Speakers

Peter Balingit

Peter Balingit

Director of Catastrophe Services, Property & Liability Resource Bureau

Peter Balingit joined the Property & Liability Resource Bureau in August of 1993 and is currently the Director of Catastrophe Services, where he oversees the day to day operation of the department and he prepares the continuing stream of catastrophe services information that is made available to members. Peter also authors the Catastrophe Blog, in the weekly PLRB Front Lines newsletter and conducts multiple web based and in-person training classes on the effective use of PLRB Map, as well as the many other PLRB Catastrophe Services resources.

He graduated cum laude from Mississippi State University, with a B.S. in Operational Meteorology and he also holds a Geographic Information Systems certification from Penn State University.

Peter has the professional designation of Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP) through the GIS Certification Institute and is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Association and the Illinois GIS Association. In his free time, he has been active for over 20 years in the public safety sector, working as both an auxiliary police officer and with the emergency management agency of a suburban Chicagoland community.  He is a charter member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association.
David Ball

David Ball

Emergency Manager, Logan County Emergency Management

David Ball is the emergency manager for Logan County/City of Guthrie. Ball is a certified emergency manager through the Oklahoma Emergency Management Association (OEMA) as well as the area vice-president for central Oklahoma OEMA.

Ball lives in Guthrie with his wife Ellie, daughter Lindsey, & son Waylon.
Scott Bass

Scott Bass

Arkansas Disaster Management Division Director, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

Scott Bass is the Disaster Management Division Director with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, North Little Rock.

As the Disaster Management Division Director, he has oversight of the Area Coordination Branch, Operations Branch, Recovery Branch and the Arkansas Disaster Assistance Team (ADAT). He is also responsible for the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and other critical response and recovery operations during Gubernatorial and Presidential declared disasters. He has served as the Deputy State Coordinating Officer for 15 federally declared disasters and has experience with more than 20 federal disasters and numerous state disasters to include the host-state sheltering operations during Hurricane Katrina and the 2009 Ice Storm.

Bass started with ADEM in September 2001 as an Information Specialist in the Information Control Center (ICC). Since 2002 he has worked as the Individual Assistance Officer and Public Assistance Officer in the recovery branch and in 2006 he was promoted to the Recovery Branch Manager. In August 2010 he accepted the position as the Disaster Management Division Director.

Bass has served as the ADEM representative on the executive board of the Arkansas Emergency Management Association since 2002. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Administration and Management from Arkansas Tech University.

He and his wife Laura live in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Thomas Brewer

Thomas Brewer

GIS Specialist, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency

Thomas Brewer is a GIS Specialist and former Incident Command System trainer for MEMA. In his 4 years with the agency he has served in various roles from response to recovery during numerous disasters and events in the state. In his current role as GIS Specialist and SERT (State Emergency Response Team) GIS, Thomas has specialized in Mobile Damage Assessment with the ESRI ArcMap Software and Collector for ArcGIS. He is a member of Mississippi Association for Spatial Technologies (MAST).

Thomas is also an aspiring folk artist and accomplished cook with multiple red beans and rice championships and Memphis in May BBQ top ten finishes.
Harold Brooks

Harold Brooks

Senior Research Scientist, National Severe Storms Laboratory

Dr. Harold Brooks is a Senior Research Scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in Norman, Oklahoma. His undergraduate degree is from William Jewell College, with a year at the University of Cambridge. He has a M.A. and M. Phil. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Atmospheric Sciences. After graduating from Illinois, he was a post-doc at NSSL and joined the permanent staff there in 1992. During his career, his work has focused on why, when, and where severe thunderstorms occur and what their effects are, and on how to evaluate weather forecasts. In 2002, he received the United States Department of Commerce’s Silver Medal for his work on the distribution of severe thunderstorms in the United States and, in 2007, the NOAA Administrator’s Award for work on extreme weather and climate change. In 2012, he received the Daniel L. Albritton Outstanding Science Communicator Award from the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research branch of NOAA. In 2006, he was awarded a Citation for Achievement from William Jewell College. In 2011, he was named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.
Greg Carbin

Greg Carbin

Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NOAA, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman

Greg Carbin is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) at the NOAA, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma. Since 1996, Greg has performed in a variety of operational forecast capacities at the SPC. Prior to starting his career with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1993, Greg worked in the private sector in New York and Vermont. He earned a B.S. degree in Meteorology from Lyndon State College in 1985 and has completed some graduate course work at the University of Oklahoma while an employee of the NWS. He is a 2011 graduate of the U.S. Department of Commerce Executive Leadership Development Program.

Greg is considered one of NOAA’s leading experts on tornadoes and severe thunderstorm forecasting. He has appeared in major national and international media and has been interviewed extensively on topics from atmospheric science to the historical context of recent tornado outbreaks. Greg maintains the national tornado database as part of his duties at SPC and develops web-based content from this information when not working operational shifts, reviewing papers, or writing code.

Greg currently serves as a Councilor for the National Weather Association and is also Chair of the Association’s Professional Development Committee. He was recently selected to serve on the Committee on Effective Communication of Weather and Climate Information, on the Board of Enterprise Communication, for the American Meteorological Society.

Mike Chaney

Mike Chaney

Commissioner of Insurance, State of Mississippi

Vicksburg resident Mike Chaney is Mississippi’s Commissioner of Insurance. Prior to his election, Commissioner Chaney served in the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Mississippi Senate.

Commissioner Chaney has promoted building codes and spearheaded a wind mitigation program for the Mississippi Gulf Coast region to strengthen homes against hurricane-force winds and help homeowners realize discounts on their wind insurance premiums.

The Mississippi Insurance Department has an on-going effort to digitize paper files and rework the department’s web site to be more consumer friendly. Regulations were also changed to allow for two-year licensing of agents in the state, saving the department money and making life easier for the agents.

Commissioner Chaney has worked to stabilize the state’s Windpool, the insurer of last resort for some homeowners, lengthen the amount of time the department has in responding to rate filings, worked to secure insurance for volunteer firefighters and sought legislation to protect victims of domestic violence from discrimination by health insurance companies.

He serves as chairman of the NAIC Property and Casualty “C” Committee. The mission of the committee is to monitor and respond to regulatory issues associated with property and casualty insurance including their delivery and cost. The committee has four task forces that report to it and eight working groups to assist with deliberations.

He is a businessman with a strong background in energy and agriculture and a strong advocate for consumers. He was a pioneer in worker’s compensation reform in Mississippi.

Commissioner Chaney has served on numerous community development entities, including serving as President of the Vicksburg/Warren County Chamber of Commerce and President of the Vicksburg/Warren County Economic Development Committee. He is also a Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow. He is a past president of the Republican Elected Officials of Mississippi and serves on the state Republican Executive Committee.

He is a graduate of Mississippi State University with B.S. in Business and Finance and holds a Theology Certificate from the University of the South. He is a veteran of the United States Army, serving in Vietnam in 1968-69. He is married to Mary Thurmond Chaney and they have three children and eight grandchildren.
Sharon Clark

Sharon Clark

Commissioner of Insurance, State of Kentucky

Sharon P. Clark, a veteran of Kentucky state government, was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Insurance (DOI) in July 2008 and was reappointed to the post in July 2012.

Commissioner Clark was the first director of the DOI’s Consumer Protection and Education Division, a position she held for five years. Under her leadership, the Department hired its first ombudsman, added consumer education and outreach functions, and strengthened enforcement efforts by expanding the number of consumer complaint investigators. 

Commissioner Clark served as the chair of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Advisory Board during its inaugural year and continues as a board member. She is a member of the Kentucky Group Health Insurance Board.  She is vice president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and a member of its Executive Committee.  She is also a member of the NAIC’s Internal Administration (EX1) Subcommittee. Clark is past chair of the NAIC’s Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs (D) Committee and was an officer for the NAIC’s Southeastern Zone. She is also past secretary-treasurer of the National Insurance Producer Registry board and is interim chair of the Surplus Lines Multistate Compliance Compact.

Prior to being appointed Insurance Commissioner, Clark worked at the Finance and Administration Cabinet. She also held positions for the Kentucky House of Representatives, the Public Service Commission, and the former Workforce Development Cabinet.

She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky.

Clark and her husband have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Shane Cohea

Shane Cohea

Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness, Norman Regional Health System

Shane has served Norman Regional Health System for nearly 16 years since August 1998. The health system is comprised of 2,900 employees, 3 hospitals, 416 Physicians, and 20 clinics in 6 different cities. As the Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness several emergency situations have presented requiring Incident Command activation and utilizing the Emergency Operations Plan. They include two large fires on Patient floors, loss of power and emergency generators, hospital flooding, and most challenging 3 Presidential-declared tornado disasters and 1 tornado outbreak resulting in 6 tornadoes in Norman, OK. The May 3, 1999 F-5 highest rated wind speeds ever recorded at the time. We received 88 tornado related patients to our health system. The May 8, 2003 F-4 tornado resulted in 43 patients to our health system. May 2010 tornado outbreak resulted in over 70 patients to our Health System. The May 20, 2013 F-5 tornado resulted in 140 patients to our health system. Damage to the Moore Medical Hospital was in excess of $40 million requiring demolition. Activating the EOP and Incident Command staff resulted in evacuating one hospital while preparing the other 2 hospitals for a massive influx of patients. Most important statistic is zero injured and zero killed at the Moore Medical Hospital.

