2013 Featured Speakers

Steve Ambrosini

Steve Ambrosini

Executive Director, IJIS Institute

Steve Ambrosini is the executive director of the IJIS Institute, a nonprofit corporation formed to help state and local governments develop ways to share information among the disciplines engaged in homeland security, justice, and public safety.

He has had a thirty year career in the field of Information Technology consulting and operations management, working in both the private and public sectors. For more than twenty of those years, he has been working in companies that provided professional technology services and solutions to the public safety and criminal justice communities. During this time, he has been responsible for the delivery of IT services and solutions to a mix of governmental and non-governmental clients.

Prior to joining the IJIS Institute, Steve held senior executive positions in multiple IT and system integration services companies where he was primarily responsible for increasing the delivery capabilities of these organizations. He has been a company founder and lead executive, including serving in the capacity of President and Chief Operation Officer.

Steve has functioned in operations and delivery management roles in both large and small IT services companies. He has been responsible for the delivery of consulting, system integration and outsourcing contracts for companies focused on the public safety and criminal justice markets. As a senior delivery executive, he has served as a team member of multiple corporate leadership committees focused on the development and oversight of enterprise delivery improvement initiatives.

During his career, Steve has been involved in several unique projects in some of the largest jurisdictions in North America, including the City of New York, NY; the Province of Ontario, CN; and, the County of Los Angeles, CA. His experience includes the delivery of several consulting and solution integration projects, including major IT strategic planning engagements where he has led multi-company consultant teams. He has been involved in the development and execution of several innovative contracting and delivery strategies for public safety and justice clients, including: a joint multi-jurisdictional integrated CJIS initiative; transformational outsourcing and privatization programs; private sector funding initiatives; and, benefits based delivery programs.

Don Costanzo

Don Costanzo

Senior Vice President, Technology Solutions, Witt|O’Brien’s

Don Costanzo, Senior Vice President of Witt|O'Brien's Technology Solutions, is an information management and emergency response professional with over 20 years of experience in oil spill response and information management. As former executive vice president for O’Brien’s Response Management Inc.'s business applications development, Don was responsible for the design development and implementation of technology solutions that supported company incident response, consulting, and training services. He has extensive experience in delivering software solutions for computerized maintenance management, electronic planning, and automated Incident Command Systems (ICS) relating to emergency response planning and oil spill operations.

Background and Expertise:

  • Executive Vice President, O’Brien’s Response Management, Inc.
  • Published nationally and internationally in conference proceedings and journals
  • Software Systems Engineer
  • Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, University of Alaska, Anchorage

Chris Diller

Chris Diller

Geospatial Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

Chris Diller is the Geospatial Coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, home to the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management. For the past ten years Chris has overseen and coordinated the department’s mapping activities including support for the State Emergency Operation Center and National Guard Joint Operation Center. Chris is responsible for overseeing all IT-related functions of GIS. He has been active in Wisconsin geospatial activities for the past twenty years which involves ongoing coordination with Federal, state, local and tribal government agencies. Currently Chris serves as the chair of the GIS information sharing working group for the Governor’s Homeland Security Council. Chris is a current board member to the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG). He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography.

Farhad (Hud) Dolatshahi


Senior Scientist, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)

Farhad (Hud) Dolatshahi is a senior research scientist at Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) in San Diego, CA. He has over 30 years of experience studying the effects of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their consequences to the infrastructure and exposed population. His expertise includes modeling and simulation, software engineering and analysis of the consequences of exposure to man-made and natural hazards. His formal education was in Physics and Nuclear Engineering and Sciences and since he joined SAIC in 1979, he has managed and directly participated in various projects involving modeling and simulation of natural and technological hazards using GIS tools and the consequences to the general population at risk of exposure to those hazards. These projects have normally required implementing algorithms and computer software to predict the extent of hazard footprints due to dispersion and transport in atmosphere and subsequent plate-out on the ground surface, and performing analysis of the consequences and risk-assessment to the exposed population. During his tenure at SAIC he has participated in the US-Japan joint reassessment of atomic bomb radiation dosimetry in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, US Nuclear Test Personnel Review Program (NTPR), and Consequence Assessment Tool Set (CATS) programs among others.

