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11th Annual Iowa Homeland Security Conference


Conference logoThis year's conference will take place Oct. 21-22, 2014, at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at Veteran's Memorial, 833 Fifth Ave. in Des Moines.



Registration is now $150.


Click here to register!



Parking at the Iowa Events Center costs $7 per day and is available north of the events center with entrances off the following streets: Third, Fifth, and Crocker. ADA Accessible parking is available by entering the lot south of Crocker Street, next to the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. PLEASE NOTE: There are no "pass outs." If your car leaves an Events Center lot during the day, you will have to pay the parking fee again upon returning.


Click here for more information on parking at the Iowa Events Center and downtown Des Moines, as well as maps and directions.


Other important information and links



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This agenda is tentative and subject to change.


Tuesday, Oct. 21


8:15 a.m.



Director Mark Schouten - Iowa HSEMD


8:45 a.m.


Breakout Sessions

  • Iowa Flood Information
    Larry Weber - University of Iowa
  • Functions of the Fusion Center
    Kevin Winker - Iowa Dept. of Public Safety
  • How the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Can Assist Your Community in a Disaster
    Rodney Delp and Kim Thomas - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • What's new in Iowa Legislation
    John Benson - Iowa HSEMD

10 a.m.




10:30 a.m.


Breakout Sessions

  • OSHA's New Hazard Communication Standard
    Duane Otto - McFarland Clinic PC
  • Assessing and Building Capabilities
    Kyle Karsjen - Iowa HSEMD
  • Preliminary Damage Assessment Process
    Patrick Hall - Iowa HSEMD
  • 71st Civil Support Team: Capabilities, Mission Update, and State Training Program
    Lt. Col. Russ Bossard - 71st Civil Support Team

11:45 a.m.


Working Lunch
The Boston Marathon Bombings: An Incident Commander's Perspective on What Happened, Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Best Practices

Kurt Schwartz - Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency


1:15 p.m.


General Session
Livestock Transportation Accidents

Dr. Patrick Gorden - Iowa State University
Keith Morgan - Story County Emergency Mgmt.


2:30 p.m.




3 p.m.


General Session
What can an Incident Management Team do for you?

Steve O'Koneck - Cedar Rapids Police Department


4:15 p.m.


End of Day 1


(4:30 p.m.)


From 4:30-6 p.m., the Safeguard Iowa Partnership will hold their annual meeting. It is open to current and future Safeguard Iowa partners. There is no cost to attend, but you must register. There will be a networking opportunity with appetizers and a cash bar, and you may enter to win an Apple iPad mini and weather radio. Click here to register online.


Wednesday, Oct. 22


8:30 a.m.


Breakout Sessions

  • National Weather Service Support Services in Times of Disaster
    Melinda Beerends, Jeff Zogg - National Weather Service
  • Addressing Cyber Security Risk: State and County Partnership Opportunities
    Jeff Franklin - Office of the Chief Information Officer, State of Iowa
  • Recovery Support Function: Housing
    Panel: Representatives from the Iowa Finance Authority, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Iowa Economic Development Authority and HSEMD
  • Changes to GIS Technology
    Jon Paoli - Iowa HSEMD

9:45 a.m.




10:15 a.m.


General Session
Statewide Messaging Integration with IPAWS
Mark Lucero - FEMA
Randy Goddard - Iowa HSEMD


11:30 a.m.


Working Lunch
25th Anniversary of Flight 232: Lessons Learned
Gary Brown - Woodbury County Emergency Mgmt.


1 p.m.


General Session
Iowa Task Force 1: 10 Years Later
Tom DeBondt, Kelly Hanson - Sioux City Fire Rescue
Dan Dall - Cedar Rapids Police Department


2:15 p.m.




2:30 p.m.


General Session
The Saw Team Can Cut to the Chase in Disasters

Doug Reed - Pottawattamie County Emergency Mgmt.
Jason Wickizer - Shelby County Emergency Mgmt.


General Session
How a Building Inspector Can Help in Time of Disaster

Brian Bishop - Iowa Dept. of Public Safety


3:45 p.m.


End of Day 2







Rooms were available at the conference rate(s) listed below until Sept. 19. Any rooms still available in each reserved block have now been released. We cannot guarantee that there are rooms available at these rates.


