Click on a speaker name to read biography.
(February 21, 2008) Michael Armstrong is the Senior Vice President for Member Services at the International Code Council (ICC). He is a Visiting Professor at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., instructing in the Crisis, Emergency and Risk Management Concentration in the Graduate Program of the School of Engineering, and serves as a Trustee for the Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation. His work at the Code Council includes oversight for training and education, certification and testing, membership support, program development, and national conferences.
Prior to joining the Code Council, he spent over five years as a management consultant specializing in homeland security and emergency management projects for federal, state and local government clients at ICF International. Mr. Armstrong served for seven years as an appointee of President Clinton at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), first as Region VIII Director in Denver and then as Associate Director (Senate-confirmed) for Mitigation. He managed national programs addressing risk reduction including pre- and post- disaster grant programs, ongoing oversight for the nation's flood, hurricane and earthquake programs, support for academic and building science research, and the launch of initiatives in pre-disaster mitigation, mapping modernization, "safe room" technology, public/private partnerships and cost-benefit analysis. He also served as the Colorado Governor's Deputy for Energy Conservation, and spent a decade as an assistant city attorney specializing in land use issues.
Mr. Armstrong holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Juris Doctorate from the Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, California. He is admitted to the practice of law in Colorado and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
(February 21, 2008) As a third generation, licensed Building Contractor in Florida, Ms. Beall is the mastermind behind a new concept in safe, affordable housing called 'Storm Safe Homes'. Her innovative design and building concepts have made her an industry leader and a sought-after home improvement expert and speaker. As a result, she has been seen on ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's TODAY Show, the Weather Channel, DIY, the Do-It-Yourself Network, HGTVPro, and in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and BUILDER Magazine to name a few. Ms. Beall is currently the "Contract-Her" on the nationally syndicated morning talk show The Daily Buzz, giving homeowners the tricks of the trade in home maintenance, repair, and design.
She and her family have built 3500 homes over the past 50 years and have won numerous building and design awards. Ms. Beall's first Fortified®, 'Storm Safe Home' won both the 2007 Parade of Homes and the coveted Aurora Award, for the best home between $200,000-$300,000 in the Southeast. She is currently building America's first affordable, Fortified?for safer living® community as designated by the Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Ms. Beall holds a bachelor's degree from Stetson University and a master's degree in Television from the University of Central Florida.
(February 21, 2008) Phil Burton manages the McKinney, Texas, branch for Simpson Strong-Tie, a company that manufactures structural connectors, prefabricated shearwall panels, and other fastening products that reinforce the frame of a home, helping it to resist high winds and earthquakes. Joining Simpson Strong-Tie in 1994, Mr. Burton has held several positions within the company. In his current role, he oversees the production, sales and operations of one of Simpson's largest facilities. His branch inspired the creation of Simpson's "High Wind Framing Connection Guide" to help builders and contractors build homes to the higher wind speed standards, reducing damage caused by high wind events. His branch is committed to training customers on high wind construction and offers complimentary workshops throughout the Southeast region.
Mr. Burton graduated from The University of North Texas, earning his Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing.
(May 16, 2013) Leslie Chapman-Henderson is President and CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, the country's leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 100 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster-resistant nation including: BASF, FEMA, Florida Division of Emergency Management, International Code Council, Kohler Power Systems, NOAA/National Weather Service, North Carolina State University, Portland Cement Association, RenaissanceRe, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, Texas Tech Wind Science & Engineering, The Home Depot, University of Florida, USAA and WeatherPredict Consulting Inc.
Ms. Chapman-Henderson and FLASH have championed the cause of disaster-resilient construction methods through the creation of groundbreaking consumer awareness programs like StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort; and Blueprint for Safety®, an integrated educational program on disaster-resistant construction techniques for homebuilders, homeowners and design professionals.
Ms. Chapman-Henderson's civic, community and professional recognition include the 2010 designation by Cable News Network as a member of the CNN New Guard of the South - an elite group of leaders from academic, business, entertainment, government, nonprofit, philanthropy and sports fields. She and FLASH have received a myriad of awards including: the 2011 National VOAD Partner of the Year Award, 2011 Governor's Hurricane Conference Governor's Award, 2009 Governor's Hurricane Conference Corporate Award for StormStruck®, 2008 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement in Mitigation Award, 2008 Governor's Hurricane Conference Corporate Award, 2006 Texas Silver Spur Award for Public Education Excellence, 2006 Governor's Hurricane Conference Public Information/Education Award, 2005 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement in Public Awareness Award, 2005 National Weather Association Walter J. Bennett Public Service Award, 2005 NOAA Environmental Hero Award and many more.
