ProfNet Experts Available on Hurricane Preparedness and Response

May 31, 2013, 13:39 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, May 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With hurricane season on its way, here are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss hurricane preparedness and response for consumers and businesses. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing.

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EXPERT ROUNDUP: Hurricane Preparedness and Response

Animal Safety

Dr. Dick Green
Director of Disaster Response
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
In his role, Dr. Green is responsible for leading the efforts of the ASPCA field team during natural and man-made disasters, as well as large and small animal rescue operations. He also oversees the ASPCA's internal disaster readiness program and develops partnerships with national and local agencies to enhance the organization's disaster response capabilities. Most recently, Dr. Green guided the ASPCA's response to Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana and Mississippi and Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York City. In anticipation of the storms, Dr. Green directed pre-evacuation efforts of shelter animals and distribution of vital pet supplies to pet owners. Following the hurricanes, he managed field rescue operations to search for stranded pets, as well as mobile wellness clinics dispatched to provide veterinary care for affected animals. He was essential in the planning, establishment and oversight of an emergency boarding facility set up in Brooklyn, N.Y., to provide temporary shelter for animals displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Following Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Green established and chaired the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC), which comprises 14 animal welfare groups, including the ASPCA, and is the first coalition in the nation that is dedicated to working with all levels of government and non-government agencies in finding collaborative solutions to major human-animal emergency issues. Dr. Green assumed the chair position for a second time in January 2012 and continues to participate as a key player during domestic and international disasters.
Media Contact: Emily Schneider,


Daan Liang
Assistant Professor of Construction Engineering Technology
Texas Tech University
Liang investigated building damages caused by Hurricane Katrina using satellite images and aerial photos, along with ground survey results. He has studied how the construction of buildings affects their vulnerability against severe windstorms with various probability models. Recently, his research is focused on the advancement of remote sensing technology in documenting and assessing wind damages to residential structures.
Media Contact: Karin Slyker,

Ernst Kiesling
Professor of Civil Engineering, Texas Tech University
Executive Director, National Storm Shelter Association
Kiesling recommends that homeowners who live above the flood plane in hurricane-prone areas buy a storm shelter for their home. As was seen in Houston preceding Hurricane Rita, evacuations are stressful and expensive. They often put immense strain on traffic corridors, leading to traffic jams and -- in the case of Houston -- fatalities. By utilizing in-home shelters, some families who are not required to evacuate can remain where they are and ease the traffic flow. However, Kiesling urges buyers to look for a seal of the National Storm Shelter Association when they buy a safe room for their home, because not all shelters are verified to be fully compliant with current standards for storm shelters and to provide full protection from extreme winds. Kiesling has more than 35 years of experience in the design, standards-writing and quality control of storm shelters.
Media Contact: Karin Slyker,

Larry Tanner
Research Associate in Civil Engineering
Texas Tech University
Tanner completed a six-month investigation working with the FEMA mitigation assessment team on the wind damage to residential structures from Hurricane Ike in Texas and Louisiana. He was also a member of the FEMA mitigation assessment team that studied Hurricane Katrina. He led a team that recorded wind and water damage along the coastline in Louisiana and Mississippi. Much of the damage done by Katrina, he said, resulted from structures being built below the base flood elevation -- or the elevation that flood waters will rise to during a 100-year storm event (meaning the storm only has a 1 percent chance of happening in a year).
Media Contact: Karin Slyker,

Pete Duncanson
Second Vice President, Executive Committee
Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)
"There are preparedness steps consumers need to take to secure their property before a storm hits, as well as to recover the property when the storm does hit. Prior to hurricane season, consumers should locate an IICRC-certified restorer to ensure they are using a vendor that adheres to the highest industry standards. IICRC certification is especially important post-hurricane, as this is a common time for companies to try and scam affected customers."
Duncanson, a master water restorer, master fire and smoke restorer, master textile cleaner and commercial drying specialist, first joined the IICRC board of directors in 2009. During his "day job," he is a director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean. He has been in his current position for 10 years, a franchisee for 10 years, and at ServiceMaster Clean Corporate for 15 years. He is also vice president of Operations for Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians, corporate representative to the Restoration Industry Association and Indoor Air Quality Association, and outreach instructor for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
Media Contact: Courtney Scharff,

