Oklahoma elected Todd Lamb as Lt. Governor on November 2, 2010. With a campaign focused on job growth and economic development, Lt. Governor Lamb achieved an overwhelming victory and quickly began putting his forward-thinking ideas and agenda in place. Soon after the election, he was appointed to the Governor’s cabinet as the advocate for Oklahoma’s small business.
An Enid native, Lamb has spent many years in public service to his state and nation.
He served in the Keating Administration, and worked on the staff of United States Senator Don Nickles.
Lamb also became a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service where he was elected president of his Secret Service Academy class and graduated with special recognition. His duties included domestic and international protection assignments during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
Lt. Governor Todd Lamb was elected to his first term in the Oklahoma Senate in 2004 and re-elected without opposition in 2008. While in the Senate, Lamb fought for government reform and measures that improved Oklahoma’s economy.
In 2009, Lamb became the first Republican Majority Floor Leader in state history.
Lt. Governor Lamb currently serves as Treasurer of the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association (NLGA) Executive Committee and Vice Chair of the Aerospace States Association (ASA). He has worked in the private sector as a landman in Oklahoma's energy industry.
Todd Lamb and his wife Monica have been married 16 years and have two children, Griffin and Lauren.
Commissioner John Doak, Insurance Commissioner, Oklahoma Insurance Department
John 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
E. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma
Attorney General Scott Pruitt was elected as the 17th Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma on November 2, 2010. He is the second Republican in the history of the state to hold the office, which oversees 80 attorneys. Attorney General Pruitt has quickly risen as a national leader in the cause of restoring limited government and the proper balance of power between the states and the federal government.
As a first priority in office, Attorney General Pruitt established Oklahoma’s first Federalism Unit in the Office of Solicitor General to more effectively combat unwarranted regulation and systematic overreach by federal agencies, boards and offices.
Pruitt currently serves as chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and chairman of the Midwest Region of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). Under his leadership, attorneys general have come together to advance policies and legal strategies that protect the interests of their states from an overly intrusive federal government, with a particular focus on domestic energy security and production. Attorney General Pruitt has led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda and refusal to follow the law.
Before being elected Attorney General, Pruitt served Broken Arrow, Coweta and Tulsa in the Oklahoma State Senate where he served for eight years, four of those as Assistant Republican Floor Leader. In the Senate, he was the leading spokesman for workers’ compensation reform, lawsuit reform and greater accountability for government spending.
Attorney General Pruitt used his experience in the Legislature to transform the AG’s Workers’ Compensation and Insurance Fraud Unit and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Under his leadership, the fraud units increased prosecutions, hired 12 investigators, secured more than $20 million in Medicaid fraud restitution and worked directly with Oklahoma businesses to educate workers on fraud recognition and reporting.
Brandy Wreath, Deputy Director, Public Utility Division, Oklahoma Corporation Commission
Brandy Loyd Wreath was appointed as the Director for the Public Utilities Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in October of 2012. He joined the Corporation Commission in September of 2006 and served as the Deputy Director 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 here 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 world. 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.
Commissioner James Donelon, Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Insurance
Prior to becoming Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Insurance, James J. Donelon served the Department in leadership positions as chief deputy commissioner and executive counsel.
Donelon was born in New Orleans. In 1986, he became the first recipient of the Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award for the University of New Orleans.
Donelon retired as the state judge advocate for the Louisiana Army National Guard, where he held the rank of colonel and received the prestigious Legion of Merit medal, among many other citations, for his contributions during his 33 years of military service.
In 1975, Donelon was the elected Jefferson Parish Council chairman and, from 1981 to 2001, he represented Jefferson Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he rose to the leadership positions of chairman of the Committee on Insurance and co-chairman of the Republican Legislative Delegation. In 2001, Donelon joined the staff of the Louisiana Department of Insurance. He currently serves as the NAIC president.
Col. Pat Santos, Deputy Director, Governors Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
Colonel (Retired) Pat Santos joined the Louisiana Army National Guard in June 1979. In December 1981, he was commissioned a Distinguished Military Graduate from the ROTC program at the University of New Orleans.
As a member of the famed 1-141st Field Artillery Battalion he served in various command and staff positions and was activated for Desert Storm in 1990 with the 256th Combat Brigade. While serving in the State Headquarters he was the lead project officer launching the first Louisiana State Partnership Programs with the countries of Uzbekistan and Belize. In August 1999 he was assigned as the Director of Military Support where he and his staff developed critical emergency plans and procedures while managing the military response and assistance efforts to numerous state emergencies and special events.
His 25 year military experience played a key role in coordinating the unprecedented support efforts during both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In January 2006, he accepted a position at the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (LOHSEP) as the Chief of Homeland Security. Currently, as the Deputy Director of Emergency Management within the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) he has primary oversight of all of the State’s emergency management functions. He is a principal advisor to the Governor and the State Unified Command during emergencies such as Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, the Deep-water Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 and Hurricane Isaac in 2012.
In 1981 he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management in 1997. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Staff School and the Command and General Staff College. He was awarded a fellowship and completed the National Preparedness Leadership Program at the Harvard Kennedy School for Executive Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2010. He is currently attending the Naval Post Graduate School Executive Leaders Program in Monterey, California and is an appointed member of the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC).
Albert Ashwood, Director, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
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. Following the bombing, he was first on the scene for the department, arriving approximately 25 minutes after the explosion. He headed forward operations for the first three days of the incident before turning his attention to the administration of recovery efforts.
Because of his experience with the Oklahoma City bombing and at the request of New York Governor George Pataki, 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 completed the Executive Leadership Program at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. He was one of 27 graduates to complete the program that brought together officials from across the nation and from all levels of government and the private sector to explore strategies and policies for homeland security.
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.
Prior to state employment, Albert worked three years as editor of the Lincoln County News, a local weekly Oklahoma newspaper.
Amy Bach, Executive Director, United Policyholders
Amy Bach has been a professional advocate for insurance consumers since 1984 and an attorney since 1989. A native of Brooklyn, New York residing in San Francisco, she co-founded United Policyholders in 1991. She is the organization's Executive Director and spokesperson; shaping and overseeing the Roadmap to Recovery™, Roadmap to Preparedness, and Advocacy and Action programs. Ms. Bach is a nationally recognized expert on insurance claim and legal matters; frequently interviewed in print and broadcast media, and the author of numerous publications including "The Disaster Recovery Handbook" and consumer tips and guides in the UP Claim Help Library.
