Larry Coffman
Department of Environmental Resources
Prince George's County, Maryland

Larry Coffman is Associate Director of the Department of Environmental Resources of Prince George’s County. He has testified before on House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in 2003 on innovative techniques to reduce pollution from urban stormwater runoff. In 1998 the county received a first place National Award for Outstanding Municipal Stormwater program from EPA.

Robert Cooper

Virginia Dept. of Conservation & Recreation - Dam Safety Program

Mr. Cooper is a senior Environmental Engineer with the Dam Safety Program located in the Richmond office of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Robert E. Davis, Ph.D.

Professor, University of Virginia Department of Environmental Sciences

Dr. Robert E. Davis received his B.S. (cum laude) in meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University in 1982 and a Masters of Science in climatology in 1985, and a Ph.D. in climatology in 1988 from the University of Delaware. He is currently associate professor of climatology in the University of Virginia's Department of Environmental Sciences. Davis' primary interests are on large-scale (synoptic) climatology, applied climatology, bioclimatology and climate change.

Professor Davis has written numerous general and technical papers on topics such as atmospheric circulation change, Atlantic coastal storms(nor'easters), air quality, and the relationships between weather and morbidity and mortality. He was a contributor to the 1995 IPCC report and has testified on global climate change before the House Science Committee. He has served on government panels relating to global change and data quality issues with the EPA and NOAA. Dr. Davis is past chair of the climatology specialty group of the Association of American Geographers, which is probably the world's largest professional association of climatologists, current Chair of the American Meteorological Society's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee on Biometeorology and Aerobiology, and editor of the journal Climate Research

Jason Debord
Engineering Concepts

Jason is the Construction Manager at Engineering Concepts, Inc., a civil engineering firm located in Fincastle, Virginia. Jason received his BS degree in Geology, with a specialty in engineering geosciences, from Radford University in 1995.

Jason has over seven years of infrastructure construction oversight and contract administration services with numerous public and private sector projects. He is also instrumental in overseeing residential construction projects with Engineering Concepts subsidiary company, ECI Construction. His passion, however, is in managing FEMA-funded flood mitigation projects. In the last seven years, he has assisted the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission with nearly 100 mitigation projects, including elevations, relocations, demolition/acquisitions, and flood proofing solutions. He is currently working with the City of Norfolk in its efforts to elevate over 40 homes out of the 100-year floodplain.

Franklin Dukes, Ph.D.
UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation
Charlottesville, VA

Frank Dukes is the Director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virgina. Author of Reaching for Higher Ground in Conflict Resolution and Resolving Public Conflict, Dr. Dukes is an experienced facilitator, trainer, and mediator. He brings a strong understanding of local government and community involvement, and has worked with numerous communities on a wide range of issues including water supply, school districting, facility siting, and management of park land. He has facilitated ground-breaking efforts in consensus building between the tobacco farmer and public health communities, and is now involved in facilitating community redevelopment of superfund sites in different states. He teaches public involvement and other topics at UVA.

Mayor William Eckman

LaPlata, Maryland

William Eckman is the Mayor of La Plata, Md. and has served in that position for 21 years. During his time in office, the town has grown from a population of about 3000 to more than 8000 at the present time. He has been active in the Maryland Municipal League has served as President of the League. This experience served him well in coping with the damage caused by the tornado.

He spent 25 years in the volunteer fire service, serving as a chief officer in both Pennsylvania and Maryland. He founded Eckman Associates in 1986 and has been engaged in consulting activities, primarily in the field of emergency services evaluation and long range planning. He is the author of the "Fire Department Water Supply Handbook" published by Fire Engineering and has conducted seminars on Water Supply in 9 states over the last 30 years.

Margot Garcia, Ph.D., AICP
Tucson, Arizona

Dr. Garcia is associate professor emeritus from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Wilder School of Government and Policy. She taught courses in environmental planning, including natural hazard mitigation. Her special areas of interest include interdisciplinary studies in watershed management and public involvement. She also served on the Tucson City Council from 1975-1977, and has testified before Congress on wetlands, Clear Water Act, and watershed management.

