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Resources & Tools

2014 Conference Video
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2014 National Tornado Summit Conference Materials

Speaker Bios

Commissioner John Doak, Insurance Commissioner, Oklahoma Insurance Department

speakerphotoJohn D. Doak was sworn in as Oklahoma’s 12th Insurance Commissioner on January 10, 2011. For the Tulsa native, it was the culmination of a decades-long dream to combine his two passions: insurance and politics.

Doak’s dream to pursue a career in insurance began as a young man. His father, a stockbroker and oilman, taught him the value of hard work and the challenges and benefits of operating within a diverse financial network. His interest in politics was piqued during his days at the University of Oklahoma. It was there, during classes taught by former Oklahoma Gov. Henry Bellmon and former State Rep. Neal McCaleb, that Doak first realized his desire to pursue public office. He graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.

Shortly after graduation, Doak opened his own small business in Tulsa. Over the course of six years, he received numerous awards and commendations for his success, including being named the third Top Life Producer for Farmers Insurance.

Doak next served as an executive for several insurance firms including Marsh, Aon Risk Services, HNI Risk Services, and Ascension Insurance. Working at the national level allowed Doak the privilege of providing coverage in over 40 states and gave him invaluable insight into national issues concerning the insurance industry. During this time, Doak also served on the Governor’s Round Table for Business Development.

Such diverse experience in the industry, from small business owner to corporate executive, gives Commissioner Doak a unique and broad understanding of how insurance works and knowledge that benefits the businesses and citizens of Oklahoma. He is committed to ensuring that Oklahomans have access to affordable, transparent health care within a competitive, robust market that also helps businesses succeed.

Commissioner Doak has pledged to visit all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties every year he is in office. Stops on the tour include town halls, chambers of commerce, bail bond agencies, insurance agencies, funeral homes and more. Commissioner Doak says the trips are needed to stay in touch with the needs of Oklahomans and make sure they know the Oklahoma Insurance Department is available to help. The ambitious effort also reminds citizens that the OID works for all Oklahomans, not just those in the metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. He also established a catastrophe team to respond to disasters and launched the annual National Tornado Summit and Domestic Conference. These events share a common goal, to make the Oklahoma Insurance Department more accessible to consumers.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department works hand-in-hand with lawmakers to pass legislation that will improve the lives of Oklahoma consumers and promote a robust insurance market. Thirteen OID request bills were signed by the Governor in 2012. These include:
• Senate Bill 1621- allows small employers to purchase group insurance through an employer association, which helps small businesses save money.
• Senate Bill 1439 - enacts tougher penalties for insurance fraud.
• House Bill 2318 - requires examinations of insurance companies once every 5 years instead of once every 3 years, raising the examination standards while spreading the cost over a longer time period.
• Senate Bill 1617 - paves the way for more captive insurance companies to do business in Oklahoma by capping their premium tax at $100,000. This is a business recruitment tool, as currently no captive companies are domesticated in Oklahoma.

Doak has often stated, “I’m a regulator with an opinion,” and under his leadership the Oklahoma Insurance Department has taken strides to reduce waste, streamline services, and advocate on the behalf of Oklahoma citizens. His administration’s accomplishments include:
• Visiting each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties each year he’s in office
• Returning the nearly $1million federal grant for conducting health insurance premium rate reviews
• Returning $10 million to the state Legislature that OID was legally authorized to spend
• Regaining full accreditation for the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Financial Division from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
• Re-focusing the efforts of OID’s Anti-Fraud Unit to investigate and actively pursue fraudulent activity, especially white-collar crime and crimes committed against the elderly
• Holding Oklahoma’s first National Tornado Summit and Domestic Insurance Conference

Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, Insurance Commissioner, North Carolina

speakerphoto 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. 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. In addition to his responsibilities as Insurance Commissioner, Goodwin is also the State Fire Marshal where he 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.

Commissioner Goodwin has been very active with the work of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, where he has focused on preserving state-based insurance regulations. Prior to joining the Department of Insurance, Goodwin served for four consecutive terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives where he represented Richmond, Scotland, Montgomery and Stanly Counties.

Albert Ashwood, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

speakerphoto Albert Ashwood was appointed Director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) in August 1997. He joined the state in 1988, and has served the department in various positions including Deputy Director from 1995 to 1997. In his tenure with OEM, Albert has overseen the distribution and administration of over $1 billion in federal and state aid following dozens of presidentially declared disasters, including the terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Albert spent two weeks at ground zero helping establish and implement debris removal operations related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Albert was selected by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to serve as a member of the National Response Plan/National Incident Management System (NRP/NIMS) State and Local Working Group. He represented emergency management officials nationwide as the group worked to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents and emergencies.

Albert served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Advisory Council (NAC). The Council advises the FEMA Administrator on preparedness and emergency management issues. It was developed after passage of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 and instituted to ensure effective and ongoing coordination of the federal preparedness, protection, response, recovery and mitigation for natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. Albert also served as President of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA). He has received numerous awards and accolades, including a Commendation from President Bill Clinton for his work in the Oklahoma City bombing. Albert was the first recipient of the Governor’s Humanitarian Award for efforts following the May 1999 tornadoes and has received numerous citations for developing the “Oklahomans Can Survive” Safe Room Rebate Program. He also served as contributing author of the Heritage Foundation’s report to Congress on the issue of Homeland Security.

Ray Farmer, Director, South Carolina Department of Insurance

speakerphoto Ray Farmer was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to serve as Director for the South Carolina Department of Insurance November 13, 2012. With more than thirty-three years experience, Mr. Farmer received his degree in Insurance from the University of Southern Mississippi and earned his law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Mr. Farmer served as the Deputy Insurance Commissioner of the Enforcement Division for the Georgia Department of Insurance and more recently Vice President for the American Insurance Association. As a part of his service, Mr. Farmer has served for over thirty years on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Arson Control Program, an organization aiding fire fighters and prosecutors combating arson. Mr. Farmer is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and a member of the Tort and Insurance Practice section as well as the Workers’ Compensation section.

In 2012, Ray was awarded the Herman Hass Award by the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia for service to the insurance industry and in 2012 he received a Presidential Citation for Outstanding Service to the insurance industry from the Professional Insurance Agents of Georgia.

Mr. Farmer is a native of Atlanta and he and his wife, Gayle, have two children and five grandchildren.

Brandy Wreath, Director, Public Utility Division, Oklahoma Corporation Commission

speakerphoto Brandy Loyd Wreath was appointed as the Director for the Public Utilities Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in early 2012 He joined the Corporation Commission in September of 2006 and served as the Deputy Director and Chief of Energy and Water prior to his appointment as Director.

He has served as a Public Utility Auditor and expert witness in multiple public utility cases. As Chief of Energy, he was appointed to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC) subcommittee on natural gas and still serves in this capacity. He has served NARUC as an international delegate to India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Resource Board, both traveling to India as well as helping to host delegates when they have traveled to Oklahoma. He believes our great state should be showcased as a global leader in this important industry.

Mr. Wreath worked from 1992 until 2005 for Chase Bank, formerly known as Bank One and Friendly Bank. While there, he performed virtually every sales and service function in the retail branches. He became licensed as an Oklahoma Producer for Life and Health Insurance. He earned his Series 7, 6, & 63 licenses for the National Association of Securities Dealers. He gained a saturated knowledge of lending, management, and investment strategies that have served him well in his career in the energy regulatory industry.

He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mid America University in 1998 with a B.S. in Business Management and Ethics. He also continued his professional education through Bank One Financial University and SEC coursework.

Mr. Wreath is married with two daughters and runs a small hobby farm in Choctaw, OK. He teaches Sunday school, restores and shows classic cars, and loves to travel. He is as native Oklahoman as they come, tracing his roots easily and proudly to the historic landrun and a family ranch in the western expanse of our state

Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City, OK

speakerphoto The world is taking notice of Oklahoma City’s remarkable renaissance and its popular mayor, Mick Cornett.

Known for his commitment to streets and public safety, his growing list of individual awards and honors include nods for urban design, health, sports and the arts. In September, he was named the State of Oklahoma’s Mayor of the Year. Governing Magazine named him the Public Official of the Year. Newsweek named him one of the five most innovative Mayors in the United States. And, over in Europe, a London-based organization, which studies Mayors and their work, listed him as the second-best Mayor in the world, second only to the Mayor of Mexico City.

Best known for leadership role in bringing the NBA to Oklahoma City and for famously putting the entire city “on a diet,” Mayor Cornett has also guided the city to one of the nation’s most robust economies. The Kauffman Foundation named Oklahoma City as the most entrepreneurial city in the country with the most start-ups per capita.

Only the fourth mayor in the City’s history to be elected to three terms, Mayor Cornett is a popular national speaker on the topics of health and wellness, urban design, placemaking and walkable cities.

He earned a degree in journalism at the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from New York University.

Glenn Lewis, Mayor, Moore, OK

speakerphotoGlenn Lewis has served as Moore’s nonpartisan mayor since 1994. Over the past 19 years, Lewis has watched the city’s budget grow from $18 million to $150 million. Its population has skyrocketed 30 percent. The city has also experienced a wave of new construction for homes and businesses. While there have been many successes, there’s also been heartbreak. Moore has been hit by four tornadoes since 1999, all with Lewis at the helm. Each time, he’s responded, mourned and helped his city come back stronger. In July, he was named “Mayor of the Month” by the City Mayors Foundation for his leadership after the May 20th tornado. Lewis is a long-time businessman who owns Lewis Jewelers in Moore. He and his wife Pam have lived in Moore since 1962.

Johnny L. DuPree, Ph.D., Mayor of Hattiesburg, MS

speakerphoto Johnny L. DuPree has over 25 years of experience in public service. In 1987, he was appointed to the Hattiesburg Public School Board, where he served as secretary and president. Following his School Board appointment, Mayor DuPree was elected in 1991, 1995, and 1999 as Forrest County Supervisor in District 4. Mayor DuPree’s tenure as supervisor paved the way for being elected as the first African American Mayor in 2001. He is currently serving in his fourth term as Mayor of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In 2007, he was elected to serve as President of the Mississippi Municipal League.

