Over 200 scientists, meteorologists and disaster safety experts convened for the Build it Better Leadership Forum to review the larger impact of Superstorm Sandy and assess disaster resiliency on a national level.
Our Build it Better Leadership Forum was a ‘meeting of the minds’ as to how best to increase community resiliency in the wake of natural disasters. Panelists addressed the unforeseen consequences from Hurricane Sandy, including the complexity of the emergency management and rescue efforts and the effects of wind and water on community infrastructure. The forum also explored commercial and residential building exposure in the face of severe weather with a look at steps some communities have taken to better protect themselves through building codes, natural protections, better construction designs and the application of modern building science.
Please note: Information as presented below reflects the date of the specific Forum. Subsequent to this, information may have changed.
President, Banks Law Firm
Sherrod Banks is President of Banks Law Firm and serves as the Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law.
Mr. Banks has published an article entitled “PHAs Engaged in Mixed-Finance Transactions: Material Participation Versus Significant Functions” in the Fall 2000 edition of the ABA Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law.
He received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1988.
Director, Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services
Dave Canaan is the Director of Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services in Charlotte, North Carolina. His position involves providing the overall direction and guidance on financial, budgetary, organizational, planning and regulatory matters related to storm water/floodplain management; and land development services in Mecklenburg County.
President & CEO, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
Leslie Chapman-Henderson is President and CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 100 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster-resistant nation including: BASF, FEMA, Florida Division of Emergency Management, International Code Council, Kohler Power Systems, NOAA/National Weather Service, North Carolina State University, Portland Cement Association, RenaissanceRe, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, Texas Tech Wind Science & Engineering, The Home Depot, University of Florida, USAA and WeatherPredict Consulting Inc.
Ms. Chapman-Henderson and FLASH have championed the cause of disaster-resilient construction methods through the creation of groundbreaking consumer awareness programs like StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort; and Blueprint for Safety®, an integrated educational program on disaster-resistant construction techniques for homebuilders, homeowners and design professionals.
Ms. Chapman-Henderson’s civic, community and professional recognition include the 2010 designation by Cable News Network as a member of the CNN New Guard of the South – an elite group of leaders from academic, business, entertainment, government, nonprofit, philanthropy and sports fields. She and FLASH have received myriad awards including: the 2011 National VOAD Partner of the Year Award, 2011 Governor’s Hurricane Conference Governor’s Award, 2009 Governor’s Hurricane Conference Corporate Award for StormStruck®, 2008 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement in Mitigation Award, 2008 Governor’s Hurricane Conference Corporate Award, 2006 Texas Silver Spur Award for Public Education Excellence, 2006 Governor’s Hurricane Conference Public Information/Education Award, 2005 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement in Public Awareness Award, 2005 National Weather Association Walter J. Bennett Public Service Award, 2005 NOAA Environmental Hero Award and many more.
Ms. Chapman-Henderson has served as co-chair of the legislatively-created My Safe Florida Home Advisory Council, as a board trustee for Florida International University – International Hurricane Research Center, an advisory council member for the Florida State University Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center, consumer representative and chair for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Advisory Council, guest lecturer at Florida State University and the University of Florida – School of Construction and as a Florida representative to the Federal Communications Commission WARN Committee.
Other past service includes trustee for the Florida Fire and Emergency Services Foundation; consumer representative to the Louisiana Uniform Building Code Task Force; consumer representative and vice chair of the 2005 Florida Legislative Task Force on Long Term Solutions for Florida’s Hurricane Insurance Market; and insurance consumer representative to the 2006 Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee chaired by former Lt. Governor Toni Jennings.
FLASH program successes include television appearances on CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC and nationally-syndicated programs This New House, Bob Vila and Home Again with Bob Vila; production of a one-hour, nationally televised multi-hazard PBS Special entitled, Blueprint for Safety – Disaster-Resistant Homes; and “A Tale of Two Houses,” a multi-media awareness campaign showcasing code and code-plus construction success stories in wildfire and high-wind zones.
