Charles E. Allen III
Charles Allen is the director the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Affairs of the City of New Orleans. He has also served as president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association (HCNA). Founded in 1981, the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association is a neighborhood organization in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, whose mission is to improve the living conditions and serve the needs of its residents, preserve cultural and architectural heritage, serve as a clearinghouse for information, and actively represent the interests of the neighborhood with city, state, and federal agencies; private businesses; community organizations; and individuals for the purpose of improving the community. As HCNA president, Mr. Allen helped to spearhead multiple restoration and recovery efforts in the Holy Cross–Lower Ninth Ward community. Mr. Allen has been an active REACH NOLA partner since its inception in April 2006, and co-leads the Sustainability Workshop project and sits on the Health and Resilience project council.
Knox Andress, R.N.
Knox Andress is a practicing emergency department nurse and the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) response coordinator at Christus Schumpert Health System, Shreveport, Louisiana. He leads hospital disaster planning and chairs his hospital’s disaster safety team. Mr. Andress also serves on the Shreveport Metropolitan Medical Response System’s (MMRS) Hospital Committee and is the Region 7 hospital coordinator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)—Louisiana Bioterrorism Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program. He is the chair-elect of the Emergency Nurses Association’s Emergency Preparedness Committee and instructs WMD medical management throughout
Louisiana with the Louisiana Homeland Defense Education Team. Mr. Knox is a Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Domestic Preparedness, WMD instructor and serves as a consultant to DOJ and SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation).
Justin Augustine is the chief executive officer of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) as well as a vice president of Veolia Transportation. Mr. Augustine is a professional in management and finance with more than 28 years of experience in the fields of transportation management and finance and accounting. The Veolia Transportation team is responsible for all aspects of the public transportation system in New Orleans. The city of New Orleans and the RTA Board of Commissioners has worked with Veolia Transportation to be the first city in the United States to implement a “delegated management” modeled contract under which Veolia Transportation assumed the numerous responsibilities that are associated with running an urban public transit system. As a transit executive, he has managed numerous multimodal transit agencies including Capital Metro in Austin, Texas; the Africa Transportation Company in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Regional Transit Authority and Transit Management of Southeastern Louisiana, Inc., in New Orleans, Louisiana; and many transit agencies in California, including San Diego, Santa Clarita, San Francisco, Oakland, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, San Jose, Redding, Chico, Victor Valley, Antelope Valley, and Yolo County. Mr. Augustine received his undergraduate degree from Xavier University, where he studied accounting.
John M. Barry
John Barry is a prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author whose books have won more than 20 awards. In 2005 the National Academies named The Great Influenza, a study of the 1918 pandemic, the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine. In 2006 the National Academies also invited Mr. Barry to give its annual Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture; he is the only nonscientist ever to give that lecture. In 1998, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America won the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for the year’s best book of American history. After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana congressional delegation asked Mr. Barry to chair a bipartisan working group on flood control. In 2007 a Democratic governor appointed him to both the Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Authority East, which oversees levee districts in the metropolitan New Orleans area, and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which develops and implements the hurricane protection plan for the state. In 2009 a Republican governor reappointed him to both positions. In addition to serving on advisory boards at Johns Hopkins and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is on
the boards of the Society of American Historians and American Heritage Rivers, and the advisory board for the National Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque. Before becoming a writer, Mr. Barry coached football at the high school, small college, and major college levels. Currently distinguished scholar at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier Universities, he lives in New Orleans.