Embassy Suites logo

Embassy Suites ($189/night + taxes)
101 East Locust St., Des Moines

Holiday Inn logo

Holiday Inn Downtown ($115/night + taxes)
1050 Sixth Ave., Des Moines

Quality Inn & Suites logo

Quality Inn & Suites ($93/night + taxes)
929 Third St., Des Moines



Best Western logo

Best Western Plus Altoona Inn ($90/night + taxes)
300 34th Ave. NW, Altoona

Drury logo

Drury Inn & Suites ($93/night + taxes for single room)
5505 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines

Ramada Tropics logo

Ramada Tropics ($114-$169 + taxes)
5000 Merle Hay Rd., Des Moines




Eric Sorchik, former New Jersey state trooper, talks about Hurricane Sandy at the 2013 conference.Every year, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency management strives to find knowledgable speakers to provide conference attendees with interesting and relevant information from a variety of homeland security, emergency management and response fields.


As in past years, this year's conference presenters come from all over Iowa and the United States.


11th Annual Iowa Homeland Security Conference Presenters


Photo of Melinda Beerends

Melinda Beerends
Meteorologist, National Weather Service

Mindy Beerends has more than 12 years of experience working as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS), and has been a journey meteorologist in the Des Moines NWS office since June 2007. She regularly produces the routine forecast products and is involved in severe weather operations including issuing severe weather warnings. In addition to her routine duties, she serves as leader for the Des Moines office’s decision support services and student volunteer programs. Prior to working in Des Moines, she began her career as a meteorological intern in Hanford, Calif., and was a journey meteorologist at the NWS office in Aberdeen, S.D. Ms. Beerends is a native of Fargo, N.D. and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in atmospheric sciences from Iowa State University in 2001.


Photo of John Benson

John Benson
Legislative Liaison, Iowa HSEMD

John Benson began working for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management in 1992. At that time he worked with the Public Assistance Program in the Response and Recovery Bureau. In 1994 he moved on to become the off-site response planner for the Quad Cities nuclear power station. This work not only involved planning but also included conducting training for first responders who supported the plant.


In 1998, Mr. Benson became the 911 program manager for the state. The installation of wireless 911 services across the state was the primary project during his time as the program manager.


In 2007 he became the legislative liaison for the then Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division. This position not only involves working with state and federal elected representatives, but also includes drafting associated bills, administrative rules and performance reporting. He also works on special projects that include interoperable communications and functioning as the alternate state coordinating officer for recent Presidential disaster declarations.


Mr. Benson is a 1989 graduate of Iowa State University.


Photo of Brian Bishop

Brian Bishop
Construction/Design Engineer, Iowa Dept. of Public Safety

Brian Bishop is a construction/design engineer for the State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. He is the team commander of the Iowa Building Safety Assessment and Failure Evaluation (B-SAFE) team. The newly formed B-SAFE team is a specialty team managed by the State Fire Marshal Division that utilizes state building inspectors, municipal building inspectors, architects and engineers to provide building safety assessments after a disaster.


Mr. Bishop is an International Code Council-certified disaster response inspector. Prior to his employment with the State of Iowa, he was a building inspector for the City of West Des Moines. He has also served as a construction manager for Wells Fargo Financial, in which he oversaw the construction of numerous projects throughout the United States and Canada.


Mr. Bishop is a member of the International Code Council (ICC) Sustainability Membership Governing Council, ICC 500 Consensus Committee on Storm Shelters, and holds a construction engineering degree from Iowa State University.


Photo of LTC Russ Bossard

Lieutenant Colonel Russ Bossard
Commander, 71st Civil Support Team

Lieutenant Colonel Russ Bossard has more than 25 years of service in the Army and Iowa National Guard. Lt. Col. Bossard was commissioned 1989 as a chemical corps officer. He was first assigned as a battalion chemical officer in Berlin, Germany, working at both battalion and brigade level positions. He then moved to Pine Bluff Arsenal in Jefferson, Ark., where he was assigned as the chemical surety officer overseeing the M155 rocket stockpile filled with GB and VX nerve agents.