During his twelve years as Mayor, he has helped bring over $30 million of federal and state funding to Hattiesburg for housing and infrastructure development. Other projects Mayor DuPree has implemented are programs such as the Mayor’s Financial Education Initiative which has brought in more than $5 million for low to moderate income families, the Municipal Workers Program, the Hattiesburg Behavioral Court and the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.

Mayor DuPree holds a bachelor and master’s degree from The University of Southern Mississippi in Political Science. He received his doctorate degree in Urban Studies from Jackson State University. Mayor DuPree is a member of the Gamma Beta Phi Society and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

He and his wife, Johniece, have been married for 40 years and have two daughters, April and Monica. They have two grandsons, Chandler DuPree Taylor and Chesney DuPree Taylor, and son-in-law, Coustaur Taylor.

Melodee Colbert-Kean, Mayor of Joplin, MO

speakerphoto Melodee Colbert Kean is president of Prayerful Portions, LLC, a small business consulting firm. Together with her husband, William, they assist small businesses with income growth strategies and sustainable operations. She is also a MO Licensed Realtor with Charles Burt Realtors.

As an elected official since April 2006, Melodee is committed to community and civic services. She is the Mayor of Joplin on the Joplin Missouri City Council. She has been instrumental in ensuring Joplin is represented on the federal level by being an active board member of the National League of Cities, an organization which advocates and promotes cities agendas to White House Administration and congressional reps.

Melodee serves on the Missouri Municipal Leagues Economic Development & Human Resources Board and is also a Governors Appointee to the Missouri Women’s Council, which assists women interested in starting a business, as well as being a resource for those already running a business.

She also serves the educational sector by being on the Missouri Southern State University Robert Plaster School of Business Advisory Board, helping to develop policy and program initiatives to grow the business school. As VP of Joplin Metro Credit Union Board, a member of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Board, the N.A.A.C.P Joplin Branch, the Discover Downtown Alliance and VP of the Joplin Emancipation Committee, Melodee remains focused on growing the economic environment and developing the cultural and arts entertainment offering in Joplin.

Mayor Colbert-Kean was recently elected second vice president of the National League of Cities. She is the first Missouri city official to be named to top leadership with NLC in more than 50 years.

A graduate of Missouri Southern State University with a Marketing Degree, Melodee’s career experience includes managerial and business development, negotiations, retail management, budgeting, customer service, leadership and motivational speaking.

A lifelong Joplin resident, Melodee and her husband William Kean Jr., have two daughters in college, a son in the Marine Corps, and a daughter in first grade. Melodee is a member of Unity Missionary Baptist Church serving as Assistant Recording Secretary.

Walter Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa, AL

speakerphoto On November 4, 2013, Walter Maddox was sworn in for his third term as Tuscaloosa’s 36th Mayor. Since his first inauguration, Mayor Maddox has led initiatives to increase economic development, improve customer service with the implementation of Tuscaloosa 311 and provide quality pre-k education for academically at-risk four-year old children.

Mayor Maddox has been nationally recognized for his crisis management following April 27, 2011, when an EF-4 tornado destroyed 12 percent of the City and severely damaged or destroyed 5,300 homes and businesses. The City itself suffered the loss of critical infrastructure including a fire station, police precinct, emergency management, environmental services, communications and numerous heavy equipment assets. The humanitarian impact was tragic with 53 fatalities, 1,200 injured, 7,000 jobs lost and over 8,000 citizens homeless. In September 2012, Mayor Maddox was named Municipal Leader of the Year by American City and County (the publication for state and local governments) for his strong, decisive and comforting leadership since April 27, 2011. Upon receiving the honor, Mayor Maddox stated, "This is a direct reflection of our citizens and staff. I did not do anything extraordinary or different than the tens of thousands of people who made a difference on April 27, 2011. I consider this an honor and I accept this on behalf of the City of Tuscaloosa."

In 1996, Mayor Maddox began his professional career as a Field Director with the Alabama Education Association. In 2001, he was appointed Executive Director of Personnel for the Tuscaloosa City Schools. In that same year, he was elected as City Councilman for the Sixth District.

Jeffery Adkins, Economist, NOAA Coastal Services Center, Charleston, SC

speakerphoto Jeffery Adkins is an economist with the NOAA Coastal Services Center in Charleston, South Carolina who promotes the use of economics by state and local government and other managers of our nation’s coastal resources. Areas of interest include the economics of natural disasters, ocean economics, market and non-market values, and assessing the return on public investments. Mr. Adkins has a MS degree in Water Resources Administration (Southern Illinois University) and a BBA in economics (Marshall University). Jeff is the lead economist for NOAA’s Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) data that provide time-series data for six economic sectors that depend on the oceans and Great Lakes. For more information, see www.csc.noaa.gov/enow. He is also leading efforts to improve the accuracy and consistency of disaster loss estimates produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratio

Frank Barnes, Emergency Manager, City of Oklahoma City

speakerphoto Frank Barnes is the Emergency Manager for the City of Oklahoma City. He is responsible for coordinating Oklahoma City’s comprehensive emergency management program. In the past six years he has been involved in the response to and recovery from ten (10) major incidents that resulted in either a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration or a Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration for one or more of the counties Oklahoma City stretches into.

He received his Associate of Science Degree in Law Enforcement from Moorpark College, Moorpark, California and his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada- Reno.

He is a graduate of FEMA’s National Emergency Management Academy at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He has completed FEMA’s Professional Development Series, Advanced Professional Series, and Professional Continuity Practitioner Level 1 Certificates. He is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and Oklahoma Emergency Management Association (OEMA). He is Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®) through IAEM.

Richard Beals, Malarkey Roofing Products

speakerphoto Richard Beals has worked in the asphalt roofing industry for over thirty-four years, starting in the wholesale roofing distribution business in 1980 for Dealers Supply Co., located in Portland, Oregon. For over twenty-six years, Richard operated as the General Manager until 2006 when he became employed at Malarkey Roofing Products as the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. For the past 7 years operating as the direct supervision of sales staff and marketing. He has also worked with the insurance industry on the Class 4 roofing shingles.

Tom Bennett, Jim Giles’ Safe Rooms, LLC.

speakerphoto Tom Bennett is a current board member of the National Storm Shelter Association and Past President of NSSA. He serves as CEO of Jim Giles’ Safe Rooms, LLC., based in the heart of tornado alley, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tom is a Executive weather producer-meteorologist for Oklahoma's Own, News on 6, Griffin Communications and majority owner of Bennett Native American Enterprises, specializing in structural steel fabrication and erection. Tom is a proud member of the Cherokee Nation tribe and is proud of this company and the role it plays in growing the reach of all Native American Tribes.

Tom and Jim Giles worked together in TV weather for 16 years until Jim’s retirement in 2006. After Tom's life changing experience as a child with an F4 tornado that moved through east Tulsa in December of 1975, Tom has been devoted to the studying of severe weather and how to protect people from their dangers.

William Bennett, Amlin

speakerphoto I have been in the reinsurance industry since 1989.

I started at Willis as a claims broker and moved onto the placing side where I worked on UK reinsurance.

Having worked with them both at home and at Harrods I used my knowledge of computers to get involved in the early development of exposure mapping and catastrophe modelling.

I helped Willis to develop their windstorm and flood models for the UK and was also involved in selling our expertise in this field to our clients.

I took and passed an A-Level in mathematics at this time.

When I was offered a job in underwriting at Amlin in 1999 I saw this as an opportunity to enhance my career and knowledge base.

I am still at Amlin and have a portfolio protecting small to medium size regional insurance companies from catastrophic insurance losses.

I am still very close to the computer modelling side and remain interested in the developments in this area but I have learned what I consider to be healthy scepticism about trying to apply the natural world to a mathematical computer model!

My goal is to continue to do what I do but to maintain a good balance between work and family life.

Specialties:I connect well with people and consider myself to be a good sales person.

I am a good negotiator.

I have a good technical knowledge of how reinsurance works.

And above all I have a good sense of fun.

Mike Bettes, Meteorologist, The Weather Channel

speakerphoto Mike Bettes is an award-winning meteorologist who can be seen each weekday morning on Wake Up With Al and as the co-anchor of Morning Rush. Mike has covered nearly every type of extreme weather since he first began at The Weather Channel in 2003. If there has been a landfalling hurricane, Mike has probably been there. He stood in the eye wall of category 3 Hurricane Ivan in Pensacola, Florida in September 2004. 2005 would bring hurricane after hurricane. Mike was there for the worst of it, reporting live during Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. During Katrina, Mike and his crew slept in a camper for a week while covering the aftermath along the Mississippi Coast. When Hurricane Ike struck the Texas Coast in 2008, Mike was literally blown off his feet by 100mph winds. The comical video has been viewed thousands of times online.

Mike is a seasoned storm chaser and spends each Spring chasing tornadoes across the Tornado Alley leading the network’s Tornado Hunt Team. He broadcasted The Weather Channel’s first live tornado in June 2009 while teaming up the research project Vortex 2 in Wyoming. In 2011, Mike was the first reporter on the scene after a tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. He arrived less than 10 minutes after it hit and showed the first live images from the destruction. The twister killed more than 160 people and became the costliest tornado in history. For his work, Mike received the prestigious National Headliner Award and a Silver Telly Award.

Fun Facts: Mike adopted a Golden Retriever from Joplin, Missouri after the EF-5 tornado destroyed much of the town in May of 2011 and left hundreds of animals homeless. Her name is Joplyn.

Dennis Beyer, Program Director, Oklahoma Incident Management Team

speakerphoto Assistant Chief Dennis Beyer (ret.) began his career as Firefighter with the Tulsa Fire Department in 1982. After 9/11 Beyer became the first Homeland Security Director for the City of Tulsa and served as chairman of the Tulsa Homeland Security Task Force. As Homeland Security Chief, Beyer led the effort to develop, administer, and maintain the Tulsa Area National Incident Management System Implementation Plan. Beyer is the current chairman of the Oklahoma Incident Management Team oversight committee, serves as Program Manager/Team Leader for the OK-IMT, and has been credentialed by the OK-IMT Oversight Committee as a Type 3 Incident Commander. He is the past Chairman of the Tulsa-Urban Area Security Initiative Strategy Sub-Committee and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the InfraGard Oklahoma Members Alliance. Beyer is also Plan Coordinator for the Oklahoma Intrastate Mutual Aid Plan. Dennis has been an adjunct instructor with Oklahoma State University-Fire Service Training since 1992. After retiring from the TFD in 2010, Beyer became the OSU-FST Homeland Security Program Specialist responsible for coordination and delivery of Homeland Security, IMT Position Specific, and NIMS Programs throughout the state and nation. He has also been credentialed by the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security as an Advanced NIMS Instructor. Dennis is a Reserve Deputy with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and he and his horse, Buck, are working toward membership with the TCSO Mounted Patrol. Beyer is also a past member of the Tulsa FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force. He holds a BA from Langston University and he is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's, Executive Fire Officer Program.

