Speaker Biographies


Marisa Aho – Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Marissa Aho, AICP has served as the Policy Director/Chief Resilience Officer for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since July 2021. DNR manages 5.6 million acres of forest, range, agricultural, aquatic, and commercial lands and has programs including Wildfire Management and Washington Geological Survey. She previously served as the first Chief Resilience Officer for the cities of Los Angeles and Houston. She led the development and implementation of the cities’ resilience strategies (Resilient Los Angeles and Resilient Houston) that are focused on preparing for catastrophic events and addressing chronic stressors. Prior to public service, she was a private urban planning and land use consultant for 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government (CLEG) from American University and a Master of Planning degree from the University of Southern California.


Dan Ault – Town of Carey, North Carolina

Dan Ault joined the Town of Cary as Assistant Town Manager and Chief Innovation Officer in December 2016. In this role, he serves as a key architect and strategist for Town Manager Stegall’s vision of creating a more adaptive and resilient local government. Ault’s focus on organizational development, communication, 311, and technology are redefining the way Town employees engage and collaborate with the public and each other.  Prior to working for the Town, Ault spearheaded the City of Elgin’s 311 initiative. While at Elgin, Ault co-developed the City’s mobile app in-house and implemented cloud applications across 21 departments.

Ault graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration. In 2010, he received his Master of Public Administration Degree from Northern Illinois University.  He has written articles on innovation in government technology for publications such as the Huffington Post, Government Technology, CIO Review and CIO Applications.


Wayne Bergeron – University of North Alabama

Wayne is a native of Houma, Louisiana. He is an alumnus of Nicholls State University; Thibodeaux Louisiana with a bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice earned in 1988 when he was commissioned into the Regular Army as a Military Police Officer. He was originally assigned to the 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he served the bulk of his 23-year career in Airborne and Special Operations Units.

In 1995 LTC Bergeron became qualified in both Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations and received a master’s degree in international relations from Troy State University in 1996. He has commanded units at every level from Platoon to Battalion, with his final assignment as the Chair and Professor of Military Science and Commander at the University of North Alabama ROTC program where he retired from active duty in May 2011. He currently is an Associate Professor teaching Criminal Justice and Security and Emergency Management and serves as the founding Director for the North Alabama Public Service Training Center at UNA. He completed his Doctor of Science in Emergency Management at Jacksonville State University in 2016.

Over the course of his career, LTC Bergeron has been assigned, deployed to, or worked in over thirty-five countries on four different continents and has served multiple combat tours in Panama, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. He is a Master Parachutist, Jumpmaster, and is Air Assault qualified.

Additionally, he has served as an instructor and presenter at the Joint Special Operations University, the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center and School, The US Army and Marine War Colleges, the US Naval Post Graduate School, the National Defense University, the NATO School, the Koffi Annan Peace Training Center in Accra, Ghana and various other international defense academies. He has also worked extensively with the US Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and various International and Non-Governmental Organizations. He has also served as an associate faculty member with the US Naval Post Graduate School’s Center for Civil Military Relations – Countering Terrorism Program.


Michael Brown – One World One Way, Inc

Dr. Michael Brown is the president of the non-profit policy institute One World One Way, Inc. This policy institute provides consultation on emergency operations plans, business continuity plans for private-public industry, conducts lectures and presentations on disaster and emergency management, homeland security, counter-terroris critical infrastructure protection, and social equity. The organization promotes the building of resilient, sustainable communities using hazard mitigation, environmental justice and social equity. He provides guidance on unmanned aircraft systems and protection of critical infrastructure to strengthen communities. Dr. Brown served in the United States Air Force as a combat crew member nuclear weapons officer, intelligence operations specialist, and executive support officer. He has a Master Certification in Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) and is a certified associate emergency manager. He taught at Park University and served as Core Faculty Emergency Management Professor at Capella University’s School of Public Service Schools of Leadership. There he was Chair Faculty Review Panel, Chair Designee Dissertation Topic approver for all emergency management dissertations and capstones. He is the co­ author of the books “Transforming Disaster Response: Federalism and Leadership, and Environmental Justice and Resilience in an Age of Uncertainty.”


Dianna Bryant – Institute for Rural Emergency Management

Dianna Havner Bryant, PhD, CIH, CSP is the Director of the Institute for Rural Emergency Management (IREM) and retired faculty in the BS in Crisis and Disaster Management at the University of Central Missouri. The BS was developed to be offered completely online and available to working adults while they continue to work and serve their community. She is an environmental scientist with a research interest in rural emergency management, having earned a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri, a M.S. in Industrial Hygiene from University of Central Missouri, and a B.S. in Biology. She is a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) and a certified safety professional (CSP). She is a frequent presenter at local, regional and national conferences. Her research on campground emergency preparedness and the interorganizational relations of rural emergency services won awards at the Rural Sociological Society. She works with rural communities to integrate theory into practice and host Regional Rural Emergency Management Summits.


