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2022 Speaker Information COming Soon

2021 Speakers:

Marcus Aguilar, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Research Engineer, Stormwater Utility, City of Roanoke

Flooding in Roanoke's Central Business District (CBD)

Marcus is a Senior Research Engineer in the City of Roanoke’s Stormwater Utility. His expertise is in understanding and improving the long-term interaction between humans, our built infrastructure, and the natural ecosystem in urban watersheds. Marcus received his Ph.D. and MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech, and a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Alabama and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth. He has over 11 years of experience in water resources consulting, academia, and local government and is the author of numerous journal articles, conference proceedings and technical reports.
Chad Berginnis, CFM,Executive Director, Association of Floodplain Managers
ASFPM & National Policy Updates

Chad Berginnis, CFM, is the Executive Director for the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), a national non-profit organization of over 20,000 members and 37 state chapters whose mission is to promote policies, approaches, and activities that mitigate current and future losses, costs, and human suffering caused by flooding; and to protect the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains - all without causing adverse impacts.  


Mr. Berginnis has 28 years of experience in various aspects of natural hazard management, flood loss reduction, and land use planning / programs at the state, local and private sector level.  As a state official, Mr. Berginnis worked in the Ohio Floodplain Management Program and was Ohio’s State Hazard Mitigation Officer. He was involved in creating/administering the Appalachian Flood Risk Reduction Initiative, administered the Community Assistance Program, authored a comprehensive revision of the model state floodplain management regulations, oversaw state hazard mitigation operations in three Federally declared flood disasters and authored the 2008 update of Ohio’s mitigation plan.  As a local official, Mr. Berginnis administered land use, economic development and floodplain management programs in Perry County, Ohio as well as assisted Perry County communities with their post-disaster floodplain management responsibilities following a major flood.  In the private Sector, Mr. Berginnis was the national Practice Leader in hazard mitigation for Michael Baker Jr. Inc.  


Mr. Berginnis is a recognized national expert in floodplain management and hazard mitigation, having participated on national research / focus groups, providing agency (FEMA, USACE, OMB, CRS, IG, CBO, various states) and Congressional testimony, and was selected to participate on an advisory panel to the Chinese Government on the development of a national floodplain management strategy.  He recently served on a National Academies of Science committee on urban flooding.  Chad is also currently an advisory board member for the Coastal Resilience Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and for the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder.  He is also past Insurance Committee Chair, Mitigation Policy Committees’ Coordinator, Vice Chair, and Chair of ASFPM   Mr. Berginnis holds a Bachelor of Science in natural resources from Ohio State University and is a Certified Floodplain Manager.


Scott C. Blossom, P.E., CFM, LEED AP, Owner, Blossom Consulting and Engineering Inc. ​
Interdisciplinary Forward-Thinking Approaches to Floodplain and Tidal Wetland Restoration 

Scott C. Blossom P.E., CFM, LEED AP specializes in water resource engineering stemming from his long-term commitment to sustainability and resiliency. As a certified floodplain manager (CFM) and LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), Scott has focused on high performance stormwater management and floodplain restoration throughout his 20-year career. He has Rosgen training in River Morphology, Assessment and River Restoration and Natural Channel Design and has prepared retrofit & restoration plans as engineer of record for numerous projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Caribbean. Mr. Blossom is a graduate of Northern Arizona University with specialized coursework in water resources at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. He currently leads a highly specialized engineering firm headquartered in Williamsburg Virginia.

Angela Davis, Floodplain Program Planner, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Dam Safety and Floodplain Management Division
State Agency Panel: Flood Resilience Intiatives

Angela C. Davis is with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Dam Safety and Floodplain Management Division. Angela is an experienced geographer and leader, with over seven years of experience in floodplain management. After working for the U.S. Census Bureau and graduating from George Mason University, with a degree in Geography & GIS, Angela became a Federal Contractor for FEMA's Map Information & Insurance eXchange. Her initial role was to provide technical mapping assistance and analysis to a range of stakeholders including Federal policymakers, special interest groups, local officials, and the general public. Angela was promoted to the FEMA CERC contract where she coordinated, planned, and executed community outreach and RiskMAP engagements throughout all ten FEMA Regions as the National Project Coordinator. At DCR, she currently serves as the Lead Floodplain Program Planner and is a Certified Floodplain Manager through ASFPM. Angela is actively involved with advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in both floodplain management and the environmental industry. 
Benjamin Felton, P.E., CFM, Water Resources Engineer, A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc.​