Ms. Chapman-Henderson has served as co-chair of the legislatively-created My Safe Florida Home Advisory Council, as a board trustee for Florida International University - International Hurricane Research Center, an advisory council member for the Florida State University Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center, consumer representative and chair for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Advisory Council, guest lecturer at Florida State University and the University of Florida - School of Construction and as a Florida representative to the Federal Communications Commission WARN Committee.
Other past service includes trustee for the Florida Fire and Emergency Services Foundation; consumer representative to the Louisiana Uniform Building Code Task Force; consumer representative and vice chair of the 2005 Florida Legislative Task Force on Long Term Solutions for Florida's Hurricane Insurance Market; and insurance consumer representative to the 2006 Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee chaired by former Lt. Governor Toni Jennings.
FLASH program successes include television appearances on CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC and nationally-syndicated programs This New House, Bob Vila and Home Again with Bob Vila; production of a one-hour, nationally televised multi-hazard PBS Special entitled, Blueprint for Safety - Disaster-Resistant Homes; and "A Tale of Two Houses" a multi-media awareness campaign showcasing code and code-plus construction success stories in wildfire and high-wind zones.
Dr. Arindam Chowdhury
(February 21, 2008) Dr. Arindam Chowdhury is Director of the Laboratory for Wind Engineering Research, at the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) at Florida International University. Dr. Chowdhury spearheads research at the RenaissanceRe Wall of Wind at FIU, which is enabling innovative testing of full-scale structures fully engulfed in properly simulated hurricane flows, leading to performance-based design for hurricanes through direct correlation of wind speed with performance and damage levels. Current projects, funded by federal and state agencies and by private industry, are creating a sound scientific basis for developing risk-based and performance-based design criteria, contributing to the attainment of a national objective: achieving more sustainable coastal communities.
Dr. Chowdhury has a doctorate in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University and a master's degree in Technology, Structural Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Dr. Arindam Chowdhury
, Director, Wind Engineering Research Laboratory
International Hurricane Research Center
(July 10, 2008) Karen Clark is President and CEO of Karen Clark & Company, which she formed in 2007 to help insurers and other entities better understand and manage catastrophe risk. Ms. Clark developed the first hurricane catastrophe model and in 1987, founded the first catastrophe modeling company, Applied Insurance Research (AIR), which subsequently became AIR Worldwide after acquisition by Insurance Services Office in 2002. She has spent over 20 years working closely with meteorologists, seismologists, engineers and other experts to develop the most scientifically advanced catastrophe models, and she has led the development of software applications that are used globally as standard tools for catastrophe risk assessment and management.
In 2000, Ms. Clark was selected by Business Insurance as one of the "Top 100 Women in the Insurance Industry." In 2001, she was honored as "Woman of the Year" by the Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW). In 2007, she was honored with the Review Worldwide Reinsurance Award's Lifetime Achievement award. Most recently, Ms. Clark has been honored with an award certificate for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize bestowed on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for her support of the work of the IPCC since its inception. She has appeared numerous times on national television and was featured in two History Channel specials on Northeast hurricanes and earthquakes.
Ms. Clark holds a Masters Degree in Economics and an MBA, both from Boston University.
(December 3, 2008) David Conrad has been actively involved in water resource policy since 1977 and has been with NWF since 1989. In this position, and in previous positions with Friends of the Earth and American Rivers, he has been an advocate for river and water resources protection, concentrating on issues such as hydroelectric power regulation, federal water resources development, and flood insurance reform. Recently, Mr. Conrad's work has focused on policies and programs to restore ecosystem health to water resources, and redirecting federal flood control programs toward a new and greater emphasis on improved floodplain management.
Mr. Conrad was project director and a principal author of NWF's 1998 Higher Ground report that addresses repetitive flood insurance claims and argues for voluntary property buyouts as an alternative strategy for reducing flood risks. He was also a principal author of the 2000 Troubled Waters report issued by NWF and Taxpayers for Common Sense, and of the recently published (March 2004) report called Crossroads: Congress, the Corps of Engineers and the Future of America's Water Resources. Mr. Conrad was a founder and serves on the Steering Committee of the national Corps Reform Network, a group now with more than 160 conservation, taxpayer and civic organizations. In 2000, he received the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Outstanding Public Service Award for his work to promote protection of the nation's floodplains. In May 2003, the Association of State Floodplain Managers granted David the Goddard-White Award, its highest honor, in recognition of his instrumental work in the field of floodplain management.