Alexander Butler – South Carolina Office of Resilience

Alex Butler is the Resilience Planning Director for the South Carolina Office of Resilience where he oversees the development of the state’s first Statewide Risk Reduction and Resilience Plan.  Alex has a B.S.in Geology from Clemson University and a M.S. Geography from University of South Carolina where his studies focused on the interaction of people, land use and climate on the hydrological cycle of South Carolina.   Prior to his current role, Alex managed the Water Quantity Permitting Section at the Department of Health and Environmental Control and worked as a Hydrologist for both DHEC and DNR. In his spare time Alex connects people to watersheds as a whitewater kayak instructor.


Thomas Chandler – National Center for Disaster Preparedness

Thomas Chandler, Ph.D., is the Deputy Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Climate at Columbia University. He focuses on post-disaster housing and economic recovery, mass care community sheltering and relocation assistance, pandemic preparedness and response, and climate change. He is the Director of NCDP’s FEMA training projects.

He has also been the Principal Investigator of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) research study, “Evaluation of the Public Health System Response to Hurricane Sandy in the NY Metro Area”; Principal Investigator of a U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) research / training project, “Visualizing Social Media: New Tools for Research and Practice”; Co-Principal Investigator of a research grant funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, “Understanding Resilience Attributes for Children, Youth, and Communities in the Wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill”.


Steve Click – Ohio Department of Public Safety

Steven Click serves as the Director of First Responder Wellness for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Criminal Justice Services.  Prior to his current position, he served as the First Responder Liaison for Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services.  Steve is a retired lieutenant from the Ohio State Highway Patrol where he served for 36 years, completing his career assigned to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Office of Personnel / Ohio ASSIST program.  Steve has been involved in peer support since 1992 and oversaw the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Member’s Assistance Team (MAT) from its inception in 2002 and previously served as the Operational Commander.

He has been active in peer support since being CISM trained in 1993.  He was deployed to New York City twice after the 9/11 attacks and worked with the NYPD peer support program, POPPA. He serves as the lead trainer for several training programs offered by OCJS, having provided training to a number of public safety and civilian agencies across Ohio.

Steve graduated from Franklin University, with honors, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Safety Management with minors in leadership and public relations. Steve is also a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Staff & Command.


Dan Cotter – Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Dan Cotter is the Senior Advisor in the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  He joined S&T in 2012 and has served as the Director of the S&T First Responders Research Group, and as the Executive Director of the S&T Office of Science and Engineering. His responsibilities have included overseeing seven technology centers, research requirements development, standards, systems engineering, test and evaluation, technology scouting and transition planning, and supporting DHS research and acquisition programs.

He joined DHS is 2005 and initially served as the DHS Geospatial Management Officer prior to being selected as the DHS Chief Technology Officer. As a Senior Technical Advisor at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Dan led programs applying emerging technologies to address a wide range of scientific, engineering, and technical challenges faced by the National Flood Insurance Program and disaster mitigation, response, and recovery missions. He also has over a decade of executive leadership experience in the private sector, including leading the startup of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) terrain data acquisition company in 1998,

In 2018 he received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive. Among other recognition, Dan is also a recipient of the FEMA Director’s Distinguished Service Award.

Dan is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He holds a M.B.A. from Texas A&M University, M.S. in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences from George Mason University, and a B.S in Hydrology from the University of Arizona.


Kelsey Delaney – Council of Western State Foresters/ Western Forestry Leadership Coalition

Kelsey Delaney is the Director of Partnerships and Program Implementation for the Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF) and the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC). Kelsey joined CWSF/WFLC in 2013 and has served as the Projects Director, Policy Director, and the Director of Policy and Program Implementation.

In her current role, Kelsey is responsible for cultivating and maintaining collaborative partnerships with governmental and non-governmental partners in the West, and conducting activities to analyze and improve the implementation of forest-related programs of priority to CWSF/WFLC members.

Kelsey came to CWSF/WFLC from the Society of American Foresters (SAF), where she worked from 2010 to 2013 in several capacities, concluding as the Assistant Director of Forest Policy. She was selected for the SAF Henry Clepper Internship in 2010.

Kelsey received her Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management from Colorado State University. As an undergraduate, she worked for the Colorado State Forest Service as a Student Administrative Assistant in its Fort Collins Fire Division and the Conservation Education Division.


Ben Duncan – South Carolina Office of Resilience

Benjamin I. Duncan II currently serves as the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer for the South Carolina Office of Resilience, having been appointed by Governor Henry McMaster in March 2021. Ben previously served as Program Management Director with South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office before it was statutorily established as the Office of Resilience. He has served as either the Program Director or in other management capacities in Disaster Recovery for the past seven years since the Office’s inception following the historic floods of 2015. Prior to joining the Disaster Recovery Office, he served as Deputy Director for Administration with the South Carolina Department of Insurance. In total, Ben’s public service career spans more than 35 years and includes multiple executive positions with the South Carolina Budget and Control Board (now known as the Department of Administration) and the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, as well as multiple other gubernatorial appointments.

