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Leadership Talks

Keynote Speaker: General McChrystal

Stan McChrystal

Stan McChrystal founded McChrystal Group in January 2011 to deliver innovative leadership solutions to businesses globally in order to help them transform and succeed in challenging, dynamic environments. As Founder and a Partner, he advises senior executives at multinational corporations on navigating complex change and building stronger teams.

A retired four-star general, Stan is the former commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan and the former commander of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is best known for developing and implementing a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and for creating a cohesive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the interagency operating culture.

Throughout his military career, Stan commanded a number of elite organizations, including the 75th Ranger Regiment. After 9/11 until his retirement in 2010, he spent more than 6 years deployed to combat in a variety of leadership positions. In June 2009, the President of the United States and the Secretary General of NATO appointed him to be the Commander of US Forces Afghanistan and NATO ISAF. His command included more than 150,000 troops from 45 allied countries. On August 1, 2010 he retired from the US Army.

In 2013, Stan published his memoir, My Share of the Task, which was a New York Times bestseller; and is an author of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2015. Stan also co-authored Leaders: Myth and Reality, a Wall Street Journal Bestseller based on the epochal Parallel Lives by Plutarch. He previously served as a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he also taught a course on Leadership. He currently sits on the boards of Navistar International Corporation, Siemens Government Technology, and JetBlue Airways. He is a sought-after speaker, giving speeches on leadership and team dynamics to organizations around the country.

A passionate advocate for national service and veterans’ issues, Stan is the Chair of the Board of Service Year Alliance. In this capacity, he advocates for a future in which a year of full-time service—a service year—is a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.

Stan is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Naval War College. He also completed year-long fellowships at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Leadership Talks

Executive Director Kevin Guthrie, Florida Division of Emergency Management

imageh97vt.pngKevin Guthrie was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis to serve as Executive Director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management in May 2021. Executive Director Guthrie brings a wealth of knowledge to the role, with more than 30 years of experience in public safety and emergency management in the state of Florida.

Prior to serving as Executive Director, Guthrie was appointed Chief of Staff in October 2018 for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and shortly thereafter in January 2019 was appointed Deputy Director by Governor Ron DeSantis. As Deputy Director, Guthrie’s primary focus included coordinating response efforts among all state agencies, counties and municipalities ahead of natural and man-made disasters to ensure that Floridians were prepared. During this time, Guthrie also served as the Deputy State Coordinating Officer and the State Emergency Response Team Chief.

Before joining the Division, Executive Director Guthrie spent the first 23 years of his career as a Police Officer and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and later served as the Public Safety and Emergency Management Director for the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners. He then went on to serve as the Assistant County Administrator for Public Safety for Pasco County where he was responsible for all Emergency Services, Fire/Rescue and the 911 Communications Center Departments.

Director Guthrie holds a Master of Arts in Human Services from Liberty University and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Columbia College. Guthrie is also a certified Master Exercise Practitioner by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Deputy Executive Director Keith Pruett, FDEM

imaget1c4k.pngKeith is a distinguished US Army veteran with a decorated career in multinational executive leadership experience leading a wide range of cybersecurity functions and programs, transportation activities, and emergency response operations from infancy to successful completion to ensure the realization of desired objectives, values, and mission success.

Executive Chairman Brock Long, Hagerty Consulting

image0aric.pngBrock Long is the Executive Chairman of HagertyConsulting and the former Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Confirmed in June 2017 by the United States (US) Senate with strong bipartisan support (95-4), Brock served as the nation’s principal advisor to the President responsible for coordinating the entire array of federal government resources down through 50 states, 573 tribal governments, and 16 island territories to assist them with executing disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Brock is the 10th Administrator and the youngest to hold the office.

While serving as Administrator, Brock coordinated the federal government’s response to over 144 Presidentially declared disasters and 112 wildfires, including three of the Nation’s most devastating hurricanes and five of the worst wildfires ever experienced. During this time, nearly $44 billion of disaster activity occurred under the various federal recovery programs.

During his tenure at FEMA, Brock led two major initiatives which will have long-lasting impacts on the emergency management community. He rapidly transformed the agency’s business enterprise by implementing innovative Community Lifeline and FEMA Integration Team concepts to strengthen public-private partnerships and permanently embed full-time staff within the offices of state and tribal governments to better meet constituent needs. Further, as the result of effective advocacy and eight influential Congressional testimonies, Congress passed the Disaster Recovery Reform Act and made pre-disaster mitigation a national priority, