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HIGH-RISK EVENTS CALL FOR REMARKABLE TALENT

Our resilience experts stand with you, every step of the way

Meet the Team

Experience counts for a lot in a crisis. It helps cut through the chaos to chart a clear course to recovery.

Our experts have lived through a lot. We’ve led communities facing the greatest challenge of their lives. We've helped companies rebound from crises that threatened to put them out of business.

We’re resourceful, creative and resilient. We run towards the problem, not away from it. We readily transfer our skills and experience, to build your organization's capacity and resilience.

Government Solutions Leadership
Brad Gair

Brad Gair

SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR

Brad Gair

SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR

Preparedness for disaster or emergency situations can only be done effectively if you’ve lived through enough to know what to expect. Knowledge is gained in the fire of experience.

Brad served as Federal Recovery Officer in New York following 9/11 and as Deputy Commissioner of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management.

In 25 years of US and international emergency management and homeland security leadership, Brad’s credentials span both the public and private sectors, including leading the resilience program at NYU Langone and establishing a new national emergency management agency for the United Arab Emirates.

CONTACT BRAD

Jonathan Hoyes

Jonathan Hoyes

Senior Managing Director

Jonathan Hoyes

Senior Managing Director

Jonathan serves as our Senior Managing Director, Government Solutions, and brings with him over thirty years of public service and private sector experience in Emergency and Risk Management. He has a proven track record of executive leadership, delivering outcome-driven approaches, providing strategic advisory services, and successfully leading complex organizations.

His leadership responsibilities as a career member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service (SES) include being the Accountable Executive for one of the nation’s largest infrastructure and community assistance programs grant programs. As the Lead Federal Official and Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator (FDRC) in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in 2019, Jonathan coordinated federal recovery assistance for events estimated at almost $100 Billion.

During his tenure as Public Assistance Division Director for DHS-FEMA, Jonathan oversaw a complete redesign of the program, grants management systems, delivery model, and policies. As an architect of new national doctrine for recovery, he supported the empowerment of states and communities in defining and driving their own recovery efforts while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of federal support.

In the Private Sector, Jonathan has excelled at translating his experience into improved outcomes for clients by incorporating technology and innovation into client solutions, and cultivating trusted client relationships.

Charlotte Webb Smith

Charlotte Webb Smith

Managing Director

Charlotte Webb Smith

Managing Director

Charlotte’s 18 years in Emergency Management Response and Recovery includes all the big names: Irma, Maria, Sandy, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, Dennis, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.

As a subject expert she has detailed knowledge of all relevant legislation, regulations, executive orders, policies and guidance, and uses that knowledge to train client teams in recovery planning, operations and financing.

Charlotte is currently project manager for a team of 67 assisting FEMA and VITEMA in recovery efforts across the U.S. Virgin Islands on projects worth nearly $3 billion. As a project leader she operates at the highest level with FEMA and with the territorial government.

CONTACT CHARLOTTE

Hal Cohen

Hal Cohen

Associate Managing Director

Hal Cohen

Associate Managing Director

Hal’s most recent experience as a preparedness consultant and emergency planner was gained in the devastation of the Louisiana floods.

Prior to joining Witt O’Brien’s, Hal was director of planning for the Louisiana Recovery Authority Support Foundation in Baton Rouge. He was also project manager for the multi-agency, FEMA-backed, Louisiana Speaks regional plan for integrating levees, coastal restoration, improved land use, infrastructure and economic development.

Hal specializes in disaster recovery and reconstruction, but his skills also include plan development, communications, training and exercises. He has managed numerous continuity of operations (COOP) and business continuity planning (BCP) projects for municipalities and private sector clients.

Hal also worked as an editor and journalist with stories published in The New York Times, Village Voice and Metropolis.

CONTACT HAL

Arvin Copeland

Arvin Copeland

Associate Managing Director

Arvin Copeland

Associate Managing Director

Arvin is a career professional whose ‘on the ground’ experience supporting local communities with disaster planning, response and recovery is unique and deep.

Prior to joining Witt O’Brien’s, Arvin worked for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. As head of Response and Recovery, he coordinated government and private sector leaders across 92 counties to administer a $100 million program to rebuild infrastructure, homes and businesses following disasters.

Earlier in his career, Arvin served as Mayor of Wabash, Indiana.

CONTACT ARVIN

Norberto Dueñas

Norberto Dueñas

Associate Managing Director

Norberto Dueñas

Associate Managing Director

It’s one thing to manage a company, quite another to run a whole city. Before joining Witt O’Brien’s, Norberto was City Manager, the chief administrative officer for the city of San Jose.

Reporting directly to the mayor and city council, Norberto bore the responsibility for all day-to-day municipal operations, overseeing a $3 billion annual budget and managing the city council’s 6,000 employees.