Margot received a BSc in biology from the University of New Mexico, a MSc in Botany from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a PhD in Watershed Management from the University of Arizona.

Errol Garren
Program Specialist, FEMA- Mitigation Division

Errol Garren functions as a Program Specialist in the Community Assistance Section of the Risk Assessment Branch of the Mitigation Division (FEMA), part of the Department of Homeland Security. Assigned to the Compliance Team, he principally functions as the territorial liaison for community participation and policy guidance issues in FEMA Regions V through X. As part of the FEMA Headquarters repetitive loss team, he is heavily involved in the repetitive loss initiative. Currently, he is concentrating on the planning and data aspects of the issue.

Prior to taking a position with FEMA, Errol was employed by Insurance Services Office, Inc for 23 years. In addition to conducting underwriting inspections and community evaluations of fire suppression potential, Errol administered the Community Rating System (CRS) of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 10 states and five FEMA Regions. Errol also performed an extensive role in pursuing the goals of the Repetitive Loss initiative by reviewing requested updates to the Repetitive Loss database for technical effectiveness and appropriateness.

A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Errol holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Safety Education from the University of Northern Iowa. He achieved his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation in 1995 and obtained his Certified Floodplain Manager designation in 2000.

Donald E. Goodwin, CBO, CPCA
Director of Community Development, Franklin, VA

Mr. Goodwin has been the Director of Planning and Community Development at the City of Franklin since 1995. His mitigation experience has involved assisting flood victims with flood recovery efforts including housing assistance, relocation assistance, material reimbursement, and construction through the administration of Community Development Block Grants. He has also been the manager of the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant program. He received his associate degree from Norfolk Vocational Technical School and is a graduate of the Virginia Apprenticeship Council (1979). He has a wife named Susan and two children: Jesse 20 and Dylan 17.

Sam Gulisano
City of Chesapeake, VA

Mr. Gulisano is the administrative assistant to the City of Chesapeake Fire Chief. He was a leader in developing the City’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, one of the first to get VDEM review.

Rebecca Joyce
Planner, Central Shenandoah PDC

Ms. Joyce received her Bachelors in English, Masters in Public Administration, both from JMU. She worked in human services for 20 years and has worked at the PDC for 6 1/2 years in flood mitigation and disaster education.

Heather King
Virginia Corps / CERT

Heather C. King is the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Trainer & Outreach Coordinator for Virginia's Citizen Corps Program with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. In this role, Ms. King coordinates and manages the design, development, delivery and evaluation of the statewide Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training and outreach program.

Previously, she worked for the Virginia Department of State Police in their Firearms Transaction Center. She assisted Henrico County with the early development of its Citizen Corps program. Ms. King holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communications from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Bob Linck

Mr. Linck has been specializing in mitigation with FEMA since its inception in April of 1979. He is currently the Mitigation Contact for Virginia. His work has focused on the National Flood Insurance Program and flood plain management. He received his bachelor of arts in Sociology from Penn State; and his Master of City & Regional Planning from Rutgers.

Andy Lipkis
TreePeople, Los Angeles, California

Andy Lipkis began planting trees to rehabilitate smog and fire damaged areas when he was fifteen years old. He founded TreePeople and has served as its President since 1973.

TreePeople has been a guiding light for the citizen forestry movement. Andy's creative programs include airlifting bare root fruit trees to Africa, inspiring the planting of one million trees in LA before the 1984 Summer Olympics, numerous disaster relief efforts during flood and fire, and many versions of training designed to increase citizen involvement in urban tree planting and care. His latest program is T.R.E.E.S. – Trans-agency Resources for Environmental and Economic Sustainability. T.R.E.E.S. is a public/private partnership aimed at retrofitting the greater LA area to be managed as a sustainable urban ecosystem.