Gary Bird, Chief, Moore Fire Department

speakerphotoChief Gary Bird began his career with the Moore Fire Department in August of 1985 as a recruit firefighter. Working his way through the ranks he held the position of Training Major before assuming the duties of Assistant Chief Training Officer in January of 2001. He was appointed as Deputy Fire Chief in February 2003, a position he held until June 30, 2012 when he was appointed Fire Chief.

Carrie Bonney, Manager, Catastrophe Communications and Reporting

speakerphoto Current areas of responsibility include managing internal and external catastrophe communications, weather monitoring, claims forecasting, disaster preparedness and planning, and author of the Disaster Recovery Playbook.

Carrie worked with members of Rebuild Joplin, the St. Bernard Project and Friends of Rockaway to develop a set of best practices, which can be taken into other communities as an established and proven method to bring people home after a disaster. Carrie is an integral and experienced member of the Farmers Insurance Catastrophe Corps and has worked to develop one of the industry leading disaster response teams which includes an impeccable internal communications program, a highly developed geo-mapping process for policies and incoming claims, as well as a team of dedicated staff, committed to consistent monitoring and review of weather activity. As a result of her experience, she immediately volunteered to assist with the Disaster Recovery Playbook and dedicated a large portion of 2013 to completing the Playbook and ensuring that the information is made available for all communities.

Carrie spent five years in the US Army as a Military Police Officer, after which she completed her Master’s degree and went to work as a fraud and general background investigation manager for a private investigations firm until starting with Farmers Insurance. Carrie began her career at Farmers in 2003 as a catastrophe claims adjuster and quickly moved through the ranks working as a catastrophe supervisor from 2004 to 2008, a Logistics Deployment Manager from 2008 to 2010 and into her current role as Communications and Reporting Manager.

Mark Bouse, Repbulic Group

speakerphoto Mark Bouse has been with The Republic Group for 36 years. He worked in Dallas, Kansas City and Cincinnati before moving back to his home state of Oklahoma. He is currently the Marketing Manager for Oklahoma, Kansas and West Texas.

Mark graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism/Broadcasting. He has served on the executive board of the Oklahoma Market Assistance Program since 2002.

Dr. Harold Brooks, Senior Research Scientist, National Severe Storms Laboratory

speakerphoto 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. As of December 2013, he has over 80 peer-reviewed publications in the scientific literature and has contributed to two Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports and a US Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product. He has been an invited speaker on weather hazards and forecasting at meetings in 28 US states and 12 foreign countries.

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.

Sheryll Brown, MPH, Director of the Injury Prevention Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health

speakerphoto Sheryll Brown, MPH, is the Director of the Injury Prevention Service of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. She received her MPH in epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma, College of Public Health. She has been with the Injury Prevention Service for 18 years and has worked in many areas of injury surveillance and programs. Currently, she is the principal investigator for the Oklahoma Core Injury and Violence Prevention Program, the Oklahoma Violent Death Reporting System, and the Oklahoma Rape Prevention Education program. She was a lead investigator on the epidemiological investigations of injuries associated with the Oklahoma City bombing, the Khobar Towers bombing, and the May 3, 1999 Tornadoes in Oklahoma. She is co-investigator on the Oklahoma State Department of Health injury investigation of the May 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes.

Dr. Tanya Brown, Research Engineer

speakerphoto Dr. Tanya Brown joined IBHS in August 2010 as a Research Engineer at the Research Center. Her responsibilities include providing engineering leadership on research projects related to the development, operation, and enhancement of the IBHS Research Center. Her research focus is on hailstone formation, hail impact testing, wind-flow characterization and testing, instrumentation, and field and damage assessment studies. Dr. Brown previously served as an engineering consultant for IBHS when she conducted research on the Witch Creek wildfire and development of the hail research agenda for the Research Center. She has also worked as an engineering consultant for LNSS & Associates. Dr. Brown was a National Science Foundation – Integrative Graduate Education Training Fellow while completing her Ph.D. in Wind Science and Engineering at Texas Tech University. Her dissertation topic was “Development of a Statistical Relationship between Ground-Based and Remotely-Sensed Damage in Windstorms.” While at Texas Tech, she was an instrumental member of their field research teams, leading a team in thunderstorm and tornado intercepts during the VORTEX 2 project, and participating in hurricane intercepts with the Texas Tech University Hurricane Research Team. She was also involved in numerous post-disaster damage assessments. Dr. Brown also holds a master’s degree in Water Resources Science and a bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Kansas, and served as a teaching assistant and academic advisor while at KU. She is currently appointed as a Faculty Associate at Texas Tech University to continue serving with the Texas Tech University Hurricane Research Team.

Kendall Buchanan, South Carolina Department of Insurance

speakerphoto Kendall R. Buchanan serves as the Deputy Director of the Market and Consumer Services Division of the South Carolina Department of Insurance. This Division consists of the Offices of Consumer Services, Market Analysis, and Product Regulation. She was appointed to this position by Director Ray Farmer in June 2013.

Immediately prior to her appointment, Kendall served as the Director of Government Relations for a South Carolina government relations consulting firm specializing in health care and insurance issues. Her prior experience includes serving as the Legislative Liaison for the South Carolina Department of Insurance and as a Legislative Assistant in the South Carolina Senate.

Kendall graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business in 2006 and holds dual degrees in Finance and Insurance and Risk Management. She is also a 2013 graduate of the United Way of the Midland’s Blueprint for Leadership program

Janice Bunting, AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, Inc

speakerphoto A 1986 graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, Janice Bunting began her career as a forecaster in the private sector first at Universal Weather and Aviation in White Plains, New York, and then at WeatherData, Inc., now AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, Inc. in Wichita, Kansas. In 1990, she began an 11-year career in the National Weather Service working in the Oklahoma City/ Norman Forecast Office. She also held jobs at NWS Central Region Headquarters in Kansas City, and the Kansas City/Pleasant Hill Forecast Office. Janice was recently selected as the incoming executive director of the National Weather Association (NWA), which is making Norman its permanent home in 2014. The NWA is a non-profit membership association for those with an interest in operational meteorology.



Greg Carbin, Meteorologist, NOAA

speakerphoto Greg Carbin is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma. Since 1996, Greg has performed severe weather, fire weather, mesoscale, and lead forecast roles 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 Department of Commerce’s Executive Leadership Development Program.

Greg is considered one of NOAA’s leading experts on tornadoes and severe storm forecasting. He has appeared in major national and international media including ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR, National Geographic TV, The Discovery Channel, and the PBS science program, NOVA. He has been interviewed about tornado science and provided historical context to articles appearing in The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal. Greg maintains the national tornado database as part of his duties at SPC and develops web-based content from this information when not working shift, reviewing papers, or writing code.

Shane Cohea, Director of Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness

speakerphotoShane has served Norman Regional Health System for 15 years since August 1998. The health system is comprised of 2,800 employees, 3 hospitals, 350 Physicians, and 35 Physician 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 disasters. The May 3, 1999 F-5 and at the time 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. 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. Unique challenge for Shane and the Incident Command staff was evacuating one hospital while preparing the other 2 for a massive influx of patients. Most important statistic is zero injured and zero killed at the Moore Medical Hospital!

Shane has a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Care Administration and attended University of Oklahoma for Master of Public Health. Most importantly is monthly training with regional Health care facilities to provide excellent care to all the citizens of Oklahoma in adverse conditions.

Phil Combs, Oklahoma Claim Adjusting and Training

speakerphoto Phil Combs is a licensed Oklahoma insurance adjuster and owns Oklahoma Claim Adjusting and Training. Currently, Mr. Combs is an instructor with Francis Tuttle Technology Center, presenting CE courses for both Insurance Adjusters and Insurance Agents. He also teaches the Oklahoma Insurance Licensing Test Preparation Class.

He is the former Claim Manager of GHS Property Casualty Insurance Company. Previously, Phil worked with the Travelers Insurance for over 20 years and was Unit Claim Manager for Oklahoma and Arkansas. He was a Catastrophe Claim Manager, managing major catastrophes throughout the Eastern United States. He was the multi-state supervisor for the Special Investigation Unit, specializing in embezzlement. Phil worked as independent investigator before joining the insurance industry and while serving in the military was an investigator for the Judge Advocate’s office.

Mr. Combs graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He is a Registered Professional Adjustor (RPA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE-Retired), Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator (CIFI), Property Claims Law Associate (PCLA) and Certified Managed Healthcare Professional (MHP). He is a Mediator for the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s EAGLE program, certified by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

He has been selected as Claim Person of the Year from the Oklahoma City Claim Association, the Oklahoma State Claim Association, and was selected as the National Claim Professional of the Year, by Claims Magazine, a national trade magazine

Steve Crosswhite, State Farm Insurance

speakerphoto Steve Crosswhite is a Loss Mitigation Coordinator with State Farm Insurance. His team works with the South Central Market Area which includes – Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The team he serves on addresses a broad range of losses that have an impact on State Farm Insurance as well as the Insurance Industry. In the South Central Market Area, the peril of Hail causes significant damage each year. The State Farm Loss Mitigation team in the South Central Market Area works very closely with impact resistant roofing manufacturer and State Farm Agents, Underwriters and Claim Adjusters to promote the installation of impact resistant roofing material. Steve is a graduate of the University of Missouri and holds several professional insurance designations.

