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Keynote Speakers

ASCE Update and Bridge Scour during Extreme Events

Jean-Louis BriaudJean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE., Distinguished Member ASCE, ASCE President, University Distinguished Professor and Buchanan Chair Holder, Texas A&M

Jean Louis Briaud is the current ASCE President and a Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University and the Holder of the Spencer J. Buchanan Chair in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering. His expertise is in foundation engineering and more generally geotechnical engineering.

Over the last 30 years, Dr. Briaud has conducted about 10 million dollars of research most of which was on foundations and retaining walls. He has supervised 50 Ph.D. students and 90 Master students. He is the author of a new book entitled Geotechnical Engineering and one entitled The Pressuremeter; he has published about 300 articles and reports in geotechnical engineering. Among other awards, he has received the ASCE Ralph Peck Award from the USA, the CGS Geoffrey Meyerhof Foundation Engineering Award from Canada, the Honorable Aitalyev Medal from Kazakhstan, and is a member of the National Academy of Natural Sciences in Russia.

USACE R&D Tackling the Climate Crisis

David PittmanDavid Pittman, Ph.D., P.E., Director, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)

Dr. David W. Pittman became the Director of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), headquartered in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in March 2017. As Director, he manages one of the most diverse research organizations in the world – seven laboratories located in four states, with more than 2,100 employees, $1.2 billion in facilities, and a $1 billion annual program.

Dr. Pittman is also the Director of Research and Development and Chief Scientist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In that role, he is responsible for creating policy and performing strategic planning, direction and oversight of R&D for the Corps’ Military and Civil Works programs and for the Warfighter. He advises the Chief of Engineers on matters of science and technology and sets conditions for success in all S&T conducted in the Corps.

Rethinking Extreme Event Probability and Risk

Michael E. McMahonMichael E. McMahon, ENV SP, Senior Hydro-meteorologist/Climate Science and Resiliency, HDR, Inc.

Mr. Mike McMahon has 38 years of experience as a dedicated Scientist and Project Manager. The concentration of his body of work has been focused on understanding and communicating the interactions of the Land-Water-Atmosphere nexus.

His projects and research include climate change quantification, impact analysis and adaptation planning, extreme storm event analysis, flood warning, monitoring and response, water supply management, stormwater and wastewater modeling, forensic storm event analyses, EIR/EIS documentation, and GIS mapping for climate adaptation strategies. He is currently serving as SME on both FERC dam safety and FEMA climate resilience projects.

Updating the Site-Specific PMP and PMF for the Coosa & Tallapoosa River Basin Hydro Projects Using Modern Techniques

Richard L. MickweeRichard L. Mickwee, Dam Safety & Surveillance Supervisor, Southern Company Generation

Richard Mickwee is the Dam Safety & Surveillance Supervisor for Southern Company Generation in Alabama. He serves as the Chief Dam Safety Engineer for the fourteen projects in Alabama Power Company’s hydroelectric fleet.

He has 24 years of professional experience in dam safety and geotechnical engineering. Richard joined the Southern Company Hydro Services dam safety team in 2005 and has been the Chief Dam Safety Engineer for Alabama Power Company since 2015.

He graduated from Auburn University in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and has been a registered Professional Engineer since 2002. He lives with his family in Trussville, Alabama near Birmingham.

EDS Reconnaissance Trips: Edenville and Sanford Dam Failures

Daniel PradelDaniel Pradel, PhD PE GE DGE F.ASCE, Professor of Practice, Ohio State University

Daniel Pradel is Professor of Practice at The Ohio State University in Geotechnical Engineering. Previously he was Vice-President of Shannon & Wilson in Glendale, California, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UCLA, where he has been teaching since 1988.

He is registered in the State of California as a Geotechnical Engineer and as a Civil Engineer in California, Hawaii, Utah and Nevada. His main areas of professional expertise are in Slope Stability and Geomechanical Numerical Modeling. He has performed numerous reconnaissance visits after major natural hazard events such as Earthquakes, Landslides and Hurricanes.

Since 1982, he has worked on projects located in four continents, including large dams and multibillion transportation projects. He has also designed numerous landslide stabilizations, worked on levees for the US Army Corps of Engineers, and performed numerous geotechnical investigations and designs for residential and commercial buildings.

He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a Diplomate of the Academy of Geo-Professionals, an ABET Commissioner, and an Associate Editor of the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical Engineering and Geo-Environmental Engineering.

EDS Reconnaissance Trips: Rat Creek Embankment Failure

Dimitrios ZekkosDimitrios Zekkos, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Dimitrios Zekkos, Ph.D, P.E., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. Dimitrios is applying multi-sensing approaches enabled by satellites, robots, and on-the-ground deployments to collect data and model the performance of infrastructure systems in response to a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, monsoons, hurricanes as well as climate change.

Dimitrios has been involved in several post-disaster reconnaissance missions such as the 2011 Tohoku (Japan) earthquake, the 2014 Cephalonia earthquake, 2015 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake and subsequent monsoons, the 2015 Lefkada earthquake, the 2016 Kaikoura (New Zealand) earthquake, and the 2020 Medicane Ianos.