Vice President of Government Affairs, RenaissanceRe Director, RenaissanceRe Risk Sciences Foundation
Michael Cohen is the Vice President of Government Affairs for RenaissanceRe, a global provider of reinsurance and insurance to
cover the risk of natural and man-made catastrophes. He also serves as a Director of the RenaissanceRe Risk Sciences Foundation which supports advanced scientific research in atmospheric risks, the development of risk mitigation techniques to safeguard communities, efforts that reduce the economic turmoil following disasters, and organizations that preserve coastal habitats.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Cohen was a director of industry and state relations at Freddie Mac. He also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House Community Empowerment Board in the Clinton White House and was a political appointee at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Cohen has held various other positions both in and out of government.
Acting Director, National Ocean Service (NOS) Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
Margaret Davidson was appointed Acting Director of the NOS Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) in April 2012. In this position, she plays a leading role in the OCRM and the Coastal Services Center plan to join forces and bring a greater and better coordinated level of products and services to their constituents.
Previously, Ms. Davidson served as special counsel and assistant attorney general for the Louisiana Department of Justice and was the executive director of the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. She joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the Director of the NOAA Coastal Services Center in 1995. She also served as the acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service from 2000 to 2002. She holds a faculty appointment at the University of Charleston and serves on the adjunct faculties of Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.
Ms. Davidson has served on numerous local, state and federal committees and has provided leadership for national professional societies. She has focused her professional work on environmentally sustainable aquaculture, mitigation of coastal hazards and impacts of climate variability on coastal resources.
Ms. Davidson has been an active participant in coastal resource management issues since 1978, when she earned her juris doctorate in natural resources law from Louisiana State University. She later earned a master’s degree in marine policy and resource economics from the University of Rhode Island.
President & Chief Executive Officer, National Housing Conference
Chris Estes became President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Housing Conference (NHC) in 2012. Formed in 1931, the nonprofit National Housing Conference has been dedicated to helping ensure safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America. He leads NHC’s policy and advocacy work both in Washington and throughout the country.
NHC has earned its strong reputation as the United Voice for Housing by actively engaging and convening its membership in nonpartisan advocacy for effective housing policy solutions at the local, state and national levels. NHC’s research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, works in concert with NHC’s policy, advocacy and education efforts to highlight evidence-based learning and best practices in housing development.
Mr. Estes comes to NHC after nine years as Executive Director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, one of the nation’s best-known state housing groups. Prior to his work with the Coalition, Mr. Estes worked for CAHEC, a regional tax-credit equity syndicator, and DHIC, a nonprofit affordable housing developer in Raleigh as well as several other area nonprofits as a resource development officer.
Mr. Estes graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he double-majored in Economics and Industrial Relations. He also holds two master’s degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill: one from the School of Social Work with a concentration on community practice and the other from the Department of City & Regional Planning with a concentration on housing and community development.
In 2007 Mr. Estes co-authored The Economic Cost of Substandard Housing Conditions Among North Carolina Children with Dr. David Chenoweth. In 2008 he was named a Local Urban Community Advisor for the Triangle Chapter of the Urban Land Institute and a Fannie Mae Fellow. Mr. Estes was appointed to the Housing Study Committee of the NC General Assembly in 2009 and in 2011 he joined the Board of Directors of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. He has served two years on the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (2012 in Charlotte, NC and Baltimore, MD in 2013).
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner & State Fire Marshal
Wayne Goodwin was first elected as Insurance Commissioner by the citizens of North Carolina in 2008, and returned to office for a second term in 2012. As Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Goodwin has been a champion for consumers through fair rate-making, injury prevention efforts, and close regulation of insurance company solvency and industry practices.
Since taking the oath of office, he has redoubled the department’s efforts in fighting insurance fraud and has saved approximately $1.4 billion for North Carolina’s consumers and businesses.
Commissioner Goodwin has also been very active with the work of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, where he has focused on preserving state-based insurance regulations.
In addition to his responsibilities as Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Goodwin is also the State Fire Marshal where he plays a vital role in protecting lives and property in North Carolina. The Office of State Fire Marshal is responsible for training fire and rescue personnel, administering the state building code, securing property insurance for state-owned buildings, and reviewing construction plans for state building projects.