Brian Trimble, P.E., LEED AP
Regional VP, Engineering Services and Architectural Outreach
Brick Industry Association, Reston, Va.
Trimble has over 25 years of experience in the masonry industry, assisting design professionals in the design of brick and masonry structures. He is a frequent lecturer to local, regional, and national construction industry groups, and has authored many articles and papers on various masonry subjects. He has worked at BIA for over 19 years, serving in various positions. Besides his long tenure at the BIA, Trimble has worked for a brick manufacturer and the International Masonry Institute. He now heads up architectural and builder outreach in the 17-state Midwest/Northeast region for BIA.
Twitter: @bricktrimble
Media Contact: Lorelei Harloe,

Robert Weitz, CMI
Certified Microbial Investigator and Principal
RTK Environmental Group
"If you don't know the proper action to take before and after a hurricane, the true devastation may not be seen until months later, as we are finding with Sandy. Mold infestation occurred in many homes and businesses as a result of the hurricane, and mold that was not properly remediated the first time is back with a vengeance, even six months later. This is true in 80 percent of all affected homes. Even if homeowners were quick to clean up floodwater, dry out basements, and power wash and bleach their walls, they may not have realized that they needed to get behind their walls. Mold is growing behind their wallboards, ceilings, and other hidden places. In addition to mold endangering health, you may run into issues if you try to sell your home or with subsequent insurance claims. For example, if you can't prove that the mold was properly remediated after Hurricane Sandy with documentation of testing and another big storm hits, your insurance company may blame the mold on Sandy and say that you were already paid out on that claim. But mold is not the only issue for homeowners and businesses after a hurricane. As we have seen from Hurricane Sandy, contaminated soil and water are widespread. A toxic soup was created during the storm, with everything from gasoline to raw sewage to bacteria, and this now rests in our yards and playgrounds. Improper renovations are also spreading toxic lead dust, asbestos, and more."
Weitz is an environmental inspector and principal of RTK Environmental Group, one of the largest and most trusted independent testing firms in the Northeast. They provide testing for mold, lead, water, soil, asbestos, radon, PCBs, VOCs, indoor air quality, and more. Since they only test and do not do remediation (which is a clear conflict of interest), their results are unbiased and accurate. Weitz can offer tips on how to prepare for a hurricane, as well as what steps you need to take afterwards to prevent or contain environmental hazards, and protect yourself from dirty contractors and insurance companies after the hurricane.
Media Contact: Jennifer Newman Galluzzo,


Dan Perrin
Senior Director of Workplace Recovery
Perrin shares five tips for businesses on what to do before (and after) a hurricane: 1) Conduct a business impact assessment: Consider each part of your business for the safety of personnel, documents and facilities. A detailed analysis will give you a starting point to knowing how to plan for an event that impacts your business.  2) Develop a formal plan in writing: With those areas defined, begin to craft a formal plan for how to protect and preserve them. Flexibility and creativity will come in handy here. Practice and test the plan as much as possible, annually at a minimum. 3) Identify recovery team: More than just one person needs to know the plan, each key person should know what and where they should report when emergencies happen. If your "recovery team" knows the plan, the more likely it will be carried out successfully in the event of an actual disaster.  4) Have multiple places to recover: Identify other places from which you could conceivably conduct your business in case your office was damaged. The most effective plan will have pre-arranged, static, dynamic and "work at home" recovery locations identified.  5) Data in the cloud: Documents and even computers and servers can be gone in an instant if your office is directly hit by a hurricane or severe storm. Cloud storage is a smart option for making sure you still have access to everything you need. This way, you can quickly recover the business from any location.
Regus is a global leader in flexible workspace and disaster recovery. Perrin is available for media interviews.
Media Contact: Gabrielle Hoyt,

