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July 10 & 11, 2008

Newport, Rhode Island

In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the devastating 1938 Northeast Hurricane, this invitation-only event gathered academics, scientists and public/private sector representatives together to discuss the impact of severe storms on the region and how mitigation efforts can help.

The Northeast Hurricane Mitigation Leadership Forum examined the region’s readiness for hurricanes and windstorms. With hurricane preparedness mostly focused on southern states along the Gulf, experts have long been concerned about the devastating impact of a major storm on the Northeast. Forum delegates and speakers tackled important issues in terms of hurricane research and awareness, including how to mitigate the considerable human, economic, and environmental impact of severe weather. In light of Superstorm Sandy a few years later, the forum was an important foray into hurricane research in the region.

Cherie Burns is the author of The Great Hurricane: 1938, published by Grove/Atlantic (2005) in soft and hardcover.  The Washington Post referred to her book as “… sure to help keep the terrible storm in its proper place in New England’s memory…” (Jonathan Yardley), and The Daily News referred to it as “A must if you care about brilliant reporting…” (Liz Smith). 


Ms. Burns’s previous book, Stepmotherhood—How to Survive Without Feeling Frustrated, Left Out or Wicked (Times Books)  has been reprinted by HarperCollins and Three Rivers and has sold over 40,000 copies in the U.S., England and Germany.  It has remained in print for 20 years.  Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, People, Glamour, New York, Sports Illustrated, Constitution and other publications. 


Ms. Burns is presently working on the first biography of Standard Oil heiress and fashion icon Millicent Rogers for St. Martin’s Press.

Governor Donald L. Carcieri was inaugurated as Rhode Island’s 57th Governor in 2003. A native Rhode Island resident, his election followed a career in business that was capped with his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of Cookson America and Joint Managing Director of Cookson Group Worldwide.


At Cookson Group Worldwide, Governor Carcieri was instrumental in the growth of the business into a major manufacturer employing over 12,000 people worldwide, and from a company generating $30 million to over $3 billion in sales at the time he retired in 1997.  Prior to Cookson, Governor Carcieri was at Old Stone Bank, reaching the position of Executive Vice President.  He also taught at Newport’s Rogers High School and then at Concord Carlisle Regional High School in Concord, MA.  Governor Carcieri attended Brown University on an academic scholarship and graduated in 1965 with a degree in International Relations.

Leslie Chapman-Henderson is President and CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. – FLASH®, a national, non-profit corporation founded in 1998 by a collaborative of non-profit, private and public organizations dedicated to strengthening homes and safeguarding families from disaster.  Ms. Chapman-Henderson and FLASH have championed the cause of code-plus construction methods through the creation of Blueprint for Safety® (Blueprint), an educational program for homebuilders, homeowners and design professionals on disaster-resistant construction techniques. 

Ms. Chapman-Henderson’s civic, community and professional awards include the 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, 2002 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement in Mitigation Award, 2002 FEMA Special Recognition Award, 2002 Florida Fire Chiefs Association Excellence in Community and Public Education Award, 2002 Florida Emergency Preparedness Association Corporate Award, and 2001 Governors Hurricane Conference Public Education Award.


Ms. Chapman-Henderson currently serves as a representative on the legislatively-created My Safe Florida Home Advisory Council.  Her past service includes consumer representative and chair for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Advisory Council under Governor Charlie Crist and former Governor Jeb Bush, guest lecturer at the University of Florida – School of Construction and one of the Florida representatives to the Federal Communications Commission WARN Committee.  She was recently elected as a board trustee of the Florida International University – International Hurricane Research Center. 


Ms. Chapman-Henderson has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida.

Karen Clark is President and CEO of Karen Clark & Company, which she formed in 2007 to help insurers and other entities better understand and manage catastrophe risk.  Ms. Clark developed the first hurricane catastrophe model and in 1987, founded the first catastrophe modeling company, Applied Insurance Research (AIR), which subsequently became AIR Worldwide after acquisition by Insurance Services Office in 2002.  She has spent over 20 years working closely with meteorologists, seismologists, engineers and other experts to develop the most scientifically advanced catastrophe models, and she has led the development of software applications that are used globally as standard tools for catastrophe risk assessment and management. 