Shane has authored a national blog by request from NOAA, FEMA and Department of Homeland Security. Keynote speaker for the Rural Healthcare Association of Oklahoma, National Tornado Summit 2014, Seminar for Denver Metro healthcare and first responders, Comanche County Leadership Seminar, Region 6 & 8 Central Oklahoma Medical Emergency Response, Region 3 Oklahoma, 5th Annual St. John Medical Center Trauma Symposium, 17th Annual EC Summit (Las Vegas),  Boeing Company, 2013 Oklahoma Hospital Association Quality and Risk Management Seminar, Special guest on weekly podcast for KOCO channel 5 Oklahoma City, OK, Utah Hospital Association, VHA annual Board of Directors and Physician seminar, Tulsa, OK region 7 Recovery presentation, and special event for FOX 25 St. Louis.
James Correia

James Correia, Ph.D.

CIMMS Research Associate, NOAA/OU CIMMS

Jimmy Correia was born in Shelton, CT growing up with no memory of being a weather nerd except watching endless amounts of the weather channel. Jimmy is fond of surviving the following weather debacles in his middle thru high school years: Hurricanes Gloria and Andrew, Super-storm 1993, and one wee tornado outside Lake Ontario. Following what can only be described as a slackers’ mentality to high school, he pursued a degree in Physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Not understanding quantum dynamics, he turned to weather at SUNY-Albany. Finding a passion for severe storms forecasting, interning at NWS Albany, and scared to go into the real world, he attended FSU for his Masters degree working on the Surprise snowstorm of January 25th 2000, and then moving to Iowa State University for a Ph.D. focusing on numerical weather prediction and mesoscale convective systems. He reluctantly graduated during the economic meltdown of 07, new daughter in tow, and found a post doc in regional climate modeling at Pacific Northwest National Lab. In the midst of divorce, Jimmy left to pursue his severe storm interests at the University of Oklahoma with CIMMS and SPC.  He is a proud educator/mentor while being the warn-on-forecast, social science, and Hazardous Weather Testbed liaison.
David Corum

David Corum

Vice President of the Institutes, Manager of the Insurance Research Council

David Corum is vice president of The Institutes, in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  He has managed the research program of the Insurance Research Council, a division of The Institutes, since 2005.  From 1987 to 2005, he was assistant vice president for policy development and research at the American Insurance Association, in Washington, DC.  From 1980 to 1987, he was senior research analyst at the Insurance Division of the Minnesota Department of Commerce.  Mr. Corum holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a graduate of Rhodes College, in Memphis, Tennessee, and received the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1994.
Jim Craig

Jim Craig

Director of Health Protection, Mississippi Department of Health

Jim Craig has been the Director of Health Protection for the Mississippi Department of Health since 2005. The Office of Health Protection contains 67 regulatory programs that are designed to fulfill a major portion of the department’s mission to promote and protect the health of all Mississippians.  Three major offices report to Health Protection – Office of Environmental Health, Office of Licensure and the Office of Emergency Planning and Response.  Prior to this position Jim was the first Director for the Office of Emergency Planning and Response and was responsible for the leadership and development of the new organization designed to protect the health of Mississippians by ensuring readiness for any public health threat or emergency at the state and local/regional levels.  The Office also includes the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Trauma System Development and the Division of Radiological Health.  Prior to this position he served as the State Emergency Medical Services Director.

Under the Mississippi Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, Jim serves as the Emergency Coordinating Officer for the Mississippi State Department of Health assigned to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the state ESF-8 (Emergency Support Function 8 – Health and Medical) response.

Jim has been in emergency response and working natural and man-made disasters for 35 years in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Jim has served to lead the state public health response to 62 activations of the State Emergency Operations Center including Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster ever recorded in Mississippi, one of the State On-Scene Coordinators for the New Horizon Oil Spill, 2011 Historic River Flooding, and numerous other disasters and public health emergencies.
Chris Davison

Chris Davison

Senior Appraiser, Chubb

Chris Davison graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas with a Bachelors degree in Interior Architecture and minored in Commercial Architecture.  He also has a background in custom home building and the Interior Design process.

He joined Chubb in 2008.  Joining Chubb Insurance enabled him to combine the knowledge of his architecture and interior background into a more beneficial and thorough appraisal experience.  In addition to appraising custom homes in the state of Texas, he has traveled extensively throughout Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Northern Louisiana. 

Chris has broadened his understanding of insurance and proper evaluation of homes with extensive appraisal and underwriting training from Chubb as well as independent courses in construction estimation.  Chris regularly communicates with architects, interior designers, art conservators, art handlers, alarm and security specialists, and other experts to expand his knowledge base.   He is continually establishing a rapport with respected builders throughout the region to determine the accurate replacement cost pricing on high-end homes.  Since his time at Chubb, Chris has sought the Green Specialist certification beginning this year.  He has also worked on several prospecting projects, and given agency presentations on Green Design materials cost and trends.

For more information regarding your home appraisal, please feel free to contact Chris directly. For questions related to your insurance needs, contact your independent agent or broker.
BG Scott Dold

BG Scott Dold

Kansas National Guard

Brigadier General Scott Dold serves as the chief of staff of the Kansas National Guard.  As chief of staff of the Kansas National Guard, Dold is the principal executive assistant and advisor to the adjutant general. He manages the National Guard military functions of the joint staff (Army and Air National Guard) and joint military program operations throughout the state.

Dold joined the Marines in 1983, serving as a tank platoon commander, adjutant, headquarters company commander and a logistics officer.  He saw service in a variety of assignments and locations across the globe, including Korea, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Dold graduated with a degree in Political Science and History from the University of Kansas and in 1990 he graduated from KU School of Law. He then joined the Air Force and served as a judge advocate. In 1994, Dold joined the Kansas Air National Guard.  He deployed in military and peacekeeping operations in support of operations in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, and was also involved with domestic homeland security activities.

During his time in the Kansas National Guard, Dold has served as senior legal advisor/judge advocate general to the adjutant general, commander of the 190th Air Refueling Wing’s Mission Support Group and as director of staff for the Kansas Air National Guard.  He also commanded the state’s primary weapons of mass destruction military response unit, the 73rd Civil Support Team (CST).  During his time as commander, the 73rd CST successfully responded to real world incidents and was repeatedly recognized as the nation’s most proficient team, setting many national records.

In this role, Dold manages and directs all joint staff programs that prepare the state for contingency operations in a federal or state emergency including manmade disasters and natural disasters or federal military mobilizations.  He is responsible for the integration of the Kansas Army and Air National Guard forces for homeland security missions and in support of emergency management response needs.

Dold is responsible for overseeing Kansas National Guard leadership who direct personnel functions, intelligence capabilities, operations, logistics, strategic plans and policy, IT, training and resource management.  In addition, he is responsible for coordination of intra-staff issues with all divisions of the Adjutant General’s Department.

Dold is married to Jean Younger of Hays, Kan.  They live in Lawrence and have two daughters, Kennedy and Crosby.
David Donchin

David Donchin

Managing Partner, Durbin Larimore Bialick

David Donchin’s litigation practice involves Insurance Law, Complex Litigation, Personal Injury Law, Products Liability, Employment Law, Environmental Law and Medical Malpractice.  In addition to his law practice, Mr. Donchin has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law for Trial Practice, and as a member of the Faculty of the Southern Region of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

He is a frequent lecturer on trial practice and matters involving insurance law, pretrial litigation and trial techniques. Mr. Donchin was elected into the American College of Trial Lawyers, which is limited to the top one percent of a State’s total attorneys. He has been a perennial selection by his peers for inclusion in Super Lawyers since its inception in 2006, for Personal Injury Defense.  He has been recognized in Oklahoma Magazine and Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the State's top 50 lawyers in 2010, 2011 and 2013.  He was selected for Inclusion by Benchmark Litigation in 2013 and 2014 for insurance law and medical malpractice.

James Donelon

James Donelon

Commissioner of Insurance, State of Louisiana

Prior to becoming Commissioner of Insurance, Jim Donelon served the Louisiana Department of Insurance in leadership positions as Chief Deputy Commissioner and Executive Counsel.

Jim is a native New Orleanian, graduate of Jesuit High School, the University of New Orleans and Loyola School of Law.

Jim’s public service career includes 33 years of military experience in the Louisiana Army National Guard where he retired with the rank of Colonel.

