Click on a speaker name to read biography.
Charles E. Allen, III
(June 23, 2009) Mr. Allen is the Associate Director at the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research (CBR). He also helps direct the CBR's Sustainable Urban Ecosystem Initiative (UrbanEco). Through this initiative, the CBR is studying the dynamic interface between the built and natural environments and the human interactions between these two systems. It is through this initiative that the CBR is working to help the Holy Cross/Lower 9th Ward Community of New Orleans chart a path toward an energy efficient, sustainable post-Hurricane Katrina recovery. Mr. Allen serves as President of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association (HCNA) and represents the Holy Cross Historic District as a member of the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission. He is co-chair of a partnership and project known as REACH-NOLA, which works to improve access to quality health care for New Orleans residents, and is a board member of the Louisiana Clean Tech Network.
Mr. Allen also serves as a board member for the Foundation for Science and Math Education, the Lower 9th Ward Stakeholders Coalition, and the Lower 9th Ward Education Advisory Group. He has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to offer a community perspective on the post-Katrina recovery efforts of New Orleans and work to keep USGBC connected to these efforts. He has been appointed to the Louisiana Governor's Advisory Committee on Coastal Restoration and Protection.
Mr. Allen is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana where he received his Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology in 1995. He is also a graduate of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine where he received his Master's of Science in Public Health in 1998.
(June 23, 2009) Miles Anderson is the Bureau Chief of Mitigation within Florida's Division of Emergency Management. He leads the Bureau in efforts to collaborate with cities, counties and other organizations in reducing the potential devastation and long-term risk to human life from the impact of natural disasters.
His career spans over three decades of leadership experience encompassing emergency management, public administration, nonprofit organizations, private business, social services and community volunteerism. Mr. Anderson entered public service in the late 1990s as a manager in Florida's Bureau of Recovery & Mitigation. In this role, he oversaw federal funds for local governments to find solutions for hazard mitigation, unmet needs and flood mitigation/assistance. He is an authority on FEMA operations and is recognized by his peers for his ability to facilitate productive relationships between the private sector, public sector, and nonprofit interests. His familiarity with all stakeholders and his professional advice is proclaimed to have been indispensible in helping communities rebuild post-storms.
In 2005, the Escambia County Commission recognized Mr. Anderson for his work as an appointee of the Governor serving as West Florida's Deputy State Coordinating Officer. The Commission applauded Mr. Anderson for leading the state's response team after hurricanes crossed the state. He championed the cause of residential mitigation in the Escambia county area and laid the foundation for REBUILD Northwest Florida, an initiative that has strengthened over 3000 homes, and has plans to retrofit many more.
, Bureau Chief of Mitigation
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Earl J. Jay Baker
(June 23, 2009) Jay Baker is an associate professor in the Department of Geography at Florida State University and is president of Hazards Management Group, an emergency management research and consulting firm. Since 1975 Dr. Baker has conducted studies following hurricanes to document how the public responded and why. Study locations have included every Gulf and Atlantic coastal state from Texas through Massachusetts, as well as Hawaii. He has conducted studies on hazard perception and evacuation response intentions in those states and has applied the findings of his research to the development of hurricane evacuation plans. Most recently he was the behavioral analyst for the Florida Statewide Regional Evacuation Study. Dr. Baker's research also includes public attitudes toward hurricane hazard mitigation options, household preparedness for disasters, and public response to other hazards, including tornadoes, floods, and nuclear power plants. He has worked on methods to assess the costs incurred by local governments in evacuating residents and has worked with colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of local government comprehensive plans in Florida in mitigating certain aspects of hurricane hazards in coastal areas. He was a founding partner in the inception of the National Hurricane Conference and continues to be on the conference's planning committee. Dr. Baker received his doctorate in Geography from the University of Colorado in 1974.
Earl Jay Baker
, Associate Professor, Department of Geology
Florida State University
Debra T. Ballen
(October 8, 2014) Debra Ballen joined IBHS in 2008 as the General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Public Policy. In this capacity, she is responsible for managing all of the organization's legal matters and overseeing IBHS' public policy efforts. In addition, she also serves as the organization's Corporate Secretary.
