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7 Things to Know About Our New President

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

I am delighted to introduce the new President of GeoHazards International: Veronica Cedillos. I hope you will be able to meet her soon. In the meantime, here are 7 things to know about her:

1. Veronica previously worked for GeoHazards International, living for extended periods in Peru, Indonesia, and Haiti.

She was based in a village in the Andes, where the primary risk is earthquakes; in the city of Padang, West Sumatra, which has the highest tsunami risk in the world; and in northern Haiti, where the hazards are big earthquakes, tsunamis and intense tropical storms.

Attaching mesh seismic supports on adobe walls in Chocos, Peru. Photo: David Hernandez

Discussing earthquake and tsunami risk in Indonesia. Photo: GHI

2. She’s a licensed civil engineer with degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford.

While at GeoHazards International, Veronica received the American Society of Civil Engineers New Faces of Engineering recognition and the Shah Family Innovation Prize through the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). MIT's Office of Minority Education awarded her for Academic Excellence, and she is a former Hispanic Scholarship Fund recipient. In 2017, EERI selected her as a Housner Fellow. She serves as Co-Chair of the EERI School Earthquake Safety Initiative.

Documenting damage from Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. Photo: Chris Sams / RMS

3. Her most recent position was Director of Projects at the Applied Technology Council (ATC).

Veronica held a senior management position reporting directly to the Executive Director. She engaged major funders, worked with over 200 consultants, and managed projects in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. She directed 15 major projects involving numerous natural hazard risk reduction issues, including resilience of lifeline systems, building seismic evaluation and retrofit, and multi-hazard risk mitigation strategies for schools. She oversaw a program to deliver in-person trainings and webinars on seismic risk reduction that reached close to 30,000 people in 70 countries. Veronica also previously worked as a structural engineer at Gilsanz Murray Steficek in New York City.

4. First-hand experience underlies her work to make the world safer, more prepared for disasters, and more resilient.

Veronica served on post-earthquake reconnaissance teams in Haiti, Indonesia, and China, where she saw the personal tragedies these disasters caused. A structural engineer, she understands that quality construction methods and materials can save lives.

Visiting a temporary hospital ward, Haiti 2010 post-earthquake reconnaissance. Photo: Chris Sams / RMS

Visiting a temporary medical camp after Haiti's 2010 earthquake. Photo: GHI

5. Veronica grew up bilingual in the border city of El Paso, Texas.

She's a dynamic speaker, whatever the language.

Presenting earthquake-resistant designs to villagers in Peru. Photo: Greg Deierlein

6. She is an accomplished violinist.​

One of Veronica's favorite musical activities is to play with or perform for young music enthusiasts wherever she may be. She also plays in a symphony orchestra, the occasional mariachi group, and even at weddings.

Giving violin lessons to local children in Padang, Indonesia. Photo: GHI

7. Veronica first learned about our work years ago, while in the foothills of the Himalayas.

In the midst of her master's program at Stanford University, she spent a summer in Dharamsala, India studying traditional buildings that had survived the 1905 Kangra earthquake. Someone there told her about GeoHazards International. After returning to Stanford, she walked into our office nearby and asked how she could get involved.​ The rest is history.

And now, the beginning of a new era.

--Julie Jomo Director of Communications

See more about Veronica here.

P.S. Please stop by to visit our office if you are in the Bay Area. You may also catch Founder Brian Tucker, retiring after 27 years, who will be assisting Veronica as she takes the reins.

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