He was first elected to office in 1975 as Chairman of the Jefferson Parish Council and then served in the House of Representatives from 1981-2001 where he served as Chairman of the Committee on Insurance.
In 2001 Jim joined the staff of the Department of Insurance and was appointed Commissioner of Insurance in February 2006. He was elected to fill the unexpired term later that year and was re-elected in 2007 and again in 2011.

Jim served as the President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) in 2013 and serves as Chairman of the Surplus Lines Task Force. He is also on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in New Orleans and the Blood Center for Southeast Louisiana.

Jim and his wife Merilynn reside in Jefferson Parish. They are the parents of four daughters and several grandchildren.
Gary England

Gary England

Consulting Meterorologist and Vice-President of Corporate Relations and Weather Development-Griffin Communications

Meteorologist Gary England is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology and mathematics.  OU recently honored him with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, the  highest award the university can bestow.  Previously, OU had named Gary as an Outstanding Alumni

Gary was inducted into the Oklahoma of Fame in 2013. He was also honored with feature stories about his career in the Los Angeles Times; the New York Times Magazine and other national media.  

He has been awarded four Emmy’s and the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  He has also received Hall of Fame recognition from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters; the Western Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the Dewey County Hall of Fame.

Gary England has received the highest recognition for lifetime achievement and, for television coverage of severe weather events. His honors include: Lifetime Achievement awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, American Women in Radio & Television and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Among many other awards Gary has earned is the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for best in the nation in Breaking Weather Coverage in all large markets.  

Gary is internationally recognized for pioneering innovations in weather technology and systems that are now common tools in the world of media coverage of severe weather, including first acquisition and application of commercial Doppler radar; the storm time of arrival system; corner screen warning maps and cellular still picture/video transmission.

Gary is the Vice President for Corporate Relations and Weather Development at Griffin Communications and is Oklahoma's top rated television meteorologist.  He holds the distinction of being the person who implemented with Enterprise Electronics, the world's first commercial Doppler radar.  In 1981 Gary became the first person in history to use Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public.

But above all, Gary proudly served our country in the United States Navy and    has been married to Miss Mary since it all began.  And never forget, weather is his passion but the people of Oklahoma are his love.
John Erickson

John Erickson

Director of Public Information, Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security

John is a media, marketing and crisis communications professional who has worked in the fields of healthcare, higher education and public safety. A former newspaper reporter and editor, John has led communications for major disasters and emergencies, multi-million dollar financial campaigns, small businesses and major events, such as the Super Bowl. He led Indiana's crisis communications efforts for three national exercises in 2010, 2011 and 2014.
John Ferree

John Ferree

Severe Storms Services Leader for the National Weather Service

John Ferree is the Severe Storms Services Leader for the National Weather Service (NWS) and guides severe storm services at the 122 NWS Weather Forecast Offices and Storm Prediction Center. Since acquiring this position in 2006, John has led many efforts to improve tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, including moving from county-based to storm-based warnings, adjusting severe thunderstorm criteria to fit impacts, and improving various aspects of the warning software used by forecasters. He served as program chair for the American Meteorological Society Warnings and Communications Conference in 2011 and 2013, and is currently serving as a Counselor for the National Weather Association.  A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, John has worked for the NWS for thirty-six years. He worked as a forecaster in Arkansas, Nevada, Kansas and Missouri, prior to returning to Norman, OK in 1993 as an instructor and team leader for the Warning Decision Training Branch.  His areas of interest include severe storms, distance learning and radar meteorology. In recent years, he has focused on understanding the scientific, technological, and human aspects of decision making as it pertains to the issuance of severe weather warnings.
Laura Furgione

Laura Furgione

Deputy Director, National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Ms. Laura K. Furgione is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Deputy Assistant Administrator for Weather Services and the Deputy Director of the National Weather Service (NWS). She has served as the NWS Deputy since July 2010.  In this role, she is responsible for the day-to-day civilian weather operations for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas.

Furgione was designated to serve as Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in March 2013.  In this role, she is charged by the Department of State to maintain the United States formal representation to the WMO.  Through the WMO’s 191 Member States and Territories, she enables international cooperation and leadership essential for the development of weather, climate, hydrology, and related geophysical sciences. This contributes to the protection of life and property against natural disasters, safeguards the environment, and enhances the economic and social well-being of all sectors of society in areas such as food security, water resources and transport.

Previously, she served as Assistant Administrator for the NOAA Office of Program Planning and Integration. In this role, she was responsible for corporate management to coordinate the many lines of service of the $5 billion agency dedicated to understanding and predicting changes in the Earth's environment and conserving and managing coastal and marine resources. She was responsible for annual planning as well as long term strategic planning, performance evaluation, program integration through matrix management, and policy integration including compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

From October 2004 to August 2008, Furgione served as Director of NOAA's NWS Alaska Region. As Regional Director, Furgione was responsible for all operational and scientific climatological, meteorological, hydrological, volcanic ash and tsunami warning programs for the state of Alaska and its surrounding waters.

Other positions Furgione has held within the NWS include meteorological intern at the Kodiak, Alaska, Weather Service Office; intern at the Fairbanks, Alaska, Weather Forecast Office (WFO); aviation meteorologist at the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit; warning coordination meteorologist at WFO Morehead City, North Carolina; Meteorologist-in-Charge of WFO Juneau, Alaska; and Alaska Deputy Regional Director.

Furgione holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of Alaska-Southeast.  She was the proud recipient of two NOAA Administrator’s Awards in 2011 – one for NOAA’s Arctic Vision and Strategy and another for developing NOAA’s Strategy Execution and Evaluation system.  Furgione is also a certified open water diver and a ham radio operator – KL0XG.

Jared Guyer

Jared Guyer

National Severe Weather Forecaster, NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman

Jared L. Guyer is a national severe weather forecaster at the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK.  His primary responsibilities are the issuance of nationwide Convective Outlooks, along with Mesoscale Discussions for hazardous mesoscale weather phenomena including severe convective storms/tornadoes and winter weather.  Jared is heavily involved in SPC outreach, science sharing activities, and operationally oriented applied research.  Prior to arriving at the SPC in 2003, he spent time at NWS offices in Hastings, Nebraska (2000-2003) and La Crosse, Wisconsin (1999-2000).  He earned a B.S. degree in Meteorology and Communications from Valparaiso University in 1999.
Dale Hall

Dale Hall

Managing Director of Research, Society of Actuaries

R. Dale Hall, FSA, MAAA, CERA, CFA is Managing Director of Research at the Society of Actuaries in Schaumburg, Illinois. In his role, he coordinates the SOA’s strategic research partnerships, and oversees SOA experience studies, practice research, and data-driven in-house research initiatives. Previous to joining the SOA in 2013, Dale spent over 20 years in the life insurance industry, primarily as Chief Actuary for the Life/Health companies of COUNTRY Financial.  While at COUNTRY, he was active in industry as a member of the ACLI Actuarial Committee, a frequent speaker at industry meetings, and was an adjunct professor in the actuarial science program at Illinois State University.
Rod Harden

Rod Harden

Head of Catastrophe Claims, Farmers Insurance

Rod Harden has been with Farmers Insurance Group since 1993.  During his time with Farmers, Rod has held positions of responsibility for claims at both the state and national levels. He has claims experience in Property, Auto, Liability, Quality Assurance, Training and Advanced Leadership. Before joining Farmers, Rod was an officer in the United States Army. He earned a bachelor of arts in history/political science from Arkansas Tech University.
Kevin Hromas

Kevin Hromas

Owner, Kevin Hromas & Associates

Kevin Hromas is the owner of Kevin Hromas and Associates, a division of US Insurance Information LLC. A 20-yr career as a general contractor pre-dated his entry into the insurance business in 1996 with Allstate Insurance. An independent adjuster since 2003, Mr. Hromas is a noted expert in bad faith and property damages across the US. Currently holding adjuster licenses in Texas, Oklahoma, California, Florida and North Carolina, he has personally handled hundreds of formal appraisals as both an appraiser or as an appointed umpire.
Doug Huddleston

Doug Huddleston

Region VI Emergency Response Coordinator, OSHA

Mr. Doug Huddleston has worked as a safety professional for over 14 years.  Prior to joining OSHA, Doug served in the military for 26 years, retiring from the U.S. Army in 2010, and has served in various safety roles, including Unit Safety Officer, Safety Programs Manager and Safety Programs Auditor. Doug has been with OSHA for approximately five years, and has worked as a Compliance Safety & Health Officer in the Dallas Area Office, and presently serves as Emergency Response Coordinator and Programs Manager in the Dallas Regional OSHA Office.  Doug is a graduate of The University of Central Texas and holds certification with The Board of Certified Safety Professionals.
Craig Jones

Craig Jones

President, Oklahoma Hospital Association

Craig W. Jones, FACHE, has served as president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association since November of 1998.  Prior to his current position, he served as executive vice president of the Association, beginning in March of 1997.  The Association represents and serves the interests of 136 hospitals across the state of Oklahoma. 