In 2000, Ms. Clark was selected by Business Insurance as one of the “Top 100 Women in the Insurance Industry.”  In 2001, she was honored as “Woman of the Year” by the Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW).  In 2007, she was honored with the Review Worldwide Reinsurance Award’s Lifetime Achievement award.  Most recently, Ms. Clark has been honored with an award certificate for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize bestowed on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for her support of the work of the IPCC since its inception.  She has appeared numerous times on national television and was featured in two History Channel specials on Northeast hurricanes and earthquakes.


Ms. Clark holds a Masters Degree in Economics and an MBA, both from Boston University.

Mr. Galagan has 17 years of technical and management experience.  Mr. Galagan makes extensive use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and numerical modeling technologies for scientific studies, and has developed and implemented numerous software applications for coastal and marine environmental investigations.  He has provided GIS, coastal/environmental geology and sediment transport model application capabilities within Applied Science Associates since January 1992.  Mr. Galagan holds a B.S. degree in geology from George Mason University (1987), and a M.S. degree in geology from The University of Rhode Island (1990).

Dr. Isaac Ginis, Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island and Principal Scientist at WeatherPredict Consulting Inc., is a leading expert in numerical modeling and forecasting of air-sea interaction during hurricanes.  Dr. Ginis was chairman and co-founder of Accurate Environmental Forecasting Inc., which provided customized environmental modeling products to the reinsurance industry from 1998.  AEF was acquired by RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. in 2007.


Dr. Ginis has published over 70 papers in scientific journals and books on this topic and authored a chapter on hurricane-ocean interaction for the book “Global Perspectives on Tropical Cyclones” published by the World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland in 1995.  His ground-breaking work in developing a coupled hurricane-ocean interaction model has led to significant improvement in hurricane forecasting.  The National Weather Service has embraced this model and made it operational for the National Hurricane Center in 2001 in the Atlantic basin.  In 2004, the model was implemented for the eastern Pacific basin and, in 2007, for global tropical cyclone forecasting by the U.S. Navy.


Dr. Ginis is a recipient of several national awards, including the 2001 NOAA Outstanding Scientific Paper Award and the 2002 National Oceanographic Partnership Program Excellence Award.  In 2002 he was also named Environmental Hero by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dr. Kunreuther is the Cecilia Yen Koo Professor of Decision Sciences and Public Policy at the Wharton School, and Co-Director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center.  He is a member of the OECD’s High Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large-Scale Catastrophes; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); a member of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program’s Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction and a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, having received the Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001.

Dr. Kunreuther has written and co-edited numerous books and papers, including On Risk and Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina, (with Ronald J. Daniels and Donald F. Kettl; 2006), Catastrophe Modeling: A New Approach to Managing Risks (with Patricia Grossi; 2005), and Paying The Price: The State of Natural Disaster Insurance in the United States (with John Roth, Sr.; 1998).  He is the recipient of the Elizur Wright Award for the publication that makes the most significant contribution to the literature of insurance. 

Dr Kunreuther received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Ms. Lockwood brings over 14 years of professional engineering experience to her position as the Director of Legislative Affairs at Solutia Inc, a global performance materials and specialty chemicals company.  Her responsibilities include working with state legislatures and federal governments to bring about adoption of statewide building codes that increase hurricane resistance.  To date, Ms. Lockwood has helped get stronger hurricane resistant codes adopted in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana where strong mandatory statewide codes are now in effect.  She is currently working in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.

Most recently, Ms. Lockwood held the position of Director of Building Codes and Engineering at the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).  Her responsibilities included strengthening building codes to increase the resistance of structures to natural disasters, managing research projects to support state adoptions of building codes and developing educational programs and materials to help consumers and builders understand the importance of better construction.

Ms. Lockwood earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida.  She is scheduled to complete her Juris Doctorate from Concord Law School in June 2009.

Dr. Valerie Maier-Speredelozzi is an assistant professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering department at the University of Rhode Island.  Her research interests include flexibility metrics, lean systems, and manufacturing system design across multiple industries. 