Since Ben was appointed Chief Resilience Officer, the SC Office of Resilience has become known as a leader in resilience and sustainability across the nation. He has been invited to speak at numerous conferences and workshops nationwide about South Carolina’s innovative approach to flooding solutions, as well as the state’s leadership in long-term disaster recovery. Ben is passionate about serving the citizens of South Carolina and ensuring a more resilient future for all.


Gilda Brown Ebanks – American Red Cross

Dr. Gilda Brown Ebanks, a native New Orleanian, has extensive non-profit experience including program development and management, community outreach, and CBO collaborations.  Over the past 8 years she has served  her community as the Resource Coordination Program Manager for a national nonprofit and has worked in higher education as the Director of Single Stop at Delgado Community College, managed under the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.  Her most recent professional accomplishment was being awarded Outstanding Professional Staff at Delgado Community College (2019) for her leadership, commitment to her profession, and the institution.  Dr. Ebanks received both her BA in Psychology and Master of Social Work degrees from Southern University at New Orleans and her Doctoral degree in Social Work from Tulane University.  Throughout her professional career, Dr. Ebanks has been committed to advocated for marginalized communities.  As she continues her career path, her goal is to remain connected to communities, giving voices to the voiceless while supporting and uplifting those who are often overlooked.


Natalie Enclade- BuildStrong Coalition

Natalie Enclade, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the BuildStrong Coalition, the preeminent organization driving the national policy discussion on how to increase investments in mitigation to draw down disaster costs and losses. Prior to that, she was the Director of Individual and Community Preparedness for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As Director, she oversaw programs that partner at all levels of government, the private sector, and community organizations to increase individual and community preparedness and encourage the development of disaster resilience across the Nation. Dr. Enclade has an established career in the field of emergency management and national security as a Chief Policy Advisor and Senior Program Analyst for DHS and Policy Analyst for the State of Mississippi. Additionally, she has served as the subject matter expert in homeland security, cybersecurity, and emergency management for the United States Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In this role, she was responsible for advising Committee and Senate leadership on general emergency management issues, FEMA, Stafford Act, cybersecurity, and critical infrastructure policy. This included major pieces of legislation, such as the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), fire grants reauthorization, and various programmatic mandates.


Chris Fennell – IBTS

Chris has more than 30 years of domestic and international marketing, market research, engineering, construction, and management consulting experience. Chris has a 25-year relationship with IBTS as an employee and consultant. He was the State Administrative Agency principal task leader and technical trainer for the In-Plant Primary Inspection Agency activities within the HUD Manufactured Housing Program.  Over the last ten years he has been a senior advisor to IBTS in support of energy programs, strategic planning, and business development.

Prior to re-joining IBTS Chris established and led BuildingInsight LLC, a full-service marketing research and strategy consulting firm. BuildingInsight, which is now an IBTS subsidiary, is especially known for leading edge B2B and B2C energy and sustainability research and brand strategy. He spent nearly nine years at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center as Vice-President of Marketing and Division Director for Energy as well as Economics & Policy Analysis programs.

Chris received an International MBA from Georgetown University.  His undergraduate studies include a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Union College concurrent with the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in German.


Lottie Ferguson – City of Flint

Lottie Ferguson is the Chief Resilience Officer of Flint, MI. Her experiences in the nonprofit sector, converged in this position, designed to help Flint recover from social, economic and environmental crises and to create a more resilient community. In just over three years as Chief Resilience Officer, Lottie has worked to move the Flint community from survival toward thriving by facilitating the infusion of millions in local, regional, and federal grant funds for programs centered around equity, community engagement, public health and environmental justice. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University and University of Michigan-Flint, and was on the list of top 100 local government influencers by Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) in 2022. Lottie is active on several regional and local boards and collaboratives, all of which have missions that positively impact the health and well-being of children and their families.


Colin Foard – The Pew Charitable Trust

Colin Foard is a manager with Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative, leading research into public spending on natural disasters and other topics. He has co-authored Pew’s major research reports on state disaster spending and budgeting challenges, and most recently, wildfire budgeting. Before Pew, Colin was on the staff of a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ appropriations and budget committees, handling committee work as well as a broad policy portfolio including homeland security, transportation, and immigration issues. Colin holds a bachelor’s degree from Union College and a master’s from the University of California, Berkeley.


Jonathan Gaddy – Idaho State University

From 2018-2022, Jonathan served as Deputy Director and Chief of Staff at the State of Alabama Emergency Management Agency, where he was responsible for managing all aspects of agency operations and administration. During his time at AEMA, the state managed fourteen Presidentially declared FEMA major disasters and emergencies, including Hurricane Michael in 2018, the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hurricane Sally in 2020. His role included leading reorganizational efforts, overseeing strategic planning, and building programs to enhance stakeholder engagement in the state’s integrated emergency management system.

