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September 2011 – President Message

Hello to all Industrial Engineers and Friends of Industrial Engineers,

Welcome to our monsoon September newsletter.

As discussed last month, Reno was great. Our director Patrick Foxworthy got his 15 minutes of fame at Reno. Well actually two seconds of fame. Check out Patrick on the IIE’s website video of the conference. Patrick stars in seconds 58 to 59.

I hope August wasn’t too shaky for you! If so, you may want to review my short article on what to do during and after an earthquake. It was provided from my friends at Homeland Security.

It wasn’t funny as it happened, but I had a friend scheduled to depart from a local airport on the day of the earthquake. Before this happened, there was a bomb threat. Planes were evacuated along with the terminal areas. A package was exploded and the crowd was warned before this happened. However, almost immediately after the bomb exploded, the ground started shaking! Airports are built somewhat differently than most of the other building in our area. More and bigger bouncing equates to better earthquake resistance. Most of the crowd ran for their lives including my friend. He was able to laugh a few days later when he told me his little story.

I was on the 7th floor of a building overlooking the Pentagon. The noise was very different from just high wind, a tornado, hurricane or cyclone. Been there and done that for all three of these. The chair I was in and the conference table bounced up and down. At home my dog was still upset when I got home from work.

My wife was driving down the road in my car. This was her first time in the driver’s seat. She wondered how the car managed to bounce more on my side than hers; probably some engineering adjustment I did so I could either have more fun or keep awake while driving!

Then she noticed people evacuating from a building and thought it might have had a fire alarm go off. Same thing next building and this could not be a coincidence. The third building, same thing; maybe there was a terrorist attack in progress. By this time, as with most locals; she got a call from her family far away from DC making sure she was alright.

As earthquakes go this was nothing. Below is a list of the five deadliest earthquakes in recorded history;

Date Location Deaths Magnitude
01/23/1556 Shaanxi (Shensi), China 830,000 8
01/12/2010 Haiti region 316,000 7.0
07/27/1976 Tangshan, China 242,769 7.5
08/09/1138 Syria, Aleppo 230,000
12/26/2004 Sumatra 227,898 9.1

San Francisco on April 18, 1906 had 3000 deaths associated with it. This is tied for 60th place. Many factors contribute to our earthquakes being less life-threatening and severe. Engineer and science are two of these factors.

In addition to my article on earthquake system, our famed Patrick Foxworthy has contributed a Blog entry at the IE website. You can find Patrick’s article within our newsletter or go to to read many interesting blogs.

Until next month,
Russell Wooten
President IIE National Capital Chapter

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