Clark Schweers
Managing Director
BDO Consulting
"Natural disasters are occurring with greater frequency and severity. Many businesses suffered significant financial losses after Sandy impacted the most populous region in the United States. It is very important for companies to proactively review their property insurance policies to ensure that their policy will be triggered for the various perils that could impact their business. The United States has already had to undergo tremendous adversity over the past several months. From fires in California, to floods in the upper Midwest, tornadoes in the South, and predictions of increased activity from hurricanes this year, 2013 could prove to be one of the most costly and devastating years on record."
Schweers leads the Insurance Claim Services practice at BDO Consulting, advising clients on complex property and business interruption claims for insured businesses. He has assisted companies in preparing and analyzing complex insurance claims, related to losses from catastrophic events. He has conducted extensive work on international losses in Europe, Africa, Latin America, South America, and Asia Pacific. Schweers can discuss the challenges businesses are likely to confront in the wake of a hurricane and the steps they can take to minimize losses and recover after the storm. He can also discuss steps businesses can take to prepare in advance of the storm, including proper safeguarding of files and documents, assessing accounting and response systems and creating or updating disaster recovery plans. He is uniquely familiar with the Gulf Coast region, having been involved with BDO's evaluation of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which received and processed claims in the aftermath of the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon incident. He has worked with hundreds of businesses, from small startups to Fortune 500 companies, to help them quantify financial losses from catastrophic events, including hurricanes and other major natural disasters.
Media Contact: Ben Weiss,

Kenny Murphy
Operations Manager
Murphy serves as ACRT's operations manager for work in Texas and coordinates its Ready Force storm response teams for major weather events throughout the country. He has been involved in utility vegetation management for nearly 15 years, eight of which have been with ACRT and five were with CenterPoint Energy, an electric transmission and distribution utility serving the Houston metropolitan area. An International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist and utility specialist, Murphy has a bachelor's degree in forestry from Stephen F. Austin University. He has been involved in response efforts after several hurricanes and has experienced all facets of restoration, from being on the ground right after landfall to managing restoration resources. Responsibilities of hurricane restoration include planning, monitoring, reporting, inspecting and logistics, which is his main role as storm coordinator. Murphy's primary goal is to ensure utility customers have the resources they need to proactively respond to and recover from hurricanes and other major weather events, including tornados, ice storms and blizzards. He is available to discuss the steps utility companies must take to get the lights back on after a hurricane or major weather event.
Media Contact: Renee Bissett,

Andrew Sachs
Vice President for Government Services
Witt O'Brien's, Washington, D.C.
Sachs can discuss: what state and local governments can do to help communities prepare for hurricane season; the importance of adequate preparation for residents and businesses in hurricane prone areas; the fact that 75 percent of companies without business continuity plans fail within three years of a natural disaster; the significance of the fact that the 2013 hurricane season predictions call for a 61 percent chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S.; and best practices for businesses to prepare for, manage and recover from hurricanes so as to mitigate long-term effects.
Media Contact: Samantha Kruse,

Glen Schrank
"Organizations around the world lose an estimated five percent of their annual revenues to fraud, according to a survey of fraud experts conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Even companies that think they are taking all the necessary steps to prevent fraudsters from preying on them can become victim. We typically see a spike in fraudulent claims being processed through our incident management software in the aftermath of natural disasters. This is just one of many things that can attract fraudsters."
Schrank most recently was president and CEO of HireRight, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. Prior to that, he spent more than 25 years in leadership roles in a variety of technology-based businesses, including 15 years at IBM, where he served as a business unit executive with P&L responsibility. He also served as vice president of sales at i2 Technologies, a company providing supply chain management solutions including offerings in enterprise software, SaaS, and outsourced services. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles and an MBA from the University of Southern California. He is a faculty lecturer on growth strategies and entrepreneurship for the MBA program at the University of California Irvine, Paul Merage School of Business. He has also written a contributed article that focuses on insurance issues in the aftermath of a hurricane, and can offer seven fraud prevention tips for businesses.
Media Contact: Andria Barrera,