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Domingue

Mike Domingue

Geospatial Manager, New Hampshire National Guard; Co-Chair, National Guard GeoGuard States Committee

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Domingue is a 29 year veteran of the New Hampshire National Guard and has held various positions with the New Hampshire Air National Guard and Joint Force Headquarters of the New Hampshire National Guard. He is currently assigned as part of the Adjutant General’s key staff as the New Hampshire National Guard Geospatial Manager focused on Geospatial practices within the state and on a national level. Additionally, he is a co-chair of the National Guard GeoGuard States Committee; the ANG DOMOPS and SSA Tiger Team and a member of the National Information Sharing Consortium.

Chuck Ellstrom

Chuck Ellstrom

Principal, CJE Consulting

Chuck Ellstrom is a strategic thinker with 20 years of business to government experience at multiple levels. He is known for successfully articulating government needs into business solutions, specifically driving business intelligence and analytics solutions into the government space. Chuck is a dynamic, results-oriented, proven team leader with a strong history of performance in developing new and innovative teams to successfully meet challenges for b2g entities.

His background includes a Masters in Public Policy Analysis from East Carolina University. He served his country as an Artillery Officer in the United States Army. Following the Army, Chuck worked for the State of North Carolina in multiple roles. The last role there he served as the Deputy Chief of Operations for the NC Division of Emergency Management. In this role he ran both Public Assistance and Mitigation. He has worked on a total of 16 Presidential disaster declarations, including North Carolina’s largest event, Hurricane Floyd, which was a 500 year flood event in some parts of the state. Following his role with North Carolina he worked for 10 years with SAS Institute Government teams. He created and managed a team of government policy experts that assisted in designing solutions for multiple government issues including Emergency Management, Homeland Security, Justice and Public Safety, Transportation, and Health and Human Services. Chuck is now the owner of his own consulting firm, CJE Consulting, assisting technology companies with understanding the EM/DHS landscape and informing governments of innovative approaches to solving business issues with technology.

In his spare time he plays a little golf, rides a road bike and parents a wonderful 16 year old son who he annually tours major league baseball parks with, including Game 3 of the 2011 World Series.

Grant Ervin

Grant ErvinPublic Safety GIS Program Manager, City of Philadelphia, Deputy Mayor’s Office of Public Safety

U.S. Grant Ervin is the Public Safety GIS Program Manager with the City of Philadelphia, Deputy Mayor’s Office of Public Safety where he is responsible for all geospatial technology within the city’s public safety agencies. Grant has over fifteen years of experience applying geospatial technology across a broad range of different industries, most recently transportation and public safety. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from Kutztown University and a Master’s Degree in Geography from West Chester University.

Eric Frost

Eric Frost

Director, Viz Center, Co-Director, Homeland Security Graduate Program, Co-Director, Center for Information Technology and Infrastructure, San Diego State University

Eric Frost directs the SDSU Viz Center and co-directs the Homeland Security Master’s Program, which includes about 150 Homeland Security practioners from many Federal agencies, state and local government, NGOs, industry, and governments. Much of the program is based on actual interaction with real operational training in the US-Mexico border region, as well as many other international Homeland Security groups such as in Mexico, Central Asia, India, Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Frost and his colleagues use many new technologies and protocols that are enhanced during exercises such as Exercise 24 (x24) series of global events for situational awareness for many challenges including global disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods, tornadoes), man-made events, and positive uses of the same types of geospatial and temporal data. Frost and colleagues work with sensor networks, wireless and optical communications, satellite connectivity, data fusion, visualization, and decision support for first responders and humanitarian groups, especially crossing the civilian-military boundary. Many of the efforts to gather and process terabytes of data in a Cloud Computing environment characterize the Viz Center as it then seeks to send these near real-time data sets out to the edge of the network as in disasters, humanitarian response efforts, and aid to the nation and military as they seek to solve difficult problems globally. Much of what is done is via the Viz Center, its extraordinary collection of Adjunct Faculty and staff, and wonderful family of collaborators in the US military, NGOs, corporations, agencies, and international partners.

Much of their current work is focused on the use of Social Media and near real-time mapping with open-source tools and web services. Their efforts to assist in disaster response such as for Mexico has also morphed into working to increase Trade as a daily means of ensuring that relationships exist, networks are working, and countries are benefiting from collaboration. This International Trade Optimization using technology to help link the world for collaboration and benefiting each other provides a means to learn and enhance technologies and protocols working with governments, organizations, and complex situations. We are also working to incorporate similar ideas with massive sharing of information for sporting events, entertainment, and collaborative learning on a global scale. The application to the underwater world is also becoming a profound interest to look at moving media through time to assist with global solutions.

