News at Smith

Smith School to Host Emergency Management Conference

Jan 24, 2012
World Class Faculty & Research


The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business will host “X-Treme Management: Managing in Times of Crisis,” Feb. 16-18, 2012.

We are aware now more than ever that disaster can strike when we least expect it—and that it is important to understand how successful businesses prepare and adapt in order to maintain resiliency and continuity of essential operations during a crisis. Recent events dramatically demonstrate the consequences of failing to plan ahead for unanticipated shocks to our operations. The degree to which we are able to prepare ourselves and strengthen our systems against such shocks can significantly mitigate their impact on organizations, assets and people facing emergencies ranging from extreme weather to breakdowns in public order.

This conference will cover a range of topics and provide key takeaways important to effectively managing in times of crisis—both from public and private sector perspectives. We will explore three distinct scenarios over this three-day event, which illuminate the underlying theme of each session—Preparing for, Responding to, and Recovering from Crises.

Students in business, journalism, government, and agriculture, as well as practicing administrators and managers, will learn best emergency management practices from leading experts in the industry who have developed robust methodologies to plan for and manage events, providing a template now in use throughout U.S. governmental agencies, and employed in handling crises such as the BP oil spill, Hurricane Katrina, and the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster.

“Effective preparedness will require the integrated contributions of government and business organizations and academia,” says Patricia Cleveland, associate dean for undergraduate studies at the Smith School and organizer of this first-time event. “In this conference we have the benefit of bringing together a number of outstanding experts instrumental in developing these new systems and methodologies, and serving at some of these most harrowing events, to help raise awareness and expand the capabilities of the next generation of managers and decision-makers.”

Featured speakers include:

David Willman, author of “The Mirage Man” and award-winning journalist with The Los Angeles Times. His work has prompted major public reforms—including a ban in 2005 of drug company payments to government scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Willman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative reporting in 2001 for articles in The Los Angeles Times exposing how unsafe prescription drugs had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. His groundbreaking reporting in 2008 on the investigation of the deadly anthrax mailings was cited by the Scripps Howard Foundation as the year's best Washington-based coverage.

John Schulte, former Disaster and Emergency Operations Specialist, Fire and Aviation Management Staff for the U.S. Forest Service, whose experiences in the disastrous wildfires and major all-hazards incidents throughout the U.S. and internationally led to his involvement in writing the first Incident Command System (ICS) guidelines and development of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which he then brought to stand-up systems at the World Trade Center on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. A former federal law enforcement officer now in private practice as a consultant to government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, he will present best practices in ICS/NIMS and lead a hands-on workshop for students in the Smith School's MBA and Undergraduate Fellows Programs.

Gordon Cleveland, Radiological Program Analyst for the USDA and member of the Radiological Advisory Team for Environment, Food and Health, who will share his observations consulting on behalf of the government of Japan and the International Fund for Animal Welfare in response to the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear incident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March 2011.

David Mitchell, University of Maryland Chief of Police and Director of Campus Safety, who was involved in the anthrax response and subsequent sniper threats. He will lead a panel of campus and community safety professionals in a discussion of preparedness efforts at UMD, providing advice and guidance to campus officials charged with responsibility for their offices and units.

Antonio Rodriguez, who is responsible for quality management efforts within the office of research services at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he has developed simulations and models to guide development of preparedness efforts. He will share a simulation of evacuation plans for the NIH campus, with implications not just for the university but the broader region, as evidenced by the serious traffic emergency experienced in the snowstorm of January 2011.

An expert panel from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will address “whole community efforts for emergency management” with lessons for building resilience from the public and private sector for businesses, and open the discussion to members of the audience. The panel includes Sanjay Subramanian, director advisory forensic services working on responses to corporate crises; and fellow Smith School alumnus, John Saad, partner in public sector consulting currently working with clients at FEMA; Carlos Castillo, senior advisor for emergency management solutions and former head of Emergency Services in Miami/Dade County with experience at Hurricane Katrina and the BP spill; and Frank Genco, manager advisory public sector consulting and former U.S. Coast Guard officer who served as task force leader of USCG's relief efforts in the 2004-05 tsunami operations in Southeast Asia, and lead on the FEMA Region IX catastrophic planning guide and hurricane plan for Hawaii.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.