After a short break in service, Lt. Col. Bossard joined the Iowa National Guard and was assigned as the detachment commander for the 3654 DS Maintenance Company and then as the company commander of the 3657 GS Maintenance Company. In November 2001, he joined the 71st Civil Support Team (CST) as the survey team leader. He progressed in the 71st CST to the operations officer position and then served as deputy commander.


After seven years on the CST, Lt. Col. Bossard moved to the Iowa Joint Operations Center serving as the officer in charge. In 2010 he deployed to Afghanistan with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and worked as the deputy commander for an embedded training team in the province of Panjshir. Upon returning to Iowa, he was assigned as the ordnance subject matter expert in the Ordnance Training Regiment. Lt. Col. Bossard is now serving as the commander of the 71st Civil Support Team.


Photo of Gary Brown

Gary Brown

Director, Woodbury County Emergency Mgmt.

Gary Brown, executive director of Woodbury County Disaster and Emergency Services, has served Woodbury County for more than 30 years. Licensed in Iowa as an emergency medical technician (EMT-I) and emergency rescue technician (ERT), Brown is also a certified emergency manager in Iowa. He was instrumental with coordination of response and rescue efforts on July 19, 1989, when United Flight 232 crashed at the Sioux City Airport.

Involved with numerous city, state, regional and national organizations, Brown has coordinated several federal and state declarations of disasters in Woodbury County. He most recently served as the project manager for the Tri-State Radio System (STARCOMM) and The Security Institute, located on the campus of Western Iowa Tech Community College. These efforts combine resources, including the 911 call center and the joint emergency operations center, for Sioux City and Woodbury County.

Mr. Brown resides in his hometown of Sioux City with his wife Catherine and daughter Catie.

Photo of Dan Dall

Dan Dall
Battalion Chief, Cedar Rapids Police Department

Dan Dall is the director of Iowa Task Force 1, which is Iowa's Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team. He has been a member of the task force since its inception in 2003, when he servered as the team's search manager. He took over as director of the team two years ago.

Mr. Dall is a battalion chief with Cedar Rapids Fire Department, where he has served for 26 years. Before joining the department, Chief Dall served in the U.S. Air Force as a crash/fire/rescue firefighter, and also with the 132nd Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines.


Photo of Tom DeBondt

Tom DeBondt
Lieutenant, Sioux City Fire Rescue

Lieutenant Tom G. DeBondt has 20 years of experience in fire rescue and emergency medical services. He is currently assigned to Rescue Engine 1 and the Technical Rescue Team of Sioux City Fire Rescue. He is a charter member of Iowa Task Force 1, the state's Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team; he began his career with the task force as a rescue specialist. His current position on the task force is that of assistant task force leader for the Sioux City Division.

Lt. DeBondt's USAR certifications include swift water rescue, wide-area search and structural collapse 5. In October 2011, he was one of four members of Iowa's task force that attended the first ever national USAR disaster drill in College Station, Texas. Lt. DeBondt is also the first person in the state of Iowa to graduate as a USAR structural collapse rescue specialist from Texas A&M's TEEX (Engineering Extension Service) training division in College Station, Texas.


Photo of Rodney Delp

Rodney Delp
Emergency Management Chief, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Rodney L. Delp serves as the chief emergency manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. In this role, he serves as the primary advisor to the commander and staff on all matters pertaining to Corps authorities to include disaster planning, response, recovery and mitigation. He supports the National Response Framework by leading and directing division planning and response teams.


Mr. Delp contributed significantly to the successful response and recovery for the floods of 2001 and 2008, and led the Rock Island District support for the lower Mississippi River historical flood Operation Watershed in 2011. He has deployed and responded to hurricanes Katrina, Charlie, Francis, Ivan, and Lily. He is the program manager for the district Rehabilitation and Inspection program that includes 110 active levee systems, and has been instrumental in the Rock Island District becoming recognized as a National Flood Fight Material Center.

Mr. Delp is a native of the Quad Cities area, and began working for the Corps of Engineers in 1999 as a civil engineer technician with Emergency Management. Soon after, he was promoted to emergency operations manager. He has also worked for Emergency Management, Washington D.C.’s Department of Homeland Security as the assistant to the PL84-99 program manager. In this capacity he provided direction to divisions and districts in the interpretation and administration of the policies governing the PL 84-99 Rehabilitation and Inspection Program. He was promoted to chief of Emergency Management in June 2009 and has led the Rock District through several disasters in this capacity.