From 1985-1997, Mr. Jones was employed as president and chief executive officer of Norman Regional Hospital (now Norman Regional Health System).  Prior to this, Mr. Jones served for six years as the hospital's associate administrator. He was employed by Hillcrest Medical Center, Tulsa, where he completed his graduate work in health care administration and held various administrative positions from 1975-1979.

In 1976, Jones earned a Master's of Health Administration degree (with Honors) from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration (cum laude) in 1974 from Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania.  He is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives.

Mr. Jones has served on or chaired numerous state, regional and national health care governing and advisory boards or councils associated with the American Hospital Association, The Joint Commission, the Oklahoma State Chamber, the American College of Health Care Executives, and VHA, Inc.  He currently is vice chairman of The Joint Commission (a national quality and patient safety accrediting organization for domestic and international healthcare organizations), chairs the American Hospital Association’s Board of Commissioners on the board of directors of The Joint Commission, is a trustee on the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust, and is also a director for the Health Alliance for the Uninsured in central Oklahoma. 

Additionally, Mr. Jones is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Health Administration and Policy, College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma.  He has been pleased to serve on community and civic boards in Norman and Oklahoma City.   

Mr. Jones has received special recognition by health care organizations at both the state and national levels, and was honored in 2007 to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from his college alma mater.  He is an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Norman where he serves as an elder.  He and his wife, Susie, have three grown children.
Fred Karlinsky

Fred Karlinsky

Co-Chair, Greenberg Traurig’s Insurance Regulatory and Transactions Practice Group

Fred E. Karlinsky is Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Insurance Regulatory and Transactions Practice Group. Fred has over twenty years of experience representing the interests of insurers, reinsurers and a wide variety of other insurancerelated entities on their regulatory, transactional, corporate and governmental affairs matters. Fred is a recognized authority on national insurance regulatory and compliance issues and has taken a leadership position in many insurance trade organizations, has led many industry-driven legislative and regulatory initiatives, and is a sought after thought leader who has spoken and presented papers to insurance executives and governmental officials, both nationally and internationally.

Fred is experienced in transactional law, executive and legislative governmental affairs, administrative law, and corporate representation. He advises clients on operational issues — including start-up initiatives, structuring, capitalization, and collaborative business relationships— and a complete array of regulatory and compliance issues, including licensure and corporate amendment applications, business expansion initiatives, solvency and statutory accounting issues, rate and form filings, and financial and market conduct examinations, to name a few.

Fred has a long history as a primary strategist in all types of insurance-related legislative and regulatory initiatives for all kinds of insurance, including homeowners, automobile, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice and other lines of property and casualty and life and health insurance.

In addition to his role with Greenberg Traurig, Fred has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Florida State University College of Law since 2008, where he teaches a course on Insurance Law and Risk Management.
Ernest Kiesling

Ernst Kiesling, Ph.D.

Executive Director of the National Storm Shelter Association

Dr. Kiesling has spent most of his career at Texas Tech University in teaching, research, administration and public service.  He leads the storm shelter research effort within the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech.

In the early 1970’s he and his colleagues developed the above-ground storm shelter capable of providing a very high degree of protection from extreme winds. To some he is known as the Father of the Safe Room.

He was instrumental in founding the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) a non-profit trade association dedicated to fostering quality in the shelter industry. He has served as Executive Director of the Association since its inception in 2000. A wealth of information can be found at www.NSSA.cc
Kevin Kloesel

Kevin Kloesel, Ph.D.

Director, Oklahoma Climatological Survey & University Meteorologist, OU Office of Emergency Preparedness, University of Oklahoma

Kevin is responsible for providing weather forecast and weather safety information to the OU Office of Emergency Preparedness before, during and after weather threats of all types on the OU Campus. He also provides support to the OU Executive Policy Group in severe and winter weather situations in order to facilitate campus protection and closure decisions. He develops and leads high-impact weather safety training on the OU campus for its over 30,000 students, faculty and staff, and for the over 40,000 pre-collegiate students that call OU home during summer sports and academic camps.

In addition, Kevin serves as Director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, one of the largest such Surveys in the country. OCS is charged with providing weather and climate data, analysis and expertise to stakeholders and decision makers throughout the state, and operates the Oklahoma Mesonet weather observing network. He also serves on the State of Oklahoma Hazard Mitigation Task Force.
Daphne LaDue

Daphne LaDue, Ph.D.

Research Scientist at the University of Oklahoma's Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms and Lecturer for OU's School of Meteorology

Daphne S. LaDue is a Research Scientist at the University of Oklahoma's Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms and Lecturer for OU’s School of Meteorology. She earned her B.A. in physics from Anderson University in 1990, then went immediately on to earn her M.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992. She held three applied research positions before becoming the National Severe Storms Laboratory’s education and outreach coordinator for a few years. Now, after earning her Ph.D. in Adult & Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma, she is a social scientist studying how forecasters learn, use, and think about experimental weather data; how forecasters communicate effectively to other decision makers; how decision-makers such as emergency managers use weather data; how undergraduates learn about science and decide upon careers; and how non-specialists receive information and make decisions about severe weather.
Damon Lane

Damon Lane

Chief Meteorologist, KOCO

Chief Meteorologist Damon Lane joined KOCO 5 News in 2009.

Previously, Lane served as Chief Meteorologist at KTXS-TV in Abilene, TX, forecasting severe weather on the southern edge of “Tornado Alley.” While there, he was named “Abilene’s Favorite Meteorologist” three years in a row.

Lane is the only Chief Meteorologist in Oklahoma City who holds a degree in Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology. He is also the only Chief Meteorologist in Oklahoma City to hold the CBM seal of approval from The American Meteorological Society, the highest level certification from the nation’s top association for broadcast meteorologists.

Lane and the KOCO 5 First Alert Weather team are independently certified as delivering the most accurate forecast in Oklahoma City by WeatheRate, an independent scientific organization that measures accuracy in weather forecasts across the country. Lane has also served as guest meteorologist for ABC’s Good Morning America.

The 2013 tornado disaster in Moore, Oklahoma, really hit home for Lane and his family. The massive tornado struck his neighborhood as he covered it live on-air. His wife rode out the storm in their shelter with the family dogs while many nearby homes were damaged or destroyed. Lane has been active in community recovery efforts ever since. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his coverage in the Moore tornado outbreak.

Lane was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He was drawn to science and weather from a young age and holds two Bachelor of Science degrees. After graduating in less than four years in Communications/Mass Media from Old Dominion University, Lane moved to Asheville, NC, and earned his second Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology from The University of North Carolina at Asheville.

While he takes his weather science seriously, during his free time Lane is just as serious about having fun out in the elements and shares his love of the outdoors with his wife Melissa and their dogs Jackson (named after his favorite winter ski town, Jackson, Wyoming) and Binx, a rescue dog saved during the intense summer heatwave of 2011.

Damon and Melissa love to hike in the summer and snow ski in the winter as well as travel. One day he hopes to climb the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest and visit the continent of Antarctica. When he’s not exploring the outdoors, he enjoys firing up the barbeque and is convinced that he makes the world’s best “jalapeno poppers.”

He and his wife live in Moore, Oklahoma.

Twitter: @KOCOdamonlane
Robert Latham

Robert Latham

Executive Director, Mississippi Emergency Management

Robert R. Latham Jr. was appointed Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency by Governor Phil Bryant on Jan. 10, 2012.  Mr. Latham previously served in that position from Feb. 2000 through June 2006 for Governors Ronnie Musgrove and Haley Barbour.  On July 1, 2006 he retired from public service and entered the private sector, where he worked as an emergency management and homeland security consultant.  After Sept. 11, Mr. Latham served as the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor for two years overseeing the state’s homeland security activities including the development of the state’s first homeland security strategy, managing more than $65 million in homeland security funding and developing the state’s regional response capability through the fielding of nine regional response teams.  As MEMA Director, Mr. Latham has overseen more than 50 Governor’s State of Emergency including the preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation to 13 presidential disaster declarations, including Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005.  Mr. Latham has served on the Central US Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) Board of Directors for 7 and a half years, and Chairman of the Board for two terms.  Prior to returning to MEMA in 2012,  he served as an independent consultant and contractor for several companies specializing in subject matter expertise to clients in the development of programs to assist local, state, federal and non-government organizations, and the private sector in all-hazards preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation activities.
Jodi Lee

Jodi Lee

Arkansas Disaster Recovery Manager, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

Jodi Lee is the State Disaster Recovery Manager with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, North Little Rock.

As the Disaster Recovery Manager, she has oversight of both the state and federal Public Assistance (Infrastructure) and Individual Assistance programs. She has assisted in Recovery on the last 17 federally declared disasters in Arkansas and has acted as the Recovery lead for the last 5.

Ms. Lee started with ADEM in January 2008. In 2009, she began working as a Public Assistance Officer, and in 2012 she was promoted to the Disaster Recovery Manager position. Ms. Lee is assigned to several positions in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and is a member of Arkansas’s Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) A-Team, which deployed to Albany, NY in 2012 to assist with Hurricane Sandy.