Mr. Conrad holds a B.A. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia.
, Senior Water Resources Specialist
National Wildlife Federation
Neill A. Currie
(February 21, 2008) Neill Currie was a co-founder of RenaissanceRe in 1993, and served as a Senior Vice President until he retired from the company in 1997. He re-joined the company in July 2005 as an Executive Vice President to oversee firm-wide marketing and client relations activities and lead the Specialty Underwriting business. In November 2005, Mr. Currie assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.
Mr. Currie has most recently served as a director of Platinum Underwriters Holdings, and has been an active supporter of numerous nonprofit initiatives in his home state of North Carolina. Prior to joining RenaissanceRe in 1993, Mr. Currie was Chief Executive Officer of G.J. Sullivan Co.- Atlanta, a private domestic reinsurance broker. From 1982 through 1992, Mr. Currie served as Senior Vice President at R/I and G.L. Hodson, predecessors to Willis Group Holdings Ltd.
, President and Chief Executive Officer
RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.
(February 21, 2008) Mr. Aditya Dutt is an Executive Director in the Financial Institutions Group of Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York. He joined Morgan Stanley in 2000 and has over ten years of investment banking experience, working with financial institutions clients in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and London. His expertise is in capital raising and corporate finance advisory for the life and nonlife insurance industry and he has spent several years covering clients in Bermuda.
Mr. Dutt has been active in raising capital for insurance and reinsurance companies following 9/11 and 2005 and has worked closely with several clients on structured financing solutions and joint ventures. He has also been involved in several transactions in Asia, including the first bancassurance transaction in 1999 and establishing the first Pan-Asian reinsurer in 2006, among others. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Mr. Dutt was an associate at Salomon Brothers in New York and Hong Kong.
Mr. Dutt graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in mathematics.
(February 21, 2008) John D. Echeverria is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Echeverria is the former General Counsel of the National Audubon Society, the former General Counsel and Conservation Director of American Rivers, Inc., and a graduate of the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Mr. Echeverria served as law clerk to the Honorable Gerhard Gesell of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. He has written extensively on property rights, land use and on other environmental topics. At the most recent annual meeting of the American Bar Association, Mr. Echeverria received the Jefferson Fordham Advocacy Award for his successful representation of state and local governments in regulatory takings litigation.
, Executive Director
Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute
(February 21, 2008) As the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Mr. Fugate oversees an agency with 138 full time staff and budget of 1.6 billion dollars (FY 2006-07). The Division coordinates disaster response, recovery, preparedness and mitigation efforts with each of the state's 67 counties and local governments. In September 2003, the Florida Emergency Management Program became the first state emergency management program in the nation to receive full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program.
From volunteer firefighter, Paramedic, to Lieutenant with Alachua County Fire Rescue, his 15 year career in local government included serving 10 years as the Emergency Manager for Alachua County, Florida. In May of 1997, Fugate was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Preparedness and Response with the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Mr. Fugate was appointed by former Governor Bush to serve as Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management in 2001.
With the events of September 11, 2001, the Division was tasked with the role of managing the Federal Homeland Security funding and developing Florida's Domestic Security Strategy with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Governor Charlie Crist reappointed Mr. Fugate to serve as State Director in December 2006. During his tenure, Director Fugate has served as the State Coordinating Officer in over 25 Declared State Emergencies, 13 of which were Presidential Declared Disasters totaling nearly 5 billion in federal assistance.
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Dr. Isaac Ginis
(December 3, 2008) Dr. Isaac Ginis, Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island and Principal Scientist at WeatherPredict Consulting Inc., has an international reputation as a leading expert in numerical modeling and forecasting of air-sea interaction during hurricanes. Dr. Ginis was chairman and co-founder of Accurate Environmental Forecasting Inc., which provided customized environmental modeling products to the reinsurance industry since 1998. AEF was acquired by RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. in 2007.
Dr. Ginis is actively involved in both U.S. and international tropical cyclone research and forecast communities. He has published over 70 papers in scientific journals and books on this topic and authored a chapter on hurricane-ocean interaction for the book "Global Perspectives on Tropical Cyclones" published by the World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland in 1995. His ground-breaking work in developing a coupled hurricane-ocean interaction model has led to significant improvement in hurricane forecasting. The National Weather Service has embraced this model and made it operational for the National Hurricane Center in 2001 in the Atlantic basin. In 2004, the model was implemented for the eastern Pacific basin and, in 2007, for global tropical cyclone forecasting by the U.S. Navy.