Ms. Bach is in her fourth term as an official consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and her third term as a NAIC Consumer Participation Board Trustee. In 2012, Ms. Bach was named a "Money Hero" by Money Magazine for dedication to Insurance Customer Rights.
Tom Bennett, Board Member, National Storm Shelter Association
Tom Bennett is a board member to the National Storm Shelter Association and Past President of NSSA. He serves as Vice-President and General Manager of Jim Giles’ Safe Rooms, LLC., based in the heart of tornado alley, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tom is a meteorologist for the Tulsa CBS Station.
Martin Blake, Individual Assistance, FEMA
Martin Blake has over 22 years of experience working disasters for FEMA and began his FEMA career prior to Hurricane Andrew in 1991. He currently directs the implementation of various Individual Assistance programs directly associated with field operations, or the Regional Office, in support of specific disaster incidents to ensure rapid Federal response; monitors program data to identify actual or potential emergency preparedness problem areas, trends, significant program accomplishments and to address deficiency situations; establishes contact with various Federal, State, local, and voluntary agencies and organizations participating in the disaster response and recovery efforts; and ensuring non-discrimination in disaster assistance. Martin has a Bachelor of Science with a major in Emergency Administration, University of North Texas 1994.
Phil Browder, Meteorological Field Service/Training Specialist, Oklahoma Mesonet
Phil Browder has spent the last six years with the Oklahoma Mesonet as a Meteorological Field Representative and Training Specialist. As a Field Representative, Mr. Browder provides multiple levels of technical support for the 120 environmental observing stations the Mesonet operates across the state, and serves as liaison between the Mesonet and various outside agencies. As an instructor with the Mesonet’s OK-FIRST program, Phil serves the Emergency Management Community in Oklahoma by designing, developing, and delivering technology-based training and weather education courses held at the National Weather Center in Norman, OK during the spring and fall. Before working for the Mesonet, Phil spent four years as a TV Meteorologist in Lincoln, NE and Amarillo, TX.
Stan Brubaker, Director of Manufacturing Technology & General Liability, Liberty Mutual
Stanford Brubaker is currently the Technical Director of Manufacturing and General Liability for the Loss Control Advisory Services/Strategy and Product Development at Liberty Mutual. He is responsible for training and mentoring, field staff development, special projects, and developing cutting edge tools and supporting materials for consultants and customers emphasizing product, contractual, general liability risk, crisis management, ergonomic controls, food safety, organizational performance, and machine safeguarding.
Mr. Brubaker has been involved in the loss control aspect of the insurance industry since 1980. His experience includes work with three other carriers in a variety of loss control field and corporate positions. Previous work assignments include positions as a National Accounts Service Coordinator, Corporate Casualty Loss Prevention Specialist, and with Liberty Mutual as a Product Director, Technical Director and Risk Quality Assessment industry specialist.
He is a Certified Safety Professional, Certified Industrial Ergonomist, Certified Product Safety Manager, Certified Professional Ergonomist, Associate in Risk Management, and Associate in Loss Control Management.
Don Burgess, Research Scientist, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS)
Don Burgess is currently a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) and Adjunct Professor of Meteorology, both at the University of Oklahoma. He retired as Chief of the Warning Research and Development Division of the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in 2003 after 32 years of federal service. During his federal career, he also served as Director and Chief of Operations at the NEXRAD Radar Operations Center (ROC), and Chief of National Weather Service Radar Training. Mr. Burgess received his M.S. from the University of Oklahoma in 1974. His research interests lie in areas of severe weather and techniques for improving warnings of weather hazards, particularly techniques using Doppler radar to detect and warn on tornadoes. He was co-winner of the Department of Commerce Silver Medal in 1979; he was co-winner of the Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 1995; and he was co-winner of the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal in 2003. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He was co-editor of an award-winning book: The Tornado: Its Structure, Dynamics, Prediction, and Hazards (1994 Best New Book Award; American Geophysical Union - Geography and Earth Sciences Category). He has written chapters in several books and has been author of over 50 formal publications and over 200 conference papers. He serves on the Steering Committee for the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX), and was chief scientist for the NSSL mobile X-band dual-polarization radar that participated in VORTEX2. Don is one of several VORTEX2 researchers featured in the movie Tornado Alley.
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 as a severe weather outlook forecaster, fire weather forecaster, mesoscale meteorologist and lead forecaster 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.
Jason Constable, Director – Regulatory, AT&T Oklahoma
Jason Constable was named Director Regulatory and External Affairs - AT&T Oklahoma, in October 2008. He oversees AT&T’s regulatory activity in the state of Oklahoma and serves as AT&T’s liaison to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Jason previously served as an expert witness for AT&T and testified before state public utility commissions on network and policy issues. Jason earned his degree in education at Rogers State University.
Jason is involved in several community and state organizations, and serves on the boards of Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Foundation for OKC public schools, and is on the advisory board for the State Chamber’s Technical Council. He also coordinates AT&T’s charitable giving in the Oklahoma City area to the United Way; and is an active fundraiser for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, and is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class XXIV.
Phil Combs, Owner, Oklahoma Claim Adjusting & Training
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.
Michael Copeland, Director of the Anti-Fraud Unit, Oklahoma Insurance Department
Michael Copeland is the director of the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud unit. He is both a commissioned law enforcement officer and a licensed attorney in the state of Oklahoma. Director Copeland came to the Insurance Department in 2011, having previously served overseas as a special prosecutor for political corruption cases in the pacific island’s region.
Mr. Copeland is a former university professor and a former U.S. Marine.
Roger Edwards, Meteorologist, Storm Prediction Center
Roger Edwards is a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman specializing in tornadoes and supercells. His strong interest in rating storm damage dates from surveying the aftermath of tornadoes he has observed over the past 25 years, as well as Hurricane Andrew in Florida. Roger earned his meteorology degree at OU, while working at the National Severe Storms Lab and chasing with their storm-intercept teams. There, he deployed TOTO several times, and was paid overtime to penetrate nighttime severe storms for radar verification. Roger since has worked at the National Hurricane Center in Miami and the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Kansas City. He moved back to Norman with SPC in 1996. Roger was fortunate to witness the most damaging hurricane, flood and tornado in U.S. history at those times—Andrew of 1992, the Missouri floods of 1993, and the Oklahoma City F5 tornado of 1999 (all since surpassed in cost). Since he became a meteorologist, his residences have directly experienced a hurricane, tornado and earthquake. Roger is married with two kids, each named after hurricanes.