Prior to his appointment at AEMA, Jonathan served as the Director of the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency in Alabama from 2011-2018, where he led the community through multiple disasters including the historic April 27, 2011, tornado super outbreak. While working in local government, he also served as a county administrator, managed the community’s participation in the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), and specialized as a WMD response planner. In addition to state and local government work, Jonathan has served on the federal level as a member of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) since 2008, specializing in disaster communications, logistics, and information technology.

Jonathan is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the homeland security and emergency management program at Idaho State University, and he previously taught in Jacksonville State University’s emergency management program. He is a past president of the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers and is an active member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)’s Government Affairs and Training and Education committees. He serves as a national liaison to FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute and other training programs on behalf of IAEM.


Bob Greenberg- G&H InternationalServices

Bob is the Founder and CEO of G&H International Services which has been working with federal, state and local governments to support the emergency management and first responder community for 26 years. He has devoted his career to  building partnerships to develop and implement  sustained  programs and technology based solutions  to build smart and resilient communities. This included helping to lead national programs such as Project SAFECOM improve communications interoperability and the Virtual USA emergency management information sharing initiative. A key focus of Mr. Greenberg’s work today is helping prepare the nation for the challenges of today and the future through the application of advanced technologies and building a National Trusted Data Sharing Environment in partnership with the emergency services community.


Karl Kim – University of Hawaii; National Disaster Preparedness Training Center

Karl Kim, PhD is Professor of Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Hawaii, where he is also the founding Director of the Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (DMHA) program.  He has previously served as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs overseeing strategic planning, program review, tenure and promotion, and international programs at the University of Hawaii.  Dr. Kim holds appointments in the School of Architecture and the Center for Korean Studies.  He is Executive Director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC), a congressionally-authorized center, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop and deliver training courses for first responders and emergency managers.  NDPTC (ndptc.hawaii.edu) integrates urban planning and community resilience and has trained more than 70,000 professionals across the world.  Dr. Kim is Editor of Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Elsevier) and is editing a 12-volume series on disaster risk reduction (Routledge Press).  He was educated at Brown University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dr. Kim has received more than $75 million in extramural research and training grants from federal, state, and international organizations.


Michelle Luckett – Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies; Florida VOAD

Michelle Luckett serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE), a nonprofit organization based in Pensacola Florida whose mission is to make communities disaster-resilient through public-private partnership.  Known for its commitment to partnerships by fostering communication, cooperation, collaboration and coordination among community, faith-based, non-profit, private, and public organizations, and individuals active in one or more functions of emergency management, BRACE believes that emergency management is most effective when the whole community is engaged and involved. Faith-based organizations, service agencies, businesses and associations, tribal organizations, youth and older Americans, and people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, can make a real difference in their communities before, during, and after disasters.

As an educational organization, BRACE fully believes that the impacts of disasters are basically reduced when people are aware through proactive, engaging educational programs that create a culture of prevention and resilience to natural and man-made disasters. Ms. Luckett’s experience as a five-year Board Member of the Florida VOAD and the Region 1 Board Representative for the Florida Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Association allows BRACE to continue being at the tip of the spear for identifying rural and low-attention communities’ needs before and after disasters


Robert Martin – State of West Virginia

Attended Marshall University receiving a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, a commission as an Army 2nd Lieutenant, and later receiving a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University. 28 years of total Army service was filled with jumping from airplanes, flying helicopters, responding to numerous WV floods, WV CERFP operations, Commander of the Center for National Response, and most recently as the CBRNE Battalion Commander of the Joint Interagency Training and Education Center (JITEC). After retiring from the WV National Guard, he spent the next 8 years working as a contractor developing joint operations exercises for first responders and the military in various disaster scenarios throughout the United States and territories. Mr. Martin joined The State Resiliency Office as the Deputy SRO in May of 2021 and was appointed by Governor Jim Justice to serve as the Director of the State Resiliency Office in July 2021.


Reese May – SBP

Reese May is a two-time combat Marine veteran, SBP’s Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, and oversees SBP’s strategic and government affairs across the United States. Reese consults with community and elected leaders at all levels on how best to develop and implement long-term disaster recovery programs to avoid common mistakes and barriers to a prompt, efficient and predictable recovery. Reese is a sought after resilience and recovery expert with more than 11 years of experience in recoveries in Louisiana, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, West Virginia, and USVI. Reese’s work and policy recommendations enable communities to recover more efficiently and effectively. Reese has helped lead SBP since 2011.


Jeff McLeod- Deloitte

Jeff is a specialist leader in Deloitte’s Cyber and Strategic Risk practice where he advises public sector clients on cyber emergency management, crisis response and recovery, strategic risk, and resilience. Prior to joining Deloitte, Jeff served as director of the National Governors Association’s Homeland Security and Public Safety Division where he supported governors and their senior advisors—including cabinet officials, legal counsel, and policy staff—in developing data-driven, evidence-based solutions to enterprise-wide security and safety challenges. At NGA, he also directed the bipartisan membership association of governors’ homeland security advisors—the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council. He has served on the boards of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice Global Advisory Committee, and Cure Violence, ranked #10 in NGO Advisor’s 2018 report of top 500 NGOs in the world. He has testified before the United States Congress and state legislative bodies, and his writing has been published in the University of Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, the University of Pittsburgh Law Review, as well as The Hill, Government Technology, and other media outlets. He holds a Master of Science in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where he served as lead executive editor of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Michigan. Jeff teaches a course on federalism at Georgetown Law School and serves as an advisory committee member of The Georgetown Project of State & Local Government Policy and Law.