Floodplain Management Program Enhancements in Henrico County

Ben Felton is a practicing civil engineer with a water resources focus at A. Morton Thomas and Associates. He has experience in a range of projects that include H&HA for flood mitigation and floodplain improvements, evaluation and design of dam safety measures, dam hazard classifications, stormwater management quality and quantity BMP design, flood mitigation studies for urban and rural areas, and other related services for local government and state agency clients. His software experience includes HEC-HMS, HEC-RAS, HEC-GeoRAS, EPA SWMM, PC SWMM, HY-8, FlowMaster, HydroCAD, GEOPAK, PondPack, and ArcGIS.

Ben has a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia, a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of South Carolina, and Bachelor of Arts in Architecture with a minor in Mathematics from Clemson University. Ben is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Virginia and a Certified Floodplain Manager.
Darryl Glover, Deputy Director of Soil and Water Conservation and Dam Safety and Floodplain Management, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Community Flood Preparedness Fund

Darryl M. Glover is the Deputy Agency Director for Dam Safety, Floodplain Management, and Soil and Water Conservation, at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). He has worked at DCR, most recently, since 2011 where he was the

Regional Operations Manager from 2011 – 2014, Director of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation from 2014 – 2021, then promoted to Deputy Agency Director in July 2021. Prior to DCR, Glover was the Director of the Office of Water Monitoring and Assessment at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality from 2002 – 2011. He also served at the York Watershed Manager at DCR in the late 1990’s, Senior Environmental Engineer at the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance, Environmental Specialist at the Virginia Department of Transportation, and a Coal Reclamation Inspector at the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy in the early 1980’s. Glover was born in Philadelphia, PA and was educated at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York with a degree in Geological Science.

Iain Gordon, Project Engineer, Timmons Group

Leveraging PCSWMM To Improve Neighborhood Floodplain Modeling​

Iain holds a  BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia.
His career interests include Residential/Capital Drainage Improvement Projects, Floodplain Modeling and Dam Safety Analysis.
Lance Gregory, Director, Division of Onsite Sewage and Water Services, Environmental Engineering, and Marina Programs

Virginia Department of Health

State Agency Panel: Flood Resilience Intiatives

Lance Gregory is the Director for the Division of Onsite Sewage and Water Services, Environmental Engineering, and Marina Programs.  His Division works with Virginia’s 35 Health Districts and industry stakeholders to develop and implement regulations related to onsite sewage systems, alternative discharging systems, private wells, and marinas.  Mr. Gregory has worked in a variety of positions within VDH’s onsite sewage and water programs at the local, district, and central office level providing a useful perspective of the programs impacts at an individual, community, and statewide level.

Yosif Ibrahim, PhD, P.E., CFM, Engineer IV, Fairfax County

Fairfax County Regulatory Floodplain Mapping Project

Yosif Ibrahim holds a BS from the University of Khartoum (Sudan) and MS and PhD from the University of Dar Es-Salaam (Tanzania). He has worked in the water resources and urban stormwater management field for over 25 years, and is the author of several peer reviewed publications in the areas of stormwater managements, water diplomacy and negotiated approach for conflict resolutions in transboundary river basin management. He currently works as an Engineer IV in the Stormwater Planning Division at Fairfax County and is the technical lead for the floodplain management responsibilities of the Division. He is a licensed professional engineer, certified floodplain manager, certified Project Management Professional and a member of the American Society for Civil Engineers.
Ian Kaliakin, P.E., Civil Engineer, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.​

Solar Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change, Floodplain Reviews: Best Practices for Municipal Staff Augmentation

Ian Kaliakin is a Civil Engineer with a focus in hydrology and hydraulics working at Kimley-Horn’s Virginia Beach office. Ian's seven years of experience consists of dredging design, sanitary sewer, water and stormwater utility design as well as extensive hydraulic and hydrologic (H&H) modeling experience. His H&H modeling experience includes floodplain modeling and stormwater modeling to support large solar, land development and roadway projects. Ian obtained his Bachelor of Science in Environmental & Water Resource Engineering at the University of Delaware. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Virginia and North Carolina, and an Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure ENVISION® Sustainability Professional. 
Uday Khambhammettu, P.E., CFM, Senior Project Manager, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.​