A native of Hamlet, North Carolina, where his family was active in agriculture, banking and textiles, Mr. Goodwin served as the Assistant Insurance Commissioner from 2004 to 2008. Prior to joining the Department of Insurance, he served four consecutive terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives where he represented Richmond, Scotland, Montgomery and Stanly Counties.
Mr. Goodwin is a Morehead Scholar and U.S. Senate/William Randolph Hearst Scholar. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with honors in political science, and received his juris doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of Law before practicing law in Richmond County for 13 years.
Technical Director – Natural Hazards Zurich, North American – Risk Engineering
Tom Hall has 23 years of engineering experience conducting loss investigations following hurricanes, floods, tornados, storm surges, hail storms and roof collapses due to snow loading or rain water ponding. Mr. Hall has missed only a few of the major hurricanes or floods in the eastern United States in the past 20 years.
Mr. Hall is a specialist in roofing design and analysis for wind resistance, as well as fire ratings. A major focus of his career has been devoted to the field evaluation of roofing and building envelopes for resistance to wind and hurricane related damage.
Mr. Hall is a founding member and former president of the Carolinas Chapter of the Roof Consultants Institute. He is also a member of ASCE and RICOWI – Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues, which is a technical research group focused on weather related roofing failures and performance.
Director, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida
Richard Knabb, Ph.D., is the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Knabb received his Bachelor’s Degree in Atmospheric Science from Purdue University (1990) and his Masters of Science and Doctorate in Meteorology from the Florida State University (1993, 1999). He completed his postdoctoral work at the University of Hawaii (2000).
From 1999 to 2001, Dr. Knabb was a Research Meteorologist and Lead Forecaster at the Mauna Kea Weather Center. He joined Risk Management Solutions, Inc., in Newark, California, in 2001 as an Assistant Product Manager for Weather Risk.
Later that year, he joined NOAA’s National Hurricane Center as the Science and Operations Officer, and was a senior hurricane specialist there between 2005 and 2008.
In 2008, Dr. Knabb became the Deputy Director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He served in that capacity until 2010, when he joined The Weather Channel in Atlanta, Georgia as its on-air Hurricane Expert and Tropical Science Program Manager.
He is a member of the American Meteorological Society.
SVP, Enterprise Chief Insurance Risk Officer The Hartford Financial Services Group
Christopher Lewis is the Enterprise Chief Insurance Risk Officer of The Hartford Financial Services Group, overseeing the risk management processes for insurance-related risks, including property, liability, mortality, morbidity and catastrophe risk while providing dedicated risk management support for The Hartford’s Consumer and Commercial Market Divisions. In this capacity, Mr. Lewis oversees The Hartford’s catastrophe risk management practice, traditional and non-traditional ceded reinsurance activity and the enterprise economic capital and quantitative risk analytics group.
Mr. Lewis joined The Hartford in 2004 as vice president of alternative risk transfer and P&C capital management, where he structured the company’s first property catastrophe securitization program, managed the property casualty company’s capital position and led several strategic and risk management initiatives for the company. In 2007, he assumed the role of CFO for personal and small business insurance and operations. Starting in the spring of 2009, he helped lead The Hartford’s enterprise capital management activities and served as the Chief Risk Officer of Property &Casualty Operations before assuming his current position.
Prior to joining The Hartford, Mr. Lewis was Managing Director and Global Head of Advisory Services for Fitch Risk Management. Prior to Fitch Risk Management, he worked within the Risk Management Practice at Ernst and Young LLP, served as a senior financial economist at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) and was a senior economist at the Office of Management and Budget (1990 to 1995).
Mr. Lewis obtained a B.A. in international finance, magna cum laude, and an M.A. in economics, both from the University of Connecticut in 1989. He is a member of the American Economic Association, American Finance Association, American Risk and Insurance Association, and the Global Association of Risk Professionals. He has published 15 professional articles on risk management and insurance in leading publications; has testified at both the state and federal level on terrorism, natural catastrophe risk and insurance pricing; and has taught risk management at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Chairman, Disaster Assistance Task Force, American Institute of Architects
Michael Lingerfelt is a high-energy executive with more than 33 years experience in design and project delivery. His resume documents a results-oriented executive with a proven ability to lead large, complex projects and multi-disciplined design teams. To date, he has built over $3.6B in hard construction. This diverse portfolio of projects range from schools, theme park attractions, merchandise, restaurants, health care and hospitality facilities.