Dr. Ginis is a recipient of several national awards, including the 2001 NOAA Outstanding Scientific Paper Award, the 2002 National Oceanographic Partnership Program Excellence Award. He has been named the 2002 Environmental Hero by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
(October 8, 2014) As President and Executive Director of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR), Mr. Kading directs ABIR's public policy activities around the world.
Mr. Kading gives talks regularly to numerous policymaker and industry groups and has had articles published in the Journal of Insurance Regulation and in the Geneva Association Papers on Risk and Insurance.
Prior to joining ABIR, Mr. Kading served for 14 years as Senior Vice President and Director of State Relations for the Reinsurance Association of America.
, President & Executive Director
Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers
Richard Knabb, Ph.D.
(May 16, 2013) Richard Knabb, Ph.D., is the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Knabb received his Bachelor's Degree in Atmospheric Science from Purdue University (1990) and his Masters of Science and Doctorate in Meteorology from the Florida State University (1993, 1999). He completed his postdoctoral work at the University of Hawaii (2000).
From 1999 to 2001, Dr. Knabb was a Research Meteorologist and Lead Forecaster at the Mauna Kea Weather Center. He joined Risk Management Solutions, Inc., in Newark, California, in 2001 as an Assistant Product Manager for Weather Risk.
Later that year, he joined NOAA's National Hurricane Center as the Science and Operations Officer, and was a senior hurricane specialist there between 2005 and 2008.
In 2008, Dr. Knabb became the Deputy Director of NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He served in that capacity until 2010, when he joined The Weather Channel in Atlanta, Georgia as its on-air Hurricane Expert and Tropical Science Program Manager.
He is a member of the American Meteorological Society.
Dr. Gregory Kopp
(February 21, 2008) Between 1995 and 1997 Dr. Kopp held a NSERC Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Chemical Engineering Department at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. He returned to Canada in the summer of 1997 to an appointment of Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario and as a Senior Research Engineer at the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory. He was promoted to Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering in July 2007. He currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Wind Engineering and is a Faculty Scholar in the Faculty of Engineering. Dr. Kopp is currently also a Research Director and a member of the Board of Directors of the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory.
Dr. Kopp received a B.Sc.M.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1989, a M.Eng. from McMaster University in 1991 and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto in 1995.
Dr. Gregory Kopp
, Professor & Canada Research Chair, Wind Engineering
University of Western Ohio
Dr. Steve Lyons
(June 28, 2010) Dr. Lyons' expertise is in Tropical and Marine Meteorology. He has participated in more than 50 national and international conferences and provided World Meteorological Organization training courses in marine meteorology, tropical meteorology and ocean wave forecasting. Each spring he is a guest speaker at many hurricane preparedness conferences from Texas to New York.
Prior to joining The Weather Channel in April 1998, Dr. Lyons managed the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch of the Tropical Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center. He has worked directly for private weather companies and traveled around the world forecasting weather in various tropical locales. He has also been a private consultant forecasting ocean waves for numerous surfing beaches. Familiar with on-camera assignments, Dr. Lyons worked on-air for a station in Ventura County, California.
Among his many interesting jobs, he has been a research scientist for the U.S. Navy, for the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) at Princeton University, and for the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He has also been a professor of meteorology at Texas A&M University, where he is still an adjunct faculty member, and at the University of Hawaii where he remains involved with the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR). Dr. Lyons has worked for the National Weather Service South Region Scientific Services Division, where he trained NWS meteorologists. He routinely reviews scientific papers related to tropical and marine weather submitted for publication in American Meteorological Society and other international journals. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He has published more than 20 papers in scientific journals and written more than 40 technical reports and articles for the National Weather Service and for the Navy.
Currently Dr. Lyons is seen during "hurricane season" on Tropical Updates. In his spare time he develops various models and continuously improves them - they provide many of the forecasts of hurricane impacts on land you see on The Weather Channel cable network and weather.com.
Dr. Lyons obtained a B.S., and a M.S., culminating in a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Hawaii.
Dr. Forrest Masters
(February 21, 2008) Dr. Forrest Masters joined the University of Florida as an Assistant Professor of Civil and Coastal Engineering in 2006. His research interests include field measurement of surface-level tropical cyclone winds, wind effects on structures and stochastic simulation of natural hazard events. Since 1999, Dr. Masters has deployed for 19 named tropical cyclones, including all of the major hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. During landfall, he and his colleagues deploy mobile weather stations to capture ground-level wind speeds and instrument single-family homes to measures wind pressure loading. After the storm, damage assessments are conducted to evaluate the performance of the building stock and the codes and standards that guided their construction. Currently, he is developing a mobile windstorm simulator to reproduce the actual dynamics of hurricane winds impinging on a low-rise structure at full scale.
