Almanac

News - April 3, 2013

George Mader honored for seismic expertise

by Dave Boyce

The honors keep coming for George Mader, Portola Valley's town planner until he "semi-retired" in 2010 after 45 years on the job.

At the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seattle, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute honored Mr. Mader with the Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal for having made "substantial contributions to the field of seismic safety and earthquake risk reduction," according to a letter from the institute.

"As a planner, you worked tirelessly with public officials and many disciplinary experts such as geologists and engineers to further innovative approaches to community development in areas of high seismic and other geological risks," the letter says.

Mr. Mader is the president and principal planner at Spangle Associates, which has long had and continues to have a planning services contract with Portola Valley from its offices in Menlo Park.

His pioneering work in finding ways to develop a community in areas of hazardous geology has spread to six continents. Mr. Mader also helped develop a degree program in environmental earth science at Stanford University, where he taught for 30 years. In 2003, he was named a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

In 2010, the American Planners Association recognized Mr. Mader for distinguished leadership. He also chairs GeoHazards International, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit with a worldwide mission of educating vulnerable communities on how to survive large earthquakes.

Mr. Mader has held prominent positions with the California Seismic Safety Commission, the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

He lives in Ladera with his wife Marjorie Mader, a longtime Almanac reporter. The couple have three children.

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