Northwest Energy Association



NWEA Speaker Program for 2018-2019


Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 - Allison Pyrch, Hart Crowser


Earthquake Resilience


Allison will discuss the expected effects of a large earthquake on lifeline infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest, what Oregon and Washington are doing about it, and how we as engineers, scientists, citizens, and informed persons can encourage our public and private agencies to do more. She will discuss the goals of resilience planning and how they are being applied locally, the importance of prioritization and breaking down silos, and highlight common road blocks to getting the region ready for Cascadia.


Biography: A native Portlander, Allison has been a long-term local advocate for better resilience planning in the Pacific Northwest. Resilience means planning for any disaster, but first and foremost in people’s minds is the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and tsunami, popularly referred to as the MegaQuake. Allison is part of the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Infrastructure Resilience Division  - Disaster Reconnaissance and Recovery Committee.  In order to learn more how other countries have weathered similar events, Allison travelled with ASCE to the 2010 Chile, 2011 Japan, and 2017 Mexico earthquake areas to study the aftermath and recovery efforts. She leads the Disaster Reconnaissance and Recovery Committee of the ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division. Since then, Allison has given dozens of presentations to community partners and has worked with OPB and ASCE to promote seismic awareness here at home. She was featured prominently in the award-winning OPB documentary Unprepared, as well as the Al Jazeera program TechKnow. She was part of the team that developed the Oregon Resilience Plan and is a certified trainer for the California Emergency Management Safety Assessment Program for building evaluations after earthquakes and other disasters. The need for such planning led her to found Salus Resilience, a partnership of four local Oregon firms that offers comprehensive resilience planning which includes financial and planning services as well as her seismic expertise.

As a geotechnical engineer with more than 16 years of experience, her projects can be found all over the metro area as well as throughout Oregon and Washington, including the recent Elephant Lands exhibit at the Oregon Zoo, the Sauvie Island Bridge, several facilities at the Cascade Station development, and the Wilsonville/I-5 interchange. Allison was recognized as American Society of Civil Engineer’s 2018 Oregon/SW Washington Engineer of the Year and 2014 Young Engineer of the Year, as well as a Daily Journal of Commerce Woman of Vision. As a recognized community leader on resilience issues and frequent participant in town hall meetings and expert forums, Allison has testified to the legislature on seismic resilience, and volunteers with community groups to encourage community preparedness. On top of all this, she finds time to indulge in her hobbies, such as captaining a team to race in the Rose Festival Dragon Boat Race every year and enjoying the vast beauty of the Pacific Northwest landscape, including hiking with her dogs, skiing, and PNW wines.




Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 - Paul Loikith, Climate Change in the PNW

Thursday, Mar. 28, 2019 TBD

Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019 TBD

Thursday, May 23, 2019 TBD