Board of Directors and Executive Leadership

Paul VanderMarck
Board Chair

Paul VanderMarck is chief products officer of Risk Management Solutions, the world's leading provider of products, services, and expertise for the quantification and management of catastrophe risk. In this role, Paul has overall responsibility for definition and execution of the firm's product strategy. Since joining RMS in 1992, he has played a central role both in the development of RMS' global catastrophe modeling capabilities as well as in advancing the state of practice for using modeling to manage catastrophe risk. In 2003, Paul was recognized by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute for his contributions to the field of earthquake risk mitigation and management with the Shah Family Innovation Award. Paul holds a B.S. in civil engineering and an M.S. in structural and earthquake engineering, both from Stanford University.


Dr. Martin J. Fisher
Board Member, Past Chair

Dr. Martin J. Fisher is the co-founder and chief executive officer of KickStart-International, a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to lift millions of people in Africa out of poverty. It operates by developing and mass marketing very low-cost technologies that are bought by poor entrepreneurs to kick-start highly profitable small businesses. Over 170,000 new businesses have been started using KickStart’s manually operated irrigation pumps and other technologies. Between them the new farm businesses are already generating over $140 million per year in new profits and wages and growing enough fresh produce to feed 8-10 million people. KickStart was founded in 1991 and employs over 120 staff in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, Zambia, NYC and San Francisco. Martin and KickStart have won numerous awards and accolades including; the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Skoll Award for Social Enterprise, Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability, AGFUND Prize for Development, Peter F Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation, Tech Museum Award for Technologies Benefiting Humanity, and Fast Company’s Social Capitalist Award and Martin has been named a "European Hero" by Time Magazine and “Engineer of the Year” by Design News. Martin has a BSc from Cornell University and an MSc and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and was a Fulbright Scholar in Kenya.


Joshua Litwin
Board Member

Joshua Litwin is the founder of Memento Press, the world’s first photobook store. He was a Henry Luce Scholar in 1990. He was posted in central Java with the leading NGO developing appropriate technology at the time and witnessed what worked and what didn't in that world. Josh is a director for Surfline, the company that pioneered surf prediction, changing the sport. He is also a board member at the Randall Museum in San Francisco. Joshua grew up in Venezuela and is fluent in Spanish. He earned an MBA from Stanford University and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering & computer science from Princeton University.


David Friedman
Board Member

David Friedman is a Senior Principal, Chair of the Board of Directors, immediate past President and CEO of Forell/Elsesser Engineers, with over 39 years of professional practice (34 years at F/E!) in structural and earthquake engineering. His strength, gained over the breadth and depth of his career, is a holistic perspective of a projects' planning, design and construction and the collaborative integration of creative structural solutions with architects, engineers and builders.

With a specialty in seismic engineering and retrofitting of existing structures, particularly those with historic designation, David has solved numerous structural and earthquake engineering challenges during his career with Forell/Elsesser Engineers. Principal examples of his projects include the base isolation retrofits of San Francisco City Hall and the Asian Art Museum, the adaptive reuse and retrofit for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the seismic safety corrections and remodeling of UC Berkeley's California Memorial Stadium. David is devoted to world-wide seismic risk reduction and is an immediate-past director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, dedicated to learning and disseminating the lessons learned from earthquakes around the world. He is also deeply involved in many civic, philanthropic and not-for-profit Boards including The San Francisco Foundation, SPUR, UC Berkeley Foundation and the Jewish Home of San Francisco.

Sigurd Anderson
Board Member

Sigurd "Sig" Anderson is a co-founder and managing member of City Center Realty Partners, LLC (CCRP), a San Francisco-based real estate investment and development company. For the past 25 years he has overseen new development and acquisitions of over $1 billion in commercial real estate across the country. As managing member of CCRP, he is responsible for setting strategic goals, directing and overseeing company investments, due diligence, capital markets, asset management and firm operations.
Sig received his B.S. in Business from the Curt Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), where he holds a Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) designation, as well as a Senior Certified Leasing Specialist (SCLS) designation and was member of that designation’s Governing Committee. He is also a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and is on the Board of Trustees of the World Affairs Council.

Executive Leadership

Elizabeth Hausler Strand

Dr. Elizabeth Hausler Strand, Founder & CEO
Board President

The major driving force for Build Change's founder, Dr. Elizabeth Hausler Strand, is the repeated, avoidable loss of life during earthquakes in emerging nations. Elizabeth is compelled by the failure of current approaches to permanently change construction practice, and motivated by the lack of opportunities for poor people to make money - if they had enough money, they could build a house that is earthquake-resistant, as shown clearly by the low number of fatalities in recent earthquakes in the developed world. But we can’t afford to wait for economic development – people are dying today.

Elizabeth Hausler Strand is the Founder and CEO of Build Change, an international, 501(c)(3), non-profit social enterprise based in Denver, Colorado, USA, with programs in Indonesia, China and Haiti.  Build Change designs earthquake-resistant houses in developing countries and trains builders, engineers, homeowners and government officials to build them.

Elizabeth was named a 2011 US Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation, and is the winner of the 2011 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability. Elizabeth is a 2004 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2006 Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow, a 2009 Ashoka-Lemelson Fellow, and was a Fulbright scholar to India in 2002-2003.  Build Change was the winner of the 2013 SEAOC Award of Excellence, the 2008 Tech Award for Technology Benefiting Humanity in the Equality Category for making earthquake-resistant housing solutions available to homeowners regardless of income level and the 2006 SEAONC Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering.  Elizabeth was a panelist at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, and a member of the 2007 cohort of the Global Social Benefit Incubator Program at Santa Clara University.

She is a skilled brick, block, and stone mason with an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado.  Before graduate school, she spent five years providing engineering consulting services at Peterson Consulting in Chicago and Dames & Moore in Denver. She has lectured on sustainable, disaster-resistant construction in 11 countries and served on the 2002-2003 US National Research Council Committee to develop a long-term research agenda for earthquake engineering. Elizabeth and Build Change’s work have been featured in the New York Times, BBC website, NPR All Things Considered, abcNEWS World News Tonight Person of the Week, Elle Magazine, and Bloomberg Businessweek.