Mr. Lingerfelt has served on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Disaster Assistance Committee (beginning in 2007 and currently as chair in 2013), represented the AIA at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute’s Strategic Plan 2009 – 2014 Focus Group, participated in the Haiti Rebuilding Summits (2010 and 2011) and has been a California Emergency Management Agency Safety Assessment Program (SAP) Trainer since 2008. To date, he has trained over 1,185 architects, engineers, building officials and inspectors in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas and the US Virgin Islands.
He has provided safety assessment evaluations for Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA (2004), Northridge, CA Earthquake (1994), Birmingham, AL (2011), as well as fire and flood assessments in California.
Mr. Lingerfelt has completed the Emergency Management Institute’s Professional Series (2009) that includes IS 100 – Introduction to the Incident Command System, IS 139 – Exercise Design, IS 200 – ICS for Single Resources & Initial Action Incidents, IS 230 – Principles of Emergency Management, IS 235 – Emergency Planning, IS 241 – Decision Making & Problem Solving, IS 240 – Leadership & Influence, IS 242 – Effective Communication, IS 244 – Developing & Managing Volunteers, IS 700 – National Incident Management System (NIMS) an Introduction and IS 800 National Response Framework and Introduction.
He has been responsible for negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding between the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects and the Building Officials Association of Florida, the City of Orlando, Orange County Government and is finalizing one with the Florida Department of Emergency Management.
Mr. Lingerfelt was elevated into the prestigious American Institute of Architects College of Fellows in 2012 for his efforts in advocating that architects should serve the public surrounding a disaster. The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level. Out of a total AIA membership of over 80,000, over 3,000 members are distinguished with this honor.
President, Reinsurance Association of America (RAA)
Frank Nutter has been president of the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) since 1991. He held the same position with the RAA from 1981 to 1984. In the interim, he was president of the Alliance of American Insurers and the Property Loss Research Bureau.
Mr. Nutter currently serves on multiple boards, including the Advisory Board of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, an adjunct to the Harvard University School of Public Health, and the Advisory Board of the OECD’s International Network for the Financial Management of Large Scale Disasters. He has also served on the Council of the American Meteorological Society; the Board of the University Center for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities managing the National Center for Atmospheric Research sponsored by the National Science Foundation; and the Board of the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences.
Mr. Nutter has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Worker’s Compensation Research Institute, and the Board of Overseers of the Institute for Civil Justice, a subsidiary of the Rand Corporation.
Mr. Nutter has a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati. He was an officer in the U.S. Navy and is a Vietnam veteran.
Associate Director, Resilience Technologies, Community and Regional Research Institute
John Plodinec is the Associate Director, Resilience Technologies, for the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI). In this role, he is responsible for identifying and evaluating technologies useful for enhancing community resilience.
Mr. Plodinec also played the lead technical role in development of CARRI’s Community Resilience System. He developed CARRI’s Resilient Home Program, aimed at improving the survivability of American homes to disaster. This built on earlier work he did while at Mississippi State University, where he led the university’s efforts to develop programs related to severe weather events. He is the author of a chapter in McGraw-Hill’s latest Encyclopedia of Homeland Security dealing with implementation of Whole Community efforts at the community level.
Mr. Plodinec is also an internationally recognized expert in nuclear and chemical waste management. He headed a team to assist the Indian glass and metal foundry industries to convert to natural gas from coal to prevent further deterioration of the Taj Mahal in India. As part of a NATO-sponsored team, he prepared recommendations that have been followed by the government of Estonia in cleaning up the Sillamae site, reputedly the most contaminated site in Europe.
Engineer, AIR Worldwide
Dr. Ramanathan is an Engineer in AIR’s Research and Modeling group, working primarily on the wind vulnerability of civil engineering systems.
He has been involved in the development of hazard and vulnerability paradigms of the storm surge component of the US Hurricane model. Most recently, he participated in a damage survey following Hurricane Sandy.