Dmitri Joukovski
SVP, Product Management
Even with the uptick in natural disasters over the last few years, nearly 50 percent of 600 U.S. companies surveyed by Acronis last year still fear substantial downtime in the event of a disaster. However, companies can take steps now to protect business continuity during this year's brutal hurricane season, including: 1) having a thorough disaster recovery plan in place; 2) having a backup solution in place that addresses all the technologies used in your workplace, including physical servers, data in the cloud and mobile devices; 3) having an off-site data protection strategy, including cloud backup. Joukovski, vice president of product management for data protection solutions provider Acronis, has developed multiple strategies over the years that organizations can adopt to protect themselves from downtime during natural disasters, particularly hurricanes. He is available to discuss business continuity and data protection strategies for the coming hurricane season.
Media Contact: Douglas Flora,,

Consumer Issues/Fraud

Frank G. Scafidi
Director, Public Affairs
National Insurance Crime Bureau
"The National Insurance Crime Bureau is continuously warning consumers about disaster fraud. Disaster fraud is the kind of fraud that we typically see after a severe natural event that has caused significant property damage. It occurs when contractors engage affected homeowners and agree to perform repair and rebuilding work -- often with an advance of funds -- but then never return to do the work. Telltale signs of these kinds of scam artists are that they make the initial contact with you -- you didn't call them or they were not referred by your insurance company; they ask for money up front before starting the job; and they pressure you to sign a contract. Should you experience property damage from a storm or other disaster, always check first with your insurance company and follow their guidance. Their first concern is getting you back on your feet as quickly and smoothly as possible. Be very careful when discussing repairs with someone who just 'shows up' at your door -- you might be victimized twice."
Expert Contact:

David Harris
CEO and Founder
Assets In Order
"Many people prepare for hurricane season by protecting their home, preparing an evacuation plan and stocking up on necessities, but often people forget to safeguard their most valued assets, such as important documents and digital files. It's important to save digital copies of your assets, including personal identification documents, financial records, insurance documentation, vehicle records and precious family memorabilia, to name a few. Don't just back up these files up on your computer or a flash drive. You should protect them through a secure online service, such as Legacy Lockbox, so that you can access your important files from any computer in case of an emergency. In addition, if something were to happen to you, your loved ones can gain access to the information they need, based on your lockbox instructions."
An expert on protecting and preserving digital assets, Harris is available to discuss what important documents should be protected and benefits of storing these digital assets in a Legacy Lockbox, a secure online service protected by 256-bit encryption.
Media Contact: Lori Pennington,

Economic Impact

Bradley Ewing
Professor of Operations Management, Rawls College of Business
Texas Tech University
Ewing has studied the economic impact of hurricanes and tornadoes for more than 12 years. He can speak to the impact of hurricanes and tornadoes in cities like Oklahoma City; Corpus Christi, Texas; Wilmington, N.C.; Miami; and Nashville.
Media Contact: Karin Slyker,

General Preparedness

Art Aiello
Disaster Preparedness Expert
Generac Power Systems
A generator and storm preparedness expert, Aiello began his career with Generac Power Systems in 1991. He frequently speaks on weather-related issues and storm and disaster preparation. He is comfortable both in front of the camera and over the airwaves. In addition to his expertise in storm preparation, Aiello is also an expert on generators, generator safety and the benefits of backup power.
Media Contact: Heather Gaedtke,

David Mistick, CPM, CBRM
Circumspex LLC
Mistick is an expert in emergency preparedness, disaster response, and restoration. He has more than 35 years of experience in these related fields, and has recently co-authored a  recent publication by the Institute of Real Estate Management titled, "Before and After Disaster Strikes: Developing an Emergency Procedures Manual, 4th edition."
Media Contact: Debbie Mistick,