Kim Decker, Director of Government & Industry Affairs, Farmers Group, Inc.

speakerphoto Kim Decker joined Farmers in May 2002. Her responsibilities include oversight of legislative affairs and regulatory affairs and Government & Industry Affairs Managers for the states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

Decker is currently co-chair of the National Tornado Summit, chair of the Oklahoma Automobile Insurance Plan governing committee, Chair of the Oklahoma Property & Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association board of directors, and Vice Chair of the executive committee of the Oklahoma Market Assistance Program.

Doris Dunn, Farmers Insurance

speakerphoto Doris Dunn helped direct the Corporate Giving strategy into three key pillars: Education, Safety and Civic. These key areas reflect the company’s marketing strategy and create a positive reflection and synergy between marketing, advertising and corporate giving. Key initiatives in 2013 are United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs, The First Tee, Thank a Million Teachers, American Red Cross, Rebuild Joplin, Habitat for Humanity and many others. Farmers is also a large supporter of March of Dimes, and has raised over $40 million for the charity during its past 25 year partnership. Doris played a pivotal role in the March of Dimes relationship for the past five years.

Doris started with Farmers in 1987 as an agent near Detroit, Michigan. She moved to the employee ranks in 1990 as a Commercial Marketing Representative in Columbus, Ohio then to the Tennessee State Office as a Marketing Specialist. She moved to California in 2001 where she’s held a variety of positions in Product Management, Sales and Commercial. She was promoted to Director of Community Relations in 2007. Doris Dunn’s current areas of responsibility include managing corporate contributions to non-profit organizations across the country, event planning with charitable organizations and improving community relationships inside and outside the organization.

Gregory W. Eaton, Recovery Division Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency

speakerphoto Gregory W. Eaton is the Recovery Division Director for Federal Emergency Management Agency in Region VI, headquartered in Denton, TX. Previously, Greg was a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for the FEMA in Region V, headquartered in Chicago, IL. He has served as the FCO for thirteen presidentially declared disaster declarations in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. He has also worked closely with the State of Indiana as the Pre-Designated FCO for a New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake in that state including participation in National Level Exercise 2011.

Prior to joining FEMA, Greg completed 30 years with the United States Navy on both Active Duty and Reserves. In the Navy Reserves, Greg has held many leadership roles and has served as the Commanding Officer of four Navy Reserve units. Greg also served as the Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for FEMA Region V. In 2010, he was awarded his “Certified Emergency Manager” (CEM) by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

Deidre Ebrey, City of Moore, OK

speakerphotoEbrey started with the City of Moore in October 2002. Her primary focus is to increase the sales tax base of the city and assist with the creation of new jobs for the local economy. Deidre holds a BA and Master’s Degree from the University of Oklahoma and numerous certifications in management development/leadership training programs. She is a seasoned public speaker with over 20 years of experience in leading workshops, facilitating planning sessions and delivering keynote addresses. Her work in retail recruitment is noted throughout the State of Oklahoma and she is often asked to deliver speeches on the subject. Most recently, Deidre’s focus has been on the recovery of Moore and how the City responded during the devastating events that occurred on May 20, 2013. In the storm’s aftermath, she served the City in resource deployment, citizen information, media relations, corporate giving and disaster recovery efforts.

Steve Eddy, City Manager, Moore, OK

speakerphoto Steve Eddy was appointed City Manager of Moore in December 1999, shortly after the May 3, 1999 EF5 tornado that ravaged Moore. He has been employed by the City of Moore since 1989, having served as Community Development Director and then Assistant City Manager prior to his appointment as City Manager. Mr. Eddy has been the City’s lead administrator through the recovery efforts after the May 3, 1999 EF5 tornado, the May 8, 2003 EF4 tornado, and most recently the May 20, 2013 EF5 tornado which devastated large parts of Moore.

Mr. Eddy graduated from Moore High School in 1973 and received his BA degree from East Central University in 1977. He earned a Master of Regional & City Planning in 1981 and a Master of Public Administration in 1999, both from the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Eddy is active in the Moore community, being a member of the Moore Rotary Club and the Moore Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Eddy also serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Central Oklahoma.

Jim Evans, State Farm Insurance Companies

speakerphotoJim is a native Oklahoman and spent the past 44 years in the Moore/ Norman area. He is a 33 year agent with State Farm Insurance Companies, serving the residents of Moore, Norman, and south Oklahoma City. Jim has won numerous awards and honors over his 33 year career for sales and profitability. He holds a BA degree from the University of Oklahoma. Jim is a member of the Moore Chamber of Commerce, past president of Moore Rotary Club, and previously served on the board of directors for the Center for Children and Families. When not working, he enjoys golf, travel, and spending time at the lake.

Thomas G. Ferguson, Jr., Managing Partner, Walker, Ferguson & Ferguson

speakerphotoThomas G. Ferguson, Jr. is the Managing Partner, Walker, Ferguson & Ferguson. He was admitted to bar, 1973, Virginia; 1976, U.S. Tax Court; 1977, West Virginia; 1979, Oklahoma; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. District Courts for Eastern, Northern and Western Disticts of Okahoma; Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He attended the Virginia Military Institute (B.A. 1970) and Washington & Lee University (J.D. 1973). He served as the Assistant General Counsel for the Oklahoma Tax Commission from 1978-1980. He is a member of the Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and American Bar Associations; Virginia State Bar; West Virginia State Bar; Defense Research Institute.

John Ferree, Severe Storms Services Leader, National Weather Service

speakerphoto 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-five 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.

Tom Gallagher, Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb

speakerphoto Tom Gallagher, former Florida Chief Financial Officer, Insurance Commissioner and veteran lawmaker, joined Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb in 2012 as a Non-Attorney Insurance and Governmental Consultant.

A public policy and insurance expert, Mr. Gallagher works with the Firm’s Insurance Regulatory Law and Governmental Consulting divisions. Developed and cultivated throughout his successful career, his knowledge of, and access to the highest levels of government and insurance regulators across the nation enables him to successfully handle the most complex client matters—whether they require attention from a state executive branch, legislature or regulatory agency.

Elected from Miami-Dade County in 1974 to the first of six consecutive terms in the Florida House of Representatives, Mr. Gallagher subsequently served as Florida Secretary of the Department of Professional Regulation. Later, he was elected three times as State Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner in 1988, 1990 and 2000, as the State’s first Chief Financial Officer in 2002, and also served the administration of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as Florida Commissioner of Education in 1998.

As Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Gallagher was responsible for the regulation of Florida’s insurance industry, including property and casualty, life and health, specialty lines and other regulated insurance entities. His office also was responsible for protecting the public through oversight of insurance company solvency and market conduct performance. Among his many accomplishments as Insurance Commissioner included authoring Florida’s residual market statutes after major insurers withdrew from the state after Hurricane Andrew.

In 2002, Mr. Gallagher was elected without opposition as Florida’s first Chief Financial Officer and served as a member of the Florida Cabinet. In this position, he had administrative oversight of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, as well as the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. His responsibilities also comprised the duties of Comptroller and State Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner, and Fire Marshal. As head of the Florida Department of Financial Services, Mr. Gallagher was responsible for overseeing the state’s finances, collecting revenue, paying state bills, auditing state agencies, regulating cemeteries and funerals, and handling fires and arsons.

Mr. Gallagher currently serves on the Board of Directors of Professional Bank.

Jeff George, Storm Watch Chief Meteorologist, FOX 25

speakerphoto Jeff George is the Storm Watch Chief Meteorologist for the FOX 25. His career in meteorology started in the U.S. Air Force. As a military weather guy for 10 years, he was hand-picked to provide forecasts during high-level visits from members of Congress, the Secretary of Defense, and the President of the U.S. His tour in the Air Force allowed him to get real familiar with the southern climates where he was stationed in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. He then spent 3 years forecasting at the base of the Alps in Italy. Jeff was also the recipient of the highest honor in Airman Leadership School, the coveted John Levitow Award. Jeff's last stop in the Air Force in Louisiana led to his first TV job at KALB in Alexandria. It was not a pretty transition, but it eventually led to a full-time gig in Bismarck, ND (still thawing out from that one). After that it was Chief Meteorologist titles in Abilene, TX and Toledo,OH. In 2002 and 2004, he and his Fox Toledo News Team won regional Emmy Awards for Best Local Newscast.

Jeff recently developed an educational program for local Oklahoma schools called Future Forecasters. His weather team makes soaking up the science of meteorology and breaking down weather safety a blast. Also as a bonus, each child and teacher receives a DVD entitled "Your Severe Weather Safety Plan: Protect Your Home & Family" written and produced by Jeff and his FOX 25 Weather Team. The DVD also includes easy, fun experiments by Mad Scienceand a special certificate.

On top of his passion for keeping Oklahoma as safe as possible during extreme weather, Jeff has many other community projects going on. In 2013, Jeff co-founded the non-profits B.O.O.S.T. (Bullyproof Our Oklahoma Schools Today) and OK Bikes 4 Kids.

B.O.O.S.T. Oklahoma is the catalyst for coming together to prevent bullying in our OK Schools. It's mission is to create a climate where our children are allowed to celebrate their youth by not being bullied, judged, or afraid to express themselves. Children will feel SAFER, Strong Accepted Fearless Equal Respected...inside and outside their classrooms. B.O.O.S.T. is also a strategic partner of I.M.C.I (It's My Community Initiative) who develops and expands efforts to strengthen communities by building strong, healthy families.

OK Bikes 4 Kids mission is to get every boy and girl in-need a bicycle to love and care for. The power of a bicycle has so much more than meets the eye. It reaches the hearts of our children, puts a smile on their face, and changes their lives in so many ways. Boys and girls in-need up to the age of 18 never have, and never will be turned away. On top of that, he is currently the local media rep for Together We Rise, which is a foundation that raises money to provide bicycles for foster boys and girls.

Jeff also volunteers at The Children's Center in Bethany. In 2011, he created and marketed a cookbook with all proceeds benefiting the hospital. The cookbook is titled, Firehouse Favorites: 100 Recipes to Heat Up Your Kitchen and Warm Your Heart. It features original recipes submitted by firefighters from across Oklahoma, along with artwork from TCCs children. The book can be purchased on this very website by going to:http://www.okcfox.com/sections/community/features/firehouse/

Jeff is an Executive Member of the Beef 4 Battle Foundation which is a coalition of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers organized for the purpose of donating locally processed beef sticks to Oklahoma troops serving in Afghanistan. He is in charge of the fundraising efforts to ensure our soldiers are supplemented with this extra nutritional boost as they defend us in the field.