His 32-year local government career gives him insight and experience of the complete range of risk management and crisis preparedness, response and recovery challenges of municipal office.

A long-standing resident of San Jose, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from San Jose State University (SJSU).

CONTACT NORBERTO

Stephen Kaerwer

Stephen Kaerwer

Associate Managing Director

Stephen Kaerwer

Associate Managing Director

Stephen brings wide-ranging expertise to the team, with experience that include FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), FEMA Public Assistance (PA), and Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) programs. He has served states and communities around the country in some through some of our nation’s most challenging recovery efforts, including Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Sandy and Harvey.

Before joining Witt O’Briens, he led the team that provided technical assistance and oversight for over $1 Billion in FEMA HMGP of the state of Texas. He also managed the implementation of New York’s global match program, applying the funds from the CDBG – Disaster Recovery Buyout program and infrastructure projects to meet the non-federal match requirement for Superstorm Sandy and four other federally declared disasters in the state of New York. This innovative program saved New Yorkers over $1.6 Billion in local funding to be put towards other needs in the state.

Stephen’s deep knowledge of federal disaster programs, 2 CFR 200 compliance, and strategic financial planning make him a valuable asset to many of our clients.

CONTACT STEPHEN

Matt Herlocker

Matt Herlocker

Associate Managing Director

Matt Herlocker

Associate Managing Director

Matt is used to being first on the scene of a disaster. With more than 30 years devoted to helping people respond to and recover from emergency situations, he is a Certified Emergency Manager who understands how to react—he’s attended 18 federal disasters across eight states.

Matt’s career spans working as a first responder, local government emergency manager, a policy advisor to state and local agencies and change management leader. As a consultant, Matt developed interdisciplinary teams to shape state and national sheltering plans and disaster assistance policies and procedures.

Matt is also a FEMA instructor for disaster recovery in rural jurisdictions.

CONTACT MATT

Dana Johnston

Dana Johnston

Associate Managing Director

Dana Johnston

Associate Managing Director

Dana is a consummate networker with a contact book to accomplish anything in disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation-related services.

In her five-year term on the board of the Resilient Counties Advisory Board at the National Association of Counties, Dana also developed vital strategic alliances with key industry associations and coalitions.

Dana maintains her multi-level network of influential business leaders, government officials and diversity representatives through her government and commercial work, which gives her unique insight into market trends, needs and opportunities.

CONTACT DANA

Valarie Philipp

Valarie Philipp

Associate Managing Director

Valarie Philipp

Associate Managing Director

Valarie’s background in structural engineering is unusual, but her work in disaster response and recovery is exceptional.

Based in the Southeast U.S., Valarie assists city to state government clients and healthcare and educational organizations with disaster response and recovery. Her 20 years of experience in this field gives her insight that helps clients assess disaster impact and navigate Federal grant programs to fast track their recovery efforts.

CONTACT VALARIE

Jon Sawicki

Jon Sawicki

Associate Managing Director

Jon Sawicki

Associate Managing Director

Jon focuses on risk management in the transportation and energy sectors.

He has shared his expertise in a variety of theatres, including serving the US State Department Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, delivering formal testimony to the House Homeland Security Committee and developing maritime security programs throughout the Americas and West Africa.

CONTACT JON

Charles Bryant

Charles Bryant

Director, Debris Management Services

Charles Bryant

Director, Debris Management Services

Charles has had a lifetime of helping communities to pick up the pieces following major disaster events.

In 35 years of emergency response services and 10 years in debris monitoring and emergency management, he led debris management operations in Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey and Texas.

In addition to his technical advisory role, he is expert in coordinating and problem-solving FEMA Public Assistance Category A, and B grant funding and liaising with state agencies for funding and project development.

Charles is one of the country’s pre-eminent instructors of debris management at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute national training center.

CONTACT CHARLES

Juan Bossano

Juan Bossano

Director, Mitigation Operations

Juan Bossano

Director, Mitigation Operations

An expert in all things disaster recovery [Public Assistance (PA), Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA)], Juan takes a special focus towards FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. In Fact, Juan is the HMGP Team Lead on the US Virgin Islands.

Following some of the most recent US disasters, Juan has guided states, cities, towns, nonprofits and homeowners in accessing more than $1 billion for their recovery and resiliency requirements. He has assisted communities, non-profits, tribes, and state agencies in all aspects of recovery from Public Assistance (PA), Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs, particularly the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

He is an expert in application development, including cost-effectiveness determinations, benefit-cost analysis, Stafford Act 404 and 406 and 44 CFR. He also possesses knowledge of floodplain management, flood hazard mitigation, National Flood Insurance Program and flood preparedness, warning and recovery.

CONTACT JUAN

Erin Buchanan

Erin Buchanan

Director, Mitigation

Erin Buchanan

Director, Mitigation

Erin is a hazard mitigation expert in all areas of the service, including mitigation planning, project and application development, grants management, and financial data management. She is a graduate of FEMA’s Professional Development Series and is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM).