Michael Eilts, President & CEO, Weather Decision Technologies, Inc.
Michael Eilts, President and CEO of Weather Decision Technologies, Inc. (WDT) received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Meteorology and an MBA from the University of Oklahoma. He is also a Harvard Senior Executive Fellow and was recently named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Before founding WDT in April, 2000, Mike worked at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) for 18 years, the last 7 as the Assistant Director.
Mr. Eilts and 5 others founded Weather Decision Technologies in 2000 in Norman, Oklahoma. Today the company has 75 employees and is a global, Big Data weather decision analytics company, providing services to large global companies like Jeppesen, Boeing, Thomson Reuters, Microsoft, Google, and to many of the other large weather companies in the U.S. Additionally, WDT provides interactive weather maps (iMap) and weather content for over 300 local media websites and mobile applications to over 75 media clients and two top-selling premium apps on iTunes: RadarScope and iMap Weather Radio.
WDT has been honored as Inc. 500&5,000 company 6 times and an Oklahoma City Metro 50 Award 7 times. WDT was awarded the American Meteorological Society Award for Outstanding Services to Meteorology by a Corporation.
Mr. Eilts has written over 75 publications on subjects in Severe Storms, Doppler Weather Radar, automated severe weather algorithms, nowcasting and aviation weather and is asked to be on numerous panels and provide presentations on weather safety and communication to the public.
John Ferree, Severe Storms Services Leader, National Weather Service
John Ferree is the National Weather Service's Severe Storms Services Leader. He is the current President of the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (COCAMS) and a National Councilor of the National Weather Association (NWA). He has served as program chair for the American Meterological Society's Warnings and Communications Conference in 2010 and 2013, and co-chaired of the NOAA/NSF sponsored Tornado Symposium in December 2011. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, John has worked for NOAA’s National Weather Service 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 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.
Tina Gaines, Director of Engineering and Line Services, Empire Electric
Tina Gaines is the Director of Engineering and Line Services of the Empire District Electric Company. She is responsible for overseeing the Company’s engineering and line services operations. Ms. Gaines joined the Company in 1996 as a telecommunications engineer. Positions she has held include manager of telecommunications, interim president of Fast Freedom, interim director of purchasing, and director of telecommunications.
Based in Joplin, Missouri, The Empire District Electric Company is an investor-owned utility providing electric, natural gas (through its wholly owned subsidiary The Empire District Gas Company), and water service, with approximately 215,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. A subsidiary of the Company also provides fiber optic services.
Oscar Goedecke, Director of Public Sector Training, Risk Control
Oscar is a degreed engineer with over 25 years of risk management and safety experience working with both public and private entities. A certified safety professional, Oscar currently directs all customer training activities for the Travelers Companies Public Sector Department and is a frequent speaker at regional and national PRIMA events. Mr. Goedecke provides safety/risk management training for Travelers Public Sector customers including governmental entities, law enforcement agencies, Indian Nation enterprise operations, schools, and transit authorities. His training focuses on enhancing the safety awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to effectively prevent and manage risk unique to their operations.
Jared Guyer, Outlook/Mesoscale Forecaster, NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC)
Jared L. Guyer is an Outlook/Mesoscale Forecaster at the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma. As an SPC forecaster, he forecasts the potential for damaging thunderstorm winds, large hail, and tornadoes across the continental United States. He also serves as a Program Co-Chair for the National Severe Weather Workshop. Prior to arriving at the SPC in 2003, Jared worked at NWS offices in Hastings, Nebraska and La Crosse, Wisconsin. He earned his B.S. degree from Valparaiso University in 1999.
David Hall, Loss Control Interest Group Chairman, State Farm Insurance
Born and raised in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, Dave joined State Farm Insurance in February 1988 after Graduating from Bloomsburg University with a BS in Marketing. Dave earned his CPCU and ALCM designations in 1995. He has worked in Commercial Lines Insurance his entire career at State Farm passing through Pennsylvania, Indiana, Louisiana and finally Oklahoma offices. He is currently serving as the Section Manager for the Innovation and Small Business Solutions for the Central Zone of State Farm Insurance.
Dave served as an adjunct instructor at Indiana State University, Department of Insurance (1999-2000), was a member of the State Farm Insurance Small Business Advisory Council (2002), and is a frequent speaker around the country on the subject of Small Business Continuity Planning.
Dave serves as a volunteer for the Institute for Business and Home Safety, serves on the Insurance working group for The International Center for Enterprise Preparedness (InterCEP), he is the chairman of the Loss Control Interest Group for the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters, and 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 Kenney,Commissioner, Missouri Public Service Commission
Commissioner Robert S. Kenney was appointed to the Missouri Public Service Commission by Governor Jay Nixon and unanimously confirmed by the Missouri State Senate. Commissioner Kenney is an active member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He serves as co-vice-chair of the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment. He also serves on the Consumer Affairs Committee, the Subcommittee on Utility Market Place Access, and the International Relations Committee. He is the Immediate Past President of the Organization of MISO States.
Prior to his appointment to the PSC, Commissioner Kenney served as Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's Chief of Staff. Commissioner Kenney also practiced commercial and business litigation as a shareholder at the St. Louis law firm Polsinelli Shalton Flanigan Suelthaus PC. Commissioner Kenney also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Missouri Attorney General's Office, practicing in the Consumer Protection Division. In that division, Commissioner Kenney worked to enforce state and federal consumer protection laws, including initial implementation and enforcement of Missouri’s Telemarketing No-Call List Law.
Commissioner Kenney is actively involved in a host of civic and bar related activities. Commissioner Kenney is a member of the Missouri Bar Board of Governors. He is Vice-Chair of the Missouri Bar's Twenty-Second Circuit Judicial Evaluation Committee and Vice-Chair of the Missouri Bar's Environmental and Energy Law Committee. Commissioner Kenney is a past President of the Mound City Bar Association.