Mark Marchbank
Deputy Coordinator, City of Virginia Beach

Mark is the Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Virginia Beach and has held this position for 15 years. As Deputy Coordinator, he is responsible for the day-to-day emergency management activities of the city and the emergency responsibilities of the Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Management. He previously held several civilian staff positions within the Fire Department. He holds masters degrees in Urban Studies and Public Administration and is a Certified Emergency Manager. He has also been involved in four presidential disaster declarations.

John W. Marshall
Secretary of Public Safety, Commonwealth of Virginia

In 2002, John Marshall returned to Virginia state government, where he had begun his career in public service and law enforcement in 1980 as a state trooper. During his 14 years with the Department of State Police, he also served as a special agent in the Narcotics Division, sergeant-instructor at the Training Academy, and as a sergeant assigned to field operations.

In 1994, President Clinton appointed Marshall to serve as the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia. In 1999, President Clinton nominated Marshall to serve as the director of the United States Marshals Service, our nation's oldest federal law enforcement agency. Upon confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Marshall took office as Director in November of 1999. He is the first African-American to serve as the director.

Secretary Marshall graduated from Georgetown University in1988 with a BA in Government, and he also holds a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in the Administration of Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Lydeana Martin
New River Valley PDC

Lydeana’s planning work includes almost 5 years in regional planning with the New River Valley Planning District Commission. In addition to recently submitted regional hazard mitigation plan, she is currently working on regional water supply plan and regional telecommunications plan, as well as providing local government technical assistance in land use, economic and community development, and grant writing.

Homer McCoy
Building Inspector, Bluefield, VA

John Miller
Chief of Resource Protection
Virginia Department of Forestry

As Chief of Resource Protection for the Virginia Department of Forestry, Mr. Miller oversees the agencies wildfire and emergency response programs as well as the agencies water quality enforcement program that relates to logging operations across the state. He has worked in state forestry for the last 15 years at all levels of the organization.

He received a B.S. in Forestry from Virginia Tech in 1989, is a Society of American Foresters Certified Forester, and currently

Deborah Mills
State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Ms Mills has recently assumed the job of State Hazard Mitigation Officer. Previously she was the Floodplain Management Program Planner in the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Shane Parson, Ph.D.
Virginia Tech Center for Geospatial Information Technology

Dr. Shane Parson is a Senior Project Associate at the Virginia Tech Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT). CGIT is a multidisciplinary center for research, education, and outreach in areas related to geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS). Dr. Parson is currently heading up projects assisting other state agencies to create the Virginia Flood Map Modernization Business Plan and the Virginia Statewide All Hazards Plan.

Prior to coming to Virginia Tech in the Spring of 2003, Dr. Parson worked for two years with Anderson & Associates in Blacksburg, Virginia, heading up their floodplain engineering and mitigation projects, including successful residential and commercial FEMA Hazard Grant Mitigation Program (HMGP) applications for several Virginia localities. He also worked for several years with Dewberry & Davis in Fairfax, Virginia, where he assisted with mitigation and HMGP projects for FEMA, including initial product design of the upcoming Benefit Cost Analysis Hybrid model.

Dr. Parson holds a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from Virginia Tech and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Penn State. He is a Professional Engineer in Virginia and is a Certified Floodplain Manager.

David Phillips, Ph.D.
UVA Department of Urban & Environmental Planning

Professor Phillips teaches quantitative methods and information technology applications in urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He teaches the application of Geographic Information Systems to planning problems.

He has been working with William H. Lucy on the changes that have been occurring in the nation’s suburban places. Their 2000 book “Confronting Suburban Decline: Strategic Planning for Metropolitan Renewal” by Island Press addressed many of the trends from 1960 to 1990. Research with the Brookings Institution has examined the population and income changes in 2,586 suburbs in the nation’s 35 largest metropolitan areas during the 1990’s. This work has lead to a publication “The Suburbs and the Census: Patterns of Growth and Decline", (December 2001) and a more recent paper “Suburban Decline: Is There an Explanation?” at the Annual meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in November 2002. This latter work explores the impact the decade of housing construction has on patterns of income change.