Her services extend to clients at the state and local government level, as well as universities. Erin is skilled at helping communities connect hazard mitigation planning to project and application development, and with ensuring that communities understand and own their plans. She is proficient in project planning, client coordination, and timeline management.

Erin’s abilities reach far and wide, as she has developed financial management tracking tools that managed over $2.7 billion in federal funds, including over 400 individual projects.

Frank Castro-Wehr

Frank Castro-Wehr

Director

Frank Castro-Wehr

Director

Frank’s individual talent for problem solving and professional approach to implementing solutions has won him the trust of many of our partners.

His focus is always on helping clients enhance their preparedness for potential crisis events and by working through all the related issues and dependencies to achieve their objectives in reducing risk and increasing resilience.

When he’s not building support partnerships with universities, public and private sector organizations, Frank enjoys his life in a community in the Sierra Foothills of California.

CONTACT FRANK

Ralph Lawrence

Ralph Lawrence

Director

Ralph Lawrence

Director

Ralph is firmly focused on results and is one of the best in the business for getting projects to completion.

As a specialist in FEMA’s Public Assistance program, in the last 13 years Ralph has done more than most to deliver exceptional results for our clients and communities.

His knowledge and experience help clients work their way through FEMA’s complex processes, from initial response to long-term recovery and project closeout.

In just over a decade Ralph has personally completed more than 600 projects on behalf of state and local governments, as well as private non-profit organizations.

CONTACT RALPH

Bill Roche

Bill Roche

Senior Project Manager

Bill Roche

Senior Project Manager

As is with every disaster recovery expert at Witt O’Brien’s, Bill has deep rooted experience as an emergency manager, leading programs and projects alike in various disaster planning, response and recovery operations. He draws on his experience working with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security when facing a disaster.

Bill has held key executive leadership roles, focusing on change management, team building, budgetary preparation and reporting, strategic management planning, and the implementation of federal grants on disaster response and recovery operations.

Experienced in both the public and private sector, Bill is an integral part of Witt O’Brien’s growth and strategy.

CONTACT BILL

Peter Arianas

Peter Arianas

Senior Consultant

Peter Arianas

Senior Consultant

Peter brings forth his experience in Public Assistance after serving in Federal Disaster Emergency Management with FEMA

Not only is he well versed at the federal level, but also with implementing guidelines, procedures, policies, budgeting, and collaborating with stakeholders to coordinate recovery efforts and deliver Public Assistance program resources. He does this in support of disaster operations fostering partnerships and maintaining focus on objectives in Response, Recovery and Hazard Mitigation efforts.

Peter has been an integral part in delivering disaster assistance to impacted communities, as well as assuring deployed federal staff have the resources available to effectively and efficiently provide disaster assistance programs.

CONTACT PETER

Matt Erchull

Matt Erchull

Senior Consultant

Matt Erchull

Senior Consultant

Matthew knows all too well the struggles communities may face when disaster strikes and brings a wealth of expertise to developing strategies for effective long-term community redevelopment and revitalization. He is a nationally recognized subject matter expert in HUD funded CDBG, HOME, NSP, and CDBG-DR programs; has critical experience working with FEMA’s Public Assistance and Mitigation programs and knows how to deliver multi-jointed funding strategies to assist impacted communities.

Matthew joins Witt O’Brien’s after a distinguished tenure in New York serving as the Director of Research & Strategic Analysis for the state’s Superstorm Sandy recovery. He is a HUD recognized technical assistance provider for CDBG-DR, and has previously supported large-scale community redevelopment efforts in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Colorado, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

CONTACT MATT

Karen Patterson

Karen Patterson

Senior Consultant

Karen Patterson

Senior Consultant

Communities that receive disaster recovery funding are oftentimes unprepared to successfully navigate the increased regulatory requirements associated with their use. Karen brings over 12 years’ experience implementing HUD-funded programs, including CDBG, CDBG-DR, ESG, HOME, HTF, NDR, and NSP. Karen has the expertise and skills to guide communities through the process of developing and designing programs; managing and implementing projects; and providing compliance oversight for HUD disaster funding.

Prior to joining Witt O’Brien’s, Karen served as Chief of the State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development Federal Programs Section. As Section Chief, Karen was responsible for overall management and oversight of the state’s annual allocation of approximately $100 million of HUD funded programs. Karen also was responsible for managing the state’s National Disaster Resiliency Competition award of over $70 million and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program award of $155 million. Karen served as a trainer for the Council of State Community Development Agencies (COSCDA), delivering CDBG training courses covering Cross Cutting Requirements, Basically CDBG for States, CDBG Boot Camp, CDBG-DR Boot Camp and CDBG Sub-Grantee Training, from 2016 through 2018.