Patrick Meyers -Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Patrick Meyers is a graduate of the University of Colorado (Denver) and the University of California (Hastings) School of Law. He served in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service from 1978-1984.

While at Hastings, Pat served as a clerk and intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office (Civil and Criminal Division) and Department of Justice Antitrust Division, San Francisco. After graduating from law school, Pat clerked for the

Hon. Justice William Erickson of the Colorado Supreme Court, and thereafter was an attorney with Moye Giles in Denver. He specialized in franchise, appellate, and transactional law. Pat was a Special Assistant Attorney General representing the State of Colorado in criminal appeals from 1992 through 1994. He has written numerous articles and has taught various continuing legal education courses.

In 1993, Pat was elected as a director for the Quiznos sandwich chain, then a public company. In 1997 Pat started the general counsel’s office at Quiznos, and subsequently became an owner of the company until January 2012. Pat served at various times as the head of Quiznos Legal, Finance, Administration, IT and HR. Pat subsequently became a Partner, Managing Director and the Chief Legal Officer for Consumer Capital Partners. Pat was an owner of CCP’s newest venture, Smashburger until the chain’s sale in 2018, and up until October 2016 was a director for CCP, as well as a board member for Smashburger and chair of the CCP and Smashburger audit committees. Pat also served on the compensation committees of both companies and the investment committee for CCP.

In December 2017, Pat was appointed the Chief of Staff to Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper and served in the role until the Governor’s term ended in 2019. Pat was a Senior Advisor to now Sen.

Hickenlooper and was a board member of his Senate campaign. Pat was Chief Operating Officer of Gov. Hickenlooper’s U.S. Presidential Campaign.

In March 2020 Pat was appointed the Constrained Medical Supply Team Leader for the State of Colorado’s Covid Innovation Response Team, where he led the team obtaining PPE and other medical supplies for the State. In 2021, Pat was awarded the Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Award for his work on the Covid Response Team.

In March 2021, Pat was appointed by Governor Polis as the Executive Director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade and as the Chief Economic Recovery Officer for the State of Colorado.

Pat has previously served or is serving on the Commissioning Committee for the USS Colorado, Board of Advisors for Quest Hospitality Ventures, as a trustee for the University of California (Hastings) Foundation, the Downtown Denver Partnership Board, the advisory board of The Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship, and as an H.B. Meek Executive in Residence at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, the University of Colorado (Boulder) Parent Leadership Society Board and as a Trustee for the University of Colorado Foundation. Pat and his twin daughters are also directors of the Meyers Family Foundation


Anne Miller – Colorado Resiliency Office

Anne Miller, AICP is the Director of the Colorado Resiliency Office (CRO) in the Department of Local Affairs. The CRO supports local governments in building stronger, safer, and more resilient communities in the face of natural disasters and other major challenges.  She has over 25 years of community development experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Anne has worked in Colorado and across the nation to build adaptive and sustainable communities. She has a Master’s of Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and founding member of the American Planning Association’s Sustainable Communities Division.


Charlotte Porter – National Training and Education Division, FEMA

Charlotte Hyams Porter is a results-driven executive leader with over 20 years of proven success in stakeholder relations, coalition building, and communications in the fields of public health and emergency management with public and private sector, non-profit, and academic audiences.

As the Director for FEMA’s National Training and Education Division within the National Preparedness Directorate (NPD), Ms. Porter leads a team focused on building a more prepared and resilient nation through cutting edge training and research.

Ms. Porter has previously served in a variety of leadership positions in FEMA including as the Senior Liaison for Regional Engagement and Field Operations, as the Deputy Director for the Individual and Community Preparedness Division, and as the Director of the Office of the National Advisory Council. Ms. Porter began her federal service in the FEMA Office of External Affairs/Intergovernmental Affairs. During her tenure at FEMA, Ms. Porter has been deployed numerous times, leading innovative initiatives as part of FEMA’s overall response and recovery operations. Preceding her work at FEMA, Ms. Porter worked at the local, state, and national levels in the field of public health preparedness and response.

Ms. Porter is a graduate of several leadership programs, including the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Executive Leaders Program, the Harvard University Leadership in Crises Executive Education Program, the Executive Women’s Leadership Program at the GWU Center for Excellence in Public Leadership, and the Excellence in Government Fellows Program at the Partnership for Public Service. Ms. Porter holds a BA in Sociology from Clark University, an MPH in International Health, and a Certificate in Humanitarian Assistance.


Carlos Rivero

Carlos Rivero is a public sector data practice subject matter expert with over 27 years of experience in federal and state government and higher education. Carlos is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Executive Government Advisor focused on State and Local Government within the AWS Worldwide Public Sector.

