ProfNet Experts Available on Hurricane Sandy: Recovery, Disaster Response, Pets, More

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Sep 11, 2013, 14:31 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Sept. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing. To receive these updates by email, send a note to with the industries you cover, and we'll add you to the appropriate edition. 

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  • NFL Concussion Lawsuit Settlement


  • Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later


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NFL Concussion Lawsuit Settlement
Eldon L. Ham
Sports Attorney/Professor
IIT Chicago-Kent
"The NFL concussion settlement seems like a win for the NFL because the settlement pool is a manageable number at $765 million, and the NFL will no longer face a thorough probing into documents and testimony that protracted discovery would entail. But there are good points for the players, too. Even though they may receive an average of $140,000 or so per player, or even much less depending on allocated legal fees and how many players make claims, they do eliminate the risk of losing altogether, a meaningful risk because they faced many obstacles of proof about causation and liability, depending on what the NFL knew and when. There are still open issues: how to fairly divide the settlement among somewhere between potentially 4,500 and 18,000 players; what to do about continuing claims by players who opt out of the settlement; and what to do about future possible claims not covered by the settlement at all. Future solutions will require a collectively bargained approach with union approval, perhaps including the possibility of an ongoing pool of funds for injured claimants to be disbursed almost like a grand workers compensation formula."
Expert Contact:

Media Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne,

EXPERT ROUNDUP: Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later

Shannon Eis
Stronger than the Storm
Working vigorously to make it known that the shore is open through on the ground interactions with chambers of commerce, business owners, community members and consumers, Eis is well positioned to be a go-to source on all topics relating to the anniversary, including: the recovery efforts and progresses of businesses, boardwalks and tourism overall, including sentiment and firsthand accounts; facts and figures in relation to rebuilding and economic impacts; continued challenges and ongoing efforts; and what businesses have learned over the past year.
Stronger than the Storm is a comprehensive consumer campaign developed to raise awareness of the Jersey Shore's recovery. As the spokesperson and spear header, Eis has tactfully implemented media, social and on-the-ground activations in Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Atlantic and Cape May counties. To execute the consumer campaign, Eis regularly meets with municipalities, chambers of commerce, business owners, community members and consumers, to gauge recovery efforts, progress and continued challenges, in hopes of working together to drive tourism back to the shore. Media efforts include motivating broadcast, print and online media to explore the region to share with their audiences the many facets of the shore, such as food, activities, lodging, boardwalks, etc. Additionally, she has appeared regularly as the STTS spokesperson on WCBS, WABC, "Good Day New York," "Today in New York" and many more. Social activations include generating a rooted and robust social media audience via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to raise awareness and reach a large mass on all things shore-related. Events included a grand Memorial Day ribbon cutting ceremony with the governor, a cook-off with a regional chef and Bobby Flay, kite flying and sandcastle building workshops for families, and many more.
Media Contact: Kayla Codina,

Dr. Dick Green
ASPCA Director of Disaster Response
"With many still rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy, it's hard to imagine another disaster, but don't wait until the last minute to start thinking about what to do with your pets. Have your disaster plan and emergency kit ready in case you need to evacuate your home. The more prepared you are, the faster you can get you and your pet to safety."
Dr. Green is the director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team. In his role, Dr. Green is responsible for leading the efforts of the Disaster Response department, which covers 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 Sandy in New Jersey and New York City, and Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana and Mississippi. In anticipation of the storms, he 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.
Dr. Green is available to discuss the many rescues and reunions he made possible during Hurricane Sandy, the challenges pet owners faced during the storm, and what pet owners can do to prepare for a disaster.
Media Contact: Kelly Krause,

Dan Perrin
Senior Director of Workplace Recovery
Perrin is senior director of workplace recovery at Regus, the world's largest supplier for flexible workspace.  He shares these tips for disaster preparedness: "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 a 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."
Perrin and his team helped hundreds of businesses in the New York and New Jersey area after Sandy and can also supply journalists with a "one year later" check-in for some of these companies. Perrin says that in advance of the hurricane season, his team has received an exponentially larger number of inquiries from people wanting to best plan for the worst.
Media Contact: Lisa Kovitz,