Dr. Ramanathan holds two Masters Degrees in Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials from the University of Pittsburgh and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a special focus on earthquake engineering. The central focus of his dissertation research was on the seismic vulnerability and risk assessment of highway bridge classes in California, in support of risk mitigation efforts for highway transportation networks in the state.
Former Director, National Hurricane Center
Bill Read is the Former Director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami; a position he held from 2008 to 2012. He currently serves as an on-air contributor for KPRC in Houston, Texas, acting as the hurricane expert and analyst during times of significant weather activity.
Mr. Read has been the operational and administrative leader of many significant weather operations, as well as major technological and organizational changes. He was appointed as the meteorologist in charge at the Houston-Galveston Area National Weather Service (NWS) forecast officer from 1992 to 2007. He led the office through technological modernization starting with the installation of the NEXRAD Doppler radar, WSR-88D, and the added responsibilities associated with restructuring the NWS field operations. In 2005, Mr. Read led the office through a first in the nation relocation to a hurricane resistant facility collocated with Galveston County Emergency Management.
He has had the opportunity to cover a range of weather events, including the November 1992 tornado outbreak, the October 1994 floods, Tropical Storm Frances, the October 1998 floods, the September 2000 heat wave and the unprecedented urban flood caused by Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricane Claudette, and Hurricane Rita.
Mr. Read was previously a member of the Hurricane Liaison Team, augmenting the staff at the National Hurricane Center to brief high level governmental agencies for land falling hurricanes. In this role, he covered Hurricanes Isabel (2003), Charley (2004), and Katrina (2005).
Senior Vice President, Research & Chief Engineer, Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)
Named as an Engineering News-Record Top 25 Newsmaker in 2010 for creating the IBHS Research Center, Dr. Timothy Reinhold is a well-respected professional engineer known for developing techniques to build and retrofit new and existing structures for greater resiliency. Dr. Reinhold joined IBHS in 2004 as director of engineering and vice president after 12 years with Clemson University, where he was a professor of Civil Engineering. He was promoted to senior vice president of research and chief engineer in 2008. His professional career includes 10 years as a consulting engineer with firms in the U.S., Canada and Denmark and five years at the National Institute for Standards and Technology. He holds bachelor, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech.
Dr. Reinhold has conducted research on wind effects and structural resistance for most of his professional career. In addition to directing numerous studies to determine wind loads for tall buildings and specialty structures, he has been heavily involved in research relating to the performance of housing and low buildings in hurricanes and other severe wind events. His research includes post-event assessments, model and full-scale laboratory studies, and in situ field structural testing. Dr. Reinhold serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE 7 Wind Loads subcommittee. He served for eight years on the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) Wind Load subcommittee and is a past member of the Board of Directors for the American Association for Wind Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Colorado, and has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers, chapters of books and conference publications.
Public Information Officer Manager, South Carolina Safe Home, South Carolina Department of Insurance
Ann Roberson, a graduate of the University of South Carolina, has been employed with the South Carolina Department of Insurance for 14 years. She serves as the Executive Assistant to the Director for External Affairs and Public Information Officer. Among her responsibilities, she works as the Liaison to the South Carolina Building Codes Council and the State Emergency Management Division. She also serves as the agency representative for the Interagency Coordinating Council for the State Hazard Mitigation Plan. Ms. Robinson also manages the SC Safe Home Mitigation Grant Program which was created by the Omnibus Coastal Property Insurance Act in 2007.
Ms. Roberson is a 2003 graduate of the South Carolina Executive Institute. She has always been very interested in outreach and education. The state-wide outreach program she developed for the department entitled Held in Trust, A Child Safety Seat Awareness Program, received the Governor’s Year of the Child Community Hero Award in 2001.
Prior to joining the staff at the department, Ms. Roberson worked for the Town of Hilton Head Island, the Lowcountry Council of Governments and the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a grants and special projects coordinator and public relations manager.
President & Chief Executive Officer, Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)
Julie Rochman joined IBHS in November 2007 with more than 20 years of public affairs and advocacy experience representing major corporations, research and safety organizations, and issue-based coalitions. She is regularly consulted and quoted by national print, broadcast and electronic media on a wide variety of topics. IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and communication organization supported by the property insurance industry.