Dr. Masters has given over 20 invited presentations to groups ranging from the International Codes Council to every federal agency that comprises the US Hurricane Warning Program. PBS, the Discovery Channel, National Public Radio, CNN, Popular Mechanics and MIT Technology Review have also produced pieces on his work. He has served as guest editor for Natural Hazards Review and as a reviewer for the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering. The National Science Board invited him to participate in the Workshop on Hurricane Science and Engineering, and he drafted the MOU between the US and Bangladesh for the NSF Consortium for Windstorm/Storm Surge. Dr. Masters is a member of the ASCE/SEI Technical Activities Division Wind Effects Committee and Sub-Committee on Computer-Aided Wind Engineering. He is also a member of ASTM E6.51 (Performance of Windows, Doors, Skylights and Curtain Walls) and the Coastal Windstorm PML Standard Development.
Dr. Forrest Masters
, Assistant Professor of Civil and Coastal Engineering
University of Florida
(February 21, 2008) Rod Matthews is Underwriting Vice President at State Farm Insurance Companies in Bloomington, Ill. Mr. Matthews joined State Farm in 1979 as an administrative and technical trainee in the Charlottesville, Va., office and became an underwriter later that year. He was promoted to underwriting supervisor in 1981 and moved to the Concordville, Pa., office in 1982. He was named operations superintendent in 1985 in the Jacksonville, Fla., office and assistant division manager in 1988. He moved to the Frederick, Md., office in 1989 as division manager. He was named executive assistant at corporate headquarters in 1994 and Vice President ? Operations in the Murfreesboro, Tenn., office in 1995. He returned to corporate headquarters in 1998 as Vice President ? Underwriting of State Farm Mutual and assumed his current position in 2002.
Mr. Matthews received a bachelor's degree from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. He earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1985.
, Underwriting Vice President
State Farm Insurance Company
(July 10, 2008) David Maurstad, Assistant Administrator for Mitigation, provides leadership for some of the nation's leading multi-hazard risk reduction programs, which seek to secure the homeland from natural hazards. His areas of oversight include the National Flood Insurance Program, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, the National Dam Safety Program and the National Hurricane Program. He works closely with public and private risk managers, as well as leaders in government, industry, research and academia.
Mr. Maurstad was appointed Director of FEMA's Mitigation Division and Federal Insurance Administrator in April 2006 and previously held both positions in an acting role beginning in June 2004. From 2001-2005, he was Regional Director of FEMA's Region VIII and coordinated FEMA's prevention, preparedness, and disaster response and recovery activities in Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Maurstad was the Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska, a position to which he was elected in 1998. In addition, he previously served as a member of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
Mr. Maurstad has nearly 25 years of experience as an insurance agent in Nebraska, and was mayor of Beatrice, Nebraska. He is the first locally-elected official and insurance agent to head the National Flood Insurance Program.
Mr. Maurstad holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and an MBA from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
, Assistant Administrator for Mitigation
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
(May 16, 2013) Frank Nutter has been president of the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) since 1991. He held the same position with the RAA from 1981 to 1984. In the interim, he was president of the Alliance of American Insurers and the Property Loss Research Bureau.
Mr. Nutter currently serves on multiple boards, including the Advisory Board of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, an adjunct to the Harvard University School of Public Health, and the Advisory Board of the OECD's International Network for the Financial Management of Large Scale Disasters. He has also served on the Council of the American Meteorological Society; the Board of the University Center for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities managing the National Center for Atmospheric Research sponsored by the National Science Foundation; and the Board of the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences.
Mr. Nutter has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Worker's Compensation Research Institute, and the Board of Overseers of the Institute for Civil Justice, a subsidiary of the Rand Corporation.
Mr. Nutter has a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati. He was an officer in the U.S. Navy and is a Vietnam veteran.
(February 21, 2008) Brian O'Neill retired at the end of 2005 after a 35-year career at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. Both are research and communications organizations dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries, and property damage on the nation's highways. Mr. O'Neill was president of both organizations for more than 20 years. A highway safety expert, consulted frequently by both print and electronic media reporters, Mr. O'Neill appeared regularly on NBC Dateline, other TV news magazine shows, and network news programs.