Jeff continues to be the spokesman and host for all local MDA events and annually emcees fund raisers for JDRF, Easter Seals, the Special Olympics, the Children's Miracle Network, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Other than working, getting involved in the community, and exercising "occasionally", he spends most of his time with wife, Angela, and getting dirty with his two boys, Ethan and Jack. You can watch Jeff weekdays from 5-10 AM on the FOX 25 Morning News and Good Day Oklahoma.

Troy German, Oklahoma Highway Patrol

speakerphotoTroy German is a lieutenant with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol where he provides direction for the Patrol’s Incident Management Team (IMT) as the Program Director. Currently Troy is the Team Lead or Incident Commander for the State of Oklahoma’s Type 3 Incident Management Team. This Team has deployed to various incidents as well as numerous events, most recently the May 20th EF-5 Moore, OK tornado. The Team has assisted local jurisdictions with wild land fires, tornadoes and even the Guinness Book of World Records’ largest fire truck parade. He is credentialed as a Type 3 Incident Commander and serves as a subject matter expert with curricula development for national programs such as Situational Awareness and Common Operating Picture. Troy enjoys serving the residents of The Great State of Oklahoma and the challenges of Incident Command. He is passionate about enhancing the multi-discipline and multi-agency response community while all playing in the sand box together.

Kayce Gisinger, Attorney

speakerphoto Kayce L. Gisinger is an experienced trial attorney who practices in the areas of product liability, personal injury, insurance, auto and trucking negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice and general negligence. Additionally, Ms. Gisinger has represented several companies in asbestos litigation on a regional level. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Gisinger was an Assistant District Attorney in the Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office where she tried over one hundred jury trials. She is admitted to practice before all Oklahoma state and federal courts.

Ms. Gisinger received a Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University in 1988. She is a member of the Oklahoma County Bar Association, Oklahoma Association of Defense Counsel and Defense Research Institute. She is also a frequent public speaker on trial tactics.

Ryan Grattan, Catastrophe Adjuster, Allstate Insurance

speakerphoto I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and I was an athlete able to a gain a scholarship to college. I went to Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL played 4 years of baseball and graduated. I spent 1 year playing professional baseball in Belgium this was the best experience of my life opening my eyes to a new culture while also being paid to play a sport. After this I started my professional career as a Catastrophe Adjuster with Allstate Insurance. Here I learned by doing as I was exposed to hurricane Ike and Gustav in my first year on the job. Over the next 4 years I was exposed to handling all types of losses from pipe breaks to the typical hail storms and everything in-between. After this I transitioned to my current position as a Sr. Catastrophe Adjuster with Liberty Mutual continuing to handle catastrophe losses.

Prasad Gunturi, Willis Re Catastrophe Management Services

speakerphoto Prasad Gunturi is a part of the Willis Re Catastrophe Management Services team based in Minneapolis and acts as Director of U.S. Modeling research. He leads specialized technical projects, including understanding the changes in the catastrophe models, modeling research, technical evaluation of commercial catastrophe models, benchmarking of vendor models and proprietary model development projects.

Prior to joining Will Re in 2007, Prasad was the Risk Management Solutions (RMS) for seven years, where he was responsible for development of damage/loss functions and hazard methodologies for properties in the U.S., Europe and Asia regions exposed to natural catastrophes like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

Prasad is a civil engineer by education and holds a Master of Engineering degree in Structural Dynamics (Earthquake engineering) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India. He received the prestigious University Medal and Indian Service Engineers prize for Standing First Rank in his master’s program.

Jared Guyer, NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center

speakerphoto Jared L. Guyer is an Outlook/Mesoscale 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.

David Hall, State Farm Insurance

speakerphoto David Hall is currently serving as the Section Manager for the Innovation and Small Business Solutions for the South Central Market Area at State Farm Insurance. He earned his CPCU and ALCM designations in 1995. He is the Chair of the Disaster Resistant Business Council and chairman of the Loss Control Interest Group for the Society of Charter Property and Casualty Underwriters. He also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute at Louisiana State University working on the National Private Sector Working Group for PS Prep.

Robert P. Hartwig, President, Insurance Information Institute

speakerphoto Robert P. Hartwig is president of the Insurance Information Institute. Since joining the I.I.I. in 1998 as an economist and becoming chief economist in 1999, Dr. Hartwig has focused his work on improving understanding of key insurance issues across all industry stakeholders including media, consumers, insurers, producers, regulators, legislators and investors. Follow him on Twitter.

Dr. Hartwig received his Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has served as an instructor at the University of Illinois and at Florida Atlantic University. He also holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) credential. Dr. Hartwig has authored and co-authored papers that have appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Health Economics, the Proceedings of the Casualty Actuarial Society, the John Liner Review, Dossiers et Etudes (Geneva Association), the Journal of Workers’ Compensation, the Journal of Insurance Operations, Global Reinsurance, Risk & Insurance, Insurance Day, Compensation and Benefits Review. He is also a regular contributor to National Underwriter and many other industry trade publications.

In 2011, Dr. Hartwig was awarded the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) Chairman’s Award. In 2010, he was a recipient of a research award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform in the area of torts and tort reform. Dr. Hartwig serves as a media spokesperson for the property/casualty insurance industry, and is quoted frequently in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, CFO, Fortune, Forbes, The Economist and many others throughout the world. Dr. Hartwig also appears regularly on television, including programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, CNBC, Fox, PBS and the BBC.

Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®

speakerphoto 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.

Ms. Chapman-Henderson’s experience and expertise span both creative and technical initiatives from delivery of the award-winning, 4-D “edu-tainment” experience, StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® at the INNOVENTIONS Attraction at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort to development of Blueprint for Safety®, a comprehensive education program on disaster resilience for graduate students, professionals and volunteers.

She has served 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, and as a Florida representative to the Federal Communications Commission WARN Committee.

She has appeared in hundreds of media interviews including television and radio appearances on AccuWeather, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, nationally-syndicated programs such as This New House, Home Again with Bob Vila and a one-hour, PBS special entitled, Blueprint for Safety – Disaster-Resistant Homes. She has delivered keynote addresses for Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, national associations and more. In October 2013, she addressed the United Nations on the topic of resilient design.

Ms. Chapman-Henderson’s civic, community and professional recognition include the 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.

FLASH collaborates with more than 100 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster-resilient 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.

Jerrod Hogan, Co-Founder, Rebuild Joplin

speakerphoto Jerrod lives in Joplin, Missouri with his wife and three children. He moved to Missouri in 2000 and has been active in the business and non-profit community. Jerrod was the board chairman of Bright Futures USA when the May 22, 2011 tornado struck the Joplin Community. Jerrod, along with the Bright Futures team, founded Rebuild Joplin as a resource linkage website. Within days of the disaster, the website connected needs and resources for both those impacted and those who wanted to help. Over the next few weeks, as the needs shifted from response to recovery, Rebuild Joplin partnered with the St. Bernard Project of New Orleans. Thanks to this strong partnership, Rebuild Joplin has rebuilt over 100 homes for those impacted by the tornado since January of 2012.

Vaughn Jensen, Willis Re

speakerphoto Vaughn Jensen is responsible for Willis Re’s Catastrophe Management Services (CMS) team within the United States. The CMS team provides catastrophe exposure and loss analyses, catastrophe risk management best practices advice and consulting for Willis Re Property, Life Accident & Health and Casualty clients/ prospects.

Vaughn joined Willis Re in 2002 and has sixteen years of experience in catastrophe modeling. Previously, Vaughn was employed by St. Paul Companies as a Senior Catastrophe Analyst focusing on corporate catastrophe risk management and analyses of large accounts for pricing associated with natural catastrophes.

Fred Karlinsky, Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb

speakerphoto Fred Karlinsky, a Shareholder in Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb, represents insurers and reinsurers throughout the United States and internationally in a wide variety of business, operational, regulatory, transactional and governmental matters. Recognized as one of the top insurance lawyers by Chambers and Partners, a global attorney ranking organization, Mr. Karlinsky has an in-depth knowledge of insurance compliance matters and has established substantial relationships with insurance commissioners and their respective staff members throughout the country.

Prominent in his role as the Florida lobbyist for the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America, lead lobbyist and General Counsel to the Florida Property and Casualty Association, and General Counsel of Regulatory Affairs to the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office, he has been a primary strategist in all types of Florida insurance-related legislative initiatives, including homeowners, automobile, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice and other lines of property and casualty, and life and health. Mr. Karlinsky is also a member of Florida State University’s Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center Advisory Council and the national Federation of Regulatory Counsel.

Mr. Karlinsky is admitted to practice in all Florida state and federal trial and appellate courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Court of Compensation Claims, as well as the Roll of Solicitors of the Senior Courts of England and Wales. Earlier this year, he was elected Chair of the Seventeenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, to which he was appointed by Florida Governor Rick Scott in 2011. Mr. Karlinsky is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Florida State University College of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami.

Ernst Kiesling, National Wind Institute, Texas Tech

speakerphoto 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.

Gayland Kitch, Emergency Management, City of Moore, OK

speakerphotoGayland began his involvement in emergency management as a volunteer Civil Defense storm spotter in the late 70’s, and has directed Moore’s EM program since 1991. He is an Oklahoma Certified Emergency Manager, and has attended FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute. Gayland is a member of the U.S. Council of the International Association of Emergency Managers and the Oklahoma Emergency Management Association, and has chaired OEMA’s Professional Certification and Communications committees for several years.