IBHS is dedicated to reducing societal and economic effects of natural disasters and other causes of residential and commercial property loss. The organization conducts field and laboratory research to identify and advance improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.
Ms. Rochman joined IBHS from The Glover Park Group, a leading Washington, D.C.-based strategic communication consulting firm, where she was senior vice president of public affairs, managing a portfolio primarily comprising of financial services sector clients. Prior to that, she was senior vice president of public affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA), a national public policy advocacy organization for property casualty insurance companies. As a member of AIA’s management team for six years, Ms. Rochman was responsible for developing and executing integrated communication campaigns to achieve AIA’s public policy goals at both the state and federal levels.
From November 1996 until late 2000, Ms. Rochman was vice president of communications for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), where she successfully managed media relations for the IIHS and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). Upon leaving the IIHS, she served on the IIHS and HLDI boards of directors for several years. Prior to joining IIHS, Ms. Rochman managed federal communications for the Alliance of American Insurers, worked for the Insurance Information Institute, was employed by a public health organization dedicated to preventing drunk driving, and served at an advertising agency and for a global insurance brokerage. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tulane University and a master’s degree in American Government from the University of Virginia.
Counsel & Policy Coordinator, North Carolina Housing Finance Agency
Mark Shelburne works for the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s rental investment department, which is responsible for the federal and state Housing Credit, HOME, state housing trust fund, and tax-exempt bonds. Together these account for over $250 million in annual subsidy allocations and the monitoring of approximately 60,000 apartments.
His primary responsibilities include coordinating the annual Qualified Allocation Plan, Housing Credit application review, interpreting legal authorities, and the agency’s supportive housing partnership with the state Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Shelburne has also testified before Congress and worked with over half of the nation’s housing finance agencies.
Immediately prior to working for the Agency, Mr. Shelburne was the general counsel of a Housing Credit equity investor. He also practiced law in the areas of commercial real estate and land use regulation.
His community involvement includes serving on the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development, Tax Credit Advisor Editorial Advisory Board, National Association of Homebuilders’ Housing Credit Group, and RBC Capital Markets Tax Credit Equity Group Advisory Board.
Executive Director, Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters (UNC Hazards Center)
Gavin Smith is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters (UNC Hazards Center) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence – Coastal Hazards Center. The UNC Hazards Center research areas include modeling, land use planning, technology applications, the social implications of hazards and disasters, environmental hazards management, law and policy, public health, business and economics. Dr. Smith is currently engaged in planning-related research within the center, focused on a national evaluation of local and state hazard mitigation plans.
Dr. Smith is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Recently, Dr. Smith completed the text, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: A Review of the United States Disaster Assistance Framework (Island Press 2011) and is currently serving as the co-editor of the text, Adapting to Climate Change: Lessons from Natural Hazards Planning (Springer 2013).
Following Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Smith worked in the Mississippi Office of the Governor, serving as the Director of the Office of Recovery and Renewal. In this role, he and his staff focused on four primary tasks: the identification of federal, corporate, non-profit and foundation financial assistance; the provision of education, outreach and training to local governments and state agencies; providing counsel to the Governor, his staff and state agency officials regarding disaster recovery policy issues, and the implementation of the Governor’s Commission Report; After Katrina: Building Back Better than Ever. In this role he testified before Congress twice, providing recommended policy changes to improve the delivery of post-disaster recovery and reconstruction activities. He also developed the concept and wrote policy guidance associated with the $400m Alternative Housing Pilot Program, an initiative intended to test the construction and deployment of improved emergency housing alternatives following Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Smith served as the Assistant Director for Hazard Mitigation in the State of North Carolina. During his tenure with the Division, the Mitigation Section administered mitigation and disaster recovery grant funds in excess of $800m associated with 10 Presidential disaster declarations leading the acquisition and relocation or elevation of over 5,000 and 500 homes respectively. Following Hurricane Floyd, he served as an advisor to Governor Hunt on policies and programs associated with long-term recovery in North Carolina, including the development of 22 state programs that addressed local needs not met by federal assistance.