CONTACT KAREN

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce

Senior Consultant

Steve Pierce

Senior Consultant

When it comes to disaster recovery, it doesn’t get better than Steve. Managing emergency related technical projects and programs for over 30 years, Steve has been a key asset to numerous government agencies, including the City of New Orleans, FEMA, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Louisiana Governor’s Office of the Oil Spill Coordinator, U.S. Navy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Steve transitioned to Witt O’Brien’s from Hagerty Consulting, where he served as the Deputy Director of Recovery. He provided his expertise as the Program Director for four Dioceses (San Juan, Caguas, Fajardo-Humacao and Arecibo).

CONTACT STEVE

Thomas Van Sluytman

Thomas Van Sluytman

Consultant

Thomas Van Sluytman

Consultant

As a native Virgin Islander from the Island of St. Thomas, Thomas Van Sluytman joins us after working at the highest levels of the Virgin Islands Government over the past decade, serving in key roles at both the Office of the Governor, Government House (Executive Branch of Government) and the Office of the Senate President (Legislative Branch of Government). Prior to his entering public service, Thomas worked at a retail energy marketing firm, where he served as a commodities market analyst with concentrations in both the natural gas and electricity sectors. Prior to his tenure at the retail energy firm, he worked as a portfolio manager at a financial firm.

Along with maintaining an interest in data management, computer science, and accounting, he is also a Board Member of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ American Cancer Society as well as a member of the St. Thomas Federal Credit Union’s Supervisory Committee.

Corporate Solutions Leadership
Mike Gallagher

Mike Gallagher

Senior Managing Director, Shipping & Transportation

Mike Gallagher

Senior Managing Director, Shipping & Transportation

With over 30 years of experience, Mike leads our Shipping & Transportation market where he provides compliance, preparedness and response services to over 800 clients in the oil & gas, shipping, rail, and port industries. His spill/incident response management work predates OPA-90 and includes the 1989 M/T Exxon Valdez among other significant incidents.

Mike also has significant preparedness/response experience in the public health sector, and spearheaded our response efforts on behalf of our client USDA to the 2015 avian influenza outbreak.

Earlier in his career, he served as Managing Director/CEO of Gallagher Marine Systems (QI services) providing cost controls/audits, ISO-9000 certification, and growth to position it for eventual sale. He has lived in Norway, and together with his wife Susan, has hosted exchange students from Norway, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Paraguay.

CONTACT MIKE

Grace Burley

Grace Burley

Managing Director, Corporate Resilience

Grace Burley

Managing Director, Corporate Resilience

Grace has nearly two decades of experience in the crisis management industry. She has managed comprehensive planning, training, and exercise programs for companies and organizations in various industries and has received her business continuity certification from Business Continuity Institute (BCI).

Her strength is developing customized preparedness programs that effectively integrate:

  • Crisis Management
  • Business Continuity
  • Emergency Management
  • Crisis Communications
  • Human Impact/People Support/Workplace Violence
  • IT Disaster Recovery

CONTACT GRACE

Sean Fitzgerald

Sean Fitzgerald

Managing Director, Crisis Communications

Sean Fitzgerald

Managing Director, Crisis Communications

Sean is a heavyweight communications professional, whose talent for strategic communications advice is relied on by Fortune 500 and international corporations. He is renowned for his clear thinking in assessing companies’ crisis-preparedness and reputation vulnerabilities and creating effective plans and response protocols to support companies in crisis.

Sean’s experience includes client-side and agency communications leadership, first at global brands Mattel and Levi Strauss, and subsequently with Ketchum, a leading global PR agency. He held senior roles at the agency, including Global Partner – Corporate/Public Affairs Practice, North America, President of the firm’s Greater China practice and leader of the firm’s Western USA operations.

Sean’s work has often gained him industry recognition including the distinguished Cannes Lion Award, the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Award and North American SABRE Award.

CONTACT SEAN

Bob Patterson

Bob Patterson

Managing Director, Oil & Gas

Bob Patterson

Managing Director, Oil & Gas

Bob’s broad commercial experience is focused on keeping businesses operating smoothly by understanding the threats they face and putting in place the plans, the people and the resources to be able to withstand shocks of all kinds.

In 30 years, Bob’s strategies for operational resilience including crisis management have helped industries as diverse as including energy, manufacturing, investment banking and financial services.

Today, Bob, who is based in Houston, Texas, is responsible for engaging clients in the energy sector, bringing his experience to bear on improving their operational resilience.

CONTACT BOB

Devin Sirmenis

Devin Sirmenis

Managing Director, Corporate Resilience

Devin Sirmenis

Managing Director, Corporate Resilience

Devin Sirmenis is a risk and crisis specialist focused on corporate resilience and has served clients for 20 years as a trusted advisor. Devin works with executive leadership at Fortune 500 firms to assess and develop their crisis management programs, train crisis leaders, and stress test the ability to manage an enterprise threatening crisis through simulations.