Floodplain Reviews: Best Practices for Municipal Staff Augmentation

Uday Khambhammettu is a Senior Project Manager with Kimley-Horn and Associates in their Virginia Beach office. Uday has over 17 years of expertise in resilience and flood mitigation engineering, stormwater master planning and modeling, floodplain management, water distribution, and wastewater conveyance modeling. Over the years, Uday’s focus has been to help municipal officials find efficiency within the defined constraints of design, construction, operations, fiscal policy, and master planning. Through his work, Uday has helped several municipalities save millions of dollars by repurposing existing infrastructure or eliminating or postponing the need for CIP projects. Uday has extensively utilized hydraulic and hydrological modeling to showcase the benefits of his recommendations. Since 2017, Uday has increased his focus and attention towards addressing climate change and helping municipalities become resilient. He is currently working with numerous cities in Hampton Roads to address increased precipitation through master planning at a watershed level. Uday obtained his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Alabama and Master of Business Administration from Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is currently working for multiple cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia in identifying resilient solutions for recurrent flooding.

Dipmani Kumar, Ph.D, P.E., CFM, Chief of the Watershed Planning & Evaluation Branch, Stormwater Planning Division, Fairfax County
Fairfax County Regulatory Floodplain Mapping Project

Dipmani Kumar has over 26 years of experience in water resources planning, analysis, and project implementation. He currently serves as chief of the Watershed Planning and Evaluation Branch within the Stormwater Planning Division at Fairfax County. He holds graduate degrees from Virginia Tech and is a licensed professional engineer and certified floodplain manager.
Necolle Maccherone, Project Manager, Michael Baker International​

Local Climate Vulnerability Assessment Informs Future Investment and Educates the Community

Necolle creates products and events that show the value of flood reduction and risk assessment efforts and builds partner capacity by best practice sharing and training. She supports national Federal Emergency Management Agency community engagement and risk communication efforts that help build local awareness and creates tools for communities to analyze and assess their risk. Necolle has helped Maryland jurisdictions become more resilient from flooding through her work updating local hazard mitigation and climate vulnerability assessment plans, supporting the Maryland Flood Awareness Month social media campaign, and as Chair of the Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers. She has contributed locally to create partnerships with like-missioned organizations such as the Maryland Resiliency Partnership, Howard County Watershed Improvement Network, Long Reach Watershed Committee, and the City of Annapolis Weather It Together Team. She is a Certified Floodplain Manager, a professional certification through the Association of State Floodplain Managers. 

M. Tariq Makhdoom, Ph.D, CFM, Senior Water Resources Engineer, Taylor Engineering, Inc.​

Letter of Map Changes – An Overview of the Review Process

Tariq Makhdoom is currently working as Senior Water Resources Engineer with Taylor Engineering. He has a doctoral degree in civil engineering from University of Waterloo, Canada. The main focus of his research was on remote sensing application in hydrology, hydrometeorology and water resources. He has several years of international experience in water resources engineering both the public and private sector. He has extensive experience with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Risk Map Program in Letter of Map Changes and levee accreditation reviews for FEMA Regions II, III, VI and IX. He has been the president of the Virginia Floodplain Management Association from March 2015 to March 2018.

David Mummert, eLOMA Coordinator, Michael Baker International​

eLOMA – A Collaborative Tool for Licensed Professionals, Communities, and FEMA

David Mummert has over 20 years of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) experience with Michael Baker International in the MT-1 (LOMA) Group. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a degree in Biology with a specialization in Environmental Science. He is currently the Northwind Resource Consulting (NWRC) eLOMA Coordinator for all 10 FEMA Regions, Technical Manager for the NWRC MT-1 Group, and Subject Matter Expert for LOMA and eLOMA processing through FEMA’s Mapping Information Platform (MIP) website. 

Juliette Murphy, CEO & Co-founder, FloodMapp​
Real-time Flood Intelligence for Emergency Management

Juliette Murphy (CPEng, RPEQ, BEng) is a Professional Surface Water Engineer with over 12 years industry experience in flood modelling, hydrology and water resources engineering across Australia, North America and South East Asia. In each of her roles, Juliette has gained a breadth of expertise in hydrologic and hydraulic modelling, GIS, mapping, software development and project management.
As CEO and Co-founder, Juliette created FloodMapp in 2017, a world-first real-time rapid flood forecast model, and has been instrumental in the software engineering vision of the product using her flooding subject matter expertise.