Legislative Counsel, Center for Responsible Lending (CRL)
Diane Standaert is a Legislative Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). Ms. Standaert focuses on state-level legislative and policy solutions for curbing abusive financial practices. She works directly with stakeholders and policy makers in their efforts to promote responsible lending in their state. Ms. Standaert’s articles on consumer finance, mortgage lending, and foreclosures have appeared in national publications for lawyers and community development practitioners.
Ms. Standaert currently serves on the Governing Committee for the American Bar Association’s Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law and as the Legal Redress chair for the Durham Branch of the NAACP. She is the co-editor of the upcoming book, “Building Community Resilience Post-Disaster: A guide for affordable housing and community development practitioners,” to be published by the ABA in May 2013. The book features contributions from the General Counsel and staff of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and chapters and case studies by more than 20 housing and community economic development practitioners examining equitable disaster recovery frameworks that expand opportunities in communities for affordable housing and strong local economies.
Prior to joining CRL, Ms. Standaert served as staff attorney at the University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights, working with communities in the rural south to gain access to clean water, build wealth through preservation of family-owned land, and combat discriminatory housing practices.
Diane is a graduate of Florida State University, where she was recognized as Humanitarian of the Year, and received her law degree from the University of North Carolina, during which time she directed the law school’s Pro Bono Program.
President, RenissanceRe Risk Sciences (formerly Weather Predict Consulting Inc.)
Craig Tillman serves as President of WeatherPredict Consulting, a U.S.-based RenaissanceRe affiliate that provides intelligence on natural perils to a range of entities. WeatherPredict focuses on modeling natural hazards as well as quantifying their effects on the range of exposures at risk. Mr. Tillman leads a dedicated team of scientists with specialties ranging across oceanography, meteorology, wind engineering, aerodynamics and earthquake risk.
Mr. Tillman has been a key participant in the development of the StormStruck exhibit at Walt Disney World and the RenaissanceRe Wall of Wind, as well as RenaissanceRe’s series of Risk Mitigation Leadership Forums that examine the role of mitigation in natural catastrophe risk management. Mr. Tillman has been associated with RenaissanceRe since 1996. He was previously Chief Underwriting Officer for Glencoe Insurance Ltd., and also led RenaissanceRe’s Risk Modeling group.
Mr. Tillman currently serves on the Executive Committee and Board of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and the Research Advisory Council for the newly built IBHS Research Center. He also serves on the Board of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH) and the Governing Board of the Global Earthquake Model. He holds Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Mathematics, as well as the Associate in Reinsurance (ARe) and Risk Management (ARM) designations. He is a longstanding member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.
Principal Engineer, Applied Research Associates
Dr. Peter Vickery joined Applied Research Associates in 1988. Prior to joining ARA, Dr. Vickery completed both his Masters and doctoral studies at the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory at the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Vickery has over 30 years of experience in wind engineering. He has 20 years’ experience in the application of hurricane modeling relevant to insurance loss analysis/rate making, and 15 years’ experience in coastal flood modeling and risk assessment. He has published numerous peer reviewed journal papers related to hurricane risk and additional papers related to wind loads on buildings and other structures. The hurricane hazard model developed by Dr. Vickery was used to define the design wind speeds given in ASCE 7-98 through ASCE 7-05. The updated hurricane hazard model is used to define the ASCE 7-10 design wind speeds, as well as the design wind speeds to be used in the Caribbean.
Dr. Vickery was Co-PI on ARA’s effort to develop the HAZUS Wind Loss Estimation methodology and was responsible for developing the wind load and damage portion of the loss models used in both HAZUS and ARA’s HURLOSS tool. Dr. Vickery was responsible for developing the hurricane hazard model and the damage functions employed in ARA’s proprietary hurricane loss model.
Dr. Vickery serves on the ASCE-7 wind load task committee developing wind loading provisions for use in the United States. With Dr. Lawrence Twisdale of Applied Research Associates, Dr. Vickery developed the hurricane missile models that were subsequently used in defining the wind borne debris risk criteria as given in the SSTD-12 missile protection standard and the ASTM wind borne debris standard. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Meteorological Society and is a Licensed Engineer in the state of North Carolina.