Steven Bingler received his architectural training at the University of Virginia, where he was free to indulge his curiosity of democratic principles. In 1983 he founded Concordia, a community-based planning and architecture firm, to pursue systemic and collaborative design practices. Concord—which means harmony among things and agreement between people—is the firm’s one-word mission statement. Design projects include the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, where a cooperative partnership with seven sculptors explored visual art and architectural design as a collaborative enterprise; and the Henry Ford Academy in Dearborn, Michigan, where Concordia worked with teams of teachers, students, and arts curators to integrate a learning environment for 400 inner-city high school students into the 80-acre Henry Ford Museum complex. In 2006, Concordia coordinated the development of the Unified New Orleans Plan, a comprehensive strategy for the redevelopment of the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The process incorporated the work of 12 urban planning firms, 54 community planning district meetings and 3 citywide community congress events, with a combined participation of more than 9,000 New Orleans citizens. Concordia was also the principle education facilities planning consultant for the development of the New Orleans School Facilities Master Plan, which features a melding of school planning and urban design principles to form a nexus of walkable, equitable, and environmentally sustainable community programs, facilities, parks and public spaces. Concordia’s research alliances have included the MIT Media Lab, Harvard University’s Project Zero, the University of New Mexico, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Thornburg Institute, the Appalachian Education Lab, and the West Ed Research Lab. In addition, Mr. Bingler has served as a special consultant to the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education for policy related to the design of schools as centers of community. His papers have been published in a wide range of books and journals in the fields of urban planning, architectural design, education, public health, and smart growth.
Paul Byers, M.D.
Paul Byers received his B.S. in biology from Millsaps College. He earned his medical degree from the University of Mississippi, with training in internal medicine in 1992. Dr. Byers has been employed with the Mississippi State Department of Health since 1993 in the position of medical director for the Copiah County
and Hinds County Health Departments. He is currently the deputy state epidemiologist for the Office of Communicable Diseases, Division of Epidemiology.
Mike Chaney is Mississippi’s commissioner of insurance. Before his election in 2007, Commissioner Chaney served 7 years in the Mississippi House of Representatives and 8 years in the Mississippi Senate. Since taking office in January 2008, Commissioner Chaney has opened a Mississippi Insurance Department office on the Gulf Coast. He has also spearheaded a wind mitigation program for the Mississippi Gulf Coast region to strengthen homes against hurricane-force winds and help homeowners realize discounts on their wind insurance premiums. In addition to the mitigation program, he has overseen the addition of 49 property and casualty companies in the state, with 30 being multiline and 19 single-line companies, and he has overseen the addition of 18 surplus lines companies. Commissioner Chaney has worked to streamline and modernize the licensing procedures used in the department; strengthen and stabilize the state’s Windpool, the insurer of last resort for some homeowners; lengthen the amount of time the department has in responding to rate filings; worked to secure insurance for volunteer firefighters; and sought legislation to protect victims of domestic violence from discrimination by health insurance companies. He has also directed a market conduct study on a major insurer in the state and studied and reduced several major rate filings by companies. Commissioner Chaney has received many awards for his legislative work in education, economic development, and catastrophe recovery, and has served on many community development entities, including as president of the Vicksburg–Warren County Chamber of Commerce and president of the Vicksburg–Warren County Economic Development Committee. He is also a Rotarian and Paul Harris fellow. He is a past president of the Republican Elected Officials of Mississippi and serves on the state Republican Executive Committee. He is a 1966 graduate of Mississippi State University with a B.S. in business and finance and is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in Vietnam in 1968–1969.
Craig E. Colten
Craig Colten is the Carl O. Sauer Professor of Geography at Louisiana State University. A native of north Louisiana, his recent research has focused on New Orleans. His award-winning An Unnatural Metropolis: Wresting New Orleans from Nature (2005) appeared months before Hurricane Katrina and provided essential geographic insight on the circumstances that contributed to the calamity unleashed by the storm. A subsequent book, Perilous Place, Powerful Storms (2009), portrayed the protracted construction of a hurricane protection system in southeast Louisiana. Currently he is a research associate with the Community and Regional Resilience Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a member of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Strategic Science Working Group, which
was established in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil release in the Gulf of Mexico. He also serves as the editor of the Geographical Review.
Joseph Donchess is the executive director of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association. Before joining the association in 1986, Mr. Donchess worked as an attorney for the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Resources. Mr. Donchess is a member of several organizations, including the Louisiana State Bar Association, Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association, Alzheimer’s Association of Louisiana and Louisiana Patients’ Compensation Fund Oversight Board. He served on the Louisiana Health Care Collaborative, a commission assigned to redesign health care in Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He received his undergraduate degree from Chaminade University of Honolulu and his juris doctorate from Southern Law School.
