Committee Biographical Information
John F. Ahearne (NAE), chair, is executive director emeritus of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society; emeritus director of the Sigma Xi Ethics Program; and an adjunct professor of engineering at Duke University. Prior to working at Sigma Xi, Dr. Ahearne served as vice president and senior fellow at Resources for the Future and as commissioner and chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He worked in the White House Energy Office and as deputy assistant secretary of energy. He also worked on weapons systems analysis, force structure, and personnel policy as deputy and principal deputy assistant secretary of defense. Serving in the U.S. Air Force (USAF), he worked on nuclear weapons effects and taught at the USAF Academy. Dr. Ahearne’s research interests include risk analysis, risk communication, energy analysis, reactor safety, radioactive waste, nuclear weapons, materials disposition, science policy, and environmental management. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1996 for his leadership in energy policy and the safety and regulation of nuclear power. Dr. Ahearne has served on numerous National Research Council (NRC) Committees, having chaired several, and is a former president of the Society for Risk Analysis. Dr. Ahearne earned his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1966.
Gregory B. Baecher (NAE) is the G.L. Martin Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. His primary area of expertise is in infrastructure assessment and protection, with particular concern to waterways. His research also focuses on geoenvironmental engineering, reliability and risk analysis, and environmental history. Dr. Baecher has much NRC experience: he is a past member of the Water Science and Technology Board and the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and has served on various NRC committees including one concerning water security planning for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and another concerned with science and technology for countering terrorism. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006. He received his B.S.C.E. in civil engineering from the University of California and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. (1972) in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Vicki M. Bier holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Department of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has directed the Center for
Human Performance and Risk Analysis since 1995. Her current research interests include the application of decision analysis, risk analysis, game theory, and related methods to homeland security and critical infrastructure protection. As such, she brings to the committee a wealth of knowledge about DHS programs and models. Other interests include the use of accident precursors or near misses in probabilistic risk analysis, the use of expert opinion, and methods for effective risk communication, both to decision makers and to the general public. She served as the engineering editor for Risk Analysis from 1997 through 2001 and has been a councilor of both the Society for Risk Analysis and the Decision Analysis Society. Dr. Bier has served as a member of the Radiation Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. She resigned from the committee on July 1, 2009, when she began to perform research supported by the Department of Homeland Security. She received a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford University.
Robin Cantor is principal at Exponent Consulting. Dr. Cantor specializes in environmental and energy economics, applied economics, statistics, risk management, and insurance claims analysis. Prior to joining Exponent, she led the liability estimation practice at Navigant Consulting and assisted companies and financial institutions with analysis to better understand asbestos and other product liability exposures. Other positions she has held include principal and managing director of the Environmental and Insurance Claims Practice at LECG, LLC, program director for Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences, a research program of the National Science Foundation (NSF); and senior research appointments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She was president of the Society for Risk Analysis in 2002, and from 2001-2003 she served as an appointed member of the Research Strategies Advisory Committee of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. Dr. Cantor received her B.S. in mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in economics from Duke University.
Timothy A. Cohn is a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). He served as hazards theme coordinator in the director's office in the agency’s headquarters. Part of his duties involved interaction with other federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), concerning science and policy matters related to the host of natural disasters in which the federal government has responsibilities. He is also a hydrologist in the USGS Office of Surface Water. He has extensive experience and expertise in statistical hydrology, especially the estimation of flood risks. Dr. Cohn received his B.A. in mathematics from Swarthmore College and his M.S. and Ph.D. (1983) in water resources systems engineering from Cornell University.
Debra Elkins resigned from the committee on December 7, 2009 when she took a position with the DHS’s Office of Risk Management and Analysis. Dr.
Elkins was formerly with the Quantitative Research and Analytics group of Allstate Insurance Company in Northbrook, Illinois. Her research interests include risk modeling for enterprise operations, manufacturing and supply chain vulnerability analysis and disruption consequence modeling, decision-making under uncertainty, computational issues in stochastic processes, applied probability and statistics, and enterprise-scale simulation. Prior to joining Allstate in 2007, Dr. Elkins carried out similar functions with General Motors R&D. She has served as an industry technical expert for DHS and NSF, and she has briefed the U.S. National Defense University/Industrial College of the Armed Forces on global manufacturing and supply chain risks. Dr. Elkins received a B.S. in Mathematical Physics from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering–Operations Research from Texas A&M University. She recently served on the NRC’s Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications.
Ernest R. Frazier, Sr., is president of Countermeasures Assessment and Security, Camden, N.J., which is a security consulting firm for government and private industry. Prior to his current position, Mr. Frazier directed the public safety division of New Castle County in Delaware where he managed nationally accredited sworn law enforcement agency, emergency communications, 911, fire and ambulance, emergency medical paramedic services, and emergency preparedness and response functions. At the time of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, he was senior vice president and chief of security for Amtrak overseeing security services to more than 24 million annual rail passengers and 20,000 employees and corporate emergency preparedness and response functions. He holds a B.A. in business law from Temple University and a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law.
Katherine Hall is director of strategy and plans for global analysis at BAE Systems. Prior to joining BAE, she directed the analysis and production section of the National Geospatial-lntelligence Agency (NGA), which is responsible for the management and strategic direction of several thousand intelligence analysts. Ms. Hall led the NGA’s Integrated Operations Center in Denver which was cited by the Director of National Intelligence as a model of interagency co-operation. Prior to moving to NGA, she was a senior intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As part of CIA’s Office of Military Support, she directed CIA’s representative to NORAD/USSPACECOM, where she acted as a senior intelligence advise to the commander. Ms. Hall was also a national intelligence officer and head of the National Intelligence Council’s Analytic Group, an organization of senior intelligence officers responsible for the production of national estimates. She personally drafted several national intelligence estimates and with others was the developer of the first U.S. government model to estimate the spread and impact of AIDS. She also served in several senior positions in CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence such as deputy director of the CIA's Office of Asian Pacific and Latin American Analysis and director of
the Office of Africa and Latin America. She began her career as a military and weapons analyst. Ms. Hall received her B.A. in history and physics from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. in international relations from George Washington University.