Ms. Lee has been an active member of the Arkansas Emergency Management Association since 2008 and currently serves as an advisor to the executive board. She attended North Arkansas College and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Dennis Manley

Dennis Manley

Vice President Quality, Mercy Hospital Joplin

Dennis Manley is a registered nurse with over 30 years of healthcare experience.  He completed his nursing education at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri.  He received the designation of Healthcare Risk Manager from the University of Chicago and is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality. He is currently the Vice President of Quality at Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Missouri were he has responsibility for Performance Improvement, Risk Management, Patient Safety, Infection Control, Medical Staff Services, and Compliance.  He is also very active in Emergency and Disaster Preparedness at the hospital, community and state levels. Following the May 2011 EF5 tornado that destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center, he assisted with the immediate evacuation of the hospital and then served as Incident Commander for next several weeks following the tornado.
Tim Marshall

Tim Marshall

Meteorologist and Principal Engineer, Haag Engineering

Tim Marshall is a professional engineer and meteorologist who has spent nearly four decades evaluating damage in the wake of tornadoes, hurricanes, and other windstorms.
Benjamin Nelson

Senator Benjamin Nelson

Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Senator Ben Nelson became Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on January 18, 2013. He was selected based on his unique combination of executive, legislative and regulatory experience.

Prior to this appointment Senator Nelson served two-terms in the U.S. Senate representing the State of Nebraska from 2001-2013. During his tenure, he earned a reputation as a moderate who was adept at bringing his colleagues on both sides of the aisle together to find compromises on some of the biggest issues facing the country.

Serving on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Nelson's priorities began with safeguarding our nation's food and fuel security. He was also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he was a tireless champion for our nation's men and women in uniform.  In addition, he served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, being a careful steward of taxpayer money to ensure important investments were being made to grow the economy.

Earlier in his career, Senator Nelson was Governor of Nebraska. As governor, he pledged to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas to move forward as "One Nebraska" and to create a "more efficient and effective state government."  In 1994, he became the first Nebraska Governor to be elected to a second term in two decades.

Senator Nelson has extensive experience in the insurance sector and started his career in insurance law. He served as CEO of the Central National Insurance Group, as Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of the NAIC, and as Director of the Nebraska Department of Insurance.

Senator Nelson earned a bachelor's degree in 1963, a master's degree in 1965 and a law degree in 1970, all from the University of Nebraska.  Senator Nelson and his wife, former first lady Diane Nelson, have four children and five grandchildren.
Eric Nordman

Eric Nordman

Director of Regulatory Services, NAIC

Eric C. Nordman, CPCU, CIE is currently serving the needs of the state insurance regulatory community in his capacity as Director of the Regulatory Services Division and Director of the Center for Insurance Policy and Research (CIPR) with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The Division includes two departments—the Research Actuarial Department and the Market Regulation Department. Collectively they are engaged in a wide range of insurance research and in support of NAIC initiatives, committees, task forces and working groups. He previously held the positions of Director of Research and Senior Regulatory Specialist with the NAIC prior to his appointment as Director of Regulatory Services. He has been with the NAIC since 1991.

In his position Mr. Nordman supports the Property and Casualty Insurance (C) Committee. He provides expertise on property and casualty insurance, financial and  market regulation, loss costs, electronic commerce, cybersecurity, speed to market, terrorism insurance, medical malpractice, risk retention groups and other regulatory issues. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks September 11, 2001, the 2005 hurricane season and most recently, Super Storm Sandy, he was involved in discussion and resolution regarding coverage issues and state, federal and industry responses to catastrophes.

Mr. Nordman was employed by the Michigan Insurance Bureau for thirteen years. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Michigan State University. He earned his CPCU from the American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters, Inc. The Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society (IRES) has granted Mr. Nordman its highest designation, that of Certified Insurance Examiner. He has served on the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Workers’ Compensation Health Initiative and was a member of the National Insurance Task Force of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation. He currently serves as a national director on the CPCU Society Leadership Council and recently completed a two-year term as a director for the Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society. He has served as newsletter editor of the CPCU Society’s Regulatory and Legislative Interest Section. He serves on the Study Panel on National Data on Workers’ Compensation with the National Academy of Social Insurance. Mr. Nordman was the 2011 recipient of the IRES Al Greer award. The award is presented annually to an insurance regulator and IRES member who not only embodies the dedication, knowledge and tenacity of a professional regulator, but who exceeds those standards. Mr. Nordman was recognized with the Paul L. DeAngelo Memorial Teaching Award in Recognition of Excellence in Insurance Education by the IRES Foundation in 2013. The award honors an insurance regulator, or former regulator, who has demonstrated commitment to increasing and improving insurance regulatory knowledge to regulators, industry and the public. The award was conceived in 2000 in memory of a former regulator at the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, Paul L. DeAngelo.
Paula Pallozzi

Paula Pallozzi

Associate Director, Rhode Island Insurance Division

Paula was appointed to the position of Associate Director in December 2013. She has been with the RI Insurance Division for the past 32 years, beginning her career as an entry level licensing examiner. She previously served as Chief Property & Casualty Insurance Analyst. Paula is responsible for assisting the Superintendent of Insurance and Banking in fulfilling the Department’s statutory functions and mission. She oversees the regulation of policy forms and rates, consumer services and complaints, speed to market and social media initiatives. She assists in proposing, drafting, testifying and implementation of legislation, regulations, bulletins and consumer alerts, balancing consumer protection with solvency.

Paula serves as the Director’s designee on various RI Boards, Commissions and Committees including the Arson Watch Reward Selection Committee, Interagency Hazard Mitigation Steering Committee, RI Automobile Service Plan, RI Joint Reinsurance Association, Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council, Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, and the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification Task Force.

At the national level, Paula represents RI on various NAIC committees, task forces and working groups. She is Chair of the Post-CAT Regulatory Guidance (C) Subgroup, Chair of the NE Zone Regional CAT Working Group and is the NE Zone Advisory Board member of the NAIC Professional Designation program. Paula serves as RI's Public Information Officer for NAIC activities. She represents RI on the Property & Casualty Insurance (C) Committee, Advisory Organization Examination Oversight (C) WG, Auto Insurance C/D Study Group, Catastrophe Insurance (C) WG, CAT Response (C) WG, Commercial Lines (EX) WG, Sharing Economy (C) WG, Terrorism Insurance Implementation (C) WG, Title Insurance Guaranty Fund (C) WG, Title Insurance (C) TF, Workers' Compensation (C) TF and NAIC/IAIABC Joint (C) WG. She also chaired the Data Collection Template SG.

Paula earned a bachelor’s degree, with distinction, in Accounting from the University of RI. She recently earned the NAIC Senior Professional in Insurance Regulation designation (SPIR). She is a member of the Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society and the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals. Paula is married with 2 children.

David Payne

David Payne

Chief Meteorologist, News 9

News 9 Chief Meteorologist David Payne can be seen weekdays at 4, 5, 6 and 10 p.m.

David Payne is a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award winning meteorologist with a total of 8 Emmy wins and 16 nominations. The Associated Press and the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters have recognized David for his severe weather coverage, including tracking tornadoes, many times. He was awarded "The Weathercast of the Year" for 2011 and 2013 by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters.

A fourth generation Oklahoman and native of Guthrie and Edmond, David's Oklahoma roots run deep. His family owns land acquired during the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, David Payne enjoys speaking to schools and organizations about weather as part of David Payne's Wild Weather Camp. This interactive and exciting show teaches weather safety to kids. Being a father himself, children's weather safety is very important to David.

During the devastating tornadoes of May 3rd, 1999, viewers around the world glimpsed heart-stopping images of David reporting live in front of that mammoth tornado. Then Governor Frank Keating recognized David for his severe weather coverage and helping to protect Oklahomans.

David's coverage of the May 8th, 2003, Moore tornado earned him an Emmy Award along with two Emmy nominations. This storm, in a freakish sequence, was the second to hit the Moore community within five years and followed roughly the same path as the 1999 storm.

David was selected by the National Association of Broadcasters in 2003 to speak at their conference on Serving Communities in Crisis, held at the Reagan Center in Washington D.C. He shared his expertise on storm tracking and Oklahoma severe weather coverage. David is routinely sought out as an expert on weather by national television programs, magazines and newspapers. He's been seen numerous times on NBC, CNN, FOX, The Weather Channel and The Discovery Channel…just to name a few.

David holds the seal of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society.

David's hobbies include fishing, golfing, water skiing, gardening, and bird watching. David, his wife Julie, and their daughter reside in Edmond.
Steve Piltz

Steve Piltz

Meteorologist in Charge, National Weather Service

Steve Piltz is the Meteorologist in Charge (MIC) of the National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Mr. Piltz received his Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from Parks College of Saint Louis University in 1987 and began his tenure with the NWS at Key West, Florida in 1988.  Prior to joining the NWS he was an emergency management official in Carbondale, Illinois and also worked for a private meteorological firm in St. Louis, Missouri.