Joel Mills
Director, Center for Communities by Design
American Institute of Architects
"The job of the AIA's RUDAT and SDAT teams is to help communities that do not have the resources, means, and budgets to right themselves in the wake of disasters out of their control. These volunteers have provided dozens of towns and cities with actionable plans and steps to get back on track both residentially and commercially."
Mills leads the AIA's RUDAT and SDAT teams, which are essentially volunteer teams of architects, designers and other professionals who visit areas devastated by disaster and provide an assessment of damage and a comprehensive plan for recovery -- for free. They work closely with local business and government leaders on these assignments so they know the plan is actionable. In June, they were in The Rockaways, where they turned around an 80-page and multi-year plan in a matter of days that included a number of solutions to bring tourists, business, and residents back to the area without losing any of what locals say makes the area such a special place to live and work.
Mills can speak to some of the communities the teams have worked with over the years and what progress in the wake of these recommendations has been made. To speak with Mills or another AIA disaster expert, please email the contact listed below.
Media Contact: Lia LoBello,

Mickey Jacob
American Institute of Architects
"Architects and other design, construction, and building professionals can't assess damage done to homes, businesses, and other properties and offer recommendations without taking on personal liability. Without the protection of the law behind them, these professionals are sidelined. Rather, this job must be performed by understaffed and overwhelmed government agencies. With architect volunteers trained in disaster assistance on the street, we could help the many millions of homeowners and business owners still reeling from Sandy get their lives and livelihoods back in order."
Jacob traveled in the weeks after the storm to one of the most devastated areas from Sandy, Mantoloking, N.J. There, he was shocked to see that the state's lack of a Good Samaritan law was keeping architects and other design professionals from helping to speed recovery efforts. As he researched, he saw how this was holding back a number of Jersey Shore towns, which needed to be back up and running to make the most of the busy and profitable summer season.
Jacob can speak more to this law, which is absent in a number of states, and how it negatively impacts the communities that would benefit the most. To speak with Mills or another AIA disaster expert, please email the contact listed below.
Media Contact: Lia LoBello,

Dr. Mark Campbell
Chief Strategy and Technology Officer
"Hurricane Sandy's impact along the East Coast is a harsh reminder of how important a disaster recovery plan is to maintain business continuity. While insignificant in the face of the loss of life and destruction that can accompany events such as hurricanes, data protection is a critical component of disaster recovery strategies and does not just negatively impact business operations, but can also close businesses permanently, if not taken seriously."
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.
Campbell is available to 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: Tracey Frederickson,

Stephen Sheinbaum
Merchant Cash & Capital
"It's amazing to me that, even after the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy, some 64 percent of small-business owners we surveyed still don't have a disaster plan in place. This after many of these businesses suffered down time, profit loss, and unfulfilled customer orders. The fact is, there are many simple ways a business owner can protect their enterprise from the next big disaster."
Sheinbaum is a financial disaster relief expert and is available to provide some tips on how business owners can be more prepared for the next extreme weather emergency and provide shocking statistics from his survey on small-business storm preparedness post-Sandy.
Media Contact: Lynn Munroe,