Mr. Delp is a key member of the District Levee Safety Program Committee, the District Executive Steering Board, the Division Unwatering Planning Response Team, and the National Association of Flood and Storm Water Management Agencies.


In addition, Mr. Delp is the recipient of a Superior Civilian Service Award, an Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, two Commander Awards for Civilian Service, certificates of appreciation for Hurricanes Katrina and Lily, numerous recognition certificates for flood fights, and multiple Sustained Superior Performance Awards. He lives in East Moline, Ill., with his wife Julie.


Photo of Jeff Franklin

Jeff Franklin
Deputy CIO & Enterprise Infrastructure/Chief Information Security Officer - Office of the Chief Information Officer, State of Iowa

Jeff Franklin is the deputy CIO for state information technology infrastructure and the chief information security officer (CISO) for the State of Iowa. Mr. Franklin is responsible for oversight of the State's security operations, governance, risk, and compliance functions. He has worked in the information technology field for 20 years, including leading statewide cyber security initiatives for the past five years. Prior to becoming the CISO for the State of Iowa, Mr. Franklin worked for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the City of Des Moines, and private industry. He is currently the president of the Iowa chapter of Infragard and serves on several technology committees.


Mr. Franklin graduated with honors from Iowa State University with a Master of Science degree in management information systems and graduate certificate in information assurance. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa and an Iowa Certified Public Manager (ICPM) designation from Drake University. Mr. Franklin also holds Certified Information Security Systems Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manger (CISM), and GIAC Security Leadership certifications.


Photo of Randy Goddard

Randy Goddard
Chief Communications Engineer, Iowa HSEMD

Mr. Randy Goddard began his electronics career by serving 10 years in the Navy as an electronics technician. After his stint in the Navy, he taught elementary and middle school for several years, and then worked 10 years as an administrator at the Iowa Communications Network before finally arriving at Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management as the chief communications engineer in 2004.


Mr. Goddard has received degrees from both Olympic College and Buena Vista University. He is married and has two children.

Photo of Dr. Patrick Gorden

Dr. Patrick Gorden

Director, Food Supply Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University

Following his graduation in 1993 from Iowa State University's (ISU) College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Patrick Gorden began his career in Platteville, Wis., at the Platteville Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice where he worked primarily with small dairy herds. From 1996-2000, he also taught courses in animal science at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. In 2000, Dr. Gorden joined Dairy Veterinary Services in Chandler, Ariz. During his time there, the practice grew from five to eight doctors serving herds from 400-9,000 cows.


In 2007, he moved back to Iowa when he accepted a faculty position as senior clinician at ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine, specializing in dairy practice for the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine (VDPAM). In 2010 he was appointed as director of food supply veterinary medicine for VDPAM.


Dr. Gorden currently splits his time between providing clinical service, teaching, administration, and collaborative research. His areas of interest include milk quality, milking equipment performance, prevention of drug residues in milk and dairy cattle, and the biology of the health-compromised cow.


Dr. Gorden is certified in dairy practice with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and is a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP). In addition, he is an active member of the National Mastitis Council and is the American Veterinary Medical Association and AABP's liaison to the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS). He is the first veterinarian to serve on the NCIMS Executive Board and is the outgoing dairy chair of the North American Veterinary Conference.


Photo of Pat Hall

Patrick Hall
Recovery Division Administrator, Iowa HSEMD

Patrick Hall is the head of the Recovery Division for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He has served more than 15 years with HSEMD in emergency response, recovery, mitigation and homeland security.


From 1993 until 2007, Mr. Hall served as Iowa’s Public Assistance officer, during which time he oversaw the implementation of recovery programs following several federally-declared disasters.


During emergency operations, Mr. Hall serves as one of the primary state officials to coordinate disaster and damage assessment team activities with local, state and federal officials. He has also served as HSEMD’s chief of operations, disaster assessment team leader, and the State’s direct liaison to local governments in the initial stages of emergency response and implementation of the Incident Command System.


Mr. Hall is a member of the National Public Assistance Committee and the National Policy Review Committee for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recovery programs.