With the NWS Mr. Piltz moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1990.  While serving in Tulsa he was promoted to the position of Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) in 1993 and to station supervisor in 2000.  Mr. Piltz received the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal (2000) and National Weather Association Operational Achievement Individual Award (2000) for improving operational weather support and enhancing community preparedness through the development of the StormReady program.  In 2009, Mr. Piltz received an award from the American Public Works Association for his role in the development of the Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index that projects the impacts of ice storms.

Mr. Piltz resides in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with his wife Cheryl.  Their son Daniel is a graduate of University of Oklahoma and resides in Norman, OK.
Sam Porter

Sam Porter

Partnership and Volunteer Missions Specialist, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma

Sam Porter is the Partnership and Volunteer Missions Specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.  This includes being the state director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief since 1998.

Sam has traveled to Iraq, Indonesia, Thailand, Haiti and all across the United States after major hurricanes, floods, fires and tornadoes. When not traveling to disaster zones himself, Sam works with other state directors to plan their response to major disasters around the world.

Sam has led volunteer response teams to more than 100 disasters in the past 15 years. He has also trained more than 6,000 volunteers in disaster preparedness and response. Before serving as Disaster Relief Director, Sam was an Oklahoma church pastor for 20 years.

Tamara Pratt

Tamara Pratt

Senior Director of Financial Development, American Red Cross

Tamara Pratt brings a strong communication and development background to the American Red Cross in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Tamara joined the Red Cross in the fall of 2013 to work with the Financial Development team where she assists with fundraising for the 100+ year old humanitarian organization to include implementing fundraising strategies and fulfilling the public affairs role for the organization’s outreach. While at the Red Cross she has also served as the agencies communications lead for the 2013 Tornado Long‐Term Recovery project. A duty which included communications with the public, media and legislative leaders regarding projects surrounding the Red Cross relief efforts in affected communities. Ms. Pratt joined the Red Cross from the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City. Ms. Pratt spent seven years at the Institute handling communications and the last two years she served at Deputy Director. Her duties included running the day‐to‐day operations of a national law enforcement training program, securing grants/contracts for the Institute as well as maintaining Congressional and state leadership relationships. Prior to that Ms. Pratt worked with KWTV‐News9, Oklahoma City, OK for twelve years as an anchor/reporter covering events such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building.
David Prevatt

David Prevatt

Associate Professor, University of Florida

After earning his Ph.D. degree from Clemson University in 1998, Dr. David O. Prevatt worked with the Boston-based ENR500 consulting engineering firm, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. in building envelope system design and remediation.  For three years as a faculty member at Clemson University (2004-2007), Dr. Prevatt conducted wind tunnel tests on small-scale models of Florida homes that he investigated in post-hurricane damage surveys. Dr. Prevatt joined the University of Florida’s Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering in 2007 where his research focused on the mitigation of extreme wind damage to low-rise construction, particularly light-framed wood residential structures. That experience led his research to focus more on tornado-induced loads, which in 2011 caused over 550 US deaths, and billions in economic losses.  Dr. Prevatt has led, and participated in damage assessment/forensic engineering teams following the 2011 Tuscaloosa, AL and Joplin, MO tornadoes, and the 2013 Moore, OK tornado. His research group publishes reports on tornado wind damage as they occur in Florida and around the country.  Dr. Prevatt was awarded a 2012 NSF CAREER research grant to develop more tornado-resilient homes and communities. In 2012, he also won a silver medal in recognition of outstanding achievements in engineering, from the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He has testified before the US Congressional Subcommittees on three occasions and he is a member of ASCE’s Wind Load Task Committee that is developing the ASCE 7-16 wind load standard provisions. Dr. Prevatt is a professional engineer (registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in Trinidad and Tobago) with over 20 years consulting experience in structural engineering and building investigations. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Association for Wind Engineering, and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the UK Wind Engineering Society.
Chris Ramseyer

Chris Ramseyer, Ph.D.

Director of Fears Structural Engineering Laboratory, University of Oklahoma

Dr. Ramseyer has been a member of the faculty of The University of Oklahoma in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science since 2006, holds the rank of Associate Professor and is the Director of the Fears Structural Engineering Laboratory.  In this capacity he has been the advisor for 35 M.S. and 2 Ph.D. graduates.  Two of his graduate students have received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships and six of his graduates have pursued Doctoral degrees.  He received the CEES George W. Tauxe Outstanding Professor Award in 2004 & 2011 and the College of Engineering Alumni Teaching Award in 2007.

Dr. Ramseyer has personal credit for over $2 million dollars in research and over $1.1 million dollars in donations to support research.  Chris has been involved in 39 funded projects and has been the Principle Investigator on 31 of these. His structural research interests include lateral load resisting systems for residential structures, the rehabilitation and repair of pavement and bridges. His engineering materials research interests include very early strength concrete, shrinkage compensating concrete, and the long term durability of concrete. 

Dr. Ramseyer is a Licensed Professional Engineer in OK , CA and WY.  He was chair of the 2009 Building Technical Review Committee for the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission.  He was involved in the rewriting of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation – 2009 Specification as part of the Section 500 (Bridges) Committee.  He is a member of several national committees, such as ACI 223 for shrinkage compensating concrete. He is the lead structural engineer for the award winning SkyDance Bridge in Oklahoma City. He is the only engineer that participated in both the NSF RAPID residential evaluation and ASCE/SEI school/commercial structure evaluation of the May 20th Tornado in Moore, OK. Dr. Ramseyer helped develop the City of Moore, enhanced building code for tornadoes and has been involved in the development of HB 2312 dealing with declared states of emergency in Oklahoma.
Tim Reinhold

Tim Reinhold, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Research and Chief Engineer, Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)

Tim Reinhold joined the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) in 2004 as Director of Engineering and Vice President after twelve years with Clemson University where he rose to the rank of full professor of Civil Engineering. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Research and Chief Engineer for IBHS in 2008. His professional career includes ten years as a consulting engineer with firms in the US, Canada and Denmark and five years at the National Institute for Standards and Technology. He earned BS, MS and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech in 1973, 1975 and 1978, respectively.
Dr. Reinhold has conduced research on wind effects and structural resistance for most of his professional career. While at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, he was involved in studies of the collapse of a cooling tower at Willow Island, West Virginia and the collapse of walkways at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City. He also organized an international conference on wind tunnel modeling of Civil Engineering Structures. The proceedings were published by Oxford University Press. His work at consulting engineering firms included directing numerous studies to determine wind loads for tall buildings and specialty structures including aeroelastic model studies for the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark, wind load studies for Leaning Tower of Pisa, and studies of wind conditions affecting construction and operation of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. At Clemson University and at IBHS, 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. He led the technical development of the $40 million IBHS Research Center in Chester County, SC. He manages the engineering functions at the IBHS Research Center and at its headquarters in Tampa, FL.
Tim Reinhold serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE 7 Committee and the ASCE 7 Wind Loads subcommittee, served for about 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. Tim has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers, chapters of books and conference publications.
Kyle Roberts

Kyle Roberts

Meteorologist, KOKH

Kyle Roberts is a member of the FOX 25 Storm Watch Weather Team along with Chief Meteorologist Jeff George and meteorologist Marcy Novak
Originally born and raised in Dallas, this passion led him to Texas A&M where he graduated with a degree in Meteorology.  Before coming to FOX 25, Kyle had internships in Waco and Dallas, and most recently was a meteorologist in Tyler, TX for KETK-TV.  Working in Oklahoma is a dream come true for Kyle because of all the unique weather that occurs here. He can think of numerous times where he's said, "wow, I've never seen that before", when talking about our Oklahoma weather.  Kyle also enjoys outreach and education especially with kids, and he'll rarely turn down a school visit if asked.
Jack Rozdilsky

Jack Rozdilsky

Assistant Professor of Emergency Management, Western Illinois University

Jack L. Rozdilsky, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Emergency Management at Western Illinois University. His areas of focus include research, teaching, and professional services related to emergency management. His research focuses on response to and recovery from tornado disasters. He is currently investigating issues related to the management of tornado generated agricultural debris. He hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science both from Bradley University, a Master of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a Doctorate in Resource Development and Urban Studies from Michigan State University.
David Sampson

David Sampson

President and CEO, Property Casualty Insurers Association of American (PCI)

David A. Sampson is the president and CEO of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), which represents more than 1,000 homeowners, auto and business insurance companies.

Sampson’s unique combination of extensive financial services experience, global insights and political acumen combine to make him a strong leader and he was named to the Insurance Newscast’s 100 Most Powerful People in the Insurance Industry list. Sampson is also president of the Independent Statistical Service and serves on the Board of Directors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. 