Alice Graham is the executive director of the Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force (MCIDTF). MCIDTF was formed in 1980 as a Long-term Recovery Committee to respond to the needs of Mississippi Gulf Coast citizens following Hurricane Frederick. The task force also provided services to the community after Elena in 1986, and Georges in 1998. MCIDTF is working with its partners to address the short- and long-term impacts of the Gulf oils spill disaster on coastal residences. As a member of South Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), it played a key role in the summit’s organization and coordination. MCIDTF is working with local partners to determine necessary resources for assisting citizens affected by the oil spill disaster. Before taking this position, Dr. Graham was a professor of pastoral care and counseling at Hood Theological Seminary. She holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in pastoral psychology and counseling.
Mr. Grillo is the director of transmission project management and construction and incident commander for Entergy Corporation. Mr. Grillo previously served as Entergy Arkansas’ director of dristribution operations, a job he held for 5 years. During his career at Entergy, Mr. Grillo has held positions in engineering, distribution planning, system meter reading, revenue protection, and load research. He has worked both for electric and gas operations for three of the five utility companies. He also worked for Entergy’s London Electricity company for 2 years. He is an alumnus of the University of New Orleans.
John M. Hosey
John Hosey received his M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest. He is currently serving as the disaster mental health project man-
ager and disaster response coordinator for the Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force in Biloxi, Mississippi. He serves as a board member for the South Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (SMVOAD) and as the committee chair for the Emotional and Spiritual Care Committee for the MSVOAD. He has co-published several articles related to faith-based and collaborative partnership recovery efforts following hurricane Katrina. His work includes an effort with Dr. Jamie Aten (Wheaton College) and Dr. Sharon Topping (University of Southern Mississippi) to develop collaborative partnerships between faith-based organizations and mental health professionals to address disaster preparedness plans for congregations and addressing the unmet psychosocial needs following disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav and more recently the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. This effort has been funded by the American Red Cross, Foundation for the Mid-South, and the United Jewish Communities. More recently, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health awarded his organization a grant to manage a five-partner mental health collaborative to conduct a comprehensive assessment and provide a culturally appropriate intervention program to address the psychosocial impacts of the Gulf oil spill on residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Mr. Hosey is also currently serving as lead facilitator and chair for the Mississippi Coast Primary/Mental Health Collaborative and as the chair for the sixth annual Mississippi Coast Mental Health and Community Wellness Conference. As a part of its work in Katrina recovery, his organization was recognized in 2009 as a merit finalist for the 2008 Community Partnership Award.
Natalie Jayroe is the president and chief executive officer of Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans and Acadiana. Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita she was the Feeding America representative at the Joint Field Office in Baton Rouge. The mission of Second Harvest is to lead the fight against hunger in south Louisiana through food distribution, advocacy, education, and disaster response. Second Harvest currently distributes more than 19 million pounds of food annually through more than 240 faith-based and nonprofit agency members in 23 parishes of south Louisiana. Through the Lagniappe Backpack Program, 1,100 children at 14 schools receive backpacks of kid-friendly nutritious food every Friday of the school year. In 2010 Second Harvest piloted a summer feeding program. Senior Box, 9-A-Day the Head Start Way, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach are other programs that Second Harvest has added under Ms. Jayroe’s leadership to help achieve its mission. Second Harvest continues to be a strong partner of local, state and federal agencies in disaster response, providing emergency food relief after hurricanes Gustav and Ike and currently working to support families affected by the Gulf oil spill. Second Harvest has also worked with five Louisiana universities to conduct a “farm-to-fork” food system analysis of post-Katrina and Rita south Louisiana. In
her 17-year career in food banking, Ms. Jayroe has since held several positions of leadership within the Feeding America network. She was a founding member of the National Council of America’s Second Harvest, served on the 2004 Contract Task Force, and chaired the eastern region of Feeding America from 2000 to 2002. She served on many national state and local boards and committees while in Georgia, including the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board of Georgia, the Board of Parent and Child, and as chair of the United Way Executive’s Association. Currently, Ms. Jayroe is a founding member of the Louisiana Food Bank Association and the Food Policy Advisory Committee of New Orleans’ City Council. She is a member of Louisiana’s Sustainable Food Policy Council. She was named one of City Business’s Women of the Year in 2007, and in 2008 she was honored with MAZON’s Irving Cramer award, given to individual leaders and groups who emphasize passion, wisdom, and dedication in their mission to end hunger across America.