Kristin Owen, AICP, CFM​, Floodplain & Dam Safety Manager​, Henrico County

Floodplain Management Program Enhancements in Henrico County

Kristin Owen is the Floodplain & Dam Safety Manager for Henrico County, Virginia and the current president of the Virginia Floodplain Management Association. Kristin has extensive state and local government experience in floodplain management and land use planning. Prior to joining Henrico County, Kristin worked for the Commonwealth of Virginia as the Acting NFIP Coordinator, State CRS Coordinator, and co-chair of the Virginia Silver Jackets team. While in this role, she assisted Governor Northam’s Office with developing and implementing two executive orders aimed to reduce flood risk and increase Virginia’s resiliency to natural hazards. She also partnered with Virginia Tech to create and teach a graduate-level course on local floodplain management, which earned her FEMA’s 2019 Best Innovation/Project Award. Before joining the Commonwealth of Virginia, Kristin was the Planning and Floodplain Administrator for Teton County, Idaho.

Kristin received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from West Virginia University, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, a Master of Natural Resources, and Graduate Certificates in Watershed Management and Geospatial Information Technology from Virginia Tech. She is an AICP professional planner and a Certified Floodplain Manager. 

Rachael Peabody, Senior Advisor for Coastal Adaptation and Ecosystem Restoration at the VA Marine Resources Commission
State Agency Panel: Flood Resilience Intiatives

Rachael Peabody serves as the chief science and policy advisor to the Commissioner on matters of climate change, coastal resilience, and habitat restoration. She recently worked for the Elizabeth River Project in Norfolk as the Assistant Director of Restoration and spent six years at VMRC in both its Fisheries and Habitat Management Divisions. She attended the University of West Alabama where she worked as a graduate student at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab after obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in business at Baker University. 

Kelsey Redman​, Project Engineer, Timmons Group

Leveraging PCSWMM To Improve Neighborhood Floodplain Modeling

Kelsey holds a BS in Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech. 
Her current career interests include Residential / Capital Drainage Improvement Projects, and Floodplain Modeling.
Donald J. Rissmeyer, P.E., CFM, Certified Floodplain Manager, A. Morton Thomas and Associates

Flooding in Roanoke's Central Business District (CBD)

Don Rissmeyer is a licensed Professional Engineer and Certified Floodplain Manager for A. Morton Thomas and Associates, with over 30 years of experience in providing consulting engineering services to municipal stormwater clients including the City of Roanoke and many others. He is a Past-President of the Virginia Section of ASCE and a Past-President of the Virginia Floodplain Management Association, as well as a member of the Western Virginia Floodplain Network. 
Jackie Rothey, EIT, Hydrology/Hydraulics Analyst, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.​

Solar Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change

Jackie Rothey is a Civil Analyst with a focus in hydrology and hydraulics working at Kimley-Horn’s Virginia Beach office. Jackie obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biological Systems Engineering with a minor in Green Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. During her time at Virginia Tech, Jackie focused on small watershed hydrology and sustainable engineering. Since starting with Kimley-Horn Jackie has gained experience with hydraulic and hydrologic modeling to support solar sites, land development, and flood mitigation projects.

Elfatih Salim, P.E., D. WRE, ENV SP, CFM, Engineer IV, Fairfax County
Fairfax County Regulatory Floodplain Mapping Project

Elfatih Salim obtained a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Khartoum, Sudan, and a MS in Environmental Engineering from IHE-Delft, the Netherlands. His experience includes total water management, stormwater management, and H&H Analyses. He currently works as an Engineer IV in the Stormwater Planning at Fairfax County and acts as the technical lead for the Dam Safety Program and plan review of stormwater capital projects. He is a licensed professional engineer and certified floodplain manager, and also holds the D. WRE and ENV SP designations.
Roderick Scott, CFM, Director of Education, Resilient Enterprise Solutions
Preparing the Resilience Workforce

After 25 years of contracting experience specializing in flood damage recovery and historic structures, Rod has been engaged with flood mitigation projects since 2009. Rod has been engaged in all aspects of the elevation of over 1,500 buildings and is a historic building and historic income tax credit specialist. Rod has a private sector consulting company the provides education development programs, project management, assessment and estimating services for flood mitigation projects. In 2014 Rod became a Certified Floodplain Manager – CFM. In 2014 Rod won the ASFPM National Flood Proofing Award for the flood mitigation industry supported “Elevation 101” program. In 2018 Rod helped the International Association of Structural Movers publish the “Steps to Elevation – STE” for property owners. Since 2019 Rod has led the Resilient Enterprise Solutions-RES team to

produce the “Home Raising Academy” a pilot HUD Resiliency project in Norfolk, VA aiming to train general contractors, architects, structural engineers and government staff on how to plan, finance and execute flood mitigation elevation projects.