Simon A. Rego, PsyD, ABPP, ACT
Director of Psychology Training and the CBT Training Program
Montefiore Medical Center
"After experiencing a natural disaster such as a hurricane, while not the only psychological disorder possible, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), which is a precursor to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is quite common. ASD is characterized by four groups of symptoms: 1) dissociative symptoms (e.g., feeling detached from others, feeling like things are dreamlike or not quite real, or forgetting aspects of what happened) during natural disaster, followed promptly by: 2) re-experiencing symptoms (having intrusive thoughts, images, flashbacks, or nightmares about it), 3) avoidance of reminders of it (e.g., not talking about it, not watching the news), and 4) feeling more anxious (e.g., more easily startled or on edge, difficulty with sleep, more irritable). These symptoms can occur anywhere from two days to four weeks after a hurricane. It should be noted, however, that not everyone will experience ASD, and many people who initially show symptoms of ASD recover naturally as the days and weeks go by after the event. If you know a person who is struggling with the symptoms or altering his or life because of them, you should consider referring them to a mental health professional who is trained to assess and treat trauma."
Dr. Rego is an expert in the assessment and treatment of anxiety and stress disorders using evidence-based psychological treatments. He uses a simple, non-sensationalized approach that is informed by the latest research in all of his work with the media and is available for interviews.
Media Contact: Brette Peyton,

Jeff Salter
CEO and Founder
Caring Senior Service
"In my experience, I have seen many instances where the elderly were severely impacted by natural disasters such as hurricanes. While these unfortunate events often cannot be avoided, we can minimize devastation through advanced preparation and planning."
Caring Senior Service is a national in-home care franchise that specializes in caring for aging seniors.  Salter has worked in the homecare industry for over 21 years and has extensive experience in disaster preparedness and managing emergency situations for the elderly.  He is available to discuss the risk hurricanes pose to the senior community and offer tips on how to best prepare for the season.
Media Contact: Bridget Strickland,

Lawrence Blonde, MD, FACP, FACE
Endocrinologist, Fellow
American College of Endocrinology (ACE)
"Whether someone with diabetes is displaced by severe weather, or simply caught outside the home without access to supplies due to car trouble, having a kit prepared with essentials may make a difference in a person's ability to manage their health -- even if it's just waiting for a tow truck. Our goal is to encourage people with diabetes to take steps in advance of an emergency to protect their health. It only takes a few minutes to prepare an emergency kit."
ACE and Lilly Diabetes offer the EmPower "My Diabetes Emergency Plan," a comprehensive resource to help people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, prepare in advance of emergency situations. In addition to Blonde, other AACE-member physicians are available. Please contact AACE to connect with an expert.
Media Contact: Amy Johnson,

K.C. Rondello, M.D. M.P.H.
Department of Allied Health, School of Nursing
Department of Emergency Management, University College
Adelphi University
Dr. Rondello serves as the chairman of the Department of Allied Health and the academic director of the Department of Emergency Management at Adelphi University, where he co-developed Long Island's first graduate program in Emergency Management. Prior to coming to Adelphi, he served as associate director of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System's Center for Healthcare Preparedness. In December 2002, he was appointed disaster epidemiologist of the National Disaster Medical System's NY-2 Disaster Medical Assistance Team. In that capacity, he collaborated with the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (Newark branch) in developing an international isolation contingency plan in response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.  Other recent deployments have included dispatch to Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike, and the Great Tennessee Flood. Dr. Rondello has completed over a dozen international volunteer service missions, including trips to San Ignacio, Belize; Monterrey, Mexico; El Sur de Turrubares, Costa Rica; Cape Coast, Ghana; Kathmandu, Nepal; and, recently, Las Charcas, Dominican Republic, to address a cholera outbreak on the Dominican/Haitian border region. He earned the President's Gold Volunteer Service Award in 2010, 2011 and 2012, presented by the President Obama's Council on Service and Civic Participation.
Dr. Rondello's scholarly research focuses on the application of disaster epidemiology to epidemic and pandemic planning and response, and the establishment and management of alternate medical treatment sites and points of distribution. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and textbook chapters, most recently, "Staying Alert as the Key to Emergency and Disaster Management" in Community Health Nursing: An Alliance for Health (2nd edition, 2012). He trained at Yale University School of Medicine in the United States and Saint George's Medical School in the United Kingdom.
Media Contact: Kali Chan,

