Leadership Pasadena Pasadena participants consider impact of The Big One in Science Session

Published : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | 5:49 AM

Leadership Pasadena

Various photos of the Leadership Pasadena class working with experts from Caltech, Idealab and the Pasadena Health Department. The session was held at the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Caltech offices located in the Parsons office complex.

Lead by Dr. Gordon Squires, Director of IPAC Communications and Education at Caltech and Trity Porbahrami, Director of Communications, Enigineering and Applied Science at Caltech, the Leadership Pasadena class pondered how to allocate $120,000,000 to make Pasadena a resilient city ready to respond well to a major earthquake and possible subsequent pandemic.

“Our LP Alums Gordon and Trity gave the class homework to do before the session to learn from the Caltech studies on resilient megacities so they would be ready to discuss the subject matter with our expert speakers at the session. We encourage everyone to do their own homework by going to https://eas.caltech.usgs.gov/engenious/14/reslient_megacities and https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1324/c1324,pdf to learn more about what we will be facing when the big earthquake does hit us!” according to Leadership Pasadena Executive Director Cindy Bengtson. “We should all kick into gear to be prepared.”

The class learned of Caltech’s predictions on expected physical destruction of buildings, transportation corridors, electrical , power and water infrastructure of a major earthquake from Caltech PhD Candidate Peyman Ayoubi from Caltech’s Deparment of Mechanical and Civil Engineering and Caltech graduate student Maryam Nematian from the Civil Engineering program. The class then discussed Pasadena’s unique asset of a public health department but the challenges it would face to combat injuries from a major earthquake and a possible pandemic or other health crisis after the quake.

Alexi Maleki, VP of Business Development at Idealab, also partook in the scenario, explaining the allure of Pasadena for hi tech start ups and whether or not they would stay in Pasadena or simply head for Silicon Beach or even another state if Pasadena was physically damaged by a major quake.

The session concluded with the class acting as a City Council to determine how to best allocate the $120,000,000 to save the most people in the event of the Big One!


Leadership Pasadena taps agile learners and emergent leaders to help them make the Pasadena area an even better place to live, work, and play. With its many civic, non-profit, and community organizations and Pasadena’s diverse communities, there is a great need for empowered and influential community leaders to address the challenges of Pasadena with respect, determination, and results. Leadership Pasadena creates these leaders through a year-long program designed to help them learn, grow, and lead. For more information, visit leadershippasadena.org.

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