22 - ATC-20 Training; Fayetteville, AR

May 2016
May 2-3 - National Earthquake Program Mgrs. Meeting; Long Beach, CA
May 4-6 - National Earthquake Conference; Long Beach, CA
May 13 -
Missouri SAVE Coalition Training; St. Louis, MO
May 23-25 - CUSEC Board of Directors Meeting, Morrilton, AR
May 23-27 -  
2016 Mississippi Partners in Preparedness Summit; Biloxi, MS

June 2016
June 12-18 - Ride the Fault Line; Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee
June 17  -
Missouri SAVE Coalition Training; Kansas City, MO 
June 25-28 -  ESRI Public Safety Summit; San Diego, CA

For more information or to view other upcoming events, please visit the CUSEC website online calendar.
This publication is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency Grant Number EMW-2015-CA-00202.

The Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Our primary mission is "the reduction of deaths, injuries, property damage and economic losses resulting from earthquakes in the Central United States". For more information about us, please visit or contact us at (901) 544-3570.