Jim LaDue, NOAA

speakerphoto Jim LaDue is someone who likes to be a bridge between meteorological research and operations. That’s why he is an educator at NOAA’s Warning Decision Training Branch in Norman where he takes research results and applies them to operations through warning decision making courses for any type of hazardous weather. He is also branching into teaching risk and crisis communication between the NWS and its major partners. Being on the bridge also means that he also has many connections to researchers and forecasters within and outside of NOAA. On the research side, Jim has been involved in several field projects including the Intermountain Precipitation Experiment in 2000, the International H2O Project 2002 and VORTEX2. On the forecast side, Jim has close ties to NWS operations and participates in severe weather warning operations, both during and after major events. In order to enhance the accuracy of post-event storm surveys, Jim has been created an EF-Scale stakeholder’s group to help connect NWS storm surveyors to those in the research community. Jim has also conducted multiple damage surveys and serves as a damage survey consultant for severe wind storms and tornadoes. His fascination with the weather and sky spans beyond his regular job to his hobbies like photography, storm chasing and even outdoor recreation. Jim shares his life with his wife, Daphne (also a meteorologist with a newly minted PhD in Adult Education) and his son, Dylan.

Damon Lane, Chief Meteorologist, KOCO 5

speakerphotoChief Meteorologist Damon Lane joined KOCO 5 in 2009. Damon served as the weekday morning meteorologist and weekend morning meteorologist, before being named Chief Meteorologist. Before joining KOCO-TV 5, Damon served as Chief Meteorologist at KTXS-TV in Abilene, Texas. Damon is the only Chief Meteorologist in Oklahoma City to hold the CBM seal from The American Meteorological Society, the highest level certification from the nation’s premier professional association for broadcast meteorologists. He was born and raised in Northern Virginia, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Mass Media from Old Dominion University. After graduating in less than four years from ODU, Damon moved to Asheville, NC, and earned his second Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology from The University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Brent MacAloney, National Weather Service

speakerphoto Brent MacAloney is a meteorologist who oversees the warning verification and storm data programs at the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. He graduated from Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology. Since graduation, Brent has spent his entire 14-year career working within the Performance Branch at NWS Headquarters where he was initially hired as a contracted web designer. He quickly worked his way up through the ranks of software support specialist and programmer to become a project manager with Federal government in 2004. Brent’s areas of expertise reside in statistical analysis, performance management, training, and software development, as well as historical severe and unusual weather events. Away from work, Brent likes to spend time with his wife and daughter and he is an avid homebrewer, traveler, and Boston Red Sox fan.

Tim Marshall, Meteorologist - Civil Engineer

speakerphoto Tim Marshall is a meteorologist and civil engineer who makes his living surveying and assessing damage in the wake of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and hailstorms. He was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago, IL and became interested in tornadoes when his hometown was struck by an F-4 tornado in 1967. Tim earned is B.S degree from Northern Illinois University in 1977 majoring in meteorology, and earned an M.S. degree in Atmospheric Science from Texas Tech University in 1980. He went on to earn an M.S. degree in Civil Engineering also from Texas Tech while working part time for the Institute for Disaster Research in Lubbock, TX. Tim began tracking tornadoes and studying their damage while schooling at Texas Tech. Tim’s first official tornado chase was in 1978. After graduating in 1983, Tim went to work for Haag Engineering Company based in Dallas and has surveyed hundreds of natural disasters during the past 30 years. In that time, Tim has filmed hundreds of tornadoes and surveyed their damage. Among the violent tornadoes Tim has surveyed in Oklahoma were Moore (three times), Piedmont, Chickasha, Goldsby, and Altus. He also surveyed EF-5 tornadoes in Joplin, MO, Greensburg, KS, Parkersburg, IA, Hacklesburg, AL, and Jarrell, TX.

Tim is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineering and American Meteorological Society. He has served on the Severe Local Storms the Enhanced Fujita scale committees and was a consultant to the Saffir-Simpson scale committee. Tim has written many publications on building damage and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs.

Steven M. McElhiney, CPCU, President, EWI Re, Inc.

speakerphoto Steven M. McElhiney, CPCU is the President of EWI Re, Inc., a reinsurance intermediary based in Dallas, and a subsidiary of NL Industries, Inc., a global industrial company (NYSE: NL). He is also the Chief Risk Officer for the parent company. He also serves as President of Tall Pines Insurance Company of Vermont, an affiliated captive insurance company. His insurance industry experience has spanned over two decades with groups including Fireman’s Fund, TIG, and Overseas Partners US Reinsurance Company. He has served in the roles of CFO, Corporate Treasurer, and Ceded Reinsurance executive. He is the Immediate Past President and Chairman of the CPCU Society 2011-2012. He is also the Chairman of the Board of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association. Steve has an MBA and a Bachelors of Science, cum laude, from the University of Southern California. He also holds the Associate in Reinsurance and AIAF designations. He authored “Fundamentals of Reinsurance and Reinsurance Markets” for IRMI in 2012.

Ali Meyer, News Channel 4

speakerphoto Ali Meyer joined the Oklahoma's News Channel 4 Team as a General Assignment reporter in July of 2000. She anchors the NewsChannel 4 Morning Show 5 to 7 a.m. and reports for the 10 p.m. newscasts. Since she started, Ali has traveled all over the country chasing the big stories for News Channel 4. Ali was part of the team that covered the Timothy McVeigh execution in Terre Haute, Indiana. Ali also spent ten days in Salt Lake City, Utah, covering the Winter Olympic Games. Ali scoured the eastern half of Texas, following emergency crews as they collected pieces of debris from the Columbia Shuttle disaster. Ali was the first reporter to deliver live pictures of the tornado that damaged the GM plant in 2003. Ali has been honored by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Oklahoma Associated Press and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation for her investigative work.

Before joining KFOR-TV, Ali worked at WTVH in Syracuse, New York. Ali graduated Cum Laude from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.

Through the years Ali has been honored for excellence in journalism. In 2012 Ali won a regional Emmy for her work documenting a Yukon family's struggle to keep baby triplets alive. In 2009 Ali won her first Emmy for her investigative reporting on a local drug ring in Oklahoma City. Ali has been nominated seven times for the prestigious award. Ali has also been awarded three national Gracie Awards for her reports on issues affecting women.

Dana Murphy, Oklahoma Corporation Commission

speakerphotoCommissioner Dana Murphy was first elected to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in 2008 and re-elected to a six-year term in 2010. She has more than 22-years experience in the petroleum industry, including working as a geologist, serving as an OCC administrative law judge, and owning and operating a private law firm focused on oil and gas title, regulatory practice and transactional work. She earned a B.S. in geology from Oklahoma State University and her J.D. from Oklahoma City University. She is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners serving on its Electricity Committee. She is the Oklahoma member and Vice President of the Regional State Committee of Southwest Power Pool, Inc. She serves as an advisory board member of the Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute; the Financial Research Institute, and the Salvation Army’s Central Oklahoma Area Command. She is a member of Energy Advocates, and in 2007 was recognized as an outstanding woman in energy. She is also a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Oklahoma City Geological Society and Oklahoma Women’s Coalition.

Matthew Nielsen, RMS Americas

speakerphotoBased in California, Matthew is a core member of the RMS Americas model product management team and is responsible for the RMS Severe Convective Storm, Winterstorm, and Flood (U.S.) models, and also supports the North Atlantic hurricane models. Since joining RMS in 2005, he has taken a lead role in managing the commercial development of RMS' U.S. and Canada climate hazard peril models and derivative products, and served as lead contact for RMS in the submission to the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology in 2006 and 2007. Matthew holds a BA in physics from Ripon College in Wisconsin, and an MS in atmospheric science from Colorado State University. He is also a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and has authored and presented technical papers as a number of AMS conferences.

Jason Pirtle, P.E., Principal, Senior Structural Engineer, TLM Associates

speakerphotoJason Pirtle, P.E. is the Principal, Senior Structural Engineer at TLM Associates. Mr. Pirtle has been with TLM since 2003, serving as the Project Manager and/or Lead Structural Engineer for both commercial and industrial projects in Tennessee and Mississippi. He has been involved with various types of Community Safe Rooms that were designed in accordance with FEMA 361 and ICC 500. The Safe Rooms designs have been located both in newly constructed facilities and existing facilities that were retrofitted. Prior to TLM Associates, Mr. Pirtle was employed by Lauren Engineers and Contractors, Tippett & Gee Engineers and Architects, and L.A. Fuess Partners, Inc. During his tenure at these firms, Mr. Pirtle was involved in civil and structural design, construction document preparation, and construction administration of both single and multistory commercial buildings, and industrial facilities located throughout the United States.

Dan Ramsey, President/CEO, Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma

speakerphoto Dan Ramsey has served as the President/Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma since September 1, 1998.

He is a lifelong resident of Chickasha and resides there with his wife of 42 years, Marilyn. They have two children and four grandchildren. Ramsey graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond with a degree in Business Management.

Following his graduation from UCO he enlisted in the United States Navy, was commissioned as a Supply Officer, and served 4 ½ years on active duty. Following his discharge he later served in the Navy Reserves for 20 years and retired at the rank of Captain.

He has been active in civic affairs throughout his business career – President of the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, United Way, and other organizations. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International for his work in his community.

He owned and managed an independent insurance agency in Chickasha for 22 years (1972-1994). In 1994 he decided to sell his agency and run for the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He was the first Republican elected to public office in Grady County in over 60 years and was the first ever re-elected. He was selected as one of 30 legislators in the United States to attend the Darden School for Emerging Political Leaders at the University of Virginia in 1996. In 1998 he left politics to lead the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma. In addition to his position with the association, he serves as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Market Assistance Program to assist persons with difficulties find insurance on their homes and the Plan Manager of the Oklahoma Automobile Insurance Plan to assist persons find hard-to-place automobile insurance.

He has attained the national professional designation of Certified Insurance Counselor. In 1998 he was presented the Journal Record Insurance Service Award in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the property and casualty insurance industry.

Betsy Randolph, Public Affairs Division, Oklahoma Highway Patrol

speakerphotoOriginally from New Mexico, Betsy Randolph considers herself to be an Okie-transplant after growing up in Enid, Oklahoma. Betsy worked in radio broadcasting for several years in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Missouri before coming back to Oklahoma and attaining an A.S. in Journalism from Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. While there, she wrote for the N.O.C. Maverick and worked as the first female police officer for Tonkawa Police Department. Betsy holds an A.S. in Horticulture from Oklahoma State University and a B.S. in Organizational Leadership from Southern Nazarene University. She served twelve years in the U.S. Army Reserves as a military police officer and drill sergeant. In 1995, she began her career with the Department of Public Safety and has worked as a police officer, police sergeant, and state trooper. Betsy is currently assigned to the Public Affairs Division as a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Zack Rosenburg, CEO, St. Bernard Project

speakerphoto Zack Rosenburg is the CEO of St. Bernard Project and directs the strategic vision, marketing, partnership development and fundraising for the organization. Prior to launching SBP, Mr. Rosenburg ran a criminal defense practice in Washington, DC. He received his J.D. from American University and an LLM from Georgetown University. Mr. Rosenburg was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Criminal Justice Clinic.