Prior to her work with IBHS, Ms. Ballen was the Executive Vice President of Public Policy Management for the American Insurance Association in Washington, D.C. She developed and implemented policy for AIA's priority federal and state public policy issues. She also has served on the OECD High Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large Scale Catastrophes, which includes a heavy emphasis on mitigation measures.
Ms. Ballen graduated with a juris doctorate degree from Harvard Law School and an A.B. degree from Princeton University. She also has received the CPCU designation.
, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Public Policy
Institute for Business and Home Safety
(June 23, 2009) Lisa Blackwell is Vice President of State and Local Strategic Outreach for the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC). She complements the Council's federal legislative and regulatory program by mobilizing members and resources to respond to apartment-related issues at the state and local level. At the federal level, she also manages select housing issues for the NMHC/National Apartment Association Joint Legislative Program.
Ms. Blackwell brings more than 20 years of government affairs and real estate experience to the Council. Most recently, she was the Managing Director of Government Affairs for the American Institute of Architects (AIA), where she developed legislative strategies on behalf of the nation's architects. Prior to that, she spent nine years with the National Association of Realtors working on a variety of housing issues. She also directed Cornell University's government relations program and worked for two New York State members of Congress.
Ms. Blackwell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Fredonia.
, Vice President of State and Local Strategic Outreach
National Multi Housing Council
(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.
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.
(June 23, 2009) Andrew Fahlund was appointed Vice President for Conservation at American Rivers in 2004. Working with a staff of more than 20, his department is responsible for developing and implementing innovative policy and science tools to protect and restore targeted rivers and watersheds through four principle campaigns: Healthy Waters, Water for Life, River Renewal, and River Heritage. Mr. Fahlund also serves as the co-chair of the Clean Water Network's Global Warming working group. Prior to his promotion, he directed the American Rivers Dam Reform Program. His responsibilities included directing the organization's national policy and fieldwork in these areas. Between 1999 and 2005 he served as Chair of the Hydropower Reform Coalition, a consortium of 125 conservation and recreation groups involved in restoring rivers through the licensing of hydropower dams. He served on the board of directors for the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, which certifies environmentally responsible hydropower for ?green? electricity markets.
Mr. Fahlund has served on several governmental advisory groups, has testified before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as numerous federal agencies, and participated in various policy forums and negotiations addressing water policy in the United States.
Mr. Fahlund received his M.S. in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, with honors.
(June 23, 2009) Jenn Fogel-Bublick joined McBee Strategic in December, 2008. Ms. Fogel-Bublick brings 9 years of government experience to the firm, including nearly 7 with the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. As Counsel to the Banking Committee, she served under Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT). In this position, she was responsible for housing, insurance, community development, in addition to playing a key role in mortgage lending and financing. In the 110th Congress, Ms. Fogel-Bublick's portfolio included the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, as well as following general financial market conditions and government interventions. Prior to joining the Senate Banking Committee, she was a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and worked at a number of advocacy organizations.
Ms. Fogel-Bublick has a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.
(June 23, 2009) Paul Harrison leads Environmental Defense Fund's campaign to secure restoration of the natural functioning of the Mississippi River Delta and wetlands complex, where 2,000 of 7,000 square miles of land have been lost in less than a century as flood control, navigation, and energy extraction activities turned off the natural land-building mechanisms of the river. This task must be accomplished while addressing the needs and health of southern Louisiana's diverse communities and economic infrastructure?including oil and gas, ports and navigation, and fisheries.
Paul manages our coalition of national and local civic groups using the negotiation, organizing, and technical analysis skills he acquired as a litigating attorney in Washington and while organizing New York City communities in support of neighborhood traffic calming.
, Senior Director - Mississippi River & East Coast, Center for Rivers and Deltas
Environmental Defense Fund
, Professional Staff Member
House Committee on Homeland Security
(June 23, 2009) Bill Kelly is President of SAHF, the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future. SAHF is a consortium of nine national social enterprise nonprofits committed to affordable rental housing. His prior experience includes 25 years as a partner in the Washington DC office of the law firm of Latham & Watkins, where his practice included all aspects of project finance, including affordable housing and energy finance. He also served as a senior advisor to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Carla Hills, and as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, Mr. Kelly is a director of Ashoka Innovators for the Public, the International Senior Lawyers Project, the Governance Institute, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and the National Human Services Assembly.