Dianne Haley

Dianne Haley

Vice-Chair of Core Committee, GIS Corps

Dianne Haley has worked in the field of automated mapping and GIS for 38 years, specializing in the implementation and management of Enterprise GIS Programs. Dianne has a BSc in Geography (Queen’s University), a Certificate in Information Systems Management (University of Calgary), a Certificate in Theoretical and Applied GIS (Simon Fraser University), and an MScGIS (University of Huddersfield). She has served on the URISA Board of Directors, as a Board member, Board Secretary and Board President. She has served GISCorps as a member of the Core Committee for the past six years. She has also been involved with numerous other URISA committees and initiatives, including Chapter Relations, GIS Management Institute, Exemplary Systems in Government, Leadership Development, Workshop Development, URISA Leadership Academy, and Past Presidents.

Phil Harris

Phil Harris

CEO and Co-Founder, Geofeedia

Phil Harris is CEO and co-founder of Geofeedia (www.geofeedia.com). Phil has over 15 years of experience in investing, managing and building Internet-based businesses with firms such as priceline.com. Phil is a graduate of Ohio State University and Harvard Business School.

Brigadier General John W. Heltzel

John W. Heltzel

Director of Kentucky’s Division of Emergency Management and Deputy Commander; Kentucky National Guard

Brigadier General (Retired) John W. Heltzel received his military commission in the Kentucky National Guard and his Bachelors of Arts from Eastern Kentucky University in 1979. In 2007, General Heltzel was selected to serve as the Deputy Commander of Kentucky’s Joint Force Headquarters where he was directly responsible for the training of the Kentucky National Guard in direct support of the Homeland Security Mission.

In July 2008, Governor Steve Beshear appointed General Heltzel to head the Commonwealth’s Division of Emergency Management. Since that time he has directed the response to 10 presidentially declared disasters including 2009’s catastrophic ice storm.

General Heltzel has earned a Master’s in Public Affairs; a Chief Information Officer’s Certificate in Information Technology from the National Defense University and was awarded the Army Fellowship for Strategic Studies at Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where he was awarded a certificate in International Security Studies.

  • Since 2008 – served as the Governor’s lead representative for leading the response to 10 presidentially declared disasters including 3 of the 4 largest disasters to impact the Commonwealth in recent time.
  • Served as the Chairman of the Central Unites States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) in 2010-2012. Led the national planning effort and execution plan for the first ever Resource Allocation Workshop (RAW December 2010) in direct support of the catastrophic planning initiative and in conjunction with one of the nation’s largest exercises, NLE 2011 – focused on the New Madrid Response Seismic Zone.
  • Currently Serving as the Chairman of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) - Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) Committee.
  • Executive Agent and Sponsor for the Comprehensive Hazard Assessment Mitigation Planning System (CHAMPS V1 and V2) for Mitigation Management, Community Risk Management including functional support for Community Profiles, Assessment Management, Planning Management and Project Management. This application integrates the primary emergency management functions required to provide a full review of the threats, hazards and potential impact on critical infrastructure at the community level.

Michael Howell

Michael Howeel

Deputy Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment

On December 6, 2010, Michael Howell became the Deputy Program Manager of the Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE). The Program Manager has government-wide authority to plan, oversee the build-out, and manage use of the ISE to implement the President’s terrorism-related information sharing priorities. Michael’s work focuses on assisting the Program Manager in the development of policies, procedures, guidelines, rules and standards to foster the development and proper operation of the ISE while assisting, monitoring, and assessing implementation of the ISE by departments and agencies.

Prior to joining PM-ISE, Michael served as the Deputy Administrator for Electronic Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing information technology (IT) policy, management, and budget for the Federal government’s $80 billion a year IT investment portfolio. He supported the 2008 Presidential transition and the implementation of management reforms and new initiatives to improve IT investment management and the efficiency and effectiveness of Federal IT, open the government by enhancing transparency and citizen engagement, and improve cybersecurity.

Michael was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Department of the Interior from May 2007 to September 2008 providing leadership to the Department and its bureaus in all areas of information management and technology. Michael served as the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 2004 to 2007. Previously, he was the Portfolio Management Division Chief in Interior’s CIO’s Office, where he was responsible for overseeing management of the Department's $900 million a year IT portfolio. He served two years as the acting CIO and deputy CIO for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and five years in BLM's headquarters budget office.