Mr. O'Neill was instrumental in developing the Institute's state-of-the-art Vehicle Research Center in the early 1990s and then establishing consumer oriented vehicle testing programs that have prompted automakers to significantly improve the safety of their new vehicle designs. He is the author of numerous scientific papers, co-author of The Injury Fact Book, and has served on the boards and committees of many highway safety groups.
Since retirement Mr. O'Neill has served on advisory boards for Nissan and Cento Zaragoza (a research center in Spain), and has done consulting work for Consumers Union, General Motors, and the International Hurricane Research Center.
Mr. O'Neill has a degree in mathematics and statistics.
International Hurricane Research Center
Dr. Sai Ravela
(February 21, 2008) Dr. Ravela is a research scientist at the Program in Oceans, Atmospheres and Climate in the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Department of MIT. He builds statistical models of stochastic processes with application to earth systems' prediction and predictability challenges.
He has published several papers in data assimilation, statistical inference for natural hazard modeling, and pattern recognition. He is a founder of Windrisktech LLC, holds several patents and a doctorate in computer science with specialization in machine intelligence.
Dr. Sai Ravela
, Professor and Research Scientist
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Timothy Reinhold, Ph.D., P.E.
(May 16, 2013) Named as an Engineering News-Record Top 25 Newsmaker in 2010 for creating the IBHS Research Center, Dr. Timothy Reinhold is a well-respected professional engineer known for developing techniques to build and retrofit new and existing structures for greater resiliency.
Dr. Reinhold joined IBHS in 2004 as director of engineering and vice president after 12 years with Clemson University, where he was a professor of Civil Engineering. He was promoted to senior vice president of research and chief engineer in 2008.
His professional career includes 10 years as a consulting engineer with firms in the U.S., Canada and Denmark and five years at the National Institute for Standards and Technology. He holds bachelor, master's and doctoral degrees in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech.
Dr. Reinhold has conducted research on wind effects and structural resistance for most of his professional career. In addition to directing numerous studies to determine wind loads for tall buildings and specialty structures, he has been heavily involved in research relating to the performance of housing and low buildings in hurricanes and other severe wind events. His research includes post-event assessments, model and full-scale laboratory studies, and in situ field structural testing. Dr. Reinhold serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE 7 Wind Loads subcommittee. He served for eight years on the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) Wind Load subcommittee and is a past member of the Board of Directors for the American Association for Wind Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Colorado, and has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers, chapters of books and conference publications.
Dr. Timothy Reinhold
, Director of Engineering and Vice President
Institute for Business and Home Safety
(February 21, 2008) Commissioner Scott H. Richardson was appointed as the Director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance by Governor Mark Sanford on February 15, 2007. Having served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1992 ? 1996 and the South Carolina Senate from January, 2000 until his appointment, Director Richardson brings an unparalleled level of experience to the Department.
During his tenure in the Legislature, he served as Chairman of the House Property and Casualty Subcommittee and served on the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee and Senate Finance and Banking and Insurance Committees. Director Richardson did extensive work on the South Carolina Reinsurance Facility, as well as the South Carolina Automobile Insurance and Captive Insurance laws. During his tenure in the Senate, he was heavily involved with many insurance issues and is recognized as an insurance expert in the government arena.
In addition to his public service, he has firsthand knowledge of the insurance business having served 21 years as an insurance agent for Carswell of Carolina Insurance Agency. Director Richardson became an owner/partner in 1985 and helped grow Carswell into one of the most successful agencies in the state. He remained with Carswell until 1999, when he sold his interest. He has also served as a Sales Executive for Sea Pine Real Estate Co. in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He is truly committed to his community, serving on various boards and commissions.
Director Richardson graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, with honors, from the University of Tennessee in 1974.
(December 3, 2008) William Riker joined RenaissanceRe in its founding year, 1993, and retired in December 2007 as a Director, President and Chief Underwriting Officer, with overall responsibility for enterprise-wide modeling and underwriting. He held the previous positions of Chief Operating Officer of RenaissanceRe, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Glencoe Group Holdings Ltd., the Dallas-based individual risk segment of RenaissanceRe.
Prior to joining RenaissanceRe, Mr. Riker was Vice President of Applied Insurance Research, Inc. He was also Senior Vice President in charge of treaty and facultative operations for American Royal Re. He was responsible for developing analytical tools while holding various positions at American Royal from 1984 through 1993. Mr. Riker has significant experience in designing, selling, consulting on and using catastrophe models.