Prior to joining Amazon Web Services, Rivero was Vice President of Data and Analytics at GCOM Software where he established their public sector data practice. During his time at GCOM, he built a small and mighty team of data professionals working to establish a national data trust. In addition, Rivero was the first Chief Data Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia ultimately helping Governor Northam, his executive team, and public health/emergency management professionals respond to the COVID-19 pandemic leveraging data-driven intelligence products to help inform actionable decisions that kept Virginians safe. In Virginia, he developed a statewide data trust as the legal framework to facilitate data sharing across public and private entities; a centralized entity resolution service mapping individuals across multiple data systems to support longitudinal studies; a secure cloud-based data sharing platform as the technical implementation of the data trust; an enterprise reporting system to facilitate the development and delivery of data-driven intelligence products; and a governance structure that engaged leaders from across the organization (from agency data stewards to state senators) in the data conversation.

Prior to his appointment, Rivero served as the Chief Data Officer and Chief Enterprise Architect for the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration where he created a data ecosystem delivering intelligence products throughout the organization. Mr. Rivero also served in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service helping to support NOAA’s Big Data Program, Public Access to Research Results, Highly Migratory Species tagging program, and others. Prior to joining the federal service, Mr. Rivero was a research associate and adjunct professor at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science.


Victoria Salinas – Department of Resilience, FEMA

Victoria Salinas has worked with communities across the United States and internationally to build resilience and recover after major disasters. Passionate about driving social impact centered in partnership and community resilience, she has a steadfast focus on ensuring equitable outcomes for all.

Ms. Salinas is an appointee in the Biden-Harris Administration, and currently serves at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Administrator for Resilience.

FEMA Resilience aims to help communities across the United States equitably adapt, survive, recover and thrive in the face of natural disasters, climate change, and security threats, through a variety of programs that aim to help communities better understand their risk; transfer risk through insurance; and build the capacity to prepare, protect, respond, and recover from disasters.

Previously serving as the Chief Resilience Officer and Deputy City Administrator for Oakland, California, Ms. Salinas spearheaded planning, policy, and legislative efforts to address climate, disaster, and socio-economic vulnerability. At the World Bank, the United Nations, and in her previous experience at FEMA, she worked alongside officials at all levels of government to plan recovery efforts following major disasters. She started her career in public service following Hurricane Katrina, as a Presidential Management Fellow at FEMA, where she helped lead federal interagency efforts to develop new policies and programs that now guide disaster recovery in the U.S.

Most recently, Ms. Salinas served as the Vice President for Programs and Communication at the non-profit FUSE Corps, where she focused on strengthening the capacity of local government to address pressing community challenges. She partnered with government leaders from 35 cities and counties, ranging from Los Angeles County to the City of Birmingham, Alabama to embed and support FUSE Executive Fellows tackling projects related to climate change, justice reform, affordable housing, inclusive economic development, and equitable access to government services. Ms. Salinas also led the development of FUSE’s racial equity programming, the creation of results measurement systems for all projects, and a solutions-based journalism initiative that lifts up promising practices in local government.

Ms. Salinas has a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She is a Chilean American who grew up in Austin, Texas and considers Oakland, California her second home. She has two sons and is married to a serial entrepreneur.


Matt Sanders

Mathew Sanders manages the state planning portfolio of Pew’s flood-prepared communities initiative, which focuses on state-level efforts to plan for current and future flood risk. In this role, he works directly with state governments and community leaders to advocate for, develop, and implement comprehensive disaster-resilience plans for various flood risks, including coastal surge, riverine, and flash flooding.

Before joining Pew, Sanders worked as a planner for the Louisiana state government, with a specific focus on post-disaster recovery and long-term disaster resilience. Notably, he led the development of Louisiana’s successful application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-sponsored National Disaster Resilience Competition, and upon receipt of a $92.6 million award was the principal planner in development of both funded projects—Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) and the relocation of Isle de Jean Charles in remote coastal Louisiana. Sanders was a Route Fifty Navigator Award recipient in The Leaders category for excellence and achievement in state government. Before working in Louisiana, Sanders did land use planning for the New York City government and was a journalist in Jackson, Mississippi.

Sanders holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University and a master’s in urban planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Additionally, he is accredited by the American Planning Association’s American Institute of Certified Planners. He has also been a frequent guest lecturer at institutions such as Columbia University, Tulane University, and Louisiana State University.


Darrell Small – Maryland Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Mr. Darrell Small is an Emergency Management professional in the Prince George’s County, Maryland Office of Homeland Security/ Emergency Management, serving as Continuity of Operations Coordinator and Community Developer. His accomplished experiences include real-world emergency preparedness and response, program development, and innovative public-private partnership initiatives, and practical expertise with industry standard assessment tools to conduct hazards, risks and vulnerability assessments for technical assistance to senior executive leaders.