Commissioner Kenney earned his undergraduate degree from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia and his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law, where he was an Articles Editor for the Saint Louis University Public Law Review, a member of the Moot Court Team and Board and the recipient of the Judge Robert Dowd and the William and Regina Kniep Awards for Outstanding Appellate Advocacy.
Dr. Ernst Kiesling, Executive Director, National Storm Shelter Association
Dr. Kiesling is currently the Executive Director of the National Storm Shelter Association. He is also Research Faculty for the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University. He and his colleagues developed the In-Residence Storm Shelter, an above-ground storm shelter capable of providing a very high degree of protection from extreme winds. He has provided input in FEMA publications 320, and 361, and was instrumental in the founding of the National Storm Shelter Association in 2001.
Owen Kulemeka, Assistant Professor of Public Relations & Advertising
University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication Twitter: @OwenKulemeka
Dr. Owen Kulemeka is an ssistant professor of public relations and advertising in the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. His research focuses on disaster preparedness communication, disaster recovery communication, and public relations. Before entering academia, he worked in public relations and marketing positions for the American Insurance Association, the public affairs firm Cassidy & Associates, and the accounting firm Kearney & Company. He has also worked for UNICEF, OECD, US Airways, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and PRIME Research.
His awards include the Institute for Public Relations Grunig-PRIME Research Fellowship and the PERISHIP Fellowship in Hazards, Risk, and Disasters.
Jim LaDue, Educator, NOAA’s Warning Decision Training Branch
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.
Fred Lohmann, Director of Field Operations - SW Region, National Insurance Crime Bureau
Frederick Lohmann serves as the Director of Field Operations, Southwest Region of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The Southwest Region encompasses the States of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. He supervises a staff of Special Agents and support personnel assigned to investigate criminal conspiracies involving insurance fraud, vehicle, cargo, and heavy equipment thefts.
Mr. Lohmann began a career in law enforcement as a military policeman in the United States Marine Corps. He served as a law enforcement officer for 20 years with state and municipal law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma and Texas and has been commissioned for 35 years. Mr. Lohmann joined the National Insurance Crime Bureau in 2005. He has over 20 years of experience conducting complex investigations into suspected property casualty and commercial insurance fraud, burglary, motor vehicle, and heavy equipment thefts.
Mr. Lohmann is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Criminal Justice. He graduated with honors from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol 40th Academy and is a court recognized expert in Motor Vehicle Accident Reconstruction. He is a Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator, Fraud Claim Law Specialist, Associate in Insurance Services, Associate in General Insurance, as conferred by the International Association of Special Investigative Units, American Education Institute, and Insurance Institute of America. Mr. Lohmann is a licensed multi-line claims adjuster in Texas.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau is a not-for-profit national organization that is supported by approximately 1,000 (+) property/casualty & commercial insurance companies in the United States. Working with member insurance companies, federal, state, and local law enforcement, and regulatory agencies, the National Insurance Crime Bureau investigates organized criminal conspiracies dealing with insurance fraud, vehicle theft, heavy equipment and cargo theft.
Mark Lujan, NFIP Regional Manager, Region VI, National Flood Insurance Program
Mark Lujan is currently the Regional Manager for the National Flood Insurance Program Region VI (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). Mark is responsible for providing technical assistance and outreach to NFIP stakeholders on every level.
Before becoming the Regional Manager, Mark was an Insurance Specialist for FEMA and assigned to various disasters. He has been involved in the NFIP for 12 years and takes pleasure in helping those in need.
Mark currently holds the designations of CFM (Certified Floodplain Manager) and ANFI (Associate in National Flood Insurance). He also has a Bachelors degree in Emergency & Disaster Management from American Military University.
Tim Marshall, Senior Engineer and Meteorologist, Haag Engineering
im Marshall is a senior engineer and meteorologist with Haag Engineering Company based in Irving, Texas. Tim specializes in surveying and assessing building damage in the wake of natural disasters. He was born and raised in the Chicago, IL area and became interested in tornadoes when his hometown was struck by an F-4 tornado on April 21, 1967. Tim earned is B.S degree in meteorology from Northern Illinois University in 1977, 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. After graduating in 1983, Tim went to work for Haag Engineering Company and obtained his professional engineers license in 1989. During his career, Tim has surveyed hundreds of tornado damage tracks including those in the Oklahoma City area in 1999, 2003, and 2011. Tim is an avid storm chaser and has written numerous publications on building damage and appeared on many radio and television programs. He has served on a number of committees regarding severe weather and has been involved in upgrading the Fujita and Saffir-Simpson damage scales. In 2009 and 2010, Tim participated in the VORTEX 2 tornado research project and the ROTATE project in 2012.
Steve McElhiney, President, EWI Re, Inc.
Steven M. McElhiney, CPCU is the President of EWI Risk Services, Inc., a reinsurance intermediary based in Dallas, and a subsidiary of NL Industries, 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. He authored "Fundamentals of Reinsurance and Reinsurance Markets" for IRMI in 2012.
Mark Lujan is currently the Regional Manager for the National Flood Insurance Program Region VI (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). Mark is responsible for providing technical assistance and outreach to NFIP stakeholders on every level.
Before becoming the Regional Manager, Mark was an Insurance Specialist for FEMA and assigned to various disasters. He has been involved in the NFIP for 12 years and takes pleasure in helping those in need.
Mark currently holds the designations of CFM (Certified Floodplain Manager) and ANFI (Associate in National Flood Insurance). He also has a Bachelors degree in Emergency & Disaster Management from American Military University.
Mike Morgan, Chief Meteorologist, 4Warn Storm Team
Mike Morgan is Oklahoma's NewsChannel 4's Chief Meteorologist. He joined the KFOR team in January of 1993.
A fourth generation Oklahoman, Mike grew up in the Tulsa area. His interest in meteorology was apparent at an early age. As a 13-year-old, Mike interned with the National Weather Service. He stepped into the working world at the age of 19, doing the weather at a Tulsa television station.
Mike is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. Numerous regional and national awards chronicle his on-air coverage of severe weather. Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating presented the Humanitarian Award to Mike for going above and beyond the call of duty during the May 3 tornadoes. He has received the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Award for Best 10 p.m. weathercast in the state 11 times. Mike has also won a Radio Television News Directors' Association Award, has won five Emmy's and been nominated over 10 times.