Zack is a nationally recognized leader in post-disaster recovery and in socially-innovative approaches to solving complex, but solvable, social challenges.

Lans P. Rothfusz, NOAA

speakerphoto Lans P. Rothfusz is Deputy Chief of the Warning Research and Development Division at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. His work, in that capacity, is focused on developing and delivering next-generation hazardous weather information concepts for National Weather Service operations.

Mr. Rothfusz earned his Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Master of Science degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. With the NWS, Mr. Rothfusz served in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Fort Worth, Texas; as the Meteorologist in Charge of the NWS offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Peachtree City, Georgia for a combined 16 years.

The offices Mr. Rothfusz has supervised have been recognized often for their operational achievements and he has received personal honors for co-developing “StormReady,” a severe weather preparedness program for communities, and for his leadership of a multinational team providing weather support to the 1996 Olympics.

Dr. Russell Schneider, Director, NOAA-NWS Storm Prediction Center

speakerphoto Dr. Russell Schneider was named Director of the NOAA-NWS Storm Prediction Center in August 2010 and led the Center through the historic 2011 Tornado season. The Storm Prediction Center is responsible for protection of life and property through official 24×7 nationwide forecasts and warnings for hazardous mesoscale weather phenomena including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and wildfires (see www.spc.noaa.gov ). Dr. Schneider began his NWS career in 1992.

Dr. Schneider’s responsibilities span all facets of NOAA-NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) programs, from critical operational weather forecasting, to integration the latest science and technology into SPC operations. He provides strategic direction for both the Operations and Science Support Branches, and assists NWS Leadership in establishing and executing strategic plans for NOAA nationwide severe weather services.

Dr. Schneider was the first Science Support Branch Chief at the Storm Prediction Center and served in this role from 1997-2010. Russ earned B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He led SPC NWS Convective Watch Decentralization efforts and received a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for his contributions in 2007. In 2011, Russ received the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Kenneth C. Spengler Award for his efforts to bring diverse communities together within the collaborative environment of the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed, and was named a Fellow of the AMS in 2012.

Gayla Sesher, Supervisor, City of Moore Animal Welfare

speakerphoto Gayla Sesher is the current Supervisor for the City of Moore Animal Welfare and has previously served as Director at Second Chance Animal Sanctuary.

She was involved in the May 2013 tornado recovery efforts as well as volunteering at the shelter for previous tornados. She has attended several of the NGO’s; American Humane Association, Noah’s Wish & UAN/EARS –now Red Rover trainings on disasters and has taken several of the FEMA NIMS courses.

Lynn Sheils, General Counsel, EWI Re, Inc.

speakerphoto Lynn Sheils serves as General Counsel to EWI Re, Inc., a reinsurance intermediary located in Dallas, Texas. EWI is owned by NL Industries (NYSE:NL), a member company of an industrial conglomerate that has control of four publicly-traded companies. EWI’s client list includes its affiliated companies and third party clients. In addition to oversight of EWI’s legal matters, Lynn is responsible for the administration of client organizations’ reinsurance contracts and insurance policies to help advocate for most optimal wordings available, and managing clients’ complex claims, including catastrophic property events, casualty claims involving death and serious injury, and management liability claims.

Prior to joining EWI in June 2005, Lynn was a litigator in private practice in Texas. Most recently, she was a shareholder in the Dallas office of Cooper & Scully, P.C. At Cooper & Scully, her litigation practice included a diverse group of clients and cases. She represented carriers in coverage disputes and bad faith litigation, as well as reinsurers. Aside from insurance/reinsurance coverage and bad-faith litigation, Lynn has provided defense representation in matters involving professional negligence, products liability, toxic tort claims and general insurance defense issues.

Lynn earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Southern Methodist University, School of Law in 1995 and a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, from Texas Tech University in 1992. Lynn has been admitted to practice as a member of the Texas State Bar since 1995, as well as before the United States District Court for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas.

Lynn holds her Associate in Reinsurance (ARe), and was the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award for holding the highest cumulative average in the ARe program. Lynn also holds the CPCU designation.

Dr. Ray Shelton, National Center for Crisis Management

speakerphoto Dr. Ray 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 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’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. Dr. Shelton regularly consults with the news media regarding Traumatic Stress offering expert commentary for CNN, ABC, FOX, the NY Times and Newsday. 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. 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.

Dwayne Sloan, Principal Engineers for Building Materials and Suppression at UL

speakerphoto Dwayne is a Manager of a team of Principal Engineers for Building Materials and Suppression at UL. He also serves as Principal Engineer for Reaction to Fire providing technical leadership for certification services, special programs, code development, and leading UL standards development for roofing materials and systems among other building materials. Dwayne is UL’s principal voting member on standards committees, such as ASTM E05 Fire Standards, NFPA Fire Test Committee, and NFPA Life Safety Code. As a repeat guest speaker to Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association and National Roofing Contractors Association, Dwayne is recognized as UL’s technical liaison to the roofing industry. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University, and was recently recognized by UL as a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff.

Bobby Smeltzer, Allstate Insurance

speakerphoto Robert Smeltzer began his career with Allstate Insurance as a Field Adjuster with their National Catastrophe Team in April of 2005. When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August 2005, Allstate deployed their fleet of response vehicles and personnel to the Gulf Coast. He was selected to become a Team Lead at one of their Mobile Claims Centers (MCC) deployed to Biloxi, MS. At the MCC, he was responsible for helping their customers get back on their feet as soon as possible, while simultaneously ensuring their employees were operating at the highest level possible given all the catastrophic circumstances that surrounded them.

As the years have passed, he has assumed a more prominent management role with Allstate. He is currently working as a Frontline Performance Leader and is responsible for managing the day to day activities of a team of eleven outside claims adjusters. His role within the Mobile Claims Center allows him to be on the ground assisting their policyholders in response to Hurricanes Wilma, Ike, Irene, Isaac, and Super Storm Sandy. He and his team have also responded to multiple tornadoes in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas and several wildfires in Colorado. Although each response brings unique challenges and obstacles, he is proud of be one of the leaders who provide immediate onsite support when their customers need them the most.

Before joining Allstate in 2005 he had traveled to Haiti on five occasions to do missionary type work such as building homes, digging cisterns, and helping to provide drinkable water in many small villages.

Kirby Smith, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

speakerphotoA native of southwest Oklahoma, Kirby Smith joined the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in December 2011 as the Public Information Manager. In this position she promotes the ag industry and the agency in print, person and online. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2011 with a master’s in agricultural communications. Prior to joining ODAFF she worked as a communications and marketing residence director for Oklahoma State University. Kirby served as the PIO on ODAFF’s incident command team which lead animal response efforts following the May 20 Moore tornado.

Rick Smith, Meteorologist, National Weather Service

speakerphoto 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 education activities for the 56 counties in the office’s 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, working at offices in Memphis, Tennessee, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Fort Worth, Texas before coming to Norman in 2002.

Alicia Gorczyca-Southerland, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry

speakerphotoAlicia Gorczyca-Southerland is a graduate of Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After working in private practice for 6 years, Dr. Gorczyca-Southerland joined the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry in September 2013 as a staff veterinarian and the coordinator of emergency management, animal disease traceability, and other various programs. Dr. Gorczyca-Southerland was directly involved with the relief efforts following the May 20, 2013 tornado that devastated Moore, OK.

Jerry Stillings, Chief, Moore Police Department

speakerphotoChief Jerry Stillings began his career with the Moore Police Department in August of 1988. He began as a patrol officer and worked his way through the ranks before being named the Assistant Police Chief in September 2011. Stillings was promoted to the Chief of Police in February 2012. He graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the 214th Class of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Brian Sullivan, Journalist/Analyst

speakerphoto Brian Sullivan is a journalist and analyst who has been covering financial services and the insurance industry for more than 30 years. Today, Brian is Editor and Publisher of two of the leading newsletters in the property and casualty insurance industry, Auto Insurance Report and Property Insurance Report. He is also chairman of the Auto Insurance Report National Conference and Property Insurance Report National Conference, annual meetings which bring together leading industry executives, investors, brokers, reinsurers and others to discuss the most important strategic issues impacting auto insurance.

As a speaker, Brian has been called upon to host seminars for the senior management teams and boards of directors for insurance companies of all sizes, and make presentations on industry trends to agent groups and claims and operations professionals.

Brian started his career in 1979 at the Journal of Commerce, covering insurance and international trade. He continued his reporting on insurance, banking, venture capital and finance at the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1984 he was named Editor of the fledgling Philadelphia Business Journal and helped build it into one of the nation’s largest and most profitable regional business publications.

In 1988 Brian was named Managing Editor of the American Banker, a daily newspaper for the banking industry, and in 1990 he was promoted to President of the company’s international newsletter and conference divisions.

In 1993 Brian formed what is now Risk Information Inc., launching Auto Insurance Report, a weekly newsletter, and Property Insurance Report, a bi-weekly. With his wife, Tracie Sullivan, as Conference Director, the company created national conferences for these industries in 1998. The Auto Insurance Report National Conference is held each spring, and has sold out every time, attracting more than 300 of the industry’s leading executives. The next program will be held May 4-6, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, California. The Property Insurance Report National Conference attracts virtually every major home insurer in the nation, and will be held November 16-18, 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Brian is vice chairman of the board of directors of The Prentice School in Tustin, California. Prentice is one of the nation’s leading schools for the education of elementary and high school school students with language learning disabilities. Brian, a native of New York City, is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Brian and Tracie reside in Dana Point, California.

Rusty Surette, Executive Producer, News 9

speakerphoto Rusty Surette is the Executive Producer of News 9’s morning newscast. A native of Southeast Texas, Rusty began his news career at the age of 14 as a freelance breaking news photographer. He’s also worked as an investigative reporter, news anchor, producer, weather forecaster and assignments manager in Beaumont, TX, Lake Charles, LA, Raleigh, NC and Las Vegas, Nevada.