Prior to joining Witt O'Brien's he led consultant programs at Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton and Perot Systems Government Services. Devin pairs his years of client experience with continuing education and has completed Harvard Kennedy School's Crisis Leadership Program, and holds a Change Management Advanced Practitioner certification from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.

CONTACT DEVIN

John Carroll

John Carroll

Associate Managing Director, Regulatory Compliance

John Carroll

Associate Managing Director, Regulatory Compliance

John is a compliance specialist whose vast industry experience (Valero, ExxonMobil, Shell, Kinder Morgan, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, NuStar Energy, Philips 66, NRG, Enterprise, Cemex, Conagra to name only a few) and deep technical knowledge make him indispensable. For environmental compliance planning, development, training, QA/QC and auditing he is an industry authority without equal.

With such skills and leadership expertise, John aids all kinds of industry and government clients who must comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations. He also works as an intermediary with enforcement agencies guiding clients through compliance and helping to resolve violations.

John leads Witt O’Brien’s in-house permitting and compliance planning programs, including training, development and final deliverables. He also manages our soil, air and water monitoring and testing programs.

CONTACT JOHN

Charlie McDonald

Charlie McDonald

Associate Managing Director, Corporate Resilience

Charlie McDonald

Associate Managing Director, Corporate Resilience

With more than 29 years in the crisis management profession, Charlie brings many diverse consulting capabilities to Witt O’Brien’s. From strategic crisis plan development, to crisis exercise design and conduct, to counsel during actual incidents, he is a crisis management professional in every sense of the word.

In addition to crisis management planning, Charlie has decades of experience within crisis communications. His experience includes crisis communication planning, team training, media training and crisis communications exercises. He has consulted for companies in all types of industries, including chemical, energy, pharmaceutical, financial, high-tech, consumer products, manufacturing, food, retail and non-profits.

Sean Rock

Sean Rock

Associate Managing Director, Vessels

Sean Rock

Associate Managing Director, Vessels

Sean is a shipping company’s greatest ally. His experience in the maritime industry came initially from eight years with the U.S. Coastguard and subsequently leading client partnerships with Witt O’Brien’s.

As a maritime subject expert, Sean is able to assist industry clients in understanding the full range of threats and how to design and implement plans and procedures for responding to emergency situations.

Sean, who is a fluent Spanish speaker, leads our vessel services from our Houston operations center.

CONTACT SEAN

Tracey Wilder

Tracey Wilder

Associate Managing Director, Corporate Resilience

Tracey Wilder

Associate Managing Director, Corporate Resilience

Commercial risk is a complex and many sided challenge that needs Business Continuity and Crisis Management experts like Tracey, who brings professionalism to the process.

In addition to disaster recovery and response work, Tracey led the implementation of workplace violence training while at GE Capital and conducted business impact analysis on compliance with Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and National Fire Prevention Association certification.

Her recent commercial work includes establishing policies and procedures for evaluating suppliers’ ability to support their customers in a crisis.

Tracey holds Certified Business Continuity Vendor and Certified Business Continuity Professional post graduate qualifications.

CONTACT TRACEY

Kate Kelley

Kate Kelley

Associate Managing Director, Vessel Compliance

Kate Kelley

Associate Managing Director, Vessel Compliance

Kate, like many of our most experienced consultants, brings deep industry knowledge to support clients in dealing with compliance and planning to reduce risk in their businesses.

Prior to joining Witt O’Brien’s, Kate was a program lead for the Environmental Protection Agency, developing and implementing environmental regulations in industry.

Her technical support is invaluable for vessel owners and operators who must comply with the Vessel General Permit, ballast water management, OPA-90 and other U.S. Coast Guard regulations.

CONTACT KATE

Dave Alcantara

Dave Alcantara

Director, Marine Technical, Vessels

Dave Alcantara

Director, Marine Technical, Vessels

As our foremost expert in the field, Dave advises vessel captains on US Coast Guard Port State Control vessel exams and inspections.

With his knowledge and experience with US regulations and international standards, he offers important guidance to vessels visiting US Ports, including conducting MARPOL and VGP exams.

Dave’s areas of expertise reads like a crew list including vessel safety, security, safety management systems, crew training, fire-fighting, pollution prevention, navigation, hull construction, machinery, cargo segregation and transfer systems, crew manning and emergency responses.

Dave also conducts ISM audits for vessels.

CONTACT DAVE

Brent Law

Brent Law

Director, Corporate Resilience Client Services

Brent Law

Director, Corporate Resilience Client Services

Brent’s belief in the idea of client partnerships sets the tone for all our commercial engagements.