Prior to arriving at Prince George’s County, Office of Homeland Security/Emergency Management, He led as a Senior Emergency Management Consultant at the United States Department of Defense, Headquarters in Washington, District of Columbia. He conducted business impact analyses, developed mitigation measures for business continuity plans, provided resilience analysis and planning, and developed risk mitigation strategies for critical infrastructure.


Russell J. Strickland – Maryland Department of Homeland Security

Russell J. Strickland was appointed as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Emergency Management in October of 2021. He previously was appointed as the Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency in July 2015. In this role, Mr. Strickland leads a Department that has the primary responsibility and authority for emergency preparedness policy, and for coordinating hazard mitigation, incident response, and disaster recovery for the State of Maryland. This includes serving as a direct advisor to the Governor during disasters and coordinating support for local governments as requested.

Mr. Strickland is an experienced emergency management professional who has more than 40 years of experience in the field of emergency services and first responder activities at the state and local levels of government, academia, and the private sector. This includes expertise in fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, fire inspection and investigation, communications, and emergency management leadership.

Directly prior to his appointment, Mr. Strickland worked as a Senior Law & Policy Analyst at the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS), where he led CHHS’ work with the United States Department of State Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program and developed strategy for the Montgomery County (Md.) Fire Department to meet compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Mr. Strickland also has experience leading a cabinet-level emergency services department at the local level as the Director of Emergency Services in Harford County, Md. This position oversees emergency operations and communications, public safety answering points (the 9-1-1 center), training, and special operations among other responsibilities.

His executive responsibilities have also included previously serving the State of Maryland as Deputy Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Assistant Director of the Field Programs Division at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, University of Maryland College Park.

Mr. Strickland has a Master of Science degree in Management from Frostburg State College. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Charles Sutcliffe – Louisiana Governor;s Office

Charles Sutcliffe is in his twelfth year in the Governor’s Office. He began with a strict policy focus related to the implementation and funding of the Coastal Master Plan and now seeks to encourage adaptation to coastal and climate change across other departments within state government in order to build resilience. He coordinates closely with other state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other partners as the State of Louisiana broadens its approach to managing the many impacts of environmental change and positions itself to capitalize on new opportunities to enhance communities and quality of life, strengthen the economy, and restore the environment. Charles is also part of a small team in the Governor’s Office supporting the Climate Initiatives Task Force which delivered Louisiana’s first Climate Action Plan in February of 2022. The plan details strategies and actions for how Louisiana can reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Mr. Sutcliffe has a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Animal Sciences from Louisiana State University. Before coming to the Governor’s Office he worked as a science teacher in Baton Rouge and Pittsburgh; with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services; and with Louisiana State University’s Economics & Policy Research Group.


Euclid Tally – Louisiana Governor’s Office of homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

Current position includes three years as the Branch Manager working in Homeland Security managing the Critical Infrastructure Security, Cyber Security, and Criminal Intelligence Fusion Center Liaison. Provide oversight for vulnerability threat assessments and security protection to critical infrastructure of national interest e.g. national defense, national security, or national resource protection. Additional areas of responsibility include; Overseeing and safeguarding information, personnel, property, assets, and/or material from theft, loss, misuse, fraud, disclosure, espionage, sabotage, or terrorism.

Four years of military service managing Human Resource, Officer Recruiting, and Career Management for a force of 9,000+ Soldiers including; medical doctors, dentists, lawyers, and mental health providers along with basic branches.

Eight years of military service assigned as the WMD, Consequence Manager responding to emergency incidents and providing direct support to Federal/State civilian authority conducting counter terrorism to CBRNE events. Areas of responsibility included; providing identification, mitigation, lab analysis, evidence preservation, intelligence analysis, and physical security to special events, force protection. Handled all natural and manmade Disaster Recovery projects and provided POTUS Protection in support of Secret Service, Hazardous Materials Mitigation Unit, during multiple events.


Jeffery Thomas – KPMG

Jeffrey is a national lead for KPMG Advisory Services in advising state and local governments on strategies for designing and executing policies and programs focused on addressing community and economic resilience, including affordable housing incentives, homelessness reduction, and neighborhood commercial reinvestment. Since the onset of the pandemic, Jeffrey has worked directly with numerous states, counties, and cities, helping them align funding, design initiatives, and track performance and compliance metrics in furtherance of a wide array of pandemic related community and economic response and recovery aims.

Jeffrey’s efforts build on over twenty years of administrative law and public policy experience, including helming large city post-disaster housing program designs; coordinating high profile public-private initiatives; and advising on structuring tax-increment funded neighborhood reinvestments.