Meghan McPherson, MPP, CEM
Coordinator, Center for Health Innovation
Program Manager, Emergency Management Graduate Programs
Adelphi University
McPherson is currently the coordinator of the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) and the program coordinator for the Graduate Program in Emergency Management at Adelphi University. She received her undergraduate education at the University of New Hampshire in political science and her master's degree in public policy with a concentration in national security policy from The George Washington University. Prior to joining Adelphi University in the fall of 2011, McPherson spent four years as both a grants manager and the energy assurance (energy emergency management) program manager in the Governor's Office of Energy and Planning at the State of New Hampshire. While in this position, appointed by the Governor of New Hampshire, one of McPherson's roles was to support the State Emergency Operations Center during disasters by assuring continuity of the energy supply in the State of New Hampshire.  McPherson is a seasoned emergency manager, having served as a client executive with the prestigious James Lee Witt Associates in Washington, D.C., prior to joining state government. While with James Lee Witt Associates, McPherson was twice deployed to the Gulf Coast to support the recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Additionally, McPherson served as a graduate assistant for ranking members of both the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs in Washington, D.C. McPherson has been credentialed as a certified emergency manager by the International Association of Emergency Managers and was honored in 2011 as one of New Hampshire's Top 40 under 40.
Media Contact: Kali Chan,

Kari Block
One unexpected but troubling side effect following a hurricane is how rodents find their way into homes, automobiles, and other property, looking for shelter and food. Block is an expert in rodent repellent and can speak to the importance of preventative pest control during hurricane season.
Block began her career as a North Dakota farmer before founding the all-natural rodent repellent company Earth-Kind. Each year, rodents would invade her home and ravage her farm equipment, leaving her with thousands of dollars in repair bills. To ward off these pests, she developed an all-natural blend of botanical products that repelled rodents of all kinds by overpowering their heightened sense of smell. Earth-Kind's signature product, Fresh Cab, is the only botanical rodent repellent certified by the EPA for safe use indoors. Block was recently recognized as a leading entrepreneur as part of the Ernst & Young Winning Women Class of 2012.
Media Contact: Alex Shippee,


Mark Bove
Senior Research Meteorologist
Munich Reinsurance America
Bove is a senior research meteorologist in the catastrophe risk management department of Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., based in Princeton, N.J. His responsibilities include evaluating commercially available catastrophe risk models and providing technical expertise on underwriting and accumulation issues. Mark has been active in meteorological consulting and research for 10 years. Before joining Munich Re in July 2000, he was a graduate research assistant at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., where he conducted research on short-term climate variations and probabilistic modeling of extreme weather events. Research highlights include studies of El Nino's influence on hurricane landfall frequencies and tornadic activity patterns in the United States. Other research and consulting topics included seasonal temperature and precipitation anomalies in the United States and Latin America. His research made national headlines on several occasions, and he was the 1998 recipient of the Father James B. Macelwane award for outstanding undergraduate research by the American Meteorological Society. Bove holds master's and bachelor's degrees in meteorology from Florida State University and has earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Reinsurance professional designations. He can speak to the forecasts for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the insurance implications.
Media Contact: Kevin Anthony,

Phillip Sanov
Head, Bad Faith Insurance Practice Group
Lanier Law Firm in Houston
"Recent storms provide a stark reminder that the severe storm season is upon us, and home and business owners should be prepared. Now is the time to make sure insurance policies are up to date, and to document the condition of homes, offices and belongings. Too often, we see insurance companies that deny, delay or vastly underpay legitimate claims, often citing 'pre-existing' conditions. Take photos and videos of structures and personal property as proof of ownership and existing conditions. But remember, those pictures do no good if they too are lost in a storm, so be sure to store them online or at a friend's or relative's house."
Media Contact: Alan Bentrup,

Marc H. Fanning
Insurance Attorney
Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin of Dallas
"For those living in high-risk areas, hurricane season can be tense, but insurance concerns shouldn't add to the stress. Because many insurance companies offer limited coverage in order to be more competitive, it is imperative that consumers fully understand what their policy actually covers. There is very little that is 'standard' about a standard policy anymore. Deductible amounts, in particular, should be a primary concern. Insurance companies have started to 'guide' policy holders toward higher deductibles, forcing you to bare the risk for smaller claims and the initial hit on the bigger claims. Where 10 years ago a $500 or $1,000 deductible was not uncommon, now, a 1 or 2 percent deductible on a $500,000 home may make the policy holder liable for up to the first $10,000 worth of damage. On a small claim, that might be the whole amount owed."
Media Contact: Rhonda Reddick,