She has worked with Georgia Power Company, Volvo Penta of the Americas, and General Motors, as well as completing numerous other projects with industry.  Dr. Maier-Speredelozzi has also worked with Dr. Jyh-Hone Wang and a team of students from the ISE department on projects related to human factors in transportation systems, and on dynamic messaging over highways for use during hurricanes or other natural or manmade emergencies.


Dr. Maier-Speredelozzi received her Ph.D. in 2003 and her Master’s degree in both Mechanical Engineering and Industrial & Operations Engineering in 2001 from the University of Michigan.  She has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology.

David Maurstad, Assistant Administrator for Mitigation, provides leadership for some of the nation’s leading multi-hazard risk reduction programs, which seek to secure the homeland from natural hazards.  His areas of oversight include the National Flood Insurance Program, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, the National Dam Safety Program and the National Hurricane Program.  He works closely with public and private risk managers, as well as leaders in government, industry, research and academia.

Mr. Maurstad was appointed Director of FEMA’s Mitigation Division and Federal Insurance Administrator in April 2006 and previously held both positions in an acting role beginning in June 2004.  From 2001-2005, he was Regional Director of FEMA’s Region VIII and coordinated FEMA’s prevention, preparedness, and disaster response and recovery activities in Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.  Prior to that appointment, Mr. Maurstad was the Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska, a position to which he was elected in 1998.  In addition, he previously served as a member of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

Mr. Maurstad has nearly 25 years of experience as an insurance agent in Nebraska, and was mayor of Beatrice, Nebraska.  He is the first locally-elected official and insurance agent to head the National Flood Insurance Program.

Mr. Maurstad holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and an MBA from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Lee Ann Quinn has more than 30 years as a Manager of patient and employee safety in the Infection Control and Occupational Health Services at South County Hospital.  She has been the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for South County Hospital since 2004.  She is a member of the State’s Hospital Preparedness and Planning Committee.  In that role she oversees training, drills, and exercises for hospital preparedness.  Such activities include hospital incident command training, decontamination activities and response, staff training for communication technologies and development of emergency operation planning. 


Ms. Quinn has developed the Regional Pandemic Influenza Plan for South County Hospital as one of Rhode Island’s regional healthcare areas, and the Hospital is now recognized as a regional isolation center within the State of Rhode Island.  She has collaborated with the Department of Health to coordinate grant funding for an airborne infection isolation unit to house 10 adults or 10 pediatric patients, convertible for known or suspected airborne infections.  Ms. Quinn has presented locally and nationally on several issues regarding immunizations.  In 2004, she spoke at the Annual ICPSNE Conference on “Influenza Epidemic – Not IF but When”. 


Ms. Quinn received her BSc in Health and Human Services with a minor in Epidemiology from the Roger Williams University.  She is a Rhode Island Licensed Registered Nurse (RN) and holds the Board Certified Infection Control designation (CIC).

Bill Read is the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.  Previous to this position, Mr. Read was the meteorologist in charge at the Houston-Galveston Area National Weather Service forecast office from 1992 to 2007. He was the operational and administrative leader of many significant weather operations as well as major technological and organizational changes.


Among the significant weather events Mr. Read has covered include the November 1992 tornado outbreak, the October 1994 floods, Tropical Storm Frances, the October 1998 floods, the September 2000 heat wave, unprecedented urban flood caused by Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricane Claudette, and Hurricane Rita. Mr. Read has also been a member of the Hurricane Liaison Team, augmenting the staff at the National Hurricane Center to brief high level governmental agencies for landfalling hurricanes. In this role, Bill worked Hurricanes Isabel (2003), Charley (2004), and Katrina (2005).


Prior to working in the Houston-Galveston office, Mr. Read was at National Weather Service’s headquarters where he was program leader for the severe thunderstorm and flash flood programs, and spent twelve years as a forecaster in Fort Worth and San Antonio. He started his NWS career in 1977 with the Test and Evaluation Division in Sterling, Va.


Mr. Read served as an officer in the U. S. Navy where he had a variety of unique assignments, including serving as on-board meteorologist with the Navy Hurricane Hunters in 1972-1973. He was president of the National Weather Association in 2003, and president of the Houston chapter of the American Meteorological Society in 2006.  His awards include the Special Award for Public Education from the National Hurricane Conference, 2004, and Member of the Year Award from the National Weather Association, 1996.  Mr. Read earned both a bachelor’s (1971) and master’s degree (1976) in meteorology from Texas A&M University.