Dr. Anurag Jain, Ph.D, PE
Weidlinger Associates, Inc.
"Vulnerabilities in our building stock and infrastructure were exposed by Superstorm Sandy, leaving them open to damage from future storms that are predicted to occur.  Flood waters caused extensive damage to electrical and mechanical equipment in basements. In a majority of instances, damaged equipment is simply being repaired/replaced; however, in many instances, storm-induced damage remains unrepaired due to the lack of funding. The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) was passed as a Congressional Act previously and called for improved model codes, standards, design guidance, and practices for the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure; however, no funds have been appropriated for it. This lack of funding is in sharp contrast to the windstorm related damage that is caused annually with almost predictable regularity, i.e., tornadoes in Oklahoma, Katrina, annual earthquakes and more.  Events of this intensity and higher are expected in the near future. Therefore, repairs or modifications to our infrastructure should incorporate the potentially damaging impact of these hazards by making them more resilient. A hurricane's wind speeds are what drives the storm surge, so a storm with higher intensity winds may create an even bigger storm surge. Given the broad geographic threat of windstorms, the frequency of events, and the tremendous human loss and financial toll on families and businesses, funding (NWIRP) will also help to achieve major measurable reductions in losses of life and property from future windstorms."
Dr. Jain, a wind engineer/expert, established and maintains Weidlinger's investigations and forensic engineering practice in the western U.S. and its hurricane damage investigations practice. He has been visiting areas affected by Superstorm Sandy in New York and New Jersey, assessing the damage and destruction that was caused. He has evaluated more than 2,500 buildings compromised by natural and human-made disasters, performing sophisticated analyses to assess cause and to design retrofits. He has published more than 50 papers, co-authored chapters in three books, and is active in code development and other professional activities.
Media Contact: Jaime Strohmenger,

Robert Weitz, CMI
Certified Microbial Investigator, Principal
RTK Environmental Group
"Although mold has been the focus of environmental issues post-Sandy, there are several others that are now coming to light. Contaminated soil, lead dust, and asbestos are dangerous issues, yet people don't know about them. After the storm, people ripped out walls, floors, carpets -- anything that was wet or damaged. They threw it on the curb, and trucks picked it up. They didn't think about the fact that their home may contain lead paint or asbestos, which spreads through the air when disturbed, and causes serious illness and conditions including autism, ADHD, and cancer. Additionally, the soil was contaminated by toxic flood water, as well as lead dust and asbestos."
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.
Contact: Jennifer Newman Galluzzo,

Tom Gilmore
Founder and CEO
"After Superstorm Sandy hit us last year, I was worried the area wouldn't recover in time for the summer months. However, rental properties were booked solid this summer. The entire area was booming with business despite the devastation earlier this year. A few homeowners had to overcome storm damage but were all set for the vacation season."
Gilmore is the founder and CEO of, the family-to-family vacation home rental marketplace that connects families looking to rent vacation homes directly with property owners. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Northwestern School of Business, Gilmore spent his childhood summers at his family's camp in Lovell, Maine, where he later helped his family reach out to potential guests and market their cabins to vacationers. While working as a banker in New York City and still spending his summer weekends in Maine, Gimore's interest in starting his own online vacation rental company was solidified, and he created alongside his wife Debbie. They now vacation with their sons at camp in Maine, but also at other great vacation home rentals around the U.S. and abroad.
Also available: area homeowners who can discuss the aftermath of Sandy.
Media Contact: Emily MacDougall,

Phil Cox
Legacy Premium Food Storage
"If Superstorm Sandy has taught us anything, it's just how much a family takes basic necessities like power, shelter, food and water for granted. Every family should have a disaster plan -- complete with sustainable supplies that will see them through the next emergency situation. It's not difficult to put together. But it must be done before the disaster strikes."
Cox is an emergency food storage and disaster preparedness expert from Utah and is available to provide homeowners tips on how to best prepare basic survival supplies (like food and water) for when the next disaster strikes.
Media Contact: Lynn Munroe,

Jim Schweitzer
Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
National Insurance Crime Bureau
Schweitzer is responsible for managing and directing the NICB's investigative workforce of 175 investigators throughout the U.S. He can speak to post-Sandy episodes of fraudulent homeowners insurance claims, flood vehicle scams, and reconstruction contractor fraud.
Schweitzer came to the NICB after serving for four years as the director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, where he led 1,500 employees charged with enforcing traffic, motor vehicle and motor carrier laws; providing security for public officials and state properties; and administering highway safety and criminal justice grant programs. Prior to that, he served more than 33 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation  in a variety of assignments, including as chief of the Instruction Section at the FBI Academy and as Special Agent in Charge of the Columbia, S.C., FBI office. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from the University of South Florida, and completed executive programs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Kellogg School of Management. In 2006, he completed the FBI National Executive Institute.
Expert Contact:
Media Contact: Frank G. Scafidi,