Roger E. Kasperson (NAS) is a research professor and distinguished scientist in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University. He has published widely in the areas of risk analysis, risk communication, global environmental change, risk and ethics, and environmental policy. Dr. Kasperson was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 for his work on extending scientific assessment of risk into the social realm, creating a theory for the social amplification and attenuation of risk—with practical applications in analyzing national cultures and multinational corporations, moral bases of technological choice, and environmental degradation. He has been a consultant or advisor to numerous public and private agencies on energy and environmental issues and has served on various NRC committees and the Council of the Society for Risk Analysis. From 1992 to 1996, he chaired the International Geographical Union Commission on Critical Situations/Regions in Environmental Change. Currently, he serves on the NRC’s Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change Committee and the Committee on Strategic Advice for the Climate Change Program of the U.S. National Research Council. Dr. Kasperson has a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Chicago.
Donald Prosnitz is currently a consultant and senior principal researcher (adjunct) at RAND Corporation. His studies at RAND concentrate on the utilization of technology to solve national and homeland security issues. Dr. Prosnitz was previously the deputy associate director (programs) for nonproliferation, homeland and international security at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he was responsible for overseeing all of the directorate’s technical programs. He received his B.S. from Yale University and his Ph.D. in physics from the MIT. He then spent two years as an assistant professor in the Engineering and Applied Science Department at Yale before joining Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as an experimental laser physicist. Over the next three decades, he conducted research on lasers, particle accelerators, high-power microwaves, free-electron lasers, and remote sensing, and he managed the design, construction, and operation of numerous research facilities. In 1990, he was awarded the U.S. Particle Accelerator Award for Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology. In 1999, Dr. Prosnitz was named the first chief science and technology adviser for the Department of Justice (DOJ) by Attorney General Janet Reno. In this newly created position, he was responsible for coordinating technology policy among DOJ’s component agencies and with state and local law enforcement entities on science and technology projects and programs. In 2002, he was named a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS); he is currently the chair of the APS Forum on Physics and Society and was until re-
cently a member of the NRC’s Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology.
Joseph V. Rodricks is a principal of ENVIRON International, a technical consulting firm, and a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is a toxicologist specializing in the evaluation of health risks associated with human exposure to chemical substances of all types. Dr. Rodricks came to consulting after a 15-year career as a scientist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He joined FDA’s Bureau of Science after receiving degrees in chemistry (MIT) and biochemistry (University of Maryland). His experience extends from pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and foods, to occupational chemicals and environmental contaminants. He currently serves on the NRC’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology and has served on many committees of the NRC and the Institute of Medicine, including the committees that produced the seminal work Risk Assessment in the Federal Government (1983) and the recent study Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment. He is author of the widely used text Calculated Risks.
Mitchell J. Small is the H. John Heinz III Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Small’s research focuses on mathematical modeling of environmental quality, including statistical methods and uncertainty analysis, human exposure modeling, and environmental decision support. Recent applications include sensor placement to protect water distribution systems and leak detection at CO2 geologic sequestration sites. He has served on several NRC committees, including the Committee on Risk Characterization and the Committee on Environmental Remediation at Naval Facilities. Dr. Small is an associate editor for the journal Environmental Science & Technology and a fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis. He received his B.S. in civil engineering and public affairs from Carnegie Mellon University and his M.A. and Ph.D. (1982) in environmental engineering from the University of Michigan.
Monica Schoch-Spana is a medical anthropologist, senior associate with the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and assistant professor in the School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Schoch-Spana has led research, education, and advocacy efforts to encourage greater consideration by authorities of the general public’s capacity to confront bioattacks and epidemics constructively—a realm she has termed “the people’s role in biodefense.” She recently chaired the Working Group on Citizen Engagement in Health Emergency Planning and was the principal organizer of the 2006 U.S.-Canada summit on Disease, Disaster, and Democracy—The Public’s Stake in Health Emergency Planning. In 2003, she organized the national summit Leadership During Bioterrorism: The Public as an Asset, Not a Problem and chaired the Working Group on Governance Dilemmas
in Bioterrorism Response that issued consensus recommendations to mayors, governors, and top health officials nationwide in 2004. Over the last 10 years, Schoch-Spana has briefed numerous federal, state, and local officials as well as medical, public health, and public safety professionals on critical issues in biosecurity. She has served on several NRC committees, and is presently with the National Academies’ Disasters Roundtable. She is a faculty member of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a university-based center of excellence supported by DHS. Dr. Schoch-Spana received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Johns Hopkins University.
Ellis M. Stanley, Sr., is director of Western Emergency Management Services at Dewberry, in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he was general manager of the City of Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Department. He has directed emergency management programs around the United States for 25 years and has also served as a county fire marshal, fire and rescue commissioner, and county safety officer. Mr. Stanley was president of the International Association of Emergency Managers, the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners, and the National Defense Transportation Association. He is the City of Los Angeles’ representative in the Cluster Cities Project of the Earthquake Mega-cities Initiative—a project that fosters sharing of knowledge, experience, expertise, and technology to reduce risk to large metropolises from earthquakes and other major disasters. Mr. Stanley is also an adviser to the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. He was previously a member of the NRC’s Natural Disasters Roundtable. He has a B.S. (1973) in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.