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Introducing Robert A. Olson, Principal

At a time when the world is full of change, change also happens on a micro or personal level.  Robert Olson, with a career of nearly 50 years, including ROA, a consulting practice of over 30 years, has entered a new phase and a transition of its own. Robert has recently joined the Sacramento-based Mintier-Harnish Planning Consultants as a Senior Associate. This well respected firm, with which he has had a long term relationship, specializes in developing and updating local land use and general plans, specific development project plans, housing studies, zoning ordinances, environmental impact analyses and related subjects, including assessing the potential local impacts of global warming and sea level rise.

Some things change, and other things stay the same. We expect to continue our affiliations with the California Geological Survey’s Tsunami Policy Working Group; Florida International University’s Extreme Events Research Institute; and the URS Corporation.

Backgroundphoto of Robert Olson

Robert has nearly 50 years of consulting, research, staff, management, advocacy, and practitioner experience in the fields of hazard mitigation/loss prevention, emergency response planning, disaster operations, recovery planning and assistance, and public policy analysis and development. Since 1981 he has been a consultant in these fields.

He served the California Seismic Safety Commission as its inaugural Executive Director; the San Francisco Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission as its original Assistant Director for Administration and Special Projects; as a Planning Officer and Regional Representative for what is known today as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); as the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s (EERI) Acting Executive Director; and as volunteer chair of the Advisory Group on Disaster Preparedness to the California Legislature’s former Joint Committee on Seismic Safety.

Educated in Political Science at the Universities of California at Berkeley and Oregon, Robert also has held several research positions during his lengthy career. They included positions at Berkeley, Stanford, University of Southern California, California Institute of Technology, and the University of Illinois. Currently, he is an Instructional Team Member for Florida International University’s web-based course on the Politics of Disasters.

Robert served on the national committee that developed the original version of the HAZUS loss estimation software, and he has published numerous articles on seismic safety, hazard mitigation, emergency management, and related topics. He is a regular participant on the Disasters Roundtable of the National Research Council.

Bringing the Power of Team Advantage

Robert Olson’s specially designed multidisciplinary project teams remain central to successful accomplishments. Depending on the clients’ particular needs, team members come from both practicing and academic environments.

A sample of the many fields and disciplines represented include structural and earthquake engineering, geology and seismology, economics and public finance, fire protection and law enforcement management, emergency planning and training, architecture, government administration, city and regional planning, geographic information systems (GIS), law, risk analysis, knowledge and technology transfer, fire protection engineering, political science and public policy, geography, sociology, survey research, behavioral sciences, emergency medicine, contingency and business recovery planning, public relations, and communications services.