Dr. Reinhold joined the Institute for Business & Home Safety in 2004 as Director of Engineering and Vice President, after twelve years with Clemson University where he was a professor of Civil Engineering. 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.


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 Committee, the ASCE 7 Wind Loads subcommittee and the ASCE 7 General Requirements subcommittee, served for about eight years on the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) Wind Load subcommittee and is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association for Wind Engineering.  He has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers, chapters of books and conference publications.


Dr. Reinhold earned BS, MS and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech in 1973, 1975 and 1978, respectively.

Dr. Rowe is responsible for leading a team of WeatherPredict scientists focused on hurricane risk assessment and forecasting, and works closely with clients managing their exposure to hurricane risk.  Dr. Rowe assumed his present position with WeatherPredict during the spring of 2007 when it acquired Accurate Environmental Forecasting, Inc.  Dr. Rowe has over 15 years experience as an oceanographer and meteorologist including several years on the research faculty at the University of Hawaii.  Dr. Rowe holds a B.S. in Physics from Guilford College and a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island.

Pamela Rubinoff is an Associate Coastal Manager for the Coastal Resources Center, University of Rhode Island.  Her specialty is coastal community resilience, advancing efforts that link coastal management and natural hazards.  Ms. Rubinoff works in both US-based initiatives and International Programs focusing on sustainable coastal community development through capacity building, policy creation, and technical assistance to government and non-government partners.  Ms. Rubinoff currently leads the Center’s effort to develop a Coastal Adaptation Guidebook for a global practitioner audience in partnership with the US Agency for International Development.  Together with an international team, she recently completed development of a resilience assessment tool as a US contribution to the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System Program.  The tool includes a methodology to identify strengths and weaknesses of community resilience, which has been core to training and mentoring Indian Ocean managers in assessment and enhancement of community resilience. 


As Sea Grant extension specialist, she works with Rhode Island communities to promote community resilience and adaptation through planning, capacity building, and outreach activities.  Activities include the development of a state sea level rise policy and implementation of hazard mitigation initiatives for the Providence Metropolitan area, and coordination of the Smart Hurricane Recovery initiative for southern Rhode Island. 


Ms. Rubinoff has a master’s degree in Marine Policy from the University of Rhode Island and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Delaware.

Ms. Salvatore works closely with national and local media, appearing often on radio, TV and in print as a spokesperson for insurance-related issues that directly affect the consumer, both individual and commercial. She also serves as the industry liaison to numerous consumer, education, safety and community-based organizations, including the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League and Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.


Ms. Salvatore has fulfilled a variety of roles since joining I.I.I. in 1988. Among her earlier achievements, she became an expert on the issue of insurance fraud and was instrumental in the development of a national agenda to combat it, and co-authored Fighting the Hidden Crime: A National Agenda to Combat Insurance Fraud. She also has served as I.I.I.’s director of crisis communications, and produced a series of state-specific auto-safety conferences that culminated in a national conference. She also directed communications programs on insurance topics such as claim filing, disaster preparedness and home safety.


Ms. Salvatore is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and served as president of the New York chapter in 2000. She holds a B.A. in English from Villanova University and an M.A. in Communications from Columbia University and is an adjunct professor in the graduate school of Mass Communications at Iona College and Columbia University.

Ms. Scowcroft is currently the Associate Director of the Office of Marine Programs at University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), leading several national, regional, and state-wide education and outreach programs and teaching graduate ocean science courses for K-16 educators.  She has more than 18 years of experience conducting geological oceanographic research focused on climate reconstruction and 15 years of experience developing and administrating educational outreach programs. Ms. Scowcroft has published many manuscripts on her research and outreach initiatives, presented results at numerous scientific conferences, and produced award winning educational web sites. She lectures internationally on improving science education and bringing global environmental issues into K-16 classrooms.


Ms. Scowcroft was recently selected by the National Science Foundation to serve as the Executive Director of the National COSEE (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) Network.