Michael spent four years in BLM's Oregon State Office as a branch chief, responsible for software development, Geographic Information Systems, and data and records management programs. Michael spent seven years in BLM's Eugene District on forest inventory, land use planning, and environmental analysis. He worked five years in a variety of forest management jobs in the Medford District in southwest Oregon. His career began in 1978 with the U.S. Forest Service in the Coeur d'Alene National Forest in Idaho and the Olympic National Forest in Washington.

A native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Michael graduated in 1977 from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Science with a minor in Wildlife Management. In 2005, he completed the Chief Information Officer certification program at the National Defense University IRM College and in 2008 he obtained the Certified Information System Security Professional certificate.

Dr. Jongkook Lee

Dr. Jongkook Lee

Director, Information Analysis Center, National Disaster Management Institute, South Korea

Dr. Jongkook Lee is the director of Disaster Information Analysis Center at National Disaster Management Institute (NDMI) of Korea. NDMI conducts Research and Development for national disaster and public safety management. NDMI is an affiliated organization of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA).

He leads disaster management research works in developing emerging and innovative technologies in combining GIS and ICT (SNS, LBS, intelligent CCTV, mobile phone, etc.) for real-time and timely response activities.

He has more than 20-years of experiences in water engineering, instrumentation and ICT. He was the CEO of DataPCS, a leading wireless internet data acquisition company from 1999 to 2012.

Pablo Lee

Pablo Lee

Officer, Seattle Police Department

Pablo Lee has worked for the Seattle Police Department since 1999. He was assigned to patrol for ten years working in uniform and in plain clothes. Since 2009, Pablo has been assigned to the Seattle Police Operations Center, where he is part of a group that does planning and maintains situational awareness during critical incidents and preplanned events. The Seattle Police is NIMS compliant and Pablo has endured hundreds of hours of ICS training. When the Operations Center is stood up, Pablo fills the Resource Unit Leader and Finance position. In between events, Pablo is always looking to technology to fill operational gaps. GIS has been the platform for this hobby. For the past year and a half Pablo has partnered with Esri to leverage GIS online for real-time resource tracking, social media mining, and map based event planning.

Chris McIntosh

Chris McIntosh

Interoperable Communications Officer, Commonwealth of Virginia

Chris McIntosh is the Commonwealth’s Interoperable Communications Officer, responsible for the coordination of the numerous local, state, and federal communications systems that are in use throughout the Commonwealth. Prior to his appointment, he served as a subject matter expert for the Virtual USA program where he applied operational and technological best practices to information sharing initiatives at all levels of government. Preceding that, he served as the Operations Section Chief at the Virginia Emergency Operations Center where he was responsible for coordinating the response to large scale incidents and events affecting multiple jurisdictions in the Commonwealth, as well as the operation of the VEOC’s Watch Center. Chris developed and fielded the Virginia Interoperability Picture for Emergency Response (VIPER), which serves as common operating picture for the state. Prior to joining VDEM, Chris was an Operations Analyst for the Navy component of the National Ballistic Missile Defense Program in Arlington, Virginia.

Chris served over ten years in the United States Navy, separating in 2005. He began his career as a Hospital Corpsman specializing in environmental health, industrial hygiene, and communicable disease control. After numerous assignments supporting hospital, surface ship, and fleet marine force units, he was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1999. After commissioning, he served in both the Operations and Combat Systems Departments onboard several surface ships, and conducted numerous deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle.

Chris is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. His professional education includes Naval Preventive Medicine School, the Virginia Professional Management Institute, the Aegis Combat Systems Officer course, and the National Hurricane Center preparedness course.

Sean McSpaden

Sean McSpaden

Deputy Chief Information Officer, State of Oregon

Sean McSpaden currently serves as Oregon’s Deputy State Chief Information Officer. In addition to his state technology leadership role, Sean oversees the administrative operations for Oregon’s Chief Information Office including planning, budgeting, contracting, personnel, and performance management, and oversees the operation of the Geospatial Enterprise Office and IT Investment and Planning sections.

In July 2006, Governor Kulongoski appointed Sean to a three-year term as the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) representative on the State Interoperability Executive Council (SIEC). From February 2006 to December 2007, Sean also served as the chair of the SIEC’s Technical Committee and as a member of the SIEC Executive Committee. Sean currently serves as member of the SIEC planning committee and is actively involved in Oregon’s state and regional planning for interaction with FirstNet and the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.