Adam Derman
Co-Chair, Litigation Group
Wolff & Samson
Despite reports that almost all flood insurance claims from Superstorm Sandy have been settled, many property owners with flood damage still believe their insurance company has underpaid their claim, and are working with attorneys and insurance companies to reach a settlement. Flood insurance is unique, and the deadline for filing a proof of loss is approaching with the one-year anniversary of the storm.
Derman helped form the Wolff & Samson Disaster Recovery Claims Group, which is working with Florida-based flood insurance practitioners to provide focused litigation services to businesses and property owners that suffered significant flood and other disaster-related damages. He counsels clients on the claims process, and is intimately familiar with the related issues surrounding flood insurance claims, including common misconceptions, upcoming deadlines, and the differences between property owners and insurance companies that can lead to litigation. As a member of the Disaster Recovery Claims Group, Derman is a contributor to the Wolff & Samson Flood Insurance Attorneys Blog.
Media Contact: Scott Wasserman,

Paul Orzeske
Honeywell Building Solutions
Hurricane Sandy blatantly exposed the inability of the U.S.' power grid to withstand the stress caused by a natural disaster and highlighted the dire need for heightened energy security and reliability. We were shown that, as a whole, the U.S. power delivery system's complex network of power generation facilities, substations, transmission lines and distribution lines are not designed to withstand or quickly recover from damage inflicted simultaneously on multiple components. Given the damage caused by Sandy, it is clear that there is a more urgent need for secure power supplies. But, are we prepared?
Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions, can speak about what has been done and what can/should be done to strengthen the country's power grid. In particular, he can talk about the potential microgrids hold for utilities, municipalities and even densely populated urban areas like Manhattan, where the concentration of energy use is high to sustain power and energy during a serious weather incident. For example, the Federal Drug Administration's (FDA) White Oak campus was able to withstand Hurricane Sandy and other recent events without any power loss because its microgrid -- designed, installed and operated by Honeywell -- allowed the campus to into "island mode," a capability used dozens of times in 2012 alone.
Orzeske joined Honeywell in 1988 and has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in information technology, sales and operational roles, including serving as general manager of HPS Global Industrial Services, and ACS vice president of IT and Digitization. Prior to assuming his current role in March 2008, Orzeske was vice president, business integration, for the Hand Held Products acquisition. Previously, he was based in Brussels, Belgium, where he served as vice president and general manager for Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) Europe, Middle East and India.  HPS offers a full range of industry-leading automation and control solutions and advanced software applications to key vertical markets, including oil and gas, refining, power, pulp & paper, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Orzeske has a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a master's degree in business administration from DePaul University.
Media Contact: Andrea Clift,

Steve Bennett
Co-founder and Chief Science Officer
EarthRisk Technologies
Bennett is very well-known in the meteorology field as a top expert on extreme weather events. He is available to discuss: quantitative analysis on the unique atmospheric conditions that lead to the Hurricane Sandy superstorm event; new methods scientists are developing using Big Data to better predict where hurricanes will form and where they will strike; and the likelihood of similar events happening in the near future.
Media Contact: Steve Fiore,

Dr. Scott Knowles
Professor, Department of History and Politics
Drexel University
Dr. Knowles is a historian of modern cities, technology, and public policy, with a particular focus on risk and disaster. He is the author of "The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). Knowles believes that Sandy revealed that we are a nation dangerously, and needlessly, over-exposed to disasters. He would love to discuss how we could better protect ourselves from obvious and predictable shortcomings in our disaster protection infrastructure.
Media Contact: Alex McKechnie,


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