For having launched a second career innovating in the social sector, he was named a Purpose Prize Fellow in 2007, and was Mullen Visiting Professor at Georgetown University.
Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future
(June 23, 2009) John Kostyack is Senior Counsel in the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) Washington D.C. office, where he manages the Federation's Species Conservation Program, a nationwide effort to protect and restore endangered species and other imperiled wildlife. His responsibilities include strategic planning, management, policy analysis, advocacy, media and public education on land use and biodiversity conservation. A leading expert on the Endangered Species Act, he is responsible for overseeing NWF's advocacy on imperiled species before Congress, the federal agencies and the courts. He also supervises NWF's outreach efforts on imperiled species conservation, such as Endangered Species University, Species Recovery Fund, Frogwatch, and other partnerships with NWF state affiliates and like-minded organizations.
Mr. Kostyack has served as counsel for NWF and other environmental groups in a variety of legal initiatives, including an ongoing campaign to re-orient the federal government's policies toward development in the habitat of the critically-endangered Florida panther. In 2001, he secured a major legal victory for an environmental coalition in Sacramento, California, that sets a national precedent concerning regional habitat conservation planning under the Endangered Species Act.
In 2000, Mr. Kostyack launched NWF's Smart Growth and Wildlife initiative, which is working in key places around the country to counter development harmful to imperiled fish, wildlife and plants, and to promote development alternatives that benefit people and wildlife. He has advocated for imperiled species and habitats in testimony before House and Senate committees, on television and radio broadcasts, in written comments on legislative and regulatory proposals, and at numerous conferences, meetings and workshops. Mr. Kostyack joined NWF in February 1994.
Prior to joining NWF, he worked six years for a private law firm in Washington, D.C., and two years as a federal judicial clerk in Florida. He has also worked extensively on land use issues as a volunteer leader for Sierra Club chapters in Washington, D.C. and Florida.
He holds a J.D. from Stetson University College Law in St. Petersburg, Florida, and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.
(June 23, 2009) Howard Kunreuther is the Cecilia Yen Koo Professor of Decision Sciences and Public Policy at the Wharton School, and Co-Director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center. He has a long-standing interest in ways that society can better manage low-probability/high-consequence events related to technological and natural hazards and has published extensively on the topic. He is a member of the OECD's High Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large-Scale Catastrophes; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); a member of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program's Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction; Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, receiving the Society's Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001.
Dr. Kunreuther has written and co-edited numerous books and papers, including On Risk and Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina, (with Ronald J. Daniels and Donald F. Kettl; 2006), Catastrophe Modeling: A New Approach to Managing Risks (with Patricia Grossi; 2005), and Paying The Price: The State of Natural Disaster Insurance in the United States (with John Roth, Sr.; 1998). He is the recipient of the Elizur Wright Award for the publication that makes the most significant contribution to the literature of insurance.
Dr. Kunreuther received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Howard Kunreuther
, Co-Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center
Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, Wharton School
(June 23, 2009) Brian Martin is Policy Director for Representative Gene Taylor (D-Mississippi). Mr. Martin has worked for Representative Taylor for 19 years as the lead staffer on health care, the budget, and financial issues. He also has taken on special policy assignments for Congressman Taylor, including military retiree health care reform, base closure analysis, and Hurricane Georges recovery. Since Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Martin has focused on insurance, housing, and disaster recovery policies and reform efforts.
Mr. Martin has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Princeton University and a Master's in Political Science from the University of Southern Mississippi.
, Policy Director
Office of Representative Gene Taylor, Mississippi
(May 2, 2011) A former journalist and legislative staffer, Peter Mitchell got into social marketing a decade ago when he was asked to direct the marketing campaign for a new anti-tobacco initiative in Florida. The campaign became ?truth? ? an effort that transformed tobacco control and got replicated on a national scale after Florida showed the first statewide drop in teen smoking in 19 years. Since then, Mr. Mitchell has developed and directed dozens of social marketing campaigns across the globe, first as a senior marketing specialist for the Academy for Educational Development, a large international non-profit, and later as a founder of Marketing for Change, which is now part of Salter>Mitchell.