Senior Vice President & General Counsel, RenaissanceRe; Chair, RenaissanceRe Risk Sciences Foundation
Stephen Weinstein serves as RenaissanceRe’s chief legal officer, with responsibility for legal, regulatory, government affairs and compliance matters on a global basis. Mr. Weinstein also serves as the Chair of the RenaissanceRe Risk Sciences Foundation, RenaissanceRe’s charitable vehicle committed to researching and developing risk mitigation techniques and fostering awareness of the benefits of effective risk mitigation.
RenaissanceRe’s current mitigation initiatives include StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes™, an educational attraction located in INNOVENTIONS, at Epcot® at Walt Disney World; the RenaissanceRe Wall of Wind state-of-the-art testing facility; and the Risk Mitigation Leadership Forum series of conferences and outreach events.
Mr. Weinstein, a frequent speaker on legal, regulatory and mitigation-related matters, serves on the board of several industry and charitable groups, including the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, and is a Member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association.
He is a graduate of Columbia College and Harvard Law School, where he was elected Class Marshall. Mr. Weinstein and RenaissanceRe received the 2011 Outstanding Achievement Award for Mitigation from the National Hurricane Conference.
Insurance Consumer Advocate, Florida Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate
Robin Smith Westcott is currently serving as the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate, having been appointed to the post in July 2011 by Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater.
Ms. Westcott began her legal career in 1993 with the Florida Department of Insurance, Division of Rehabilitation and Liquidation as an attorney handling legal matters relating to the receivership estates of insolvent companies. Robin served with the Receiver until 2001 when she left to enter private practice. Robin returned to the public sector in 2002 with the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation where she served as Assistant General Counsel and Counsel to the Florida Partnership for School Readiness.
In 2004, Ms. Westcott returned to the Office of Insurance Regulation as an Assistant General Counsel. Robin was appointed as the Director of Property and Casualty Financial Oversight in 2007 and served as the Acting Deputy Commissioner for Property and Casualty prior to being selected by CFO Atwater to serve as Executive Director for the Medicaid and Public Assistance Strike Force in March 2011.
As Florida’s Consumer Advocate, she has sought to engage with consumers to identify broad public policy insurance issues that deserve redress and to bring facts, data and analysis to assist policymakers in developing good public policy to respond to these issues.
Ms. Westcott earned a Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1993. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University in 1991.
Attendees of the Build it Better Leadership Forum in Charlotte
Alabama Dept. of Insurance
American Agricultural Insurance Company
American Institute of Architects
Appalachian State University
Applied Research Associates
Association of State Floodplain Managers
Carnegie Mellon University
Center for Clean Air Policy
Center for Housing Policy
Center for Responsible Lending
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services
City of Boston
City of Fayetteville
City of Fort Lauderdale
Coastal Agents Alliance, L.L.C.
Coastal Hazards Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Colorado Technical University
North Carolina Department of Insurance – Property and Casualty Division
Disaster Smart Consulting Inc.
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Center for Environmental Studies
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Florida Wildlife Federation
Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation
Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC
Housing Partnership Insurance Exchange
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
International Code Council
International Hurricane Protection Association
International Hurricane Research Center
Larry Peabody Weather Consultants
Mecklenburg County Government
Munich Re America
National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders
National Housing Conference
National Hurricane Center
National Storm Shelter Association
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Hazard Mitigation Association
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
National Institute of Standards and Technology
NOAA Coastal Services Center
NOAA Sea Grant
North Carolina Government
North Carolina Home Builders Association
North Carolina Housing Finance Agency
North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association
North Carolina State University
North Carolina Wildlife Federation
Northeast Florida Regional Council
Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate
Portland Cement Association
R Street Institute
Reinsurance Association of America
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency
SC Sea Grant Consortium
SC Safe Home
Coastal Carolina University
Simpson Strong Tie Co.
South Carolina Department of Insurance
Southern Cross Underwriters
Southern Strategy Group
State Farm Insurance Co.
Texas Sea Grant
Texas Tech University
The Citadel, South Carolina
The Financial Services Roundtable
The Home Depot
The Nature Conservancy
Tower Hill Insurance Group
Tulane University Police Department
UNC Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters
University of North Carolina Charlotte
University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
US Environmental Protection Agency
United Services Automobile Association
Willis Re Inc.
Zurich North America