Bonnie Riedesel

Senior Planner, Central Shenandoah PDC

Ms. Riedesel is a Senior Planner with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission. She has more than 20 years experience working with local and regional government agencies and non-profit organizations in the field of community, economic, and housing development. To her credit, she has worked in flood mitigation planning and implementation projects since 1995 and survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989 when living in Charleston County South Carolina.

Bill Sammler

Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service - Wakefield, VA

Bill is the external liaison at the Wakefield office, which serves central and eastern Virginia, northeast North Carolina, and the Lower Maryland Eastern Shore. He coordinates with state and local emergency managers, and other NWS customers, to ensure NWS products and services meet their needs. Bill is the media liaison at NWS Wakefield. Bill also participates in a number of training initiatives including CERT, the FEMA/NWS Warning Coordination Course, and SKYWARN storm spotter training.

A 20 year NWS employee, Bill spent 10 years at the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Kansas City, MO (now the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK), issuing nationwide forecasts for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, before coming to Wakefield in April 1994. Bill is a native of southern New Jersey, and lives in Prince George county. He has a B.S. in meteorology from Rutgers University (1981), and a M.S. in meteorology from St. Louis University (1988).

Gavin Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Smith currently works on natural hazard mitigation at PBS&J in Raleigh, NC. He is the former Chief of the Hazard Mitigation Branch of the North Carolina Division of
Emergency Management. In 2002, FEMA awarded Gavin special recognition for his vision and leadership in promoting mitigation in North Carolina. Prior to his work
in North Carolina, Gavin worked at the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, at Texas A&M University.

He holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas A&M.

Bucky Taylor
City Manager, Franklin, VA

Mr. Taylor has been in local government for 28 years. He is currently the City Manager of Franklin, Virginia. Prior to taking over as City Manager, he served as Planner/Zoning Administrator/Building Official and later as County Administrator for Southampton County, Virginia.He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and a graduate degree from Old Dominion University. He has a wife named Vickie and two children: Nikki, 24 and Chip 21 (this month).

Leslie Trew
Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Ms Trew is the Conservation Easement Specialist for Virginia Outdoor Foundation’s eastern region. She graduated with a degree in Geography and Planning from the University of Akron.

Ken Wallace

Terry Wagner
Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force

Terry Wagner currently serves as the director of the newly created Division of Water Resources in the Department of Environmental Quality. Prior to this assignment Terry served as the director of the Office of Water Resources Management for thirteen years. His current position involves management of all water quantity programs including ground water withdrawal management, surface water withdrawal management, and water supply planning as well as the ground water protection program. Prior to these management positions, Terry held a variety of technical positions in the ground water program of the State Water Control Board before the creation of DEQ.

Terry serves as the chair of the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force and coordinated this group’s activity during the 1999-2002 drought. Terry chaired the technical advisory committee that produced the Virginia Drought Assessment and Response Plan in March of 2003. He received B.S. degrees in Geology and Mathematics from the College of William and Mary.

Peter Winters
BLUE, Richmond

Mr. Winters was a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center. He left that position in 2002 to start his own business consulting company, BLUE. More about the company and his philosophy about business can be found at

Tim Beatley, Ph.D.
Professor, UVA Dept. of Urban & Environmental Planning

Timothy Beatley is Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, where he has taught for the last eighteen years. His primary teaching and research interests are in environmental planning and policy, with special emphasis on coastal and natural hazards planning, environmental values and ethics, and biodiversity conservation. He has published extensively in these areas, including the following recent books: Ethical Land Use (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); Habitat Conservation Planning: Endangered Species and Urban Growth (University of Texas Press, 1994), Natural Hazard Mitigation (Island Press, 1999, with David Godschalk and others); and An Introduction to Coastal Zone Management (Island Press, 2002, Second Edition, with David Brower and Anna Schwab).

Education: BCP Virginia (1979); MUP Oregon (1981); MA North Carolina (1984); PhD. North Carolina (1986)