Matthew Simons, AICP, CZA, CFM, Coastal Resiliency Manager, City of Norfolk

Program for Public Information (PPI) and Flood Insurance Study for CRS

Matt Simons works as a Coastal Resiliency Manager for the City of Norfolk’s Office of Resilience. He is an ASFPM Certified Floodplain Manger and he’s previously served as Norfolk’s Floodplain Program Manager and CRS Coordinator, as well as a principal urban planner for Norfolk’s Planning Department. Matt is a Board Representative for VFMA and is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners. The work that Matt and his team have completed in the CRS program results in an annual savings in excess of $2M for the NFIP policyholders in Norfolk. 
Ginny Snead, P.E., CFM, Water Resources Engineer, A. Morton Thomas and Associates

Lessons Learned from CRS Entry in Pandemic Times​

Ginny Snead, PE, CFM is a water resources engineer with more than 25 years of consulting and state government experience, specializing in water planning, floodplain management, engineering and policy in Virginia and in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. She currently leads the Williamsburg Office of  A. Morton Thomas (AMT), a mid-Atlantic civil engineering and planning firm. Her consulting practice centers on the intersection of stormwater and floodplain management. Her prior experience includes directing the Office of Stormwater at the Virginia DEQ and managing the Office of Regulatory Programs at the Virginia DCR. Ms. Snead is Chair Emeritus for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay board, a non-profit focused on improving the health of the Bay, and she serves on the board of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center at Virginia Tech.

Rich Sobota, Sr. Insurance Specialist, FEMA Region 3 

Risk Rating 2.0

As the Sr. Insurance Specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III Office in Philadelphia, Rich serves as a subject matter resource for internal and external National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) stakeholders. His current area of focus includes outreach efforts related to “Closing the Insurance Gap” and helping the public and private sectors build a culture of preparedness and resilience. Rich began his career with FEMA in 2008, and he assumed responsibilities as the Regional Community Rating System (CRS) Coordinator in January 2016. More recently, Rich was designated as Regional PIVOT Coordinator as part of the ongoing NFIP Transformation and will be leading the rollout of Risk Rating 2.0 in Region III states. Rich holds a B.A. (cum laude) in Communications Arts from the College of New Jersey and was awarded the designation of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) in 1989.

Mary-Carson Stiff, Director of Policy, Wetlands Watch

Incentivizing Retreat through Land Conservation Partnerships

Mary-Carson Stiff is Director of Policy at Wetlands Watch where she specializes in the National Flood Insurance Program and sea level rise adaptation planning and policy. She is a Certified Floodplain Manager, Chair of the Coastal Virginia Community Rating System Workgroup, Board Member of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, Virginia Floodplain Management Association, and the Living River Trust. Before joining Wetlands Watch, she worked as Consulting Manager for Policy &Programs for the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School, where she obtained a J.D. in 2013. Mary-Carson graduated from Bates College with a B.A. in 2008.
Skip Stiles, Executive Director, Wetlands Watch 
State Agency Panel : Flood Resilience Initiatives 

I became an environmentalist in the wetlands of Back Bay in Virginia and the New River in North Carolina.  As a child, hunting and fishing with my father, I saw many sunrises and sunsets over mid-Atlantic marshes.  I had many quiet conversations with my dad learning about the habits and habitats of marsh wildlife and the wonders of our wetlands. 

In my first career, I spent a couple of decades working in Congress on national-level environmental and science policy, thinking it made a difference. I now know that progress is measured on a different scale as communities rediscover their connections with nature.

Today I can’t take a breath of the rich, salty air around a tidal wetland without being transported back to those wonderful days.  That is what drives me to keep these lands protected and open, so my children and grandchildren can have the same experiences.

Chris Swanson, Assistant State L&D Engineer, Virginia Department of Transportation

State Agency Panel: Flood Resilience Intiatives

Chris Swanson is an Assistant State Location & Design (L&D) Engineer at the Virginia Department of Transportation with responsibility for administration of the Water Resources, Geospatial, and CADD Support programs within L&D.  Chris joined the VDOT Team in 2015, since that time he has been involved in the implementation of its MS4 program, enhancement of ESC and stormwater management standards and specifications, and advancement of resilience initiatives to address climate change. 