Mr. Riker is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, and holds a B.A. in Economics and B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University.
(June 2, 2016) Julie Rochman joined IBHS in late 2007, with nearly 30 years of public affairs and advocacy experience representing major corporations, research and safety organizations, and issue-based coalitions. She is often quoted by both traditional and digital media outlets on a wide variety of topics.
Under Julie’s leadership, IBHS has become a world-class research and communications organization; significant accomplishments include creation of the unique, $40 million IBHS Research Center in South Carolina.
Prior to IBHS, Julie held senior positions at a leading Washington, D.C.-based strategic communication and advocacy firm; at the American Insurance Association; and at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. She serves on several advisory councils and the National Fire Protection Association Board of Directors – and previously served on Boards for the International Hurricane Research Center, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
A native of Omaha, Julie has a BA in International Relations from Tulane University, and a MA in American Government from the University of Virginia. She resides in Tampa.
, President & Chief Executive Officer
Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)
Rep. Dennis Ross
(February 21, 2008) Representative Dennis A. Ross was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida. He has practiced as an associate attorney at the law firm of Holland & Knight as well as in-house counsel for Walt Disney World Company. In October of 1989, Representative Ross founded the law firm now known as Ross Vecchio, P.A. He has served on the Rules Committee for the Workers' Compensation section of the Florida Bar.
Initially elected to Florida's House of Representatives in November of 2000, Representative Ross was re-elected subsequently in 2002, 2004 and again in 2006. His current council and committee responsibilities include assignment to the Policy and Budget Council and the Committee on Insurance. In addition, Representative Ross is Chair of the Committee on Courts and Vice Chair of the Safety and Security Council.
Representative Ross is a graduate of Auburn University and Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, and is a Certified BBQ Judge by the Kansas City BBQ Society.
, Representative (Retired)
Florida House of Representatives
(February 21, 2008) Mr. Sumner currently serves as general counsel of the Florida department of financial services. Prior to serving as general counsel, Mr. Sumner served as assistant director of the division of workers' compensation. Mr. Sumner's service in the department of insurance prior to cabinet reorganization included serving as executive senior counsel, general counsel, director of legal services, director of insurance rating and deputy state treasurer.
Mr. Sumner represented the Florida Department of Insurance and presented oral argument on behalf of the Department before the United States Supreme Court in Barnett Bank v. Nelson. He has been involved in the drafting and legal defense of key insurance reforms in the State of Florida, including the Tort Reform Act of 1986, Workers' Compensation Reform Act of 1990, 1995 Property Insurance Reforms and creation of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation in 2002. He was the principal contact with the Internal Revenue Service in obtaining a favorable Private Letter Ruling on the tax status of Citizens.
Mr. Sumner received his bachelor's and law degree from the University of Florida.
, General Counsel
Florida Department of Financial Services
(June 23, 2009) Joe Tankersley is a writer and producer for Walt Disney Imagineering. He has worked on the creative development of projects throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, including StormStruck: A tale of Two Homes(TM), which opened at Epcot in 2008. He was head writer for the Millennium Village, part of Epcot's celebration of the new century. This unique project took him to more than a dozen countries from Brazil to Saudi Arabia. Since then he has worked on projects for Disney's Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Currently, Mr. Tankersley leads creative teams developing new projects for Innoventions at Epcot. These projects employ the latest in interactive entertainment technologies to help guests learn more about the world around them.
Congressman Bennie G. Thompson
(June 23, 2009) Chairman Thompson is currently serving his eighth term as the Democratic Congressman for Mississippi's Second District and his third term on the Homeland Security Committee. With more than 40 years of continuous public service, he is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the state of Mississippi. He served as alderman and mayor in his hometown for years, after which he served as Hinds County Supervisor for 13 years before being elected to Congress in 1993. With six district offices - Bolton, Greenville, Greenwood, Jackson, Marks, and Mound Bayou - Congressman Thompson is committed to empowering those who gave him an opportunity to represent the Second District of Mississippi.
To begin the 110th Congress, Congressman Thompson was promoted by his colleagues to serve as the first ever Democratic Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, a committee which was created by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. As Chairman, Congressman Thompson recently introduced and engineered House passage of the most comprehensive homeland security package since September 11th, H.R. 1, the "9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007". Drawing on his 26 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter, Congressman Thompson understands that our nation's law enforcement and first responders are our first line of defense in times of emergency. With that in mind he has constantly fought to ensure they are fully equipped with the resources and tools they need to effectively respond to any and all emergencies.