In July 2007, Rusty moved to Oklahoma City to join the News 9 family. Rusty has received more than a dozen awards and honors from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma Associated Press, Louisiana Associated Press, Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists, Southeast Texas Press Club and Nevada Electronic Media Association.

In 2011, Rusty took a temporary break from television news to join the American Red Cross. In his role as Regional Director of Communications, Rusty spent countless hours helping disaster victims across Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi. Today, Rusty continues to serve as a Red Cross volunteer and board member. In the same year he obtained an Associate's Degree in Personal Fitness Training and Exercise Science at Heritage College. One year later, Rusty returned to Griffin Communications where he’s now the Executive Producer of News 9 This Morning.

Pat Talley, US Central Regional Director, Lloyd’s

speakerphotoPat joined Lloyd’s in 2006 and serves as the US Central Regional Director. In this role, Pat provides education and marketing outreach to stakeholders throughout the Central Region. Pat has over 25 years in the insurance/finance industry. Most recently, he spent eight years in a consulting capacity as Chief Financial Analyst at the Kentucky Office of Insurance. While there, he was instrumental in establishing Kentucky’s captive insurance program, and also represented Kentucky on various task forces and working groups of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Prior to that, Pat served as Vice President of Trading and Operations for Commonwealth Investment Group, a Louisville-based institutional broker/dealer and investment advisor.

Larry Tanner, National Wind Institute

speakerphoto Larry Tanner has spent most of his life in the field of engineering design and construction. Currently he is a National Wind Institute (NWI) Research Assistant Professor and instructor in the College of Engineering. During his 25 years of service to Texas Tech he has been a Research Associate in the National Wind Institute. His fields of research include storm protection utilizing above ground shelters and building performance during extreme storms. His storm investigations and documentation include the following:

• Spencer, South Dakota tornado in 1998 (TTU)
• Oklahoma and Kansas 1999 tornadoes (member of FEMA MAT Team)
• Tuscaloosa, Alabama 2000 tornado (TTU Team Leader)
• Happy, Texas 2002 tornado (TTU Team Leader)
• Ohio 2002 tornadoes (TTU Team Leader)
• Southwest Missouri and Oklahoma City Tornadoes, May, 2003 (TTU Team Leader)
• Hurricane Ivan, Pensacola, Florida, 2004 (TTU Team Leader)
• Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (member of FEMA MAT Team)
• Evansville, Indiana 2005 Tornado (TTU Team Leader)
• Florida Tornados, 2007 (TTU Team Leader)
• The Dixie Outbreak - Tennessee tornadoes, 2008 (TTU Team Leader)
• Hurricane Ike, 2008 (member of FEMA MAT Team)
• Mississippi Tornadoes, 2010 (member of FEMA MAT Team)
• Alabama, Mississippi, & Missouri Tornadoes, 2011 (member of FEMA MAT Team)
• Moore Oklahoma Tornadoes, 2013 (TTU Team Leader)

Larry Tanner has managed the Debris Impact Test Facility for the NWI for fourteen years. Over a thousand tests have been conducted during this period of time. The laboratory is maintained to ISO 17025 Standards, and testing is conducted in strict accordance to all relevant ICC, ASTM, ANSI, FM, and FEMA standards. According to his vision of providing current technology for research and customer testing, the laboratory and equipment have been updated from analog to full digital, including multiple HD photography and HD High Speed Photography with a capability of 150,000 frames/second.

Memory Taylor, Director, AgapeLand Learning Center

speakerphoto Memory Taylor is the director of AgapeLand Learning Center of Moore, Ok. She has received her Bachelors from the University of Central Oklahoma. Until 2007, Memory worked in retail as a Visual Merchandising Designer and later a Store Manager. In 2007 she changed careers and began working for AgapeLand Learning Center as the director. During this time she has also began studying for her Masters in Child Development. Memory spends her spare time volunteering in the community and lobbying for recycling programs in her community. She currently resides in Moore, Oklahoma with her husband Jason, and their three sons.

Mike Vaughn, P.E., President, National Storm Shelter Association

speakerphotoMike Vaughn, P.E. is the President of National Storm Shelter Association and the President and General Manager of Vaughn Concrete Products, Inc. He is a member of the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) and the 2103 recipient of the NPCA Robert E. Yokum Award for outstanding service to the NPCA. He is a registered Professional Engineer licensed in 17 states.

speakerphoto James E. Waller, PE is the President of Remagen Corporation. He is the president and a member of the National Storm Shelter Association and serves on the International Codes Council Committee IS-STM: ICC/NSSA Standards for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, ICC-500-2008.

He also holds membership in the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, Southern Building Code Congress International, American Institute of Timber Construction, American Society for Wind Engineering, Tennessee Earthquake Preparedness Committee, Institute for Business and Home Safety, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Texas Tech University/NIST tornado damage assessment team, Emergency response structural engineer, Corps of Engineers Readiness Branch.

He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and the University of Miami. He has received the Chattanooga Technology Council: Early Innovator Award, Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers: Engineering Excellence, American Concrete Institute: Award of Merit, American Institute of Architects: Honor Award for Architecture, American Institute of Steel Construction: Architectural Award of Excellence, and the U. S. Army Materiel Command: Certificate of Achievement.

Tracy Wendling, Injury Prevention Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health

speakerphoto Tracy Wendling is currently an epidemiologist and Director of Surveillance for the Injury Prevention Service of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. She has a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, TX. In her current position, she serves as the Project Director for the Oklahoma Core Violence and Injury Prevention Program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tracy has also served as the Principal Investigator or Co-PI on several research projects related to natural and man-made disasters in Oklahoma, including the 2007 ice storm, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the May 2013 tornadoes.

Randy Wilden

speakerphoto Randy Wilden was born and raised in Clinton, Iowa and is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. He has thirteen years of property claims experience including Catastrophe Claims, Branch Office Supervision, 8 years in Large Property Claims. He currently resides in Gardner, Kansas.

James Wrynn, Goldberg Segalla

speakerphoto James Wrynn is a former New York State insurance regulator whose private practice now focuses on assisting insurers and reinsurers with the full range of their regulatory needs. With more than 25 years as an insurance-focused lawyer and wide recognition as a premier authority on domestic and global insurance regulation, he leads Goldberg Segalla’s insurance regulatory practice, an international team that has extensive experience serving the U.S., Europe, Bermuda, and other key markets in regulatory matters.

As a representative and an adviser for clients in their relations with insurance regulatory authorities nationally and internationally, Jim provides insurers and reinsurers with an inside perspective and uniquely informed guidance through inquiries, investigations, regulatory compliance, licensing issues, and other critical matters and proceedings. Highlights of his recent work and successes include:

  • Introducing a major international insurer and its presenters at a 2012 hearing before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
  • Testifying as an expert witness on regulatory and reinsurance issues
  • Resolving efficiently in three months a regulatory investigation in which the client had previously spent tens of millions of dollars over the course of many years
His practice also includes advising on compliance and market conduct issues, the activities of insurance regulators across the globe, and the formation and regulatory aspects of captive insurance companies. He represents insurers and reinsurers in regulatory matters concerning compliance, solvency, and other regulation modernization initiatives. Jim is a registered foreign lawyer in the United Kingdom, and he serves on the board of an A-rated insurance company. His credentials include the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and Associate in Captive Insurance (ACI) distinctions.

Before joining Goldberg Segalla, Jim served as the 40th and last Superintendent of Insurance in the State of New York until the Insurance Department merged with the Department of Banking to form the new Department of Financial Services. He then served as the first Deputy Superintendent of the new department. His accomplishments at the Insurance Department were praised by Insurance Advocate magazine, which in January 2011 saluted him for "[making] his mark with innovations" as New York’s top insurance regulator as well as for his responsiveness, willingness to work with the industry, and "genuine public service ethic." Prior to serving as Superintendent, Jim was the Executive Director of the New York State Insurance Fund, New York’s largest workers’ compensation and disability benefits carrier.

In addition to overseeing the state’s supervision of all insurance companies that do business in New York, Jim played a key role in developing national and international regulations and policies governing the insurance industry. In 2010 he was elected Chair of the Northeast Zone of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. He also served as a member of the NAIC’s Executive Committee, as Vice Chair of its International Insurance Relations "G" Committee, as Co-Chair of its Credit Rating Task Force, and as Vice Chair of the task force involved in a review of international developments regarding insurance supervision, banking supervision, and international accounting standards and their potential use in United States insurance regulation as part of a critical self-examination of the United States Insurance Solvency Regulation framework known as the "Solvency Modernization Initiative."

Jim also represented the United States as a member of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), an organization of insurance supervisory authorities from nearly 140 countries that sets international standards for insurance regulators. He participated heavily in international issues such as Solvency II (an economic risk-based solvency regulatory framework to be utilized by all European Union member states); systemic risk (and the development of a methodology for the identification of globally systemically important financial institutions and the measures to be taken once identified); the development of a common framework

Elizabeth A. Zimmerman, Office of Response & Recovery

speakerphoto Elizabeth A. Zimmerman is the Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Response & Recovery (ORR). ORR is responsible for the coordination and integration of FEMA’s response, recovery and logistics programs and operations. Serving as the principal advisor to the ORR Associate Administrator, Zimmerman also coordinates the development of strategic plans and budgets for ORR to successfully accomplish the Agency's mission in accordance with the Administrator's goals and priorities. She works with other Senior-level FEMA officials to assure that FEMA responds rapidly and effectively to legislative requirements and Presidential directives.

Zimmerman brings years of state-level emergency management experience to her position at FEMA. Prior to her assignment, she served as the Assistant Director of Recovery for the State of Arizona. Throughout the years she acted as the Governor's Authorized Representative for numerous federally-declared disasters as well as scores of state level disaster response and recovery operations.

Zimmerman began her career in Emergency Management with the Utah Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management after the 1984 Salt Lake City Flood. For the State of Utah, she managed several programs including Disaster Recovery, Administration and Recovery, Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness, and Emergency Preparedness Planning.

Speaker Presentations



2013 National Tornado Summit Conference Materials