Earthquake Resilience Policy Manager
SPUR is a nonprofit public policy organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through research, education and advocacy, SPUR works to create an equitable, sustainable and prosperous region, where all people thrive. We bring people together from across the political spectrum to develop solutions to the big problems cities face. SPUR was formed in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and has been active in developing and publishing seismic resilience policies that have had international impact since 2007. With offices in San Francisco, San José and Oakland, we are recognized and respected for our independent and holistic approach to urban issues.
The Earthquake Resilience Policy Manager will be SPUR’s primary staff person developing programs and policies to improve seismic resilience of the Bay Area. SPUR seeks to improve the Bay Area’s seismic resilience in ways that also address challenges such as climate change, social inequity, outdated water and energy infrastructure, and the housing crisis. Some of the questions that SPUR’s Policy Manager would engage on include:
- How can Bay Area communities and organizations adopt the emerging concepts of Community Resilience to earthquakes and apply the recently published national Functional Recovery recommendations?
- How can the Bay Area rebuild from earthquakes in ways that are more sustainable and resilient not only to future seismic events, but also to a changing climate?
- Which communities are more vulnerable to earthquakes? How can the Bay Area increase the hazard resilience of people who have been historically under-resourced?
- Can the region develop lifeline infrastructure systems including transportation, energy, communication, water and wastewater that are more resilient to earthquakes and climate change?
- Where should the Bay Area prioritize new development to decrease exposure and enhance community resilience to earthquakes and other natural disasters?
The Earthquake Resilience Policy Manager will engage in research, education, and advocacy.
Research activities include writing reports and articles, synthesizing research for a non-technical audience, and crafting policy proposals. Candidates should be able to propose, outline, research and write policy reports that inform pressing policy questions. Candidates should be able to read technical reports and understand their significance for policy decisions. Candidates should be able to undertake straightforward quantitative analyses and create charts using spreadsheet software. They should be able to oversee technical consultants to do more sophisticated quantitative analyses and produce maps and spatial analyses. They should be excellent at building partnerships and working with external partners, project taskforces, SPUR staff, and SPUR’s Board of Directors to inform their research.
Education activities include writing brief articles, organizing SPUR public events, speaking at public events and engaging with the media. Media engagement includes pitching stories to journalists, doing interviews, writing opinion pieces, and working with our Communications Team to promote our work on social media. Candidates should have good written and oral communication skills. The Policy Manager should be able to explain seismic resilience in engaging terms that a broad audience of educated non-experts can understand.
Advocacy activities include writing policy letters on proposed legislation and regulations, testifying at government hearings, coordinating with advocacy coalitions, and presenting SPUR’s point of view to decision makers and stakeholders. The candidate should be excellent at building relationships and collaborating with a broad range of stakeholders that share SPUR’s interests, such as the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the Structural Engineers Association of California, government partners such as Association of Bay Area Governments, and community-based organizations that advocate for equity and resilience. The goal of SPUR’s policy research is to see our recommendations become reality in the Bay Area and statewide.
The Policy Manager should have strong project management skills. They should be able to shepherd work products such as policy reports, articles, public events, and legislation from inception to delivery. SPUR recognizes that no one person is an expert in all the topics that they are asked to address as part of SPUR’s policy team. The candidate will be a quick learner and self-starter, able to identify knowledge gaps and fill them either by learning or by working with the right experts.
The Earthquake Resilience Policy Manager will work as part of SPUR’s Sustainability + Resilience policy team, and will collaborate with team members on SPUR’s other Sustainability + Resilience policy priorities: resilient water supplies and decarbonizing buildings. The Earthquake Resilience policy work will build on past work by SPUR including the Resilient City, Safety First: Improving Hazard Resilience in the Bay Area and Safe Enough to Stay.
We expect the approximate breakdown of time to be as follows:
35% Research and writing
20% Organizing and participating in public events, engaging with media
35% Advocacy, including participating in advocacy coalitions, commenting on legislation, and participating in regulatory processes at agencies
10% Administrative, fundraising support, and other tasks
A Master’s degree and at least one year of professional experience, or an undergraduate degree plus four years of professional experience are required. Jobs, internships and fellowships held while in school are considered professional experience. While the best candidate will have experience and passion for earthquake resilience, we are interested in a breadth of experience and demonstrated ability to engage on policy issues.