Since September 2009, Sean has been actively involved in the US Department of Homeland Security’s Virtual USA initiative. As part of this work, Sean served as the Technical Working Group Chair for the Virtual USA Pacific Northwest Pilot – a collaborative effort to develop a common operating picture for emergency management for Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Since January 2011, Sean has served as Oregon’s representative to the FEMA Region X Regional Interagency Steering Committee - (RISC) GIS Subcommittee.

Since October 2011, Sean has led Oregon’s development and deployment team for RAPTOR – Real Time Assessment and Planning Tool for Oregon (an Esri ArcGIS Viewer for Adobe Flex) – and its mobile version, iRAPTOR (a native iPad application that leverages Esri’s ArcGIS Runtime for iOS). RAPTOR and iRAPTOR were recognized with an ESRI Special Achievement in GIS Award at the 2012 ESRI International User Conference.

Since June 2012, Sean has served as the Chair of the National Information Sharing Consortium (NISC). The NISC is currently comprised of forty-one (41) member organizations that represent more than 100 state and local government (civilian and military) and non-governmental organizations across the U.S. and Canada. The NISC is dedicated to sharing tools and best practices to improve situational awareness and interoperability across the nation’s homeland security, and emergency management and public safety communities.

Among other topics, Sean and his team are very involved in assessing how Cloud-based solutions might best be deployed across Oregon state government. In 2011-12, Sean served on a four (4) state team that executed contracts with multiple vendors for GIS Cloud Computing Services through the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA). In addition, Sean currently serves as a government advisor to the TechAmerica Foundation’s Cloud for State and Local Government Commission.

Sean holds a Bachelors of Arts in Business Management from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He is a 2006 graduate of the Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management’s Certificate of Public Management Program. Sean completed Oregon’s project management certification program in 1999 and enterprise architecture certification program (TOGAF) in 2008. Sean is a member of several professional organizations including the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), the National States Geographic Information Council

Sean holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Business Management from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He is a 2006 graduate of the Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management’s Certificate of Public Management Program. Sean completed Oregon’s project management certification program in 1999 and enterprise architecture certification program (TOGAF) in 2008. Sean is a member of several professional organizations including the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

Peter O’Rourke

Peter O'Rourke

Executive Director, National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation

Peter O’Rourke is Executive Director of the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation. The NAPSG Foundation is a not-for-profit organization focused on overcoming the challenges faced by Federal, state and local public safety agencies in implementing effective geospatial information systems. As Executive Director, Peter is responsible for leading the Foundation’s strategic priorities and overseeing all programming in cooperation with partner public safety organizations. Under Peter’s direction, NAPSG Foundation established a partnership with the US Department of Homeland Security around data sharing & interoperability for emergency responders and has also launched several new education and training initiatives to advance the use of GIS by all public safety disciplines.

For over the past 15 years, Peter has worked with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) in its Washington, DC offices. The Association represents the 51 most senior fire officials at the state level. Peter continues to manage the voice/data interoperability and energy safety programs. He works closely with the US Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Energy and other Federal and state and local agencies. Among the specific projects that Peter manages for NASFM are pipeline emergency response planning, liquefied natural gas import terminal risk management, geospatially-enabled incident data collection & management, and hazardous materials training curriculum. Peter’s continued work with NASFM allows for close coordination of related efforts with NAPSG Foundation priorities.

Prior to joining the State Fire Marshals Association, Peter served as a consultant to the US Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons cleanup program. In this capacity, he managed projects designed to increase technology developed and transfer from the DOE weapons laboratories. Additionally, Peter advised the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management on privatization of various aspects of the weapons cleanup program.

Peter lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and two children.

Steven Pollackov

Steven Pollackov

GIS Commanding Officer, Fire Department, City of New York

Captain Steven Pollackov has worked for the Fire Department City of New York – Bureau of Emergency Medical Service (FDNY-EMS) since 1989. He has been an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Paramedic and Lieutenant in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Steven responded and worked at both attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001.

After being assigned an administrative Lieutenant position at the FDNY’s Headquarters in 2002, he became the Commanding Officer of the FDNY Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Unit in 2003. In 2006, Steven was promoted to the rank of Captain and remained as the Commanding Officer of the FDNY GIS Unit.

