A month after flying to earthquake-devastated Ecuador to help assess damage and civilian needs, Dr. H. Kit Miyamoto and his company have been awarded the President’s “E” Award, the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports.

At a May 16 ceremony in Washington, D.C., Sacramento, CA-based earthquake and structural engineering company Miyamoto International was presented the award by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The company’s implementation of life-saving technical knowledge, expertise and training was also particularly notable,” said Pritzker in a recent press release.

The President's “E” Award was created by Executive Order of the President to recognize persons, firms, or organizations which "contribute significantly in the effort to increase" United States exports. Winners of the award are authorized to fly the blue and white banner, to display the accompanying certificate of commendation which is signed by the Secretary of Commerce in the name and by the authority of the President, to wear and issue to employees an “E” lapel pin, and to refer to the award in their advertising.

Dr. Miyamoto, who is also CEO of Miyamoto Intl, told me he was very honored to be recognized by the Secretary of Commerce. "I know it is rare for engineering consultants to receive this award," he says. "We still have a long way to go to accomplish our mission of making the world a better, safer place, but awards help raise awareness of what can be done to save lives."

Last month Miyamoto flew to earthquake-devastated Ecuador to help assess earthquake damage and civilian needs. As a California governor-appointed commissioner, he arrived in the country and reached out to government agencies, NGOs, international agencies and the private sector. The team traveled to the hardest-hit areas of Manta, Portoviejo and other areas.

"The destruction in Ecuador is bad as I have seen because it stretched out over 200 miles of coastline," says Miyamoto. "Also, the capital city of Quito is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, but dangerous. There is a window of opportunity now to reduce the risk there."

Quito is a World Heritage UNESCO city with historic buildings dating back to the 15th century. The city is architecturally iconic, but seismically vulnerable. While in the Quito, Miyamoto met with the mayor to discuss the city's seismic challenges.

The April 16 earthquake in Ecuador measured 7.8-magnitude and struck off the west coast, injuring 7,000 people and killing at least 570.

Miyamoto, who is also a California Seismic Safety Commissioner and president of nonprofit Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief, has for the past 10 years lived in disaster zones from Haiti, Japan, New Zealand and Nepal, providing expertise in disaster response, recovery and mitigation.