Pam Jenkins is a professor at Louisiana State University. Dr. Jenkins teaches primarily in two areas, criminology and women’s studies. She has taught classes on criminology, sociology of law, women and crime, and sociology of corrections. Her most recent course offerings include an applied sociology course and a women’s studies service learning course. She is also a member of the faculty in the Women’s Studies Program at the University of New Orleans (UNO). Her research is on a variety of topics that concern how communities sustain themselves, solve problems, and resolve conflicts. She is also a founding and associate member of UNO’s Center for Hazard Assessment, Response and Technology. She has published on a variety of community issues, including several manuscripts outlining community responses to domestic violence, and more recently, several articles focusing on Louisiana coastal communities’ response to coastal erosion. Post-Katrina, she has been documenting the response to Katrina as part of a national research team on Hurricane Katrina evacuees. She has published on first responders, faith-based communities, response to the storm, and the experiences of the elderly during and after Katrina.
John R. Kelly
John Kelly serves as a vital link between the Mayor’s Office, City Council, department directors and other entities to facilitate outcomes consistent with the overall vision and mission of the city of Gulfport, Mississippi. The chief administrative officer (CAO) oversees the city’s more than 20 departments and is responsible for oversight and management of city operations, ensuring efficiency, accountability and productivity in the city’s commitment to deliver quality services through the daily operations of municipal government. Dr. Kelly is a 1970 graduate of Alcorn State University. He also earned a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a doctorate from the University of
Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Before becoming Gulfport’s CAO, he served as the city’s municipal court administrator for a short period. In addition, he has also served as president of the Board of Gulfport Job Corps Center. From 2000 to 2004 he served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Gulf Coast Medical Center. Dr. Kelly served 4 years as a national officer (regional vice president) of his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha. He is currently servicing as sire archon of his local Boule’ of Sigma Pi Phi. Last year he was named a trustee for Leadership Gulf Coast. He is a member of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, where he serves as chairman of the Board of Deacons and the church’s Rebuilding Committee. The church, which was virtually destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, recently moved into its new $3 million facility.
Rupert Lacy was appointed director of the Emergency Management/Homeland Security/E911 Agencies for Harrison County in August 2006. Before serving in this position, he was captain of Harrison County Sheriff’s Department for 6 years.
Mary Claire Landry
Mary Claire Landry is the director for Domestic Violence Programs at the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans is an umbrella agency of health and community services throughout the archdiocese. On July 13, 1938, the agency was formally incorporated under the name of Associated Catholic Charities of New Orleans, Inc. On August 8, 1996 the name of Associated Catholic Charities of New Orleans, Inc., was legally changed to Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Tom Lansford is associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters and professor of political science at the University of Southern Mississippi. His research areas and public speaking topics include transatlantic relations, homeland security, American foreign and security policy, arms trade and disarmament, and environmental politics and coastal development. He is also the editor of multiple books including Judging Bush; America in World History; Ethics and Global Politics; and U.S. Foreign Policy and Conflict in the Islamic World. He received his B.A. from Virginia Wesleyan College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Old Dominion University.
Doug Meffert is the Eugenie Schwartz Professor of River and Coastal Studies and deputy director for policy at the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research (CBR), where he also serves as CBR’s chief financial officer. He is also director of Tulane’s RiverSphere, a new initiative fostering green jobs in renewable energy through testing and development of hydrokinetic energy systems in
the Mississippi River. Dr. Meffert has faculty appointments in Tulane’s School of Public Health’s Environmental Health Sciences Department and the Tulane Law School’s Payson Center for International Development. He is also co-principal of Meffert + Etheridge Environmental Projects, LLC. Recent awards include a 2007 joint Loeb Fellowship at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he currently serves as a faculty associate and, in 2009, an award of excellence from the American Society of Landscape Architects. Dr. Meffert has more than 15 years of research, policy development, and practice related to urban sustainability and coastal restoration and protection. He currently serves as the New Orleans coordinator for the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Urban Biosphere Program, which is dedicated to intellectual exchange and research to promote resilience and sustainability of urban ecosystems worldwide. Dr. Meffert received his undergraduate engineering and a master’s in business degrees at Tulane University and doctorate of environmental science and engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Reilly Morse is a senior attorney at Mississippi Center for Justice. Mr. Morse is a third-generation Gulfport lawyer with more than 20 years experience in civil and criminal law. He has specialized in land use, zoning, and environmental justice issues with pro bono and paying clients that include the low-income, minority, and substantially elderly communities of North Gulfport and Turkey Creek, the Mississippi Sierra Club, Concerned Citizens to Protect Isles and Point, and Citizens Association for Responsible Development. Mr. Morse is a former assistant municipal judge and assistant municipal prosecutor of the city of Gulfport. He is also a member of the Affordable Housing Committee of the Governor’s Recovery Commission and the Harrison County Recovery Committee. A graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law and Millsaps College, Mr. Morse held a judicial clerkship with Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Michael Sullivan (1984–1985); he is licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Mississippi.
A native of south Georgia and graduate of the University of Georgia, Stephen Murphy moved to New Orleans only 10 weeks before Hurricane Katrina to continue graduate school studies in public health at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine after earning an M.B.A. in health care management at Mercer University in Georgia. Katrina immediately forced Mr. Murphy to relocate to Baltimore, Maryland, where he matriculated with Johns Hopkins University and began his master’s pursuit of infectious disease epidemiology. Mr. Murphy returned to Tulane to continue his studies in the field of environmental health sciences and disaster management, where he received his master’s
of public health (MPH), and is currently focused on a Ph.D. Upon finishing the M.P.H., Mr. Murphy joined the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, where he serves as the planning section chief (or director of planning). Mr. Murphy’s previous roles have included serving as deputy planning section chief and medical and public health planning lead. His responsibilities include (among others) pandemic influenza planning for the city, mass prophylaxis/medical countermeasure planning for infectious disease outbreaks or bioterrorism, mass casualty and mass fatality planning, and graduate school intern coordinator.
Dr. Earthea Nance is an assistant professor of environmental planning and hazard mitigation at the University of New Orleans, and a fellow in the National Science Foundation’s Next Generation of Hazards and Disaster Researchers Program. She recently served as the director of disaster mitigation planning and the director of infrastructure and environmental planning for the city of New Orleans in its recovery from Hurricane Katrina, and she previously held faculty positions at Virginia Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Nance holds a B.S in civil engineering (1985) and an M.S. in environmental engineering (1991) from the University of California at Davis, and a Ph.D. from the department of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University (2004). Dr. Nance’s research addresses the intersection of environmental and urban development problems in vulnerable socioeconomic settings and postdisaster areas. She has studied the role of community participation in expanding basic urban services to chronically underserved neighborhoods. Her research has generated methods for critically evaluating infrastructure performance using multiple perspectives, and has produced strategies for sustainable urban development and environmental justice in areas of severe environmental hazard. Dr. Nance is currently researching the impacts of climate change on urban development and the effects of environmental trauma on urban social and ecological systems.