The candidate must be well versed in policy approaches for addressing seismic resilience, and be able to consider them within the context of multi-hazard resilience.
The candidate must demonstrate an understanding of how to work at the intersection of policy and research. SPUR’s research seeks to answer questions that can improve policy outcomes. Our core audience is elected officials, government agency staff, advocacy organizations, and other civic groups who seek credible information to inform pressing policy decisions.
The candidate should be interested in engaging actively in policy and informed advocacy efforts. SPUR regularly supports legislation by elected bodies, and rule reform at regulatory agencies. This requires knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process or willingness to learn and ability to build political coalitions. It also requires a willingness to regularly communicate with government staff and elected officials to advocate for SPUR’s point of view. We believe it is important for knowledge experts to engage in advocacy to ensure that policies are sound.
The candidate must be a good writer, who can make complicated policy issues interesting and intelligible to a general audience.
The candidate should be able to work well in a team and maintain positive working relationships with people of diverse backgrounds and interests.
The candidate should have an understanding of racial inequities in our region and in urban policy. The candidate should be enthusiastic about working with community-based organizations that are dedicated to racial, environmental, and economic justice. The candidate must be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and manifest that commitment in their work. People of color, women, LGBTQI+, people from working class backgrounds, and other people with marginalized identities or from these communities are encouraged to apply.
SPUR’s research relies mainly on synthesizing work and analyzing datasets collected by other entities – principally government agencies. Much of our research is highly intersectional: for example, the questions that policy makers need to answer are often not about the technical nature of earthquake risks, but how to pass laws and develop programs that will address those risks. The candidate should be proficient in identifying the policy-relevant questions and relevant data sets. The candidate should also have strong skills in managing junior associates, outside consultants, and volunteer experts in developing research products.
The candidate should have intermediate skills with data management and graphing software, such as Microsoft Excel. Key skills include:
- Knowledge of good data stewardship practices
- Pivot tables
- Graphing functions
- Familiarity with basic statistics is desirable: t-test, ANOVA, and linear regression.
The candidate should understand the capabilities of GIS for mapping and spatial analysis. The candidate should either be able to generate their own maps and spatial analysis, or manage a GIS consultant to achieve the desired results. Common tasks that the manager would either perform or oversee in GIS include:
- Generating readable, interesting maps for reports
- Importing data tables and joining them to a georeferenced layer
- Using Spatial Analyst tools in ArcGIS, or similar tools in other GIS software
The salary range for this position is $75,000-$100,000 and will be based on experience and commensurate with skills and qualifications. This is a full-time, exempt position. SPUR offers a generous and comprehensive benefits package.
Hybrid Work Environment
At SPUR the health of our employees and their families is our top priority. SPUR has a hybrid workplace model defined by a combination of remote and in-person work. We have mandatory all staff in-person days on Monday and staff may be required to attend other in-person meetings, events and programs as needed. All policies are subject to change as relevant health orders change.
COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement
SPUR employees are required to confidentially show proof of up to date COVID-19 vaccination to HR as a condition of employment. If the employee is entitled to a medical related reasonable accommodation or a sincerely held religious belief or practice, then the employee is exempt from the vaccine requirement and reasonable accommodations will be considered and made available if there is not an undue hardship incurred in order to provide it.
How to Apply
Please submit a cover letter and resume. Applicants should apply by submitting their materials to this link. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Priority will be given to applications received by April 8, 2022.
Equal Opportunity Employer
SPUR is an equal opportunity employer with a strong organizational commitment to respecting differences of all kinds. SPUR prohibits unlawful discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, political orientation or disability or any other basis prohibited by law. In that spirit, we strongly encourage applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, LGBTQ applicants and others that will contribute to the diversity of our staff.
Applicants With Disabilities
Reasonable accommodations will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.
The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees assigned to this position. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so assigned.