As a former Fortune 100 firm sales leader, Brent knows that trust is at the core of successful client relationships.

His careful and attentive client relationship management is continuous, ensuring that we always give satisfaction, act and complete and deliver to an outstanding level of quality every time.

In his pursuit of quality assurance, Brent also leads many of the firm’s projects in exercise delivery and reporting.

CONTACT BRENT

Melissa Mack

Melissa Mack

Director, Corporate Resilience

Melissa Mack

Director, Corporate Resilience

It’s one thing to have a plan, quite another to be totally ready to carry it out. That readiness comes from the holy trinity of crisis planning: practice, practice, practice.

Melissa puts organizations through their plans, time and again. Through workshops and exercises, her training enables senior leadership teams to respond to any type of corporate crisis.

Drawing on experience in the private sector, she knows how to create the capacity for effective response, embedding it into the culture of an organization, so everyone is ready to perform at their best when the time comes.

CONTACT MELISSA

Tom Millet

Tom Millet

Senior Director, Vessel Planning

Tom Millet

Senior Director, Vessel Planning

There’s no doubting the importance of emergency plans, but equally vital training embeds the plan content and is the real strength.

Under Tom’s leadership, our compliance operations team ensures maritime clients’ emergency planning meets current regulatory requirements.

His 10 years of maritime regulatory plan management experience also inform our training programs. Tom leads emergency management exercises and training for many of our international and domestic shipping clients improving their planning capabilities and ultimately their resilience.

CONTACT TOM

Aaron Holton

Aaron Holton

Director, Response Operations

Aaron Holton

Director, Response Operations

Aaron has more than 20 years of experience in environmental compliance and safety, with an emphasis in emergency response and incident management. He has directly managed or been part of the management team for numerous emergency response incidents, ranging from natural disasters and marine casualties to hazardous materials and oil spill responses.

Jason Bergeron

Jason Bergeron

Senior Emergency Response Coordinator

Jason Bergeron

Senior Emergency Response Coordinator

Jason is a sought after leader in incident management, whose high profile experience of oil and gas, maritime and pipeline-related emergencies is unique.

As an incident leader, he has acted as Qualified Individual and Incident Commander on vessel responses in U.S. coastal waters.

Prior to his role at Witt O’Brien’s, Jason served for ten years in the U.S. Coast Guard. Jason is based at our Houston Center of Excellence.

CONTACT JASON

Gil Berkins

Gil Berkins

Senior Emergency Response Coordinator

Gil Berkins

Senior Emergency Response Coordinator

In the 15 years with Witt O’Brien’s, Gil has brought incalculable value to our work. He is one of our most experienced responders, with impressive experience in the oil and gas industry and in shipping.

As a shipping industry insider, he also manages the Ship Security Alert program for 150 vessels.

Gil is a retired Fire Captain with more than 30 years’ experience in emergency response and the Incident Command System.

CONTACT GIL

Thomas Haug

Thomas Haug

Senior Emergency Response Coordinator

Thomas Haug

Senior Emergency Response Coordinator

Exceptional talent allied to long and distinguished experience makes Tom one of our most valued response coordinators.

Tom manages our emergency response operations in the Southwest US. He joined Witt O’Brien’s five years ago after 22 years of service with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Tom is as qualified as it is possible to be and has personally led responses to all kinds of disaster events.

Ric Walters

Ric Walters

Senior Security Consultant

Ric Walters

Senior Security Consultant

An energy, maritime, transportation and petrochemical specialist, Ric is an expert in the Maritime Transportation Security Act, Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards and Department of Transportation Security regulations.

Ric oversees our annual security drill and exercise programs for facility and vessel clients, conducting security assessments and audits to ensure compliance with security policies and regulations, and recommends measures to reduce the risk of non-compliance.

A former Special Agent, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Ric has 24 years of military service. He is also an experienced paramedic, worked in municipal law enforcement, and spent 12 years as Disaster Response Coordinator for the regional judicatory of the United Methodist Church. He is a Certified Homeland Protection Professional (CHPP), Certified Company/Vessel Security Officer course instructor with MARAD and Certified ICS/NIMS Instructor.

CONTACT RIC

Business Leadership
Tim Whipple

Tim Whipple

Chief Executive Officer

Tim Whipple

Chief Executive Officer

In forming his vision for the business and directing its strategy for growth, Tim is building on more than 20 years of experience as a global resilience leader.

He has held senior leadership roles in technology-enabled risk management corporations, and his insight helps shape the development of our solutions, ensuring they are effective for clients and communities.

Based in Washington DC, Tim has also lived in Europe and Africa and speaks Czech, French and Russian.

CONTACT TIM

Greg Fenton

Greg Fenton

Chief Operating Officer

Greg Fenton

Chief Operating Officer

With responsibility for our global operations, including our joint venture in Brazil, Greg is a born leader with a lifetime’s experience to prove it.