Kimberly J. Natasi
Kimberly Nastasi is the chief executive officer of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce. Born in Utah, Ms. Nastasi earned a speech communications degree from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in 1999, followed by a summer studying at the Universidad de Cemanahuac in Cuernavaca, Mexico. In 2000 she earned a master’s degree in communications from USM and soon began teaching public speaking at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Her first postcollege role was handling public relations for the Mississippi Sea Wolves professional hockey team in Biloxi. She then joined the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, where she left as executive director after 5 years to take over the interim post at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, which serves nearly 1,000 members. Ms. Nastasi graduated from the Leadership Gulf
Coast Class of 2003 and the Leadership Mississippi Class of 2004. Also in 2004, she traveled with three others from Louisiana to Brazil for 5 weeks, representing Mississippi and the Mississippi Rotary district club. Soon after, Lighthouse Business and Professional Women named her an Outstanding Career Woman, and the Sun Herald named her one of the area’s Top 10 Under 40. She was also selected as one of the 50 Leading Business Women in 2007 by the Mississippi Business Journal.
Eric M. Nelson
Eric Nelson is Vice President of Risk Management for the Travelers companies. Travelers is one of the leading providers of property insurance in the United States; with the number 2 market share in commercial property and number 5 market share in homeowners. Mr. Nelson coordinates product, pricing, and underwriting strategy related to natural catastrophes. Since 2008, he has led the Travelers’ efforts to develop a public policy solution to the crisis in coastal homeowners’ marketplace. Mr. Nelson holds a finance degree from Bryant University.
Ann Olsen is a senior mediator at the Meridian Institute. She has extensive background supporting collaboration among diverse parties and identifying issues, opportunities, and solutions. Ms. Olsen currently facilitates the Gulfport, Mississippi, community partnership for the Community and Regional Resilience Initiative (CARRI) directed by the National Security Directorate (NSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (www.resilientUS.org). She has also facilitated working sessions of the NSD Strategic Advisory Group. For CARRI, Ms. Olsen also contributes to the development of the larger CARRI program, provides day-to-day contract management leadership for Meridian’s engagement, and has assisted in facilitating community workshop sessions for the CARRI Charleston, South Carolina, partner community. Ms. Olsen is a Ph.D. candidate and Bridgestone fellow in environmental management at Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation research examines cross-state diffusion patterns for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System s™. She earned her masters in management and M.A. in economics at Vanderbilt and her B.A. in economics and mathematics at Rice University.
Allison Plyer is co-deputy director of the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. She works collaboratively with the Brookings Institution to analyze the state of the New Orleans recovery through the regular publication of the New Orleans Index and with the Urban Institute to analyze the state of the New Orleans housing market. Dr. Plyer is recognized as an expert in post-Katrina demographics and New Orleans recovery trends. Her other areas of expertise include market research and analysis. She spearheaded the city of New Orleans’ challenge to the
Census Bureau’s 2007 population estimate, resulting in a nearly 50,000-person adjustment to the bureau’s estimate of the city’s population. She frequently provides commentary on recovery issues to local and national media such as WDSU television, WWL radio, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, National Public Radio, the Associated Press and the New York Times. Dr. Plyer joined Knowledge Works with 12 years experience developing the management capacity of nonprofit and microenterprise organizations in New Orleans, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Guatemala. Additionally, she has almost a decade of experience in the for-profit sector as a marketing consultant to large and small companies including AT&T, Barnes and Noble, Lexus, and Inc. magazine. She received her doctorate in science from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine with a dissertation entitled “An Analysis of Administrative Data for Measuring Population Displacement and Resettlement Following a Catastrophic U.S. Event.” She has an M.B.A. in marketing and organizational behavior from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.A. in religious studies and Spanish from Vanderbilt University.
Julie Rochman is president and chief executive officer at the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). She has more than 20 years of public affairs and advocacy experience representing major corporations, research and safety organizations, and issue-based coalitions. She is regularly consulted and quoted by national print, broadcast, and electronic media on a wide variety of topics. IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and communication organization supported by the property insurance industry. IBHS conducts field and laboratory research to identify and advance improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices. Before joining IBHS, Ms. Rochman was senior vice president of public affairs for the Glover Park Group, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA), and vice president of communications for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), where she successfully managed media relations for the IIHS and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). Upon leaving the IIHS, Ms. Rochman served on the IIHS and HLDI boards of directors for several years. Before joining IIHS, Ms. Rochman managed federal communications for the Alliance of American Insurers, worked for the Insurance Information Institute, for a public health organization dedicated to preventing drunk driving, at an advertising agency, and for a global insurance brokerage. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Ms. Rochman earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tulane University and a master’s degree in American government from the University of Virginia.
