William J. Petak

Emeritus Professor

William J. Petak, D.P.A., actively supports efforts to adopt and implement new and improved natural hazard reduction public policies, especially building codes and land use policies. His research interests involve an interdisciplinary approach to the management of technology, with special emphasis on reducing the risks associated with new technologies and natural hazards. Professor Petak was a principal with the J. H. Wiggins Company, a research-engineering firm. He was the chair of the National Committee on Property Insurance’s Earthquake Project Mitigation Committee. He has served on several National Research Council committees, including the Committee on the Socioeconomic Aspects of Earthquake Prediction, the Committee on Ground Failure Hazards Research, the Committee on Natural Disasters, and the U.S. Committee for the Decade for Natural Hazard Reduction. He was chair of the Financial Services Sub-Committee of the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Seismic Hazard Reduction and a member of the Building Seismic Safety Council’s Seismic Rehabilitation Advisory Committee. In addition to research and committee activities, Professor Petak has been a member of the adjunct faculty of FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute since 1985. He is the author of many papers and presentations on earthquake hazard mitigation and public policy, and is co-author of three books: Natural Risk Assessment and Public Policy (1982), Politics and Economics of Earthquake Hazard Mitigation (1986), and Disabled Persons and Earthquake Hazards (1988).