Prior to joining PCI in 2007, Sampson served in the George W. Bush Administration in two presidential-appointed and Senate-confirmed positions. From 2005 - 2007, he served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, overseeing its 15 agencies. Previously, Sampson served in the Governor George W. Bush Administration as Chair of the Texas Council on Workforce and Economic Competitiveness and Vice Chair of the Texas Strategic Economic Development Planning Commission.  He also led the Arlington, Texas Chamber of Commerce as the President and CEO.

Sampson is a graduate of David Lipscomb University and was named Alumnus of the Year in 2014. He earned his doctorate at Abilene Christian University. He completed the Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1999. He and his wife Karen and his sons Matt and John reside in Texas.
Ray Shelton

Ray Shelton, Ph.D.

Director of Professional Development, National Center for Crisis Management

Dr. Shelton, Fellow and Director of Professional Development with the National Center for Crisis Management, has provided consultation, development and training to the emergency services, corporate, industrial, medical, and education community in the area of Stress Management, Crisis, Trauma and Violence.  Dr. Shelton is an international conference presenter and provides direct consultation and training to the Trauma Support Center in England.  Dr. Shelton is the author of the book EMS Stress, An Emergency Responders Handbook for Living Well (Mosby Publications, 1994), Acute Traumatic Stress Management (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, 2001) and Comprehensive Acute Traumatic Stress Management (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress 2005).  Dr. Shelton further served on the American Hospital Associations Ad Hoc Committee on Major Transportation Carrier Disasters in developing the report - Major Transportation Carrier Disasters: Improving Response and Coordination, 1991. Dr. Shelton’s articles on Stress and Traumatic Stress Management have appeared in Claims and Claimsman magazines.

Dr. Shelton develops and trains hospital, corporate, insurance industry, industrial, emergency service, clergy, and educator based trauma response teams, as well as providing training to the mental health community regarding Traumatic Incident Stress Management.

In the wake of the World Trade Center disaster, Dr. Shelton consulted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation New York Office regarding Traumatic Stress Management for staff and staff families. Additionally, he provided Traumatic Stress counseling to Fire Fighters, Police Officers and EMS personnel at ground zero. He provides clinical direction for the Long Island N.Y. Traumatic Incident Stress Management response teams, including Emergency Service and Hospital Based programs.  Dr. Shelton regularly consults with the news media regarding Traumatic Stress offering expert commentary for CNN, ABC, FOX, the NY Times and Newsday.  He has conducted training in Comprehensive Acute Traumatic Stress Management for Brown, Boston, Cornell, and Stony Brook Universities.  He currently serves on the faculty of the Hofstra University School of Medicine.

During the California Wildfires in 2008 and the tornado outbreaks of 2011 and 2013, Dr. Shelton worked with the Liberty Mutual Catastrophe Response Team providing consultation and training in Acute Traumatic Stress Management, as well as counseling fire and tornado victims.

In addition to his work with the Academy, Dr. Shelton has been a member of the Emergency Service Community for 48 years, having served as a Firefighter and Paramedic.  After 35 years of service to the Nassau County N.Y. Police Department, he retired from the position of Director of Emergency Medical & Health training at the Police Academy. Dr. Shelton is a consulting psychologist with the Diocese of Rockville Center NY, presenting programs in stress management, communication, parenting, and marriage preparation. In 2007, he was honored with the Property Loss & Research Bureau (PLRB) “Outstanding Presentation” award at the Claims Conference in Orlando. He also presents webinars as part of the PLRB “Fine Tuned Adjuster” webinar series, and presented the Keynote address at the 2014 Claims Conference in Indianapolis. Dr. Shelton is an honorably discharged veteran having served in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He is an Eagle Scout.
Rick Smith

Rick Smith

Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Norman Forecast Office

Rick Smith is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Norman Forecast Office. He manages NWS Norman’s hazardous weather preparedness, outreach and decision support services activities for the office’s 56 county area of responsibility. Rick and the NWS Norman staff work closely with the media, emergency managers and other state, county, tribal and local government officials to ensure that communities in central and western Oklahoma and western north Texas are ready when hazardous weather threatens. 
Rick has been a meteorologist with the National Weather Service since 1992, and began his career as a meteorologist intern in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1997, Rick became a forecaster at the NWS office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in 1999, Rick assumed the brand new Performance and Evaluations Meteorologist position at the NWS Southern Region Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. He’s been the WCM in Norman since January of 2002.
Scott Stransky

Scott Stransky

Manager and Principal Scientist, AIR Worldwide

Scott Stransky is a Manager and Principal Scientist in AIR Worldwide's research and modeling group, and manages the Statistics and Applied Mathematics Group.  He joined the company as an analyst in 2007.  He is the model manager for AIR’s US & Canada severe thunderstorm models.  He also manages the research and development of AIR’s tropical cyclone models for the Caribbean and Hawaii.  He participated in post-disaster damage surveys for the 2008 Super Tuesday Tornados in the Southeastern U.S., the 2008 Southern California wildfires, 2011’s Hurricane Irene in the Bahamas, the Moore Tornado in 2013, and Hawaii's Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014.  Mr. Stransky earned a B.S. in Mathematics with Computer Science from MIT and an M.S. in Atmospheric Science from MIT.  His Masters research involved numerical modeling of rotating fluids in the laboratory setting and extrapolating the results to real-world weather models.
Rob Stroup

Rob Stroup

Midwest Regional Appraisal Manager, Chubb

Rob joined Chubb in 1997 as an appraiser in the Kansas City office, after 13 years as a property claims adjuster with another carrier.   Since being with Chubb, he has worked in various roles within CPI Appraisal, and since 2001, in management and leadership roles from our Kansas City office, as an Assistant Vice President managing both the Northern Zone and Central Territory Appraisal teams.

He is currently our Midwest Regional Appraisal Manager, responsible for Appraisal teams covering 17 states and our 18 branches within the CHI, MIN, CIN and DAL corporate regions.  He has appraised thousands of homes in the Midwest, including historic homes, condos, and high-valued modern homes. 

Rob has broadened his understanding of insurance and proper evaluation of homes with extensive
appraisal, loss prevention, claims and underwriting training from Chubb. He continually works with architects, interior designers, craftspeople, alarm and security specialists and other experts to expand his knowledge base. He also works with local builders in the area to determine the accurate replacement cost pricing for homes like yours.

For more information regarding Chubb’s home appraisal,  personal loss prevention or  any other Appraisal related services or continuing education courses, please feel free to contact Rob directly. For questions related to your insurance needs, contact your independent agent or broker.
Emily Sutton

Emily Sutton

Meteorologist, KFOR

A well-recognized face in Oklahoma, meteorologist Emily Sutton joined the 4Warn Storm Team in December 2009. She started on air a few weeks before Oklahoma City's largest snowstorm, the "Christmas Eve Blizzard," and has been experiencing Oklahoma extremes ever since. In 2013 she promoted to weekday mornings.

Since distinguishing herself while storm chasing live during the historic May 2013 tornado outbreaks, Sutton continues to cover significant storms firsthand for KFOR-TV. Her storm chasing gained national recognition with video showcased on CNN, MSNBC and The Weather Channel. Sam Anderson profiled her storm chasing experiences for "The New York Times Magazine" and blog "The 6th Floor" in August 2013.

Besides weather, Sutton loves to sing and had the honor of singing in front of thousands at Tennessee's famous NASCAR track, Oklahoma City Baron's hockey and Thunder basketball.

In her spare time, Sutton loves to swim, cycle, travel, cook and spend time with her Springer Spaniel rescue pup, Okie. Sutton races in triathlons for charity. In November of 2014, Emily Sutton and Scott Hines crossed the finish line of their first Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run). Their team raised more than $160,000 for leukemia and lymphoma research through a local non-profit, "The Go Mitch Go Foundation."
Lisa Teel

Lisa Teel

Emergency Preparedness Manager, University of Oklahoma

Lisa Teel is the Emergency Preparedness Manager for the University of Oklahoma. Teel is responsible for preparing the University of Oklahoma for emergencies and direct campus-wide emergency recovery efforts while maintaining campus operations. Teel’s background is in legal, risk management, environmental health and safety and emergency management. Teel has a Master’s degree from OU in Leadership Administration. Teel is an Oklahoma Certified Emergency Manager and instructor for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the National Incident Management System NIMS). Teel is trained to recognize and investigate bomb threats on college campuses, as well as several other emergency preparedness topics. Teel is a member of Central Oklahoma Emergency Management Association, Campus Safety Health and Environmental Association where she serves as the Chair for the Emergency Management COP and International Association of Emergency Managers. Teel has worked in higher education since 2001 and has been an emergency manager in higher education since 2007.
BG Mike Thompson

BG Mike Thompson

Oklahoma National Guard

As a citizen Soldier, Mike Thompson has a distinguished public service career.  Thompson has more than 29 years of service with the state of Oklahoma, including almost 25 years with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, graduating from the 45th Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy in 1990. Thompson rose to the rank of Major with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol before being appointed by Governor Mary Fallin as the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. As the Commissioner, Thompson has a dual responsibility to serve as the Cabinet Secretary for Safety and Security. The Governor’s Safety and Security cabinet includes all of Oklahoma’s state law enforcement agencies.