A graduate of Colgate University, Mr. Mitchell spent a decade as a reporter, including covering Florida for The Wall Street Journal, and served as the policy coordinator for Florida's Senate President. Over the years, he has designed behavior-change campaigns domestically and in Bangladesh, India, Jordan and Tanzania, for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the United Nations and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
, Executive Director
National Leased Housing Association
Walter Gillis Peacock
(June 23, 2009) Walter Peacock is Director of the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and in the Sustainable Coastal Margins Program, and the Interim Executive Associate Dean for the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. He is also the Rodney L. Dockery Endowed Professor in Housing and the Homeless at Texas A&M University. His research focuses on natural hazards and human systems response to disaster with an emphasis on social vulnerability, evacuation, and the socio-political ecology of long-term recovery and mitigation, and on housing recovery and housing issues.
Dr. Peacock has conducted research in a variety of countries including United States, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Italy, India, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, and the US Virgin Islands.
He has authored over ninety chapters, articles, papers, and technical reports. His published articles have appeared in a variety of journals including American Sociological Review, Natural Hazards Review, Disasters, the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, Landscape and Urban Planning and Ekistics. He has also published two books and his latest, coauthored with Betty Hearn Morrow and Hugh Gladwin, is entitled, Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender and the Sociology of Disaster.
Dr. Peacock holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Georgia.
, Director, Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center
Texas A & M University
(June 23, 2009) Jerome Ringo came to the Apollo Alliance in 2005 as a dedicated champion of environmental justice and vocal advocate of clean energy. He has first-hand experience of the challenges we face after working for more than 20 years in Louisiana's petrochemical industry. More than half of that time was spent as an active union member working with his fellow members to secure a safe work environment and quality jobs. Louisiana's petrochemical industry focuses on the production of gasoline, rocket fuel, and plastics ? many of which contain cancer-causing chemicals. As he began observing the negative impacts of the industry's pollution on local communities ? primarily poor, minority communities ? Mr. Ringo began organizing community environmental justice groups.
Jerome's experience organizing environmental and labor communities and his drive to further diversify the environmental movement bridges many of Apollo's partners to create a broad based coalition to provide real solutions for our energy crisis. In 1996, Mr. Ringo was elected to serve on the National Wildlife Federation board of directors and, in 2005, he became the chair of the board. In so doing, he also became the first African American to head a major conservation organization. Mr. Ringo was the United States' only black delegate at the 1998 Global Warming Treaty Negotiations in Kyoto, Japan, and represented the National Wildlife Federation at the United Nations' conference on sustainable development in 1999.
(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)
Jeanne M. Salvatore
(December 3, 2008) Ms. Salvatore works closely with national and local media, appearing often on radio, TV and in print as a spokesperson for insurance-related issues that directly affect the consumer, both individual and commercial. She also serves as the industry liaison to numerous consumer, education, safety and community-based organizations, including the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League and Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.
Ms. Salvatore has fulfilled a variety of roles since joining I.I.I. in 1988. Among her earlier achievements, she became an expert on the issue of insurance fraud and was instrumental in the development of a national agenda to combat it, and co-authored Fighting the Hidden Crime: A National Agenda to Combat Insurance Fraud. She also has served as I.I.I.'s director of crisis communications, and produced a series of state-specific auto-safety conferences that culminated in a national conference. She also directed communications programs on insurance topics such as claim filing, disaster preparedness and home safety.
Ms. Salvatore is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and served as president of the New York chapter in 2000. She holds a B.A. in English from Villanova University and an M.A. in Communications from Columbia University and is an adjunct professor in the graduate school of Mass Communications at Iona College and Columbia University.
, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs
Insurance Information Institute
(June 23, 2009) A former Biloxi High School teacher, William (Bill) F. Stallworth has served the city of Biloxi in various capacities since 1976, most recently as the Councilman for Ward II, a position he also previously occupied for 12 years. In addition, Mr. Stallworth has been the city's residential and business relocation officer, the Community Development Planner, Community Development Specialist, the Personnel Officer and Voter Registrar, and Vice President for Economic Development for the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In addition to his public service, Mr. Stallworth is a businessman, founding BFS Services, a construction and landscaping company, in 1985 and becoming a partner of Computer and Technology Support Services in 1992. Compelled to return to politics 12 years later, Mr. Stallworth was once again elected to the City Council as the only African American member shortly before Katrina struck, and since founded the East Biloxi Coordination, Relief, and Redevelopment Agency (later named the Hope Community Development Agency), dedicating himself to the rebuilding of his community.
(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.
(June 23, 2009) Eric Thompson is a senior professional staff member of the House Committee on Financial Services. He is the chief insurance advisor for Republicans on the Committee, under the leadership of Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-AL). His prior experience includes ten years in the private sector with the Hartford Financial Services Group as Vice President and Director of Federal Affairs.
A Connecticut native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame, he also served as chief of staff and legislative advisor to former U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT).
, Senior Professional Staff Member
House Financial Services Committee
(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.
Frederick Tombar, III
(June 28, 2010) Fred Tombar is a Senior Advisor to U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Secretary Shaun Donovan. In this capacity, he leads the strategic direction and policy development, and assists in the coordination of operations of the Department's disaster and recovery programs. This is his second time serving at HUD.
Before rejoining HUD, Mr. Tombar was the President of Tombar Consulting Group, a management consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations transform their business processes and improve their performance. Prior to forming Tombar Consulting Group, Mr. Tombar worked for the HUD's Federal Housing Administration for seven years where he worked to increase homeownership and rental housing opportunities for underserved communities. While serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing at HUD, he managed operations for the development and asset management of more than 30,000 privately-owned multifamily housing projects, administered housing grant and subsidy programs of nearly $8 billion in annual appropriations, and provided oversight to nearly 2,000 staff in fifty-one offices nationwide. Mr. Tombar also served as a Principal Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers for five years where he led projects to improve the operations of public programs at the Federal, State and Local levels of government.
Mr. Tombar is the recipient of numerous awards including twice being named a Distinguished Regulatory Partner by the National Affordable Housing Managers Association and the Outstanding HUD Official by the National Alliance of HUD Tenants. He is a Harry S. Truman Scholar and a Notre Dame Scholar. He is the recipient of both the Notre Dame Distinguished Leader award and a Distinguished Black Exemplar award. In response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Mr. Tombar directed a key project, the Road Home Program in Louisiana. This project served as the largest single housing recovery program in the history of the United States.
, Senior Advisor to the Secretary
US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
(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
(June 23, 2009) Michelle Whetten directs Enterprise Community Partners' Gulf Coast office, based in New Orleans. Her responsibilities include working with state and local officials to create effective systems for affordable housing production, implementing innovative training and technical assistance programs with local nonprofit organizations, and supporting Enterprise's investment of more than $200 million to develop more than 10,000 homes for low- and moderate-income families in the Gulf Coast region over the next five years.
Prior to her assignment in the Gulf Coast, Ms. Whetten was deputy director for Enterprise's New York City office, where she led Enterprise New York's neighborhood initiatives and public policy efforts. In that role, she managed organizational development, resident services technical assistance and grant making programs, and directed advocacy and outreach to local, state and federal officials on housing and community development issues. She was also charged with guiding and implementing strategic planning for Enterprise New York.
Before joining Enterprise, Ms. Whetten managed the Prince George's County, Md., office of the Neighborhood Design Center, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization, where she recruited and coordinated pro bono services of architects, engineers and planners to assist with community-sponsored projects.
Ms. Whetten graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental policy analysis and planning and from the University of Illinois with a master's degree in urban and regional planning. She serves on the board of the Louisiana Association of Affordable Housing Providers.
, Vice President and Impact Market Leader
Gulf Coast Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
, Senior Director of Mitigation
Risk Management Solutions