Al Tobin
Managing Principal
Aon Risk Solutions
Tobin is a property insurance expert with more than 25 years of experience on both the broker and carrier side of the business. He specializes in large multinational clients, providing risk and insurance solutions to help clients mitigate property risk. He is available to discuss the impact hurricanes have upon businesses, and can provide insight on: lessons business leaders learned from Sandy; pricing for insurance coverage; practices for pre-hurricane planning; tips for keeping business operational following a hurricane.
Media Contact: Robert Birnberg,


John Schroeder
Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas Tech University
Director, National Wind Institute
Schroeder visited affected areas after both hurricanes Rita and Katrina to deploy instrumented towers that gather high-resolution storm data at a time when most conventional observation systems fail. He can offer insight into how hurricanes develop, move and react to various meteorological elements. He is an expert on hurricane winds and has been actively intercepting hurricanes since 1998.
Media Contact: Karin Slyker,

Dominik Kulakowski, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Geography and Biology
Clark University
Kulakowski's research focuses on disturbance ecology, landscape change, and dynamics of mountain forest ecosystem; effects of climate on mountain forest ecosystems; interactions among disturbances in forest ecosystems.
Media Contact: Stephanie Goldman,

John Rogan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Geography, Graduate School of Geography
Clark University
Rogan is a geographer specializing in landscape ecology, fire ecology, optical remote sensing and GIScience. Recent research projects have involved monitoring land cover change in California using remote sensing date, mapping wildfire burn severity in southern California and southeastern Arizona, and mapping forest types in Massachusetts using multi-season Landsat data.
Media Contact: Stephanie Goldman,

Christopher A. Williams, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Geography, Graduate School of Geography, Department of Biology
Clark University
Williams is an expert in historic extreme droughts. Trained as a land surface hydrologist and ecosystem scientist, he investigates how earth's biosphere responds to natural and human perturbations. His approach combines field, lab, and remote sensing data with process-based modeling aimed at understanding how terrestrial biophysical and biogeochemical processes are influenced by hydroclimatic variability and disturbance. His research spans leaf to global scales, with regional focus on Africa and North America.
Media Contact: Stephanie Goldman,

Alex Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Geography
Clark University
Gardner studies the Earth's cryosphere (frozen Earth) with a particular focus on glaciers and their impacts on sea level rise and water resources. He is interested in how glaciers and ice sheets respond to natural and human-induced forcings, as well as how changes in the reflectivity of snow and ice modify the Earth's climate. To answer such questions he integrates remote sensing observations and Earth system modeling. Using this approach, Gardner recently showed that glaciers in the Canadian Arctic have become the largest contributor to sea level rise outside of the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
Media Contact: Stephanie Goldman,

Stephen Bennett
Founder, Chief Science OfficerEarth
Risk Technologies
Bennett is a pioneer of a new field of atmospheric research that utilizes past weather patterns (60 years of data) to determine the risk of future weather events up to 40 days before it occurs. These same models are now being applied to reduce hurricane forecasting errors and helping gauge where exactly the eye will make landfall. Currently, the National Hurricane Center reports an average uncertainty cone error (where the hurricane will hit) of about 140 miles for all storms in the past 11 years. EarthRisk is working to reduce that range. Bennett can discuss: difficulties in projecting hurricane formation and path projection; new science/methodologies designed to predict strength and path of hurricanes; key differences between Atlantic and Pacific storms; and the correlation between recent unusual weather events and the 2013 hurricane season.
Media Contact: Steve Fiore,