Delivering science for extreme events: The USGS role before, during and after disaster strikes

Dave ApplegateDave Applegate, Ph.D., Associate Director for Natural Hazards, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, USGS

Dave Applegate is the Associate Director for Natural Hazards. In that role, he leads USGS hazards planning and response activities and oversees the Coastal & Marine Geology, Earthquake Hazards, Global Seismographic Network, Geomagnetism, Landslide Hazards, and Volcano Hazards Programs. He co-chairs the interagency Science for Disaster Reduction working group and co-leads the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Sciences Group. Applegate came to the USGS in 2004 as the first Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards.

In addition to his USGS duties, Applegate is an adjunct full professor in the University of Utah's Department of Geology and Geophysics. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America and is a past president of the Geological Society of Washington.

Prior to joining the USGS, Applegate spent 8 years with the American Geological Institute federation of geoscience societies, where he directed science policy and served as the editor of Geotimes. Applegate has also served with the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources as the American Geophysical Union's Congressional Science Fellow and as a professional staff member.

Dr. Applegate has a B.S. in geology from Yale University and a Ph.D., also in geology, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Geo-Engineering, reversing the Resilience Divide

William Craig FugateWilliam Craig Fugate, the former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency

W. Craig Fugate served as President Barack Obama’s FEMA Administrator from May 2009 to January 2017. Previously, he served as Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s Emergency Management Director from 2001–2007 and Governor Charlie Crist from 2007–09.

Fugate led FEMA through multiple record-breaking disaster years and oversaw the Federal Government’s response to major events such as the Joplin and Moore Tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Matthew, and the 2016 Louisiana flooding. Fugate set a clear and compelling vision, mission, and priorities for FEMA and relentlessly drove the Agency to achieve better outcomes for survivors. FEMA’s effectiveness in dealing with more than 500 Presidentially-declared major disasters and emergencies under Fugate’s leadership restored the faith of the American people in the Federal Government’s ability to respond to disasters. Prior to his tenure at FEMA, Fugate was widely praised for his management, under Governor Jeb Bush, of the devastating effects of the 2004 and 2005 Florida hurricane seasons (Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis, Katrina, and Wilma).

Craig currently provides senior level advice and consultation is the area of disaster management and resiliency policy through Craig Fugate Consulting LLC. Craig also serves as the Chief Emergency Management Officer at One Concern.

Spatial Inequalities in Disaster Risk

Jean-Louis BriaudSusan Cutter, Ph.D., Carolina Distinguished Professor, Director of the Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute, University of South Carolina

Dr. Susan Cutter is a Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of South Carolina and director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute and the IRDR Center of Excellence on Vulnerability and Resilience Metrics.  She has authored or edited 15 books, 150+ plus peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and mentored more than 60 masters and doctoral candidates.

Her research focusses on vulnerability and resilience science with specific reference to methods, models, and metrics.  Her scientific contributions include the hazards of place model of vulnerability, the disaster resilience of place model, as well as tools for assessing spatial and temporal variability in vulnerability (Social Vulnerability Index or SoVI®) and resilience (Baseline Resilience Indicators for Communities [BRIC] Index).  Her policy-relevant work focuses on the evidentiary basis for hazard mitigation and disaster recovery policy and practice at local, state, national, and international levels. In particular, she continues to lead investigations of the disproportionate spatial and temporal impacts of disasters on vulnerable populations and the places where they live.

Dr. Cutter is an elected fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She received an honorary doctorate from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2015), and was elected as a foreign member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. She was also the recipient of her disciplines highest awards: American Association of Geographers (AAG) Lifetime Achievement, Presidential Achievement, and the Wilbanks Award for Transformation Research.

Realizing Resilience: Living with Extreme Events

Lauren Alexander AugustineLauren Alexander Augustine, Ph.D., Executive Director, Gulf Research Program

Lauren Alexander Augustine is responsible for overseeing all aspects of management and use of the criminal settlement funds from the Deepwater Horizon disaster that were entrusted with the National Academies by the federal government.

Since her tenure at the National Academies began in 2002, Lauren has gained experience working in a variety of roles on a broad range of topics pertaining to water, natural disasters, and resilience. Prior to joining the Gulf Research Program in 2018, she served as Director of the Resilient America Program, which supports communities’ efforts to build resilience to extreme events using science and diverse stakeholder engagement. In addition, she has formerly served as Country Director for the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI), a decadal program that built scientific capacity in national academies across Africa; as Director of the Disasters Roundtable; and as a study director for the Water Science and Technology Board. Outside of her work at the National Academies, Lauren has served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Risk and Resilience; was a member of the Advisory Board for the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange program; and was a juror for two resilience competitions, Rebuild by Design for recovery after Hurricane Sandy and Resilience by Design in San Francisco. She is also a NATO Expert for the Civil Protection Group.

Extreme Weather Event Preparedness

Ed McCarthyEd McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer, Georgia Ports Authority

As chief operating officer of the Georgia Ports Authority, Ed McCarthy is responsible for sustaining the profitable growth and strategic development of GPA’s five operating facilities, while maintaining world-class operational standards. He oversees safety, operations, equipment maintenance, facilities and engineering.

McCarthy has held senior management and executive positions in APM Terminals and CMA-CGM America.
McCarthy obtained a Bachelor of Science from the Maritime College at the State University of New York, a diploma in terminal management at Lloyd’s Maritime Academy at Kent College, Dartford UK, and a Master of Business Administration from William & Mary University, Mason School of Business. He has served as chairman of the board for Consolidated Chassis Management Company and as a member of the board of directors for the Ocean Carrier Equipment and Maintenance Association.
McCarthy and his wife, Heather have three children. They live in Savannah, GA.

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