A veteran of Vietnam and Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Mr. Hall retired from the National Guard in 2001 after 34 years of service.

Photo of Captain Kelly Hansen

Kelly Hansen
Captain, Sioux City Fire Rescue

Kelly J. Hansen, Captain, is a 29-year veteran of Sioux City Fire Rescue, and currently serves as a rescue captain. He also serves as the rescue manager for the Sioux City Division of Iowa Task Force 1 (IA-TF1), Iowa's Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team. He is trained as a structural collapse rescue specialist, and is an instructor for programs including rope rescue, high and low angle, confined space, trench rescue, building collapse and wide-area search.


In addition, Captain Hansen is an EMT and has been an adjunct instructor at Western Iowa Technical Community College in Sioux City for 24 years.


Captain Hansen is also trained in weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and evidence collection, is a NIMS and incident command instructor, is certified as a hazmat specialist, and is a past presenter at the Iowa Hazmat Symposium. He has long served as the coordinator for northwest Iowa’s critical incident stress management (CISM) team.


Photo of Kyle Karsjen

Kyle Karsjen
Homeland Security Planner, Iowa HSEMD

Kyle Karsjen is the homeland security planner for the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department. He began his career at HSEMD in 2003. Mr. Karsjen has been involved in a wide range of programs during his career at HSEMD, including hazard mitigation, homeland security, critical infrastructure protection and information security.

Currently, Mr. Karsjen's focus is on hazard identification, risk assessment, and capabilities assessment, subsequently taking the results of those assessments and turning them into a coherent strategic direction for the State of Iowa for matters of homeland security and emergency management. He coordinated the development of Iowa’s 2014 Core Capabilities Assessment, is currently spearheading the 2015 assessment update, and acts as the project manager for a variety of projects that were the direct result of capability gaps identified in the capabilities assessment process.


Mr. Karsjen is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in community and regional planning.

Photo of Mark Lucero

Mark Lucero
IPAWS Engineering Branch Chief, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Mark Lucero is the engineering branch chief of the FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. Before joining FEMA in September 2009, Mr. Lucero served as the lead engineer for the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Technology Analysis Center, where he was responsible for evaluating emerging technology and advising the chief technology officer on the agency’s technology investment decisions. Mark is a certified information systems security professional, holds two engineering degrees, and brings 10 years of engineering experience in the public and private sector.


Photo of Keith Morgan

Keith Morgan

Coordinator, Story County Emergency Management

Keith Morgan assumed the duties of Story County emergency management coordinator in April 2011. He is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where he gained extensive experience conducting risk mitigation and contingency planning, and providing command and control functions for large-scale operations. He has helped to coordinate emergency management issues across a diverse county that includes both rural and urban areas as well as a large university. Mr. Morgan has responded to a wide variety of events as Story County's emergency management coordinator, and during his tenure the county has received two Presidential Disaster Declarations.


Photo of Steve O'Koneck

Steve O'Koneck
Captain, Cedar Rapids Police Department

Captain Steve O’Konek has been in law enforcement for 34 years. He is currently a captain with the Cedar Rapids Police Department. Captain O’Konek also served more than 22 years with both the Iowa and Minnesota National Guard. His experience includes patrol operations, special operations, and he now commands the Criminal Investigative Division.


Captain O'Konek was assigned as the patrol division commander in Cedar Rapids during the 2008 floods. He joined the Iowa All-Hazards Incident Management Team (IMT) in 2010 and is currently assigned as the operations section chief on the "Blue Team." He has attended many all-hazards and position-specific courses and has worked with many outstanding IMT team members. Captain O'Konek is currently a member of the City of Cedar Rapids’ all hazard incident management team. Serving the community in these roles is his passion.


Photo of Duane Otto

Duane Otto
Safety and Environmental Manager, McFarland Clinic PC

Mr. Duane Otto has been working in the safety and environmental fields for more than 30 years. He is retired from the Army and Army National Guard, where he served for 26 years; his final deployment was with the "Night Stalkers" the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). Mr. Otto is also a member of the Iowa InfraGard, which is sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


In addition, Mr. Otto is a member of the Story County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and has worked as a Guard Emergency Situational Awareness Contact (GESAC) for the Iowa National Guard, where he liaised with county residents during local emergencies.



