Panel 1: Climate and Data Science for Hazard Mitigation and Resilience at the Local Level
Art DeGaetano is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. He is also the Director of the NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center. Art has been a Principal Investigator on The Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in New York State, an author of the Climate Ready Boston report, and a contributor to the 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment. Dr. DeGaetano’s recent research focusses on past and future changes in rainfall extremes in the Northeast.
Dr. DeGaetano serves as a Climate Editor for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. He received a Ph.D. focusing on climatology and horticulture from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 1989.
Victoria Keener is a Senior Research Fellow at the East-West Center, the Lead Principal Investigator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (NOAA/RISA) program, and is the Lead Author of the Hawaii and Pacific Islands chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. Dr. Keener also serves as the Chair of the City and County of Honolulu Climate Change Commission, which provides science-based recommendations to the Mayor and City Council. She earned a Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering from the University of Florida, specializing in hydro-climatological research. Dr. Keener leads an interdisciplinary research team of social and physical scientists that aims to reduce the Pacific Islands’ vulnerability to climate change by translating research into actionable knowledge and working with a variety of stakeholders at the local, state, and regional levels. Projects include producing downscaled climate and hydrological projections to estimate future water availability; assessing stakeholders’ decision support needs and their capacity to use seasonal forecasts; impacts of climate and health on migration; and ecosystem service valuation and modeling.
Aashka Patel is a Resilience Specialist at FernLeaf Interactive. Combining her background in applied climate science, decision support, and environment resource management, Ms. Patel works closely with municipal and regional governments and private-sector partners to deliver actionable climate vulnerability assessments to inform adaptation and resilience planning. She facilitates workshops to identify, prioritize, and operationalize resilience and adaptation strategies. Ms. Patel also leads FernLeaf’s efforts to embed social equity as a cornerstone of all resilience and adaptation work. Her past work as a researcher for Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments revolved around tailoring climate projections and assessments for water resources and environmental decision-making. She received a master’s in earth and environmental resource management from the University of South Carolina in 2011.
Mark Shafer is an Associate Professor at The University of Oklahoma’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability and is Director of the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, a NOAA/RISA Team for the South Central United States. His research
interests focus on natural hazards, particularly on communication between the scientific community and policymakers in planning for and managing societal response to extreme events and climate change. He received a Ph.D. in political science and an M.S. in meteorology from The University of Oklahoma and a B.S. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Panel 2: Translating Data for Motivating Local Resilience Action
Jennifer Helgeson is a Research Economist and the Associate Program Manager for the Community Resilience Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Her research interests are focused around survey assessments and economic analyses that consider behavioral aspects and approaches to dealing with environmental issues. Dr. Helgeson’s research revolves around resilience to hazards (shocks and stressors) in the built environment, with consideration for cost-effectiveness of community-scale mitigation and adaptation efforts.
At present, Dr. Helgeson is a member of the NIST National Construction Safety Team Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria and its impacts on Puerto Rico. As part of her business resilience research, Dr. Helgeson leads a primary data collection effort in partnership with NOAA. This study focuses on decision-making processes for small- and medium-sized businesses in response to complex event impacts from natural hazards and COVID-19 impacts.
T.J. McDonald is the Technology Coordinator for City of Seattle Emergency Management, and has worked in emergency management since 1995. He is responsible for the Seattle Hazard Identification and Vulnerability Analysis (SHIVA) and most of the technology used in the Seattle Emergency Operations Center. In his role overseeing the SHIVA, Mr. McDonald interacts with numerous stakeholders in the scientific, business, nonprofit, and government communities to understand the consequences of natural and human-caused hazards on the Seattle community. He enjoys synthesizing large amounts of technical and historic information into concise analyses for decision-makers and the public.
Mr. McDonald got his start in emergency management as a Peace Corps volunteer in the State of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, during 1990’s Typhoon Owen and the recovery that followed. In 2005, he deployed to Louisiana to assist the State of Louisiana in its recovery from Hurricane Katrina. He has been a part of every major emergency response in Seattle since 1995. Mr. McDonald has a background in urban planning and has a master of city and regional planning degree from Cornell University.
Tancred Miller is the Policy & Planning Section Chief for the North Carolina (NC) Division of Coastal Management and leads the division’s work on building local government capacity for climate hazard resilience. In 2020, he led a team that created the NC Resilient Coastal Communities Program, which provides funds to local governments for resilience planning and implementation. He manages the land use planning program, which provides direction and support to local governments, as well as grant funding for beach and waterfront access. He also manages the division’s rule and policy development functions, bringing scientists and stakeholders together with the NC Coastal Resources Commission to continuously improve regulations for coastal development. He sits on Governor Cooper’s Climate Change Interagency Council, which was created to fulfill the Governor’s Executive Order 80 directives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse College in Atlanta, and a masters in coastal environmental management from Duke University.
Amy Snover is the Director of the University of Washington (UW) Climate Impacts Group, the University Director of the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, and Affiliate Associate Professor in the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. She leads the Climate Impacts Group’s efforts to provide the fundamental scientific understanding, data, tools, and technical support necessary for managing the climate risks facing the people, communities, and ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. She works with a broad range of decision-makers to develop science-based climate risk management strategies, identify research priorities, and build climate resilience. Dr. Snover was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for Climate Education and Literacy in 2015, and served as a co-convening lead author for the Third National Climate Assessment and the lead author of the groundbreaking 2007 guidebook, Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments. Dr. Snover has a B.A. in chemistry, magna cum laude, from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in analytical/environmental chemistry from UW.
Abigail Sullivan is an Assistant Professor with Boston University’s Department of Earth & Environment. She is an environmental social scientist, and her research focuses on unpacking the dynamics of institutions and collective action in aquatic and terrestrial social–ecological systems. By analyzing factors that influence collective action in communities facing environmental change, she provides insights into how people can optimally design institutions for adaptation to environmental change. She has explored a variety of human–environment issues, including the complexities of emerging issues in community forestry in Nepal, climate change adaptation in the Colorado River Basin, and aquatic invasive species in midwestern U.S. lakes. She received her Ph.D. in environmental social science from Arizona State University in 2016, an M.S. in ecology and environmental science from The University of Maine, and a B.S. in environmental science from Unity College.
Panel 3: Environmental Justice and Impacts of Historical Inequities: Lessons for Climate Adaptation and Resilience
David B. Abraham is a Faculty member in Natural Sciences, Rice University. Dr. Abraham specializes in sustainable development and the development of performance indicators for urban development. He is a certified and skilled research specialist with experience in community development, master planning, transportation planning, and sustainability planning. As the Principal Investigator for the Houston Sustainability Indicators (HSI) project, he developed a procedure and methodology for a robust program to monitor sustainable development in the Houston, Texas, area. His team developed a web-based management tool, the Houston Sustainability Indicators Quality of Life Atlas, capable of monitoring key urban performance indicators for Houston, and analyzing trends and correlations between indicators. This tool is capable of supporting the development of short term and long-range policy implications. The HSI database serves as a resource for various local government departments, elected officials, and local neighborhood organizations for urban sustainability projects.
Following a model of integrative science for building a comprehensive indicators dataset, the HSI database brought together a robust collection of different datasets, including raster data from the National Land Cover Database developed by the U.S. Geological Survey; greenhouse gas emissions inventory from the Vulcan Project based at Arizona State University; continuous cover of National Ambient Air Quality Standards from the Environmental Protection Agency; business agglomeration analysis and monitoring growth in primary businesses from InfoUSA; local and
state administrative data on voting performance, waste management, parks development, and capital improvement projects; and decennial census and American Community Survey socioeconomic data is also included.
Dr. Abraham has presented findings from the HSI project throughout the United States and internationally in Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, and Portugal. Under Dr. Abraham’s guidance, the research provides hands-on learning opportunities for students in various academic units at Rice University, including the Department of Statistics, the Professional Science Master’s Program, the Health Sciences Program, the Master of Global Affairs Program, and the Jones Graduate School of Business.
Scott Gabriel Knowles is a Professor in the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He is a historian of disasters worldwide. He focuses on the historical processes that make disasters possible, and the application of history to reduce future disasters. Since March 2020, Professor Knowles has hosted #COVIDCalls, live podcast discussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, every weekday.
Professor Knowles is the author or editor of six books, including The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), and most recently, Legacies of Fukushima: 3.11 in Context (co-edited with Kyle Cleveland and Ryuma Shineha, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021)
His work on the history of risk and disaster has appeared in Daedalus, The Anthropocene Review, Natural Hazards Observer, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and other venues.
Cate Mingoya serves as Groundwork USA’s Director of Capacity Building. Originally from Queens, New York, Ms. Mingoya earned her B.A. in biology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and returned east to teach middle school science at traditional public and charter schools in the Bronx and in Brownsville, Brooklyn. She went on to earn a master of city planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has served as the Director of Policy and Program Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Division of Public Housing and Rental Assistance. In her current role, Ms. Mingoya provides equitable development technical assistance for those looking to transform brownfields into community assets. She also leads Groundwork USA’s Climate Safe Neighborhoods partnership, a five-city partnership, to reduce heat and flooding related risks in neighborhoods with histories of institutional, race-based housing discrimination.