When severe weather threatens, Mike and the 4 Warn Storm Team provide Oklahomans with valuable weather information and warnings that save lives. Always on the cutting edge of technology, Mike introduced new, state-of-the-art weather equipment we call First Video. First Video allows you to instantly see a storm via cellular phone lines.
Dana Murphy, Commissioner, Oklahoma Corporation Commission
Commissioner Dana Murphy serves as Chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC). Born in Woodward, Oklahoma, Commissioner Murphy is a fifth-generation Oklahoman deeply committed to her home state. After attending Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma, where she received the Best All-Around Freshman Athlete award, she attended Oklahoma State University (OSU) and graduated in the top ten percent of her class with a bachelor’s degree in geology. After practicing as a geologist for ten years, she obtained her law degree cum laude while working and attending night school at Oklahoma City University. On November 4, 2008, she was first elected to the statewide office of Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner for a partial two-year term. On July 27, 2010, she was re-elected to a full six-year term. On January 3, 2011, Commissioner Murphy became Chair of the Corporation Commission following election by her fellow Commissioners.
Commissioner Murphy's prior experience includes serving for almost six years as an administrative law judge at the Commission, where she was named co-employee of the year for 1997 and received the Commissioners’ Public Servant Award in 2001. She has more than 22-years of experience in the petroleum industry including owning and operating a private law firm focused on oil and gas title, regulatory practice and transactional work and working as a geologist.
Commissioner Murphy is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), where she serves on the Electricity Committee. She serves as a board member on the Regional State Committee of the Southwest Power Pool. She also serves on the Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute Advisory Board, is the OCC representative on the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System, serves as an advisory board member of the Financial Research Institute, and is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Oklahoma City Geological Society and Oklahoma Women’s Coalition. Commissioner Murphy is also a member of Energy Advocates and in March 2007 was recognized as an outstanding woman in energy.
Rob Olson, Author and Principal Research Analyst, IRMI
Rob Olson is the author and principal research analyst for IRMI's reference service, Personal Risk Management and Insurance. He is also the architect of IRMI’s newest product, the Personal RiskAdvisor, an online and interactive personal exposure survey tool that generates a report detailing a client’s potential coverage gaps. Mr. Olson earned a BA degree, cum laude, in economics and an MLA degree, both from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
He is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and holds five other insurance designations, including the Associate in Risk Management (ARM). He has been recognized twice by the Insurance Institute of America (IIA) for his outstanding scholarly achievements in its programs. Mr. Olson is also an active member of the CPCU Society, having held a number of chairmanships and offices, including president of the Dallas Chapter. He is currently the national chairman of the CPCU Personal Lines Interest Group. In addition, Mr. Olson serves as an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University where he teaches risk management classes. Before joining IRMI in 1998, Mr. Olson was an underwriting manager for two national insurance companies where his experience encompassed both personal and commercial lines.
Michelann Ooten, Deputy Director, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Michelann Ooten is Deputy Director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, the agency that works to minimize the effects of all disasters and emergencies upon the state through preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation programs. She was appointed to the post in 2011 after serving as the department’s Public Information Manager since 2000.
During her tenure she has served as the state’s lead public information officer for nearly 30 presidentially declared disasters which included ice storms, snow storms, flooding, tornadoes and other severe weather. She also served as Oklahoma’s lead PIO for the state’s response, recovery work related to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav. Moreover, she assisted the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and FEMA at the Joint Information Center in Baton Rouge.
Ooten serves as the agency’s legislative liaison and provides training in public information and crisis communications. She also serves as the Governor’s appointee to the State Employee Charitable Contributions Oversight Committee. She is former chair of the National Emergency Management Association Subcommittee on Public Information.
Before joining OEM, Ooten served as Communications Director for the Oklahoma Municipal League. She was also a newspaper reporter and city editor for daily and weekly publications. Ooten has a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Steve Palladino, Operations and Field Services Manager, Oklahoma Dept of Emergency Management
Steve Palladino has been with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management since July 2001. As Operations and Field Services Manager for the State of Oklahoma he has been involved in many disaster operations including 2 major snow storms, ice storms and he managed the emergency operations center for the state in a very significant wildfire season in 2011, where there were 25 Fire Management Assistance Grants declared. In 2008 Steve managed the shelter operation at the former Lucent Technology Center in Oklahoma City for victims of Hurricane Gustav and in 2009 he was instrumental in developing the State’s “Shelter in a Box” program. Shelter in a Box will allow Oklahoma to take the staff and supplies needed to a location to shelter victims in their home state versus being transported out of state.
Prior to his current position Steve was the Northeast Area Coordinator, where he worked numerous disasters including two ice storms, the I-40 bridge collapse, and the May 8-9, 2003 tornado outbreak. He also headed forward operations for the agency during Oklahoma’s response to Hurricane Katrina at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma’s wildfires at the Incident Command Post in Shawnee and tornadoes in Delaware County. Steve was also part of Oklahoma’s Hurricane relief effort, having assisted Florida officials following hurricanes Charlie and Jean in September 2004.
Steve was instrumental in establishing the Oklahoma Disaster Task Force, a management team designed to provide mutual aid during emergency incidents and disasters.
Since joining OEM, Steve has attended the Emergency Management Institute and completed specialized training in weapons of mass destruction and explosives in Anniston, Alabama and Secora, New Mexico. Most recently, he completed training as one of OEM’s Emergency Management Assistance Compact team members.
Before taking the position at OEM, Steve served as Hughes County Emergency Manager. In 2003 he was recognized for his work by receiving the Oklahoma Emergency Management Association President’s Award. Steve is trained as a firefighter and paramedic.
Russ Paulsen, Executive Director of Community Preparedness and Resilience Services
American Red Cross
Russ Paulsen, Executive Director of Community Preparedness & Resilience Services, leads nationwide community preparedness and resilience efforts for the American Red Cross. He was appointed to the position in November of 2011.
Prior to this assignment, Russ led the Red Cross’s long-term recovery efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which provided mental health, case management, and community recovery services to survivors across the nation. He also served on the management committee for the September 11 Recovery Program.
In his twenty-plus years with the Red Cross, Russ has served as principal deputy to the Chief Operating Officer responsible for national and international humanitarian programs, and has been the program manager for field transformation under two Chief Executive Officers.