Jon Paoli

Information Technology Specialist, Iowa HSEMD

Jonathan Paoli is the Geographic Information System (GIS) and Information Technology Specialist at the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD).  Mr. Paoli has more than 15 years of experience using geospatial technologies and earned his degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. While at HSEMD, he has worked collaboratively with both the private and public sectors to better share and utilize GIS in Iowa’s planning, response, and recovery efforts. He currently serves on the board of the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) and as co-chair of the Geospatial Preparedness Committee for the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC).  


Photo of Doug Reed

Doug Reed
Director, Pottawattamie County Emergency Management

Doug Reed is the director of emergency management for Pottawattamie County, Iowa. He has served 11 years with the agency and a combined 20 years in emergency services, including emergency management, fire-rescue, emergency medical services (EMS), communications, and law enforcement. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army.


From 2003-2012, Mr. Reed served as the county EMS coordinator and operations officer for Pottawattamie County Emergency Management. In 2012 he was appointed director. In this capacity, he has actively participated in and supervised the implementation of disaster response and recovery operations and programs for seven Presidential Disaster Declarations in Pottawattamie County, and has also assisted in disaster and emergency reponse in several other areas of the state.


As Pottawattamie County Emergency Management is the sponsoring agency of the Region IV Disaster Saw Team, Mr. Reed serves as the liaison to Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. During saw team deployments and operations, he coordinates the team's administrative, planning, and logistical operations, and also supervises the southern division of the team.


Mr. Reed remains an active volunteer firefighter, emergency medical technician (EMT), and emergency services instructor. In addition, he currently serves as a planning section chief for the Iowa All-Hazards Incident Management Team (IMT) and is the first vice president of the Iowa Emergency Management Association (IAEMA).

Photo of Kurt Schwartz

Kurt Schwartz
Undersecretary, Homeland Security & Emergency Management/Director, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency - Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security

Kurt N. Schwartz serves as the undersecretary for homeland security and emergency management in the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). Mr. Schwartz, who was first appointed as an undersecretary by Governor Patrick in 2007, provides strategic leadership to the Massachusetts National Guard, the Department of Fire Services, the Commonwealth Fusion Center, and EOPSS's Homeland Security Division. He also serves as the director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency where he oversees a staff of 108 people and an $8 million operating budget as well as acting as the state's homeland security advisor and member of the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council under the umbrella of the National Governors Association.


Prior to serving as the undersecretary for homeland security and emergency management, Mr. Schwartz served in the Patrick administration as the undersecretary for law enforcement and fire services, where he provided strategic leadership to the Massachusetts State Police, Department of Fire Services, Office of Grants & Research, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Municipal Police Training Committee and Department of Public Safety. In this role, Mr. Schwartz also focused on policy and legislation in the areas of law enforcement, fire services, and emergency management.


Prior to his appointment at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security in 2007, Mr. Schwartz served for eight years in the Office of the Attorney General as an assistant attorney general. For five years, he was chief of the Criminal Bureau where he supervised a staff of prosecutors, investigators and state troopers and oversaw a number of large-scale, complex criminal investigations including the theft of $12 million from the Treasurer's Office, the year-long grand jury investigation of child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and the multi-agency investigation into the ceiling collapse of the I-90 connector tunnel.


Prior to his employment in the Office of the Attorney General, Mr. Schwartz served for 12 years as an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County, including eight years as chief of the Special Investigations Unit where he supervised a unit comprised of 20 assistant district attorneys, troopers, civilian investigators and support staff that focused on long-term investigations of organized crime, drug trafficking, corruption, murder-for-hire, insurance fraud, and other forms of economic crime.


Mr. Schwartz has also worked as a full-time police officer in Massachusetts, and as an emergency medical technician. He is a graduate of Boston College Law School and Wesleyan University.


Kim Thomas
Readiness and Contingency Operations Branch Chief, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Kim Thomas currently serves as the chief of Readiness and Contingency Operations Branch for the Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). As chief, Ms. Thomas serves as the primary advisory to the commander on emergency and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery activities associated with both natural disasters and national security emergencies. The Omaha District is the most expansive district in USACE. Its boundaries cover more than 540,000 square miles and eight States.