In his military capacity, Brig. Gen. Michael Thompson is assigned as the Assistant Adjutant General (Army) for the Oklahoma National Guard. Thompson recently commanded the 90th Troop Command and led more than 2,000 Soldiers.   Thompson began his military career when he enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard on December 13, 1983 in Oklahoma City.  Brig. Gen. Thompson received his commission in 1986 through Officer Candidate School, as an Infantry Second Lieutenant. 

Brig. Gen. Mike Thompson is a career traditional National Guard Soldier. Brig. Gen. Thompson’s notable assignments include; Brigade Commander, Battalion Commander, Security Force (SECFOR) Commander and Company Commander. As the Commander of the 1-279th Infantry Battalion, Brig. Gen. Thompson’s battalion led the way in providing relief and support to the city of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  His battalion was alerted and deployed to New Orleans in less than 48 hours. As a Major, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Brig. Gen. Thompson commanded a SECFOR that was the first Infantry unit of Oklahoma Soldiers to earn the Combat Infantry Badge since the Korean War. As a Captain, Brig. Gen. Thompson was one of the first responders to the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah bombing in Oklahoma City. During Brig. Gen. Thompson most recent combat deployment he served as the Chief of Staff for the Joint Area Support Group in Baghdad, Iraq.  

Brig. Gen. Thompson’s awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (2), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3), and Global War on Terrorism Expedition medal, Air Assault Badge, Combat Action Badge and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Brig. Gen. Thompson earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Langston University, and a Master of Science from Oklahoma State University.  He is a graduate of the resident Army War College, where he earned a second graduate degree, a Master of Strategic Studies. Thompson is a graduate of the 208th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virgina, for senior law enforcement officials. Thompson also is a graduate of the Certified Public Manager’s Program offered by Oklahoma’s office of Personnel Management, a proud member of Leadership Oklahoma class XXVI and most recently has been recognized as a Henry Toll Fellow.
John Utech

John Utech

Severe Weather Operations Director, City of Blackwell

Severe Weather Operations Director for the City of Blackwell, OK, Meteorologist, former Broadcaster of 20 years, Past member of the National Severe Weather Workshop planning committee and trainer for Storm Spotters.
Kevin VanLeer

Kevin VanLeer

Model Product Management, RMS

As a member of the model product management group at RMS, Kevin is responsible for the development and subject matter support of RMS climate-peril models for the Americas, including product management of the RMS North America Severe Convective Storm and Winterstorm Models. He is also involved with work on the North Atlantic Hurricane model and wildfire hazard products. Prior to RMS, Kevin was a graduate research assistant at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he authored a thesis on tornado-genesis and severe convective storms. Kevin holds a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science from Purdue University. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues (RICOWI, Inc.).
Julie Vincent

Julie Vincent

Public Relations Lecturer, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Julie has more than 30 years of experience in corporate communications, media relations, crisis management, marketing and writing services. She is a full-time Lecturer of Public Relations in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations (School of Liberal Arts) at IUPUI and president and owner of Wordsmith Communications Group, Inc., a full-service communications consulting firm. She is also a consultant with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security in its Public Information and Outreach area.

Before that, she served as public relations and ACCU-CHEK brand manager, Diabetes Care, for Roche Diagnostics. She has also headed up the Corporate Communications department and served as North American spokesperson for a billion-dollar publicly traded company and was Director of Marketing and Community Outreach for a major student lender.

Half of her 30 years of experience was spent in public utilities, including electricity, natural gas and nuclear energy. She still does consulting work in the utility industry.  Julie is currently a board member of the Indiana Utility Shareholders Association and serves as vice president.

A published author and a national award-winning corporate communicator, Julie has a B.S. in Journalism, English and Radio/Television/Film from Ball State University and a M.S. in Journalism and Secondary Education from Butler University.  She also has her APR designation from the Public Relations Society of America and is a past president of both the Hoosier Chapter of PRSA and the Indianapolis Public Relations Society. She was accepted into the PRSA College of Fellows in 2012. Julie is also a recent graduate of the 2014 class of the FBI Citizens Academy, Indianapolis.
BG William Ward

BG William Ward

Missouri National Guard

Brigadier General William (Bill) Ward was commissioned in 1984 through the Missouri Southern State University Army ROTC program and has served over 30 years as an engineer officer holding a myriad of positions. He has commanded at the Company, Battalion, and Brigade level and currently serves as the Assistant Division Commander-Support for the 35th Infantry Division comprised of soldiers from the Missouri and Kansas
National Guard.

BG Ward has deployed overseas nine times including nation building and humanitarian efforts in Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, training exercises in Korea, Japan, and Tanzania and two combat tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has served as a Task Force Commander for National Guard state emergency duty during natural disasters on three occasions including as the Commander for TF Phoenix, the Missouri National Guard mission that oversaw debris removal and the Disaster Recovery Jobs Program following the 22 May 2011 tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri and the surrounding communities.

BG Ward is a licensed engineer in the State of Oklahoma, holds a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri.

His most notable military honors include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal w/OLC, the Meritorious Service Medal w/3 OLCs, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal w/OLC, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the Army Engineer Association’s Silver Order of the De Fleury Medal, and the United States Field Artillery Association’s Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.

When not serving the Missouri National Guard, BG Ward is a Department of the Air Force Civilian serving as the Engineering Division Chief for the Civil Engineer Directorate of the 72d Air Base Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. BG Ward is married to wife Janice and has three grown sons, Bryan, Matthew, and Sean.

Bob Whelan

Bob Whelan

General Engineering Manager, Southern Territory, DONAN

As the General Manager of Engineering for DONAN, Bob is responsible for ensuring the success of DONAN Engineering in the Southern and Western States, approximately two-thirds of the United States.  Additionally, Bob is charged with leading special projects and working on long-term strategic planning with other leaders in DONAN. Bob received his undergraduate degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee and his Masters in Engineering from the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Bob is currently working towards his MBA at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Bob is a licensed Professional Engineer in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky and Georgia as well as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, Alabama Society of Professional Engineers and National Association of Fire Investigators.  He is a Certified Structural Specialist for FEMA and was deployed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as a Member of the Tennessee Task Force II, an Urban Search and Rescue Unit.  Bob is also a Certified Fire and Explosive Investigator. Bob’s personal interests include aviation, Jeeps, boating and SCUBA diving as he is a private pilot as well as a Dive Master.  Bob is married with two daughters and resides in Birmingham, Alabama.
Michael Widdekind

Michael Widdekind

Technical Director - Property, Zurich Services Corporation

Technical Director Property Michael D. Widdekind has more than 25 years of experience in the loss control profession.  One of Zurich’s top specialists for hospitals and healthcare, Mike also has a strong background in manufacturing, universities, power generation, aerospace, food & beverage and organic chemical occupancies.  In addition to his work at Zurich, Mike also serves as a technical committee member on the National Fire Protection Association's Building Code/Safety to Life Health Care Occupancies section, and on three of the NFPA's committees dedicated to Health Care Facilities.
Devin Wombles

Devin Wombles

Western Illinois University

Devin Wombles is a candidate for a Master of Science Degree in Health Sciences with an emphasis in Public Health at Western Illinois University. Her professional aspirations are in the domain of emergency management practice.  She has assisted in developing an action plan for farmers to use in managing tornado generated agricultural debris.  She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Science from Sam Houston State University.
Bobby Yandell

Colonel Bobby Yandell

Director of Military Support, Oklahoma National Guard

Colonel Yandell entered military service by enlisting into the Oklahoma Army National Guard in February of 1983 in A CO, 1-180 IN BN in Hugo, Ok. He served 4 years as an enlisted soldier in the Army National Guard before completing ROTC and being commissioned as an Infantry Officer in May of 1987.

He served in a wide variety of positions within the 1st Bn 180th IN to include numerous platoon leader positions and Company Executive Officer before commanding B Company, 1-180 IN from 1994-1997. After two years on Battalion staff, COL Yandell served 4 years on staff of the 45th IBCT before returning as Commander of the 1-180 IN from 2004-2007. Following Battalion Command, COL Yandell returned to the staff of the 45th IBCT and served as Brigade Operations Officer and Brigade Executive Officer, before serving 1 year as Administrative Officer of the 189th Regiment (RTI) and serving in his current position as the Director of Military Intelligence/Director of Military Support at Joint Forces Headquarters-OK.

COL Yandell has served 3 tours in Afghanistan as Brigade Intelligence Officer, Battalion Commander and Brigade Executive Officer.

COL Yandell’s awards include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star with 2 Oak Leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, and various other federal and state awards.

COL Yandell earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and his master’s degree from the US Army War College in Strategic Studies.