Hai Tran, P.E., Floodplain Manager/Engineer, City of Newport News

Lessons Learned from CRS Entry in Pandemic Times​

Hai Tran, PE is an Engineer III with the City of Newport News,  VA with over 15 years of consulting and government experience, specializing in water resources, stormwater modeling, engineering and analysis. Hai has been with the City for 5 years and has many roles in the City including stormwater studies/modeling and is the City Floodplain Manager and CRS Coordinator for Newport News.  Previously he worked in engineering consulting for URS and AECOM.  Mr. Tran is originally from Vietnam; he has two children and lives in Hampton Roads,  Virginia.
Qiong Wang, Ph.D. Candidate, Virginia Tech

What Drives Hazard Mitigation Policy Adoption? — FEMA’s Property Buyout Program in Virginia

Qiong Wang is a Ph.D. candidate in Planning, Governance, and Globalization at Virginia Tech. They are also a scholar of the Disaster Resilience and Risk Management program at VT and a graduate research fellow of Virginia Sea Grant. Qiong's research interests are disaster resilience, hazard mitigation planning and policy, and floodplain management. Currently, Qiong is studying what factors influence hazard mitigation policy adoption at the local level and will take the property buyout policy as a case study. The research methods include an online survey and interviews. Before Qiong started the Ph.D. study, they worked as a landscape architect and project manager in AECOM. 
Jessica Whitehead, PhD​, Executive Director, Institute for Coastal Adaptation & Resilience at ODU​

Innovating on Resilience and Adaptation: Continuing Opportunities for University Collaborations

Jessica Whitehead is the Joan P. Brock Endowed Executive Director of the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR) at Old Dominion University. ICAR’s mission is to advance the resilience of coastal communities by integrating scientific and engineering knowledge with practical knowledge of local and regional needs to develop innovative solutions. ICAR has a unique partnership with the City of Norfolk, Virginia, but works throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and aspires to build collaborations throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Prior to her appointment at ICAR, she was the first Chief Resilience Officer with the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. As Chief Resilience Officer, she led an innovative team that continues to build out the state’s initiative to help storm-impacted communities rebuild smarter and stronger in the face of future natural disasters and long-term climate change. Before her position with NCORR, she was the coastal communities hazards adaptation specialist with North Carolina Sea Grant and the coastal climate extension specialist with NC Sea Grant, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program, where she assisted coastal users with integrating information about resilience to coastal weather and climate hazards into their decision-making processes. As a co-creator of the Vulnerability, Consequences and Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) process, which has helped over 25 communities throughout the United States develop and implement adaptation options to increase community resilience. She has been an adjunct lecturer with Georgetown University’s Masters in Emergency and Disaster Management Program since 2017. Whitehead is a member of the Virginia Coastal Resilience Technical Advisory Committee, where she serves on the Federal Installation Partnerships, Community Outreach, and Studies, Research, and Best Practices subcommittees. She is also the non-federal chapter lead author for the Northeast Chapter ofthe forthcoming Fifth U.S. National Climate Assessment. This builds on her history of state, federal, and professional organization service; she co-chaired the Science and Technical Advisory Committee of the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership until 2020 and serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Board of Outreach and Pre-College Education. She was a member of the Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate, and the Sustained National Assessment Federal Advisory Committee. Whitehead earned her Doctor of Philosophy in geography and Master of Science degree in meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics with a concentration in meteorology from the College of Charleston.

Justin Williams, Director, Land Protection and Revitalization Division, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
State Agency Panel : Flood Resilience Initiatives 

Justin Williams is the Land Protection and Revitalization Division Director at Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and has worked at DEQ for 13 years, serving as a waste enforcement manager and waste permitting and compliance director. Previously he was working as a public defender in Danville. He received his undergraduate from east tennessee state university and a law degree from appalachian school of law.

Xiaoyue (Jenny) Zhen, PhD, P.E., Engineer III, Fairfax County
Fairfax County Regulatory Floodplain Mapping Project

Xiaoyue (Jenny) Zhen holds a BS and MS from Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) and a PhD from the University of Virginia. She worked as water resources consultant for the past 20 years. Her professional experience has been mainly related to urban stormwater management, ranging from stormwater facility and stream restoration design to watershed management plan development, and decision support system development for project implementation. She currently works as an Engineer III in the Stormwater Planning Division, Fairfax County where she provides technical and programmatic support to the Division’s floodplain management activities. She is a licensed Professional Engineer.
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