Dr. Mark Campbell
Chief Strategy and Technology Officer
Campbell has been a member of the Unitrends board of directors since September 2009. Prior to joining Unitrends, Campbell co-founded mindAmp Corporation, which provided high-technology business and software development consulting. Previously, he worked as the SVP of the Systems Management Business at Legent Corporation, where he led more than 1,000 marketing professionals, product managers, project managers and engineers in the United States and Europe. Campbell left Legent after successfully helping steer the company in its acquisition by Computer Associates. Before joining Legent, he was a VP at NCR Corporation, where he had profit and loss responsibility for its $1.5B+ server business. In this capacity, he was responsible for more than 1,500 marketing professionals, product managers and engineers in the United States, Europe, India and China. He earned a bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of South Carolina. He also holds a degree in international business from INSEAD. He can address hurricane preparedness as it relates to disaster recovery -- implementing infallible data protection solutions and strategies to ensure data integrity and uptime regardless of the impending disaster, as well as instant recovery of information, files and systems in the event of data loss or downtime. He can speak to the components of a solid business continuity plan, best practices for disaster recovery and the importance of leveraging modern backup functionality to recover information from the closest point of failure in the shortest period of time.
Media Contact: Jackie Gerbus,

Dr. Edward Fox
Computer Science Professor
Virginia Tech
Dr. Fox is working on computing for disasters, bringing researchers and practitioners together to devise improved methods for disaster response. In the last year, he has been examining the opportunities for search and analysis in disaster recovery, along with issues such as the sources of big data and the ways the general population can both provide and consume data before, during and after a disaster. He stumbled upon LucidWorks, which brings the critical search component, equipping companies to mine big data. Dr. Fox and a LucidWorks executive can speak to the following topics: where disaster computing looks for data and what kinds of data it incorporates; how technology can be tailored to varied response teams and their needed capabilities; how disaster recovery agencies use data from previous emergencies to improve their response times; how big data platforms are being used for training security and first-responder personnel.
Media Contact: Sarah Goodman,

Kenny Reed
Director of Business Development/HurricaneWatch Coordinator
Datawatch Systems Inc., Bethesda, Md.
"The past six-month period has historically produced some of the most devastating weather known to the Eastern seaboard, causing an average of roughly $22 billion in damage annually since 2000. Nine years ago, we developed and have now refined HurricaneWatch to assist owners of buildings and their tenants before, during and after these extreme events. The service enables facility managers and property owners to constantly update a single database with property status reports during severe weather events and other catastrophic situations when communication problems triggered by downed power and phone lines are likely to occur."
Reed joined Datawatch Systems in 2003 and is responsible for facilitating development of software and hardware applications. Prior to joining Datawatch, he served as a senior project manager for Fannie Mae, responsible for system and software upgrades. Previously, he was a senior systems manager with USA Mobility, responsible for maintaining and upgrading the Web-based applications utilized nationwide. He received a bachelor of science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Media Contacts:  Melanie Keenan,; or Parke Chapman,

Curtis Peterson
Disaster Recovery Expert, Vice President of Operations
"Companies that do not have a plan in place will be left on the sidelines when disaster strikes. The first step is ensuring you can communicate with each other within the company. Moving operations such as phone service to the cloud will enable employees to conduct business as usual from any device or location, which is vital in situations where you can't physically go to the office."
As the disaster recovery expert and VP of operations at RingCentral, a leading cloud business communications provider, Peterson shares his experience and advice on best practices for businesses creating and executing a disaster recovery plan. A former small-business owner and professional with 20 years of experience managing information technology, data and cloud business communications networks, Peterson has brought his expert insight to top media properties such as CNN, First Business Network, FOX Business and PC Magazine, as well as a variety of local media outlets. He played an instrumental role in keeping phone communication services up during Hurricane Katrina, and throughout his career has been a pioneer in disaster recovery education. Peterson can discuss, among other topics: how to build and execute a solid disaster recovery plan; how businesses can ensure that critical technology systems remain intact during a hurricane; and steps to get back up and running as quickly as possible.
Media Contact: Annie Keller,


Carol Mueller
Vice President
Travel Guard
Mueller is available for comment on how travel insurance can be of assistance to those traveling during hurricane season.
Media Contact: Ashley Norman,

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