Before being called to Washington, Russ spent 14 years with Red Cross chapters in the San Francisco Bay Area, initially as a volunteer leader after the Loma Prieta Earthquake. He served the chapter as Senior Disaster Manager, then Program Officer, then Director of Corporate Fundraising. While working in business continuity in the for-profit sector, Russ remained a committed volunteer.
Dr. Brenda Phillips, Professor, Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Physical Science
Brenda D. Phillips, Ph.D. is a Senior Researcher with the Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events and is a Full Professor in the Fire and Emergency Management Program, Department of Political Science, at Oklahoma State University. She teaches courses in emergency management, social vulnerability, and disaster recovery. Dr. Phillips has given invited presentations to the U.S. National Weather Service, the U.S. National Academies of Science, the New Zealand Ministries of Civil Defense and of Health, and the Australian Emergency Management Institute, among others. Her work has been published in numerous scholarly journals, referred proceedings and books and has been posted on the FEMA Higher Education Web site. She is the author of Disaster Recovery, the lead author of Introduction to Emergency Management, and the lead editor of the first edition of Social Vulnerability to Disaster.
In an ironic "twist of fate" Jeff Piotrowski at age 16 nearly lost his life, as Tulsa's worst flash flooding in history on May 30, 1976 swept him (a passenger) out of a vehicle and into the deadly raging waters of Mingo creek. Jeff survived by grabbing onto a corner fencepost and waited for local firemen to rescue him. The first fire truck to arrive was swept into the water and the second truck held its ground to pull Jeff from the water. This event would send most persons running from severe weather but as fate would have it this event sparked a passion for severe weather like no other. Jeff Piotrowski has become a storm chasing legend having documented/filmed well over 800 tornadoes, 24 hurricanes, ice storms, wild fires and every extreme of Mother Nature. Jeff's company Storm Productions holds the world's largest private collection of extreme historic weather events and survivors stories.
More than likely you have watched Jeff's footage in numerous productions on The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, The History Channel, TLC as well as all major news networks, Insurance Ads and PSAs. During a severe weather event, Jeff is a "regular guest" on Shepard Smith, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan.
From 1994 to the present, Jeff is employed with a leading weather technology company, Baron Services Inc., as a Territory Sales Manager for the US/Canada TV Broadcast. Baron Services specializes in providing state-of-the-science weather information on a global scale to governments, businesses and broadcasters.
Elizabeth Ramirez, Property Programs Instructor, Vale Training Solutions
LinkedIn – Elizabeth Ramirez
Elizabeth Ramirez has over 19 years of experience working in the insurance industry and holds the Associate in Claims (AIC) designation. She began her career handling property claims for USAA. Later she joined the adjusting firm Cunningham Lindsey where she had roles as an independent catastrophe adjuster, staff field adjuster, and catastrophe department supervisor. Now a Property Programs Instructor with Vale Training Solutions, Elizabeth teaches courses in property claim adjusting, residential estimating, and estimating programs.
Dan Ramsey, President/CEO, Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma
Dan Ramsey has served as the President/Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma since September 1, 1998. 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 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.
Timothy Reinhold, Sr. VP for Research, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
Named as an Engineering News-Record Top 25 Newsmaker in 2010 for creating the IBHS Research Center, Dr. Timothy Reinhold is a well-respected professional engineer known for developing techniques to build and retrofit new and existing structures for greater resiliency. Dr. Reinhold joined IBHS in 2004 as director of engineering and vice president after 12 years with Clemson University, where he was a professor of Civil Engineering. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Research and Chief Engineer in 2008. His professional career includes 10 years as a consulting engineer with firms in the U.S., Canada and Denmark and five years at the National Institute for Standards and Technology. He holds bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech.
Dr. Reinhold has conducted research on wind effects and structural resistance for most of his professional career. In addition to directing numerous studies to determine wind loads for tall buildings and specialty structures, he has been heavily involved in research relating to the performance of housing and low buildings in hurricanes and other severe wind events. His research includes post-event assessments, model and full-scale laboratory studies, and in situ field structural testing. Dr. Reinhold serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE 7 Wind Loads subcommittee. He served for eight years on the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) Wind Load subcommittee and is a past member of the Board of Directors for the American Association for Wind Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Colorado, and has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers, chapters of books and conference publications.
Joseph Ripberger, Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of Oklahoma
Dr. Joe Ripberger is post-doctoral research associate at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) and the Center for Applied Social Research (CASR) at the University of Oklahoma. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of Oklahoma in 2012. His research focuses on risk, decision-making, public opinion, and public policy. His recent research has appeared in a number of academic journals, including the Policy Studies Journal, Social Science Quarterly, PS: Political Science and Politics, as well as Politics & Policy.
Bob Roberts, Emergency Management, Tulsa Public Schools
Bob currently coordinates emergency preparedness, response and mitigation planning for Tulsa Public Schools. With 41,000 students and over 6,000 staff, TPS is the largest school district in Oklahoma.
Prior to that, he worked with communities, Tribes, and other government entities as a consultant in developing disaster mitigation plans. He previously spent 15 years with the American Red Cross coordinating disaster planning, training and community education, acting as liaison to special needs community organizations, and teaching courses in disaster and mass casualty response, terrorism awareness, and the Geneva Conventions. He is a certified instructor for FEMA, teaching Department of Homeland Security courses across the country.
His education is in TV/film production and Adult & Continuing Education. He is the Secretary for the City of Tulsa Stormwater Drainage & Hazard Mitigation Advisory Board, a founding National Board member of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association, and VP of the United Nations Association of Eastern Oklahoma. He is President of Tulsa Partners Inc. (a public-private partnership dedicated to disaster preparedness and mitigation), a board member of Ok InfraGuard, a former state board member of the Association of Contingency Planners, and past President of the Oklahoma Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (OkVOAD).
In addition, he is a past member of the Oklahoma Hazard Mitigation Team, and is currently affiliated with the Region 7 Terrorism Early Warning Group, Tulsa County Local Emergency Planning Committee, International Critical Incidence Stress Foundation, Oklahoma Emergency Managers’ Association, Tulsa Global Alliance, and Kappa Delta Pi.
Mitch Robinson, Arthur J Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc.