(October 8, 2014) Mr. Tillman serves as President of WeatherPredict Consulting Inc., a U.S.-based RenaissanceRe affiliate that provides intelligence on natural perils to a range of entities. In his current role at WeatherPredict, he directs a team of advanced scientists with specialties in oceanography, meteorology, wind engineering, structural engineering, seismic risk and computer simulation. Mr. Tillman also serves as President and Director of RenaissanceRe Risk Sciences Foundation Inc., a non-profit foundation that supports advanced scientific research in natural catastrophes, the development of risk mitigation techniques to safeguard communities, efforts that reduce the economic turmoil following disasters, and organizations that preserve coastal habitats.
Mr. Tillman currently serves as an Executive Director for the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. Mr. Tillman is also a Director for the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. He holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Mathematics, as well as the Associate in Reinsurance (ARe) and Risk Management (ARM) designations. He is a longstanding member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.
(June 23, 2009) Tami Torres currently serves as the Director of the Division of Consumer Services and the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program administered by the Florida Department of Financial Services. The MSFH program, is a $250 million program created in the 2006 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature to help Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes against hurricanes and to reduce hurricane damage exposure in the State of Florida.
Prior to her role with the Division of Consumer Services and the My Safe Florida Home Program, Ms. Torres served as the Director of Communications for the Florida Department of Financial Services, Majority Office of the Florida Senate and the Florida Association of Counties. She has led numerous public relation and communication efforts including: Verify Before You Buy, A+ Plan for Education and Growing Florida's Economy. She has also managed and directed message development on issues of statewide importance and legislative policies such as complex financial and insurance issues.
Ms. Torres has a Bachelors of Science in Mass Media Communications from The Florida State University.
, Special Programs Administrator
My Safe Florida Home
(December 3, 2008) Paul VanderMarck is Chief Products Officer of Risk Management Solutions, the leading provider of catastrophe risk models to the global insurance industry. In this role, he 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, Mr VanderMarck 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.
Mr. VanderMarck holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and an M.S. degree in Structural and Earthquake Engineering, both from Stanford University.
(May 16, 2013) Dr. Peter Vickery joined Applied Research Associates (ARA) in 1988. Prior to joining ARA, Dr. Vickery completed both his Masters and doctoral studies at the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory at the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Vickery has over 30 years of experience in wind engineering. He has 20 years experience in the application of hurricane modeling relevant to insurance loss analysis/rate making, and 15 years experience in coastal flood modeling and risk assessment. He has published numerous peer reviewed journal papers related to hurricane risk and additional papers related to wind loads on buildings and other structures. The hurricane hazard model developed by Dr. Vickery was used to define the design wind speeds given in ASCE 7-98 through ASCE 7-05. The updated hurricane hazard model is used to define the ASCE 7-10 design wind speeds, as well as the design wind speeds to be used in the Caribbean.
Dr. Vickery was Co-PI on ARA's effort to develop the HAZUS Wind Loss Estimation methodology and was responsible for developing the wind load and damage portion of the loss models used in both HAZUS and ARA's HURLOSS tool.
Dr. Vickery was responsible for developing the hurricane hazard model and the damage functions employed in ARA's proprietary hurricane loss model.
Dr. Vickery serves on the ASCE-7 wind load task committee developing wind loading provisions for use in the United States. With Dr. Lawrence Twisdale of Applied Research Associates, Dr. Vickery developed the hurricane missile models that were subsequently used in defining the wind borne debris risk criteria as given in the SSTD-12 missile protection standard and the ASTM wind borne debris standard. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Meteorological Society and is a Licensed Engineer in the state of North Carolina.
Dr. Eric Williford
(February 21, 2008) Dr. Williford was one of the founding members of WeatherPredict Consulting Inc. in 2000, which was fully purchased by RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. in 2006. He has been associated with RenaissanceRe since 1996 (through research grants between RenaissanceRe and Florida State University).
Dr. Williford is responsible for the production of tropical cyclone and short-term weather forecasting products with a staff that serves both internal and external clients. He has worked closely with the National Hurricane Center for the past several years, providing a hurricane Super Ensemble(TM) forecast for their usage. He also helps direct and guide targeted research and the implementation of these efforts within WeatherPredict Consulting Inc. Dr. Williford previously worked with IBM Corp. as a network architecture engineer, prior to returning to university to study meteorology and computational science.
Dr. Williford holds a B.S. in Engineering from Duke University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Meteorology from Florida State University.
Northeast Hurricane Mitigation Leadership Forum, July 10, 2008