Marcia A. St. Martin
Marcia St. Martin is executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) of New Orleans. She serves as the board’s first female and first African American
executive director. She has offered innovative approaches to logistical development, problem solving, human resource management, operating and capital budget administration and project planning. Ms. St. Martin previously served as deputy director of the S&WB for almost 12 years, director of the Department of Safety and Permits, and parking administrator for the city’s Department of Streets. Ms. St. Martin serves on the board of Water for People—USA and Water for People—Canada, an international humanitarian organization that helps communities throughout the world that lack access to drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene education. She is a member of numerous water agencies and associations and is an active alumna of St. Mary’s Academy in New Orleans.
Ommeed Sathe has served as director of real estate development for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) since June 2007. NORA is a quasi-public entity, whose mission includes the alleviation of blight, the redevelopment of residential and commercial properties (including nearly 5,000 properties acquired by the state of Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina), and the implementation of crucial public projects. At NORA, Mr. Sathe manages all of the agency’s acquisition, redevelopment, and disposition programs and raises capital to support development ventures. In addition, he has led the agency’s effort to examine distortions in the homeowner’s insurance market. He commissioned groundbreaking research that demonstrates that current insurance rates are four to five times higher than actuarial levels would suggest. He is currently leading NORA’s attempts to devise mechanisms to address this discrepancy—including catastrophe bonds, reciprocal insurance vehicles, regulatory reform, and government guarantees—and has been recognized by the International Risk Linked Securities industry for his work in this field. Before joining NORA, Mr. Sathe was a real estate associate at the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson LLP in New York. While at the law firm, he was involved in Columbia University’s expansion and worked on the merger of two of the largest commercial property owners in the country. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School and a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, where he studied neuroscience and urban planning.
Tracie Sempier is the Coastal Storms Program outreach coordinator for the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. She is working to design a coastal storms outreach and education program that will introduce people to storms tools, information, and partnerships. In this capacity she works with local communities, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, port authorities, emergency and floodplain managers, residents, and other audiences to try to decrease the negative impacts of coastal storms on families, communities, the environment,
natural resources, and property. Dr. Sempier has more than 15 years of professional experience in education and outreach with various audiences in formal and informal learning environments. She completed her Ph.D. at Mississippi State University in curriculum and instruction, has a M.S. in science and mathematics education from Oregon State University, and holds a B.S. in marine science and biology from the University of Alabama.
William F. Stallworth
Bill Stallworth is the executive director of East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center and a councilman on the Biloxi City Council. A former Biloxi High School teacher, Mr. Stallworth has served the city of Biloxi in various capacities since 1976, most recently as the councilman for Ward II, a position he also previously occupied for 12 years. Mr. Stallworth was also the city’s residential and business relocation officer, the community development planner, community development specialist, the personnel officer and voter registrar, and vice president for economic development for the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In addition to his public service, he is a businessman, founding BFS Services, a construction and landscaping company, in 1985 and becoming a partner of Computer and Technology Support Services in 1992. Compelled to return to politics 12 years later, he was once again elected to the city council as the only African American member shortly before Katrina struck, and has since founded the East Biloxi Coordination, Relief, and Redevelopment Agency (later named the Hope Community Development Agency) and dedicated himself to the rebuilding of his community.
Lori West is Gulf Coast region director for International Relief and Development (IRD), which runs U.S. Gulf Coast Community Resource Centers in Mississippi and Louisiana. IRD’s initial emergency services in 2005 prompted the creation of IRD US and its Gulf Coast Community Resource Center (GCCRC) in Gulfport, Mississippi. GCCRC now provides a comprehensive set of services to low- and middle-income residents of the Gulf Coast. Ms. West is also vice chair of the South Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (SMVOAD).