He led the response to many crisis events, including Hurricane Katrina, the avian flu epidemic and the Deepwater Horizon disaster, supporting our clients through the most challenging times.

In the twenty years prior to joining Witt O’Brien’s, Greg had a distinguished 20-year career in the US Army.

CONTACT GREG

Noor Kaissi

Noor Kaissi

Chief Financial Officer

Noor Kaissi

Chief Financial Officer

A Certified Public Accountant, Noor is responsible for planning, implementation and managing all finance activities, including business planning, budgeting, forecasting and negotiations.

Prior to joining Witt O’Brien’s, Noor spent more than 25 years in the energy industry, primarily with midstream oil and gas firms. She held multiple leadership roles within accounting and finance, including serving as Chief Financial Officer at Blue Mountain Midstream, various financial leadership roles at Enbridge, as well as positions within Dynegy, Enron and Arthur Andersen LLP.

Mike Schifano

Mike Schifano

Chief Information Officer

Mike Schifano

Chief Information Officer

When it comes to managing IT systems and programs, Mike is known for his reliability, adaptability, and keen experience-based management decision making.

He has over 21 years of professional IT experience, including 15 years of IT management experience in Oil and Gas developing and evolving systems that support effective business processes. Mike has supported an employee customer base of up to 28,000 employees including Field, Field Support, and Administrative employees, as well as vendor and customer users and is experienced in both ERP system and new product development environments.

Metha Vasquez

Metha Vasquez

Vice President, Human Resources

Metha Vasquez

Vice President, Human Resources

As the head of HR, Metha is guardian of Witt O’Brien’s amazing culture. She manages our recruitment, talent development, compliance and labor relations.

Prior to joining Witt O’Brien’s, Metha spent 20 years in human resources leadership roles in manufacturing and service, energy, healthcare, financial services and the hospitality industries, at everything from start-ups to Fortune 500 giants.

Metha, who oversees HR from our Houston office, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three human resources certifications.

CONTACT METHA

Ricki Henschel

Ricki Henschel

Vice President, Corporate Development

Ricki Henschel

Vice President, Corporate Development

Ricki is an industry luminary whose success at understanding clients’ and communities’ needs is reflected in the strong growth of our client partnerships.

Her client-side flair is matched by her operational skills, managing the proposal lifecycle to land multi-million dollar contracts for the firm.

For more than a decade, she has helped secure disaster management programs, first for the clean-up and rebuilding efforts post-Katrina and then for Superstorm Sandy and Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma.

Her talent and diligence have helped us to win operations for countless large projects in environmental management and response, training and technical assistance, preparedness exercises, information technology, housing, community development, energy resilience and efficiency, education, cyber security and international development in the U.S. and abroad.

CONTACT RICKI

Philip Hoang

Philip Hoang

Vice President, Operations & Projects

Philip Hoang

Vice President, Operations & Projects

Philip’s technical knowledge, leadership skills and experience are central to our business, having a positive impact on operational efficiency, client satisfaction, business growth and employee engagement.

A hands-on leader, Philip encourages collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, successfully developing and implementing practical solutions in partnership.

As a Lean Six Sigma practitioner and Chartered Member of the Chartered Quality Institute, Philip leverages his vast knowledge of process improvement to improve operational efficiency to the benefit of clients.

He earned his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University, an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering/Project Management from University of Houston. He also has a NASA Certificate of Excellence Award and NASA Medical Operations Certificate of Achievement Award.

CONTACT PHILIP

Ryan Mahoney

Ryan Mahoney

Vice President, Corporate Development

Ryan Mahoney

Vice President, Corporate Development

Former investment analyst, Ryan brings big picture experience rooted in investment financial performance and the rigor of his industry to our planning and analysis.

His work informs our short-term operational activity and our long-term development and forecasting.

Based in Washington, DC, he works directly with the executive and departmental teams to provide the intelligence and insight that drives our company’s growth.

Prior to joining our team, Ryan worked for private investment companies.

CONTACT RYAN

Cheryl Joiner

Cheryl Joiner

Director, Contracts & Compliance

Cheryl Joiner

Director, Contracts & Compliance

Cheryl is the master of due diligence and can never be bamboozled by a sub-clause or small print. She manages all our company contracts from our Houston office, ensuring everyone is fully aware of our commitments.

Cheryl also takes care of our company insurance program and company compliance matters.

She has more than 20 years’ experience in contract management, negotiations, compliance, insurance, and mergers and acquisitions.

CONTACT CHERYL

Rob Thorp

Rob Thorp

Director, IT Operations

Rob Thorp

Director, IT Operations

Although we are a company of exceptional people, like any business we rely heavily on IT systems to support our clients and also for our own operations.