Mitch has been in the insurance industry since 1973, including eight years as Risk Manager for T. G. & Y. Stores Company out of Oklahoma City. He is currently a Broker for Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc. He is one of the founding fathers of the Central Oklahoma Chapter of Risk Insurance Management Society in Oklahoma City.
After graduating from Southern California, Mitch enlisted in the Army and served one year in Viet Nam as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 1st Infantry Division.
Mitch specializes in the public sector and his clients include among others: The City of Oklahoma City; City of Tulsa; City of Norman; Tulsa County; Tulsa Housing Authority; Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority; Tulsa City-County Health Department and nine Oklahoma Public Schools. He works closely with the Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group (OSIG), which is managed in the Tulsa Gallagher office
Lans Rothfusz, Deputy Chief, NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory
Lans P. Rothfusz is Deputy Chief of the Warning Research and Development Division at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in Norman, Oklahoma.
Mr. Rothfusz earned his Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1982) and his Master of Science degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma (1985). After two years of postgraduate work at the University of Oklahoma, he began his tenure with the NWS in 1987. With the NWS, Mr. Rothfusz has 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 successes, including Department of Commerce (DOC) bronze medals for performance during Hurricane Katrina and the 1 March 2007 Americus, GA tornado event; DOC Silver Medals for the 15 March 2008 Georgia tornado outbreak and the 3 May 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak; and a Department of Commerce gold medal for performance during the active hurricane season of 2004.
Mr. Rothfusz has been personally honored with the DOC’s Silver Medal for co-developing “StormReady,” a severe weather preparedness program for communities. Since its inception in 1999, StormReady has spread to over 2,000 communities nationwide. The American Meteorological Society presented Mr. Rothfusz with its prestigious Francis W. Reichelderfer Award for his leadership of a multinational team providing weather support to the 1996 Olympics.
Jack Rozdilsky, Assistant Professor of Emergency Management, Western Illinois University
Dr. Jack L. Rozdilsky is an assistant Professor of Emergency Management at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. He is program coordinator for the emergency management academic program and he teaches a variety of courses in all-hazards, comprehensive emergency management. Dr. Rozdilsky’s research interests concern response to and recovery from natural hazards. Specifically, his research has brought him to Midwestern cities such as Greensburg (Kansas), Parkersburg (Iowa), and Harrisburg (Illinois) to explore how these places have adapted to their post-tornado circumstances. Prior to working in academia, he worked in the area of hazard mitigation as a land-use agent for the cooperative extension service. Dr. Rozdilsky holds Bachelor of Science Degrees in Geology and Environmental Science from Bradley University, a Master of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a doctorate in interdisciplinary Resource Development and Urban Studies from Michigan State University.
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 five 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, and was of among a relatively small number of attorneys with the ability to represent 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, 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.
Carol Silva, Director, Center for Risk & Crisis Management
Dr. Silva received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico in 1989; and an MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of Rochester in 1998. She is She is the Director of the Center for Risk and Crisis Management (CRCM), Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director for the Center for Applied Social Research (CASR) at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Dr. Silva's current research encompasses the intersection of a set of theoretical and methodological social science issues. She studies social valuation generally, and more specifically the translation of values into public choice. The empirical underpinnings of the social valuation and risk perception research are grounded in applied survey research methodologies and public policy analysis. The specific topics of research interest include: risk perception, environmental politics and policy; science and technology policy; climate, weather and social science, contingent valuation methodology; policy analysis; cost benefit analysis; risk analysis and assessment.
Hank Jenkins-Smith, Associate Director of the Center for Risk and Crisis Management
Center for Applied Social Research at the University of Oklahoma
Hank Jenkins-Smith earned his PhD in political science and public policy from the University of Rochester (1985). He has been employed as a policy analyst in the DOE Office of Policy Analysis (1982-83), and previously served on the faculty of Southern Methodist University, the University of New Mexico, and Texas A&M University. He is currently a member of the faculty in the Center for Applied Social Research at the University of Oklahoma, and serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Risk and Crisis Management. Professor Jenkins-Smith has published books, articles and reports on public policy processes, risk perception, national security, and energy and environmental policy. He has served on National Research Council Committees focused on policies to transport spent nuclear fuel and dispose of chemical weapons, and he currently serves as an elected member of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement.
Hank’s current research focuses on theories of the public policy process, with particular emphasis on the management (and mismanagement) of controversial technical issues involving high risk perceptions on the part of the public. He applies Cultural Theory (as advanced by anthropologist Mary Douglas and political scientist Aaron Wildavsky) to study variations in public understanding and response to a range of societal risks, including climate change, nuclear technologies, natural disasters, radioactive materials, vaccines, and others. As part of this work he has fielded a series of national surveys since 1993 focusing on public understanding and preferences regarding nuclear security, accompanied by a more recent series (starting in 2006) focusing on energy, environmental issues, and nuclear materials management. In 2012 he and collaborators have initiated a series of studies focused on social responses to the risks posed by severe weather. In his spare time, Professor Jenkins-Smith engages in personal experiments in risk perception and management via skiing, scuba diving and motorcycling.
Dan Threlkeld, Meteorologist, KJRH-TV
Dan is an Emmy award winning meteorologist born and raised in Oklahoma. He holds both a Bachelors of Science degree in meteorology and Bachelors of Arts degree in communication. He has been a meteorologist in Oklahoma for over 30 years.
Dan has been a member of the National Weather Association since 1984 and holds their Broadcast Seal of Approval. In 2000 Dan served as the Broadcast Program Chairman for The National Weather Association’s 25th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Dan is also a member of the American Meteorological Society and holds their broadcast seal, and is a member of the Northeast Oklahoma Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.
Prior to coming to KJRH-TV, Dan worked for 17 years at KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. Dan was on the air during the devastating tornadoes of May 3, 1999 that produced more than 65 tornado touchdowns. Governor Frank Keating recognized Dan and the KFOR weather team for their excellent severe weather coverage.
Dan earned an Emmy in 2005 for the Best Evening Newscast. He and the 10pm news team were awarded an Emmy in 2007 for Best Evening Newscast. Dan was recognized with another Emmy for his blizzard coverage in 2011. Dan, along with KJRH-TV News Team, was awarded the 2006 Oklahoma
Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists Award (SPJ) – Best Newscast in the State. Dan was awarded the 2007 Oklahoma Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists Award as the Best Weathercaster in Oklahoma in 2005, 2006, 2007
Dan was named the "Most Accurate Forecaster" in Tulsa for seven consecutive years by WeatheRate, an independent rating service.