Captain Steven Pollackov is a also member of the FDNY Incident Management Team (IMT) as a GIS Technical Specialist. Since being a member of the FDNY IMT, he has been involved with deployments for incidents including; Hurricane Earl (2010), NYC Blizzard (2010), Hurricane Irene (2011), Susquehanna River Floods in Binghamton, NY (2011) and Hurricane Sandy (2012).

Major General William Reddel, III

William Reddel

The Adjutant General, New Hampshire National Guard

Major General William N. Reddel III assumed duties as The Adjutant General, New Hampshire on May 20, 2009. General Reddel serves as Military Chief of Staff to the Governor and is the Executive Head of the Adjutant General's Department. As Adjutant General, he oversees all aspects of the Adjutant General's Department, which includes Army and Air National Guard and the New Hampshire Veteran's Cemetery.

General Reddel received a commission through the Academy of Military Science in June 1980. In 1981, he graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas and Combat Crew Training School at Castle Air Force Base, California. He has served in various pilot positions and was Commander, 157th Aircraft Generation Squadron and 133rd Air Refueling Squadron. He has accumulated more than 5,000 flying hours operating a variety of military aircraft.

Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers

Fire Lieutenant, Kirkland Fire Department

Chris Rogers is a fire lieutenant with 23 years of experience and an unusual fascination with maps. He started his fire service experience as a resident firefighter while going to college for cartography. Chris realized his professional passion was being a firefighter; however he never lost his excitement for cartography. He became a career firefighter in the Seattle area about 16 years ago. When his department hired him they had in the back of their mind that “This is the guy that is going to fix our maps”. They had a map that used CAD for its base map and if someone had a map request they would “draw” (color over the top of) the map. In 1997, Chris converted that map into shapefiles and his department’s GIS was born.

Chris is the chairman for the NAPSG NW Region Workgroup and coordinator for the Incident Symbology Workgroup. His department was awarded an Esri SAG Award in 2011 and he received the 2012 Award for Excellence in Public Safety GIS from the NAPSG Foundation.

Vincenzo Sarta

Vincenza Sarta

Information Management Support Officer, Frontex Situation Center, Operations Division, Frontex

Vincenzo Sarta works at the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) as an Information Management Support Officer. Presently he holds the position of Service Manager of the Joint Operations Reporting Application (JORA), an IT Software System developed for data reporting and data visualization. Within the Frontex Situation Center he worked as a JORA Product Manager and as a Duty Officer in the Situation Room.

Prior to joining Frontex, Vincenzo worked in the United States Navy and served as an Officer of the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare) on two different tours.

Rashawn Washington

Rashawn Washington

Chemical Engineer/GIS Lead, DTRA Reachback

Rashawn Washington is originally from Hemingway, South Carolina, a small town near the coastal areas of Georgetown and Myrtle Beach, SC. Rashawn obtained his undergraduate (B.S.) and masters (M.S.) degree in Chemical Engineering from NC A&T State University, in Greensboro, NC. Rashawn currently works for the Engility Corporation as a contractor for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), as a Lead Chemical Engineer/ GIS specialist.

James Lee Witt

Jamess Lee Witt

Executive Chairman of the Board, Witt|O’Brien’s

Mr. James Lee Witt was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in April 1993. In February 1996, President Clinton elevated Mr. Witt to cabinet status, a first for a FEMA Director. As FEMA Director, Mr. Witt coordinated federal disaster relief on behalf of President Clinton, including the response and recovery activities of 28 federal agencies and departments, the American Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies. He also oversaw the National Flood Insurance Program, the U.S. Fire Administration, and other proactive mitigation activities that reduce loss of life and property from all types of hazards. Mr. Witt directed 2,500 employees located in Washington, DC, and 10 regional offices. From 1993 to 2000, Mr. Witt oversaw more than 350 disasters. More importantly, he was responsible for response and recovery operations for some of the most devastating disasters of all time, including the most costly flood disaster in the nation's history, the most costly earthquake, and a dozen damaging hurricanes. James Lee Witt has over 25 years of disaster management experience, culminating in his appointment as the Director of FEMA, where he served from 1993-2001. In this capacity, he is credited with turning FEMA from an unsuccessful bureaucratic agency to an internationally lauded all-hazards disaster management agency. His leadership abilities have been praised by nationally recognized organizations, including the Council for Excellence in Government, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and the National Association of Broadcasters.