Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Career of the Month

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Career of the Month

Article excerpt

Earthquake Engineer

Earthquake or seismic engineers focus on making buildings and other structures as resistant as possible to earthquake damage. Ron Eguchi is the founder and CEO of ImageCat, Inc., a risk and disaster management company that provides software, services, and research and development to government agencies and other organizations charged with preparing for and responding to disasters around the world.

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Work overview.

I work with colleagues to create proposals for government agencies and organizations preparing for and responding to disasters worldwide. My company primarily deals with earthquakes but also with other hazards, relying on our strong network of engineers and scientists. I spend a lot of time on the phone. Communications and research are the fun parts of my work. I also manage my company with 20 employees.

One thing we're working on is a data analytics platform. It helps insurance and re-insurance companies understand and enhance their clients' data, determine relative risks, and decide how much to charge for insurance. The platform interprets information from the U.S. Geological Survey or other agencies and translates it into hazard scores that are easy to understand.

We've also used remote sensing for damage detection after natural disasters. After the recent Nepal earthquake, for example, we studied how remote sensing imagery detects damage by comparing aerial images taken before and after an event. Remote sensing has grown rapidly, but there are no standards for judging whether one assessment is better than another or for measuring what changes in the images mean in terms of the amount of damage done to buildings. We're trying to compile the assessments and create some standards and a scale to help government agencies and others make better decisions in the disaster assistance and rebuilding stage.

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Career highlights.

Starting my own company has been the greatest highlight of my career. It has allowed me to create a vision and hire the right people to help me achieve it.

My favorite study was one we did after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. We assessed the damage so the World Bank could justify its request to donors for rebuilding funds. We enlisted the help of about 600 engineers and scientists from around the world. …

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