Reed Timmer, Star of Discover Channel’s Storm Chasers
His favorite moment is just before he enters the tornado. That’s right, enters the tornado. When one of nature’s most violent storms ravages the earth, Reed Timmer attacks. Driven toward discovery in the “wild west” of meteorology, Timmer is determined to solve the mysteries of tornadoes and hurricanes, his ultimate goal being to collect data that saves lives.
Forty-eight lives were lost on May 3, 1999 in the Moore, Oklahoma F-5 Tornado. Reed Timmer was less than a quarter mile from the beast, filming the whole thing. It wasn’t his first storm chase and certainly would not be his last. Since then, Timmer has chased more than 400 tornadoes and hurricanes, becoming one of the world’s leading experts on severe weather.
For Timmer, it’s more than just experiencing extreme storms. In 2003 he established TornadoVideos.net (TVN), which has become the premier source of weather footage for news and production companies worldwide. Now completing a Ph.D. in meteorology at The University of Oklahoma and starring on Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers, Reed leads his team from TVN into the storm, intercepting the violent winds of tornadoes with their armored tank-like vehicle, the Dominator, in attempt to better understand the complex dynamics behind one of the most powerful atmospheric forces on the planet.
Following his passion for the science of meteorology and unraveling the mysteries behind the complex dynamics of tornadoes, Reed coordinated the construction of two armored research vehicles designed to penetrate the violent winds of strong tornadoes and measure meteorological data inside. Called Dominator 1 and 2, these vehicles are outfitted with state-of-the-art mobile radar for the measurement of updrafts and downdrafts within tornadoes, and also an air cannon system that launches instrumented parachute probes that are carried inside the tornado while measuring temperature, moisture, and pressure. The goal is to create a 3D "X-ray" of a tornado using these armored tornado tanks, and TVN has accomplished at least part of its mission. Timmer became the first to capture HD video from inside a tornado, and recorded a ~170 mph updraft with his mobile radar while inside an EF4 tornado in Minnesota in 2010. After completion of his PhD this winter, Reed plans on publishing this data in a meteorological journal to share with the rest of the scientific community.
Author of the Penguin-published book, Into the Storm, an adrenaline-filled chronicle of his life as an extreme meteorologist, Timmer has built a reputation as a go-to source for news agencies when dangerous weathermakes headlines in the United States. His expertise regularly lands him on top-rated programs such as Larry King Live, Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper and Good Morning America!; his recent appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno have helped give late-night audiences a better understanding of the tragic 2011 tornado season.
Taking his passion and education on the road, Reed is uniquely qualified to share and comment on the magic and beauty of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, and is equally known for his strong advocacy for extreme weather and disaster education. When he’s not chasing storms, he can often be found in university lecture halls and civic auditoriums speaking on severe weather preparedness and the science of extreme storm chasing.
Kenneth Travers, Global Business Impact Specialist, AIG Commercial Property
Kenneth Travers is a Global Business Impact Specialist with AIG Commercial Property. He is a Senior Fire Protection and Catastrophe Risk Engineering professional with proven international experience in all aspects of property and business continuity risk engineering, analysis and mitigation for process fire hazards and catastrophe events. He has a BS in Fire Protection from the University of Maryland and Masters in Business Administration from Goldey Beaucom College.
Louis Uccellini, Director, NOAA’s National Weather Service
Louis Uccellini, Ph.D. became the assistant NOAA administrator for weather services on February 10, 2013 and the 16th director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, which marks its 143rd anniversary.
Since 1999, Uccellini has led the NWS’ National Centers for Environmental Prediction, which in 2012 moved to a new state-of-the-art facility in College Park, Md. At NCEP, he was responsible for directing the planning, science and technology, and operational responsibilities related to NCEP’s Central Operations and Environmental Modeling, as well as seven national centers, including the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., and Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo. Uccellini is also a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and just completed his term as the society’s president.
Uccellini began his weather career at the Goddard Space Flight Center's Laboratory for Atmospheres as the section head for the Mesoscale Analysis and Modeling Section in 1978. In 1989, he joined the NWS as chief of the Meteorological Operations Division and then became director of the Office of Meteorology in 1994.
Uccellini received his Bachelor of Science (1971), Master (1972), and Ph.D. (1977) degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published more than 60 journal articles and chapters in books, and is known for coauthoring the widely acclaimed two-volume book, Northeast Snowstorms.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.
Mike Vaughn, President, National Storm Shelter Association
Mike Vaughn is current President of the National Storm Shelter Association. He is also a Producer Member and serves on the Board of Directors and in various committees for NSSA. He is President of Vaughn Concrete Products, Inc., a precast concrete manufacturing company with locations in Amarillo, TX, Henderson, CO, Roxana, IL and Cheyenne WY.
Michael Widdekind, Technical Director – Property, Zurich Services Corporation
Senior Risk Engineering Consultant Michael Widdekind has more than 25 years of experience in the loss control profession. One of Zurich’s top specialists for hospitals and healthcare, Mike also has a strong background in manufacturing, universities, power generation, aerospace, food & beverage and organic chemical occupancies. In addition to his work at Zurich, Mike also serves as a technical committee member on the National Fire Protection Association's Building Code/Safety to Life Health Care Occupancies section, and on three of the NFPA's committees dedicated to Health Care Facilities. Mike has specialized expertise in hospital and healthcare facilities, fire protection submittal plan review, fire protection codes, system functions, testing, maintenance, and design, and building code review.
Pepper Williams, District Manager, Farmers Insurance Group
Pepper Williams has been with Farmers Insurance Group since December 1973. As a District Manager, he is involved in recruiting and training new agents. Pepper is very active in Farmers’ Agents Catastrophe Action Team
Sunday, March 10th from 1pm-6pm
Cox Convention Center
A free, family-friendly event you don’t want to miss! Attendees can step inside the tornado simulator, speak to a television meteorologist or hop in the front seat with a professional storm chaser. The Weather Fair will also feature canine search and rescue teams, disaster response vehicles, cutting-edge weather products, weather experiments, mascots, face painting and more.