Joanne Throwe – Throwe Environmental, LLC

Joanne Throwe is the President of Throwe Environmental, LLC. Joanne’s work focuses on helping governments and organizations find innovative ways to fund and finance environmental and natural resource improvements, especially as it relates to the impacts of climate change. Joanne serves as a technical assistance provider for the Southeast New England Program Network and is also field liaison for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s National Coastal Resilience Fund and the Long Island Sound Futures Fund.  Prior to work at Throwe Environmental, Joanne served as Senior Fellow at the University of Maryland Center for Global Sustainability and was Deputy Secretary for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Prior to that, Joanne was Director of the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center serving the Mid-Atlantic region and helped communities finance environmental protection activities for over ten years. Joanne recently served as Chair for US EPA’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board that is responsible for providing innovative financing recommendations to the Administrator of US EPA. In addition, she served as co-chair of the National Stormwater Finance Task Force for US EPA. Joanne holds a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and currently resides in Rhode Island.


Jessica Vallelungo – Louisiana Department of Education

Jessica Vallelungo serves as the Executive Director of Quality Diplomas in the Office of Career and College Readiness for the Louisiana Department of Education. Before joining the LDOE Team in 2018, she worked in Louisiana public schools for 13 years. During her years in the public school systems she served in multiple roles including Career and Technical Education Coordinator, Dual Enrollment Coordinator, and Digital Media Instructor.  In these capacities, she helped spearhead development and implementation of high wage, high demand pathways, developed and grew dual enrollment programs, managed federal and state funds, and expanded industry-based certifications (IBC) offerings. Her vested interest in quality Career and Technical Education programs stems from a childhood on the bayous of coastal Louisiana and teenage years surrounded by emerging technology.


Fran Varacalli – South Carolina Office of Resiience

Fran Varacalli (Grants Administrator, South Carolina Office of Resilience): Fran has worked in the environmental field for over 20 years, with experience in both water protection and land preservation at state, local and non-profit organizations. While at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Fran worked in Watershed Management and created the NJ Watershed Ambassador AmeriCorps program in 2000, which continues serving the state today. Thereafter, Fran served as the Executive Director of the South Branch Watershed Association and with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. Before moving to South Carolina, Fran applied her water protection experience to the land preservation field by serving as Franklin Township’s Land Preservation and Management Consultant. In her current role as Grants Administrator at the South Carolina Office of Resilience, Fran focuses on identifying grant funds, and working with partners at the state or local level to secure and manage grant funds that increase SCOR’s ability to coordinate and implement resilience efforts across the state and connecting communities with state, federal and other funding resources to implement programs and projects that increase community and ecosystem resilience.


Chad Vicknair – Deloitte

Chad Vicknair brings a true shop-floor to top-floor perspective with over 27 years in the regulated and highly hazardous chemical industry.  In 1992, while working as a maintenance contractor at a chemical facility in Louisiana, he accepted an employment offer in operations.  Driven by a natural desire to understand systems from end to end, he quickly moved through various roles developing a strong understanding of interoperability between not only systems, but the people interacting with them.  Continuing a personal pursuit of education, Chad earned a Bachelor’s degree and multiple certifications in process control and cybersecurity.  At the site level, he administered BPCS, SIS, PCN and MES systems, supported PSM, PHA, LOPA and alarm rationalization programs, and helped to develop and sustain regulatory cybersecurity programs for CFATS, MTSA, RCSC, and the EPA based on RAGAGEP.  As a corporate global ICS cybersecurity consultant and PM, Chad navigated across multiple business functions to promote IT/OT collaboration, adaption of the NIST CSF, ISA/IEC 62443 standards and a risk-based approach to cybersecurity aligning the business mission with regulatory requirements


Hope Warren – South Carolina Office of Resilience

Hope Warren, AICP (State Planner, South Carolina Office of Resilience): As part of the Resilience Planning team at the South Carolina Office of Resilience, Hope is currently developing the state’s first Strategic Statewide Resilience and Risk Reduction Plan. The plan, to be released in July 2023, will serve as a framework to guide state investment, policies, and programs to protect the people and property of South Carolina from the damage and destruction of future extreme weather events. Drawing on her previous experience in local government, she works to ensure the statewide plan support implementation of resilience at the local level by coordinating with a number of federal, state, regional and local partners. Prior to this position, Hope worked in SCOR’s HUD funded CDBG-Mitigation program, coordinating local flood reduction plans and studies.  Prior to her work with the South Carolina Office of Resilience, she worked in several cities and counties in the Upstate of South Carolina in the areas of community development, tourism, and planning.  Hope is a graduate of Clemson University, with a bachelor’s degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning. She is a proud member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.


Helen Wiley – SBP

Helen Wiley is SBP’s Disaster Preparedness Program Director. Her expertise is in disaster insurance and risk communication. Helen’s domestic and international policy experience in disaster risk reduction and adaptation issues has grounded her belief in the criticality of better preparing vulnerable households and communities pre-disaster to improve recovery outcomes. Helen most recently worked at the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania as Assistant Director of Research and Policy.  She managed the Center’s Policy Incubator projects, which supported novel approaches for increasing resilience through workable on-the-ground solutions with public sector partners. She has also worked on international climate and disaster risk reduction projects at the German Development Institute (DIE) and at the Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). Helen holds a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Washington University in St. Louis; her M.Sc. in Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security was administered jointly by the United Nations University and the University of Bonn, Germany.