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> About Ken Goettel



Goettel & Associates Inc. specializes in helping clients deal with risk in a pragmatic manner, finding cost-effective solutions between the unreasonable extremes of either ignoring risk completely and or fearing that the sky is falling and overreacting. Consulting services include:

FEMA PDM and HMGP Grant Application Support
Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plans (FEMA DMA 2000)
Hazard, Vulnerability and Risk Assessments for Natural and Human-Caused Hazards, including Terrorism
Probable Maximum Loss Calculations (PML)
Emergency Planning
Prioritization of Capital Improvement Programs for Utilities
National Hazards Public Policy Studies
Other Technical Services


Kenneth A. Goettel has successfully completed over 200 consulting projects. He has far more experience with benefit-cost analysis of hazard mitigation projects than anyone else in the United States. He has conducted benefit-cost analyses for almost every type of hazard including earthquakes, floods (riverine, coastal, storm water drainage), wildland/urban interface fires, landslides, erosion (coastal and riverine), ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, dam failures, and others. Facilities evaluated include public, commercial, and residential buildings and a very wide range of utility and transportation infrastructure. Link to Benefit-Cost Analysis text).

In addition to the above consulting services, Goettel & Associates Inc. provides a wide range of technical engineering services via long standing partnership relationships with consulting engineers. For example, we provide quantitative engineering vulnerability evaluations buildings, utility infrastructure, and transportation infrastructure for seismic, wind, flood and other hazards. Similar partnership relationships with planners, economists and other technical specialists allow Goettel & Associates Inc. to provide a very broad spectrum of rigorous, quantitative technical services to clients.

Our public sector client list includes Federal Agencies (FEMA and National Park Service), states, counties, cities, universities and colleges, school districts, hospitals, fire districts, utilities and transportation systems, and numerous others. Our private sector client list includes major corporations (e.g., Coca-Cola, IBM) and numerous engineering firms.





Ph.D. Geology (Geochemistry) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1975
S.M. Earth and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972
A.B. Geological Sciences (with High Distinction), University of Rochester, 1969


President, Goettel & Associates Inc., 1995-
Research Specialist, UC Berkeley, Earthquake Engineering Research Center, 1993-1997
President, Goettel & Horner Inc., 1993-1995
Research Specialist, UC Berkeley, Center for Environmental Design Research, 1991-1993
Senior Scientist, VSP Associates Inc., 1990-1993

Specialization in evaluation of natural hazards for Federal, State, and Local governments, other public agencies, universities, utilities and corporations. Quantitative risk assessment, benefit-cost analysis of mitigation projects, mitigation planning, and public education. Principal developer of software used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of all hazard mitigation projects funded nationwide under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Public Assistance Program. Principal author of FEMA's user's manuals, training manuals, and technical guidance for benefit-cost analysis of mitigation projects. Lead instructor for over 60 training classes for Federal, State, and Local officials.

Experience and expertise with a very wide range of hazards including, earthquakes, riverine and coastal floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildland fire, volcanoes, landslides, winter storms, dam safety and others. Conducted benefit-cost analyses for over 2000 mitigation projects. Extensive public policy experience with analyses of many economic, social, political and regulatory issues. Mitigation planning experience including helping local government officials and the public understand the risks posed by natural hazards, evaluate whether or not the level of risk is acceptable and prioritizing risk reduction actions.

International experience evaluating comparative social and economic aspects of earthquakes in Japan and the United States (Kajima Corporation, Tokyo) and evaluation of several technology and public policy issues for the Institute for Future Science (Tokyo). Conducted a quantitative assessment of the vulnerability of utility and transportation systems to Y2K disruption worldwide (detailed assessments at over 100 locations in 50 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa) for Coca-Cola.

Member of FEMA task force developing quantitative and qualitative methodologies to evaluate and prioritize terrorism mitigation projects, including vulnerability and risk assessments and benefit-cost analysis.


Benefit-Cost Analysis

Dr. Goettel is the nationally-recognized expert on benefit-cost analysis of mitigation projects for seismic and other natural hazards. His unique experience includes:

1. Principal author of the FEMA benefit-cost software for natural hazards: earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, wildland/urban interface fires, and a generalized method for other hazards including landslides, erosion, ice storms, etc.

2. Principal author of the FEMA technical user's manuals for benefit-cost analysis for the above hazards and principal technical author of all of the FEMA training courses for benefit-cost analysis.

3. Principal author of majority (circa 90%) of FEMA's published guidance on how to do benefit-cost analysis, including "What is a Benefit? Draft Guidance for Benefit-Cost Analysis", FEMA's most comprehensive benefit-cost publication.

4. Principal developer of the standardized methods used by FEMA nationwide for all hazards to evaluate the secondary or indirect benefits of mitigation projects (i.e., the economic impacts of loss of function of buildings, utilities, and transportation systems. For buildings, the evaluation methods developed include separate methods for: ordinary residential, commercial, and public buildings, EOCs, emergency shelters , police, fire, and medical facilities.

5. Conducted over 60 benefit-cost training courses (1 to 3 days each) for FEMA, state, and local staff in all 10 FEMA regions.

6. Conducted benefit-cost analyses for thousands of mitigation projects for all natural hazards, with total mitigation project costs above $10 billion. These projects include structural and non-structural mitigation projects for buildings, as well as mitigation projects for infrastructure including drainage systems, roads, bridges, dams, and utility systems (electric power, water, wastewater, telecommunications, etc.). Clients have included states, counties, cities, special districts, schools, universities, major corporations, hospitals, and utilities.

Mitigation Planning

Goettel has completed multi-hazard mitigation plans for numerous counties and cities, including updated plans to comply with FEMA's expanded DMA 2000 planning requirements.

Goettel has completed terrorism vulnerability assessments for water utilities and is in-process of creating or updating Emergency Response Plans to meet EPA's requirements.

Natural Hazards Policy Studies

Goettel has completed numerous public policy studies related to natural hazards and economics, including analysis in support of seismic retrofit ordinances, evaluation of the costs of seismic zone changes, evaluation of insurance and other economic and policy issues related to natural hazards.

DAVIS, CA 95618
(530) 750-0440 FAX: (530) 750-0441