Rose Whitehair has more than 16 years of experience managing large-scale incidents including wildfires, hazardous chemical response, droughts, floods, and the current COVID-19 pandemic response. Her experience includes managing and closing out multi-million-dollar federal projects. She has been assisting clients with deciphering Federal Emergency Management Agency, CAA, ARP, and the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General.
Most recently, Ms. Whitehair served as the State Coordinator Officer/Recovery Unit Manager and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Director for the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (NM DHSEM), where she assisted with activating and operating the State of New Mexico’s EOC and established protocols for all emergency support functions. She has assisted with providing testimony to the U.S. Congress
and created correspondence to the White House for disaster requests and declarations including the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, as the former Director of the Navajo Department of Emergency Management, Ms. Whitehair brings invaluable experience with tribal-state-federal coordination. The Navajo became the first tribe in Arizona, and only the second in the nation, to get aid directly from the federal government via a Stafford Act declaration. She was inducted as one of the first Native Americans into the International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame. She served as Tribal Advisor to the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and volunteers with Team Rubicon.
Her maternal clan is To’ahedliini’ (Water Flows Together), which traces back 16 generations to Window Rock, Navajo Nation.
Panel 4: Reactive and Proactive Local Actions and Data Translation for Decision-Makers
Chad Berginnis joined the staff of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc. (ASFPM) in 2011. Since 1993, his work has focused on floodplain management, hazard mitigation, and land use planning at the state, local, and private-sector levels. As a state official, Mr. Berginnis worked in the Ohio Floodplain Management Program and was Ohio’s State Hazard Mitigation Officer. As a local official, he administered planning, economic development, and floodplain management programs in Perry County, Ohio. In the private sector, he was the national Practice Leader in Hazard Mitigation for Michael Baker Jr., Inc. Mr. Berginnis has served in an ASFPM volunteer leadership capacity for more than a decade as Insurance Committee Chair, Mitigation Policy Committe Coordinator, Vice Chair, and Chair. He has a bachelor of science in natural resources from The Ohio State University.
Harriet Festing is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Anthropocene Alliance (Aa), a Florida-based nonprofit. Aa is the nation’s largest coalition of frontline communities fighting for climate and environmental justice. Ms. Festing’s background includes milking cows in rural Dorset, establishing the first network of farmer’s markets in England, and place-making advocacy in New York. From 2004-2010, she worked for the UK government on climate change and sustainable development. Immediately prior to founding Aa, Ms. Festing undertook groundbreaking research and advocacy on urban flooding. When Ms. Festing is not working with climate disaster survivors, she is tending to a large, demonstration garden comprised of more than 100 species of Florida-native plants.
Tonya Graham is the Executive Director of the GEOS Institute and the Director of its ClimateWise Initiative. She has taken a lead role in developing the concept of Whole Community Resilience, which takes a holistic approach to addressing climate change impacts and develops solutions that are both ecologically sound and socially equitable. She and her ClimateWise team help community leaders understand likely future conditions, determine vulnerabilities, and develop strategies to address them that care for both people and nature.
In 2019, she and her ClimateWise team launched Climate Ready Communities, an “assisted do-it-yourself” climate resilience planning program that provides affordable assistance to small, mid-sized, and/or under-resourced communities nation-wide. She is a co-author of Climate Ready Communities: A Practical Guide to Building Climate Resilience, a free, step-by-step planning guide that serves as the foundation for the Climate Ready Communities program.
She serves as a City Councilor in her hometown of Ashland, Oregon, and as a Council Liaison to the City’s Wildfire Safety Commission, Climate Policy Commission, Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission, and Rogue Valley Transportation District. Through her work with the City of Ashland, she has presented on local climate action at the League of Oregon Cities’ annual member conference. Tonya holds a B.S. in biophysical environmental studies from Northland College and a M.A. in community development from Goddard College.
Ann C. Phillips is the Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection for the State of Virginia. Prior to joining the administration, she worked to address sea level rise and climate impact on national security at the regional, national and international level, and chaired the Infrastructure Working Group for the Old Dominion University-convened Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Pilot Project.
Preceding her work on climate impact and sea level rise, Ms. Phillips served nearly 31 years on active duty. She had the honor to commission and command the USS MUSTIN (DDG-89) and to command Destroyer Squadron 28. Her final Flag command was as Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group TWO, including all of the Amphibious Expeditionary Forces on the East Coast of the United States.
Ms. Phillips earned a master of business administration from the College of William and Mary Raymond A. Mason School of Business in 2016. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition, she is a certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional, Level 2.