Chief Smith was selected by Governor Carcieri as Executive Director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.  He has been a key participant for many years in State Emergency Management initiatives.


Chief Smith brings nearly thirty years of distinguished law enforcement service to the agency.  He retired as the Police Chief from Westerly in 2002 to take the Chief of Police position in Narragansett.  In 2007, he became the Director of Public Safety and Transportation at Roger Williams University.   


He holds a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies-PH.D. Candidate, ABD from Salve Regina University, is a past president of the Police Chiefs Association, and a 1999 graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Dr. Staudt directed the National Academies of Science Climate Research Committee.  She helped author more than a dozen reports on topics including the U.S. strategy for supporting climate change research, radiative forcing of climate, past records of surface temperature, and practices for effective global change assessments.


Dr. Staudt holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences (2001) and an A.B. in environmental engineering and sciences (1996) from Harvard University.

Dr. Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Rhode Island.  She specializes in the operation of transportation systems.  Her research interests include green (pedestrian, cyclist) transportation systems, intelligent transportation systems, incident detection and management of roadway transportation systems, and emergency evacuation of building and roadway systems.  Her research aims primarily to study the impact of the interactions of human behavior on transportation systems.  Dr Thomas has received substantial research funding from major state and federal sponsors.  One ongoing research study targets, in particular, the preparedness of the populations in the coastal regions of Rhode Island to face a hurricane threat.


Dr. Thomas obtained a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois.

Craig Tillman has been part of the RenaissanceRe organization since 1996.  As part of the team that formed Glencoe Insurance Ltd., Mr. Tillman served as that subsidiary’s Chief Underwriting Officer.  He has also led RenaissanceRe’s modeling group, focusing on catastrophe models and developing analytical staff to support underwriting operations. 

Mr. Tillman serves as President of WeatherPredict Consulting Inc., a RenaissanceRe affiliate that provides intelligence on atmospheric perils to a range of entities.  WeatherPredict Consulting draws from a dedicated team of advanced scientists with specialties ranging across meteorology, oceanography, wind-engineering, aerodynamics and computer simulation.  Their focus is to anticipate the occurrence and outcome of significant weather events.

Prior to joining RenaissanceRe, Mr. Tillman’s experience spanned 13 years as a consultant in catastrophe risk for clients in the insurance, government, equity management, and municipal bond insurance industries.  He has played a key role in developing software tools and risk analysis methods for use in analyzing a wide range of commercial and residential exposures.  Mr. Tillman is a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and also serves as an Executive Director for the Institute for Business and Home Safety. 

Mr. Tillman holds the ARM and ARe designations, as well as a Masters degree in Mathematics.

David Vallee is the Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center.  The center provides detailed water resource forecasting information to weather service offices and other collaborative agencies throughout the Northeast and New York.  


Prior to becoming the Hydrologist-in-Charge, Mr. Vallee served as Senior Service Hydrologist, then Science and Operations Officer, and Hurricane Program Leader at the NWS Weather Forecast Office, in Taunton, MA.  He has extensive experience leading hydrometeorological forecast and warning operations and directing weather research and training programs.  He has conducted research on a variety of topics including flooding, severe weather forecasting and radar detection, orographically enhanced heavy rainfall in southern New England, coastal flood climatology and the behavior and characteristics of New England Tropical Cyclones.   Mr. Vallee has served as the NWS lead investigator with the State University of New York, at Albany, on a multi-year project addressing Land Falling Tropical Cyclones in the Northeastern United States. 


Mr. Vallee is a graduate of Lyndon State College.

Vice President Weygand serves as the chief financial and operating officer of the University of Rhode Island, with responsibility for all matters related to the administration, finance, capital development and operations of the University.  He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture at the URI and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.


Prior to URI, Vice President Weygand was the President and CEO of the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), which coordinates unique collaborations amongst New England colleges including the New England Higher Education Compact and the Regional Student Program.  He is a former United States Congressman, Lieutenant Governor and state representative from Rhode Island.


Vice President Weygand earned two degrees from the University of Rhode Island, including a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering.  He is the recipient of numerous public service awards, serves on numerous non-profit boards and frequently lectures at colleges, universities and public forums.