Ms. Thomas began her career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2000. Prior to becoming the chief of Readiness Branch, she served as a geotechnical engineer with the Omaha District, were she engineered redesigns and construction of military airfields to include both Edwards and Andrews Air Force bases. She has deployed numerous times in support of natural disasters serving as a mission manager for the Florida hurricanes in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Following Katrina, she served as the lead geotechnical engineer for the Hurricane Protection Office in New Orleans, La., where she was responsible for ensuring levee and floodgate projects for the city were completed on time and within budget. Ms. Thomas also responded to flood events in 2009 and 2010, and in 2011 she was responsible for directing USACE efforts for the record-setting flooding of the Missouri River in six states, preventing more than $8 billion in flood-related damage.


Ms. Thomas graduated from Midland Lutheran College in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and minors in chemistry and athletic training. In addition, she earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Nebraska in 2002 and is currently working on her master's degree in engineering management from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


In 2011, Ms. Thomas was named National Emergency Manager of the Year, and has earned the Superior Civilian Award and numerous Commander’s Awards throughout her career. She also serves as a guest lecturer for the University of Nebraska at Omaha in their emergency management degree program.


Ms. Thomas is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Nebraska. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, golfing, fishing, reading, traveling, spending time with her family and nephews, and attending college sporting events.


Photo of Larry Weber

Larry Weber
IIHR - Science and Engineering Director, University of Iowa

Larry Weber is an Iowa native hailing from Dyersville, Iowa. He currently serves as professor of civil and environmental engineering and holds the Edwin B. Green Chair in Hydraulics at the University of Iowa, College of Engineering.

Since 2004, Weber has been the director of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa, a world-renowned research institute focusing on education, research, and public service in hydraulic engineering and fluid mechanics. In 2009, he became one of the co-founders of the Iowa Flood Center.

Weber’s research expertise includes fish passage facilities, physical modeling, river hydraulics, hydropower, computational hydraulics, and flood mitigation. Most of his current research activities focus on the measurement and computational modeling of water quantity (i.e. flood and/or drought modeling) and quality (sediments and fate and transport of nutrients) at the watershed scale.


Weber serves the state of Iowa as a member of the Water Resources Coordinating Council; he also serves on numerous state and federal agency committees related to water resources planning. Weber frequently presents to community groups on water resources–related topics.


Weber holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Iowa.

Photo of Jason Wickhizer

Jason Wickizer
EMS Coordinator, Shelby County Emergency Management

Jason Wickizer became the emergency medical services (EMS) coordinator for Shelby County Emergency Management in 2006. Before his move to Shelby County, he worked for the United States Forest Service, as an engine captain in the agency's fire program.


Because of his love for the outdoors and many years using chainsaws, Mr. Wickizer contacted Doug Reed with Pottawattamie County Emergency Management to discuss forming a specialized team comprised of firefighters from volunteer agencies, who could be trained to use chainsaws to clear debris in the aftermath of storms and disasters. In 2008, when the city of Parkersburg was devasted by an EF-5 tornado, he and Mr. Reed deployed to Parkersburg and assisted with tree removal from public areas and mitigating public safety threats throughout the community.


Mr. Wickizer and Mr. Reed then formalized the saw group as the Region IV Disaster Saw Team, and successfully lobbied for funding to purchase equipment for the team. During the past few years, with additional assistance from companies like Stihl and Yamaha, the saw team has trained approximately 60 members and equipped two trailers with specialized tree-cutting equipment. The team continues to train and respond and, to date in 2014, has deployed three times to assist various local jurisdictions at the request of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management.


Mr. Wickizer focuses a great deal of his time on credentialing and training new members of the saw team, as well as keeping abreast of new skills and techniques the team can use after a disaster.


In his free time Mr. Wickizer travels to the western U.S., where he continues to fight wildfires and fell trees that pose a hazard.


Photo of Kevin Winker

Kevin Winker

Fusion Center Assistant Director, Iowa Dept. of Public Safety

Kevin Winker is a 1988 graduate of Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he obtained a degree in criminal justice administration. He attended the 13th Iowa Department of Public Safety Academy and upon graduation started his career with the department as a trooper in the Iowa State Patrol. Mr. Winker transferred to the Division of Narcotics Enforcement in 1990, and has held a number of positions within the investigative divisions of the department since then.