Rob’s three decades of experience instill confidence in those systems and the security of our IT infrastructure. He is responsible for overall management of IT, help desk and command center services. He is an expert in cyber security, IT infrastructure, information security and compliance.

Rob is always looking for performance improvements to our systems, across our organization and for supporting clients.

CONTACT ROB

Jeet Sule

Jeet Sule

Director, IT Development

Jeet Sule

Director, IT Development

Jeet is a dedicated technologist whose approach to technology solutions is driven by improving our service to customers. As an innovator in software development, Jeet heads the enterprise solutions group managing our customer software applications services: ePlanPro®, VesselPro™, and CommandPro®.

He has more than 16 years of information technology experience, which probably makes him a guru or Jedi master, and in that time, he’s been responsible for solution development and architectural assessment.

Along with numerous vendor product qualifications, Jeet has degree in mechanical engineering and master’s degree in computer information systems from UH.

CONTACT JEET

Joseph Serrano

Joseph Serrano

Project Accounting Manager

Joseph Serrano

Project Accounting Manager

Kisua Lewis

Kisua Lewis

HR Representative, Human Resources

Kisua Lewis

HR Representative, Human Resources

Kisua began her professional career in the hospitality industry but quickly moved to Witt O’Brien’s and a more rewarding environment.

Her expertise in employee relations, benefits, policy development, retention, staff development and recruitment provide essential support to the department and to our team.

Kisua holds a BS in Business Management and studying for her MBA at the University of Houston.

CONTACT KISUA

Rhonda George

Rhonda George

HR Consultant - Recruiting, Operations, Service Manager

Rhonda George

HR Consultant - Recruiting, Operations, Service Manager

Recruiting talent is our greatest challenge and is in large part solved by Rhonda. The combination of her tireless ingenuity and a vast and influential network helps to promote Witt O’Brien’s brand to external markets and drive successful recruiting efforts.

With more than two decades of experience in HR, there are few aspects she has not mastered. In addition to recruitment, Rhonda is responsible for onboarding, development training, employee relations and establishing exemplary HR practices.

Rhonda has a BS in Psychology from the University of Houston, along with every possible HR-specific certification.

CONTACT RHONDA

Judy Hill

Judy Hill

Marketing Manager

Judy Hill

Marketing Manager

Judy’s marketing and communications career spans over two decades, during which time she’s grown to be an expert writer, content strategist, project manager and graphic storyteller.

Judy is a creative thinker who is recognized for her strong leadership skills. She helps lead the development of the firm’s marketing efforts across all channels, including collateral, website and social.

Her vision for Witt O’Brien’s success is based upon her unwavering ability to help ensure that Witt O’Brien’s is strategic, influential, coherent and compelling in its engagement of its clients and key stakeholders.

Lea Price

Lea Price

Marketing Manager

Lea Price

Marketing Manager

Lea offers more than a decade of experience as a marketing strategist, with a focus on campaign and business development, as well as proposal management. During her career, Lea has successfully revamped communication and marketing processes, training strategies related to proposal management and client relations, and proposal development.

One of her areas of expertise is her ability to identify and execute cross-selling strategies across multiple practice areas and regions, helping to grow her employers’ annual revenue year over year.

Lea is an active member of the Society of Marketing Professional Services, from which she earned a Rising Star award.

Becky Price

Becky Price

Proposal Manager

Becky Price

Proposal Manager

With over two decades of experience in capture planning and proposal management, Becky serves as our Proposal Manager supporting the efforts of the business development team.

Her focus is on strategic, company-wide objectives, including bids and proposal management from capture to submission, client diversification, new partnerships and business process improvements.

While managing the day-to-day efforts of the Proposal team, Becky works alongside executive leadership and subject matter experts to develop client-focused, winning submissions.

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Director of Safety & Facility Security

Jason Smith

Director of Safety & Facility Security

Jason specializes in and has 12 years of experience in strategic planning and security risk management, working on large projects throughout North America, South America, the Caribbean, the Philippines and West Africa.

Jason’s seniority is reflected in his prominence as an adviser to board level executives. He is a recognized expert in physical security and crisis management and trusted adviser to many Fortune 100 companies.

Jason worked with an international team, including the Egyptian Navy, to establish port security and operations for a once inoperable deep-water port in Alexandria. He also served as Senior Security Consultant to conduct a combined ISPS/MTSA program implementation gap analysis and physical security assessment of the largest LPG import facility in the Dominican Republic.

CONTACT JASON

Morgan Stygles

Morgan Stygles

Executive Administrator

Morgan Stygles

Executive Administrator

Financial services loss is our material gain. Morgan joined us more than a decade ago after a similar time in banking and finance, seeking a more challenging and diverse environment—and she got it.

Morgan supports the executive team day-to-day across all departments…and like all utterly indispensable Executive Administrators, practically runs the place.

CONTACT MORGAN

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