In 2005, Mr. Winker was promoted to the rank of Special Agent in Charge in the Division of Criminal Investigation. In 2008 he was promoted to assistant director where he supervised the Field Operations Bureau that included the Major Crime Unit, Missing Persons Unit and Cyber Crime/ICAC Unit. In 2010, he transferred back to the Division of Narcotics Enforcement as their assistant director and in September 2013 was assigned to the Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center. As such, he has oversight of both analytical and field operations within the division and is the state coordinator for the Iowa Law Enforcement Intelligence Network (LEIN). Currently, he serves as the director of Iowa’s Fusion Center.


In 2008 Mr. Winker attended Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, and in 2011 he attended the 244th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Academy in Quantico, Va. He is the current president of the Iowa Death Investigators Association, and is also a member of the Iowa Narcotics Officers Association and FBI’s National Academy Associates.


Photo of Jeff Zogg

Jeff Zogg
Senior Hydrologist, National Weather Service

Jeff Zogg has been the senior hydrologist and a meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Des Moines, Iowa, since 2008. In Des Moines, he collaborates with his local office staff, as well as with external partners such as emergency management, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Iowa, and the Iowa Flood Center, to ensure that the NWS meets the hydrologic service needs of its partners and users. His efforts include internal and external training, as well as outreach and information technology initiatives. Jeff is also the primary NWS liaison to the State of Iowa for NWS hydrologic services. Prior to coming to Des Moines, Jeff was the hydrologist at the NWS in Davenport, Iowa. Jeff led the NWS’s hydrologic service efforts there during several high-impact flood events including the historic, record flooding in 2008.


Mr. Zogg is a native of Davenport, Iowa. He earned a B.S. in meteorology from Iowa State University. He also did graduate work in transportation, including civil engineering and community and regional planning at Iowa State University. His professional interests include community flood preparedness, statistical hydrology, hydrologic forecast verification and geographic information systems (GIS).





Vendors at the 2013 conference


This year's vendor's include:


Alliance Pipeline

Karl Chevrolet


Midwest Card ID Solutions

Buffalo Computer Graphics


Clarey's Safety Equipment

Radio Comm

Crisis Track

Safeguard Iowa Partnership

Danko Emergency Equipment

Siemens Industry

Electronic Engineering

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

Emergency Communications Network

Walden University

ER Assist

Waldorf College

Feld Fire

Whelen Engineering


Ziegler Power Systems

Iowa Flood Center




FREE Post-Conference Training (Oct. 23) - REGISTER NOW


You may register for this course even if you do not attend the conference.


Natural Disaster Awareness
for Caregivers of Senior Citizens (AWR-308)


8 a.m.-12 noon
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014


CCCU Convention Center at Vet's Auditorium
833 Fifth Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa


Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to natural hazards. Factors such as physical limitations, mental ailments, and medication requirements are issues of concern for caregivers of senior citizens. These specific needs, amongst others considerations for natural hazards, must be addressed in preparedness plans for these at-risk citizens.


This four-hour course is designed to enhance the caregiver’s awareness of vulnerability factors associated with senior citizens. Participants will learn how to identify, prepared, and perform a number of support activities that will ensure the safety and security of senior citizens when a natural hazard event occurs. Particular attention is directed toward developing an awareness of the preparedness and response needs of all senior citizens, inclusive of economic, medical, cognitive and mobility determinants.


Course Modules include:

  • What to Expect: Natural Hazards and Natural Disasters
  • Constraints, Vulnerabilities, and Resilience
  • Preparedness Exercise

Target audience for this course includes senior care providers (family members, friends, personal attendants, home health agencies, in-home services, roommates, medical providers), emergency managers, general public.


There are no prerequisites for this course.


This course is being presented by the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC). There will be two simultaneous trainings provided on Oct. 23. You must register on both the HSEMD Training website as well as the NDPTC website. You only need to register for one session via the NDPTC.


  • Click here to register for this course on the HSEMD Training website.
  • Click here to register for Session One on the NDPTC website.
    (Use code #25318)
  • Click here to register for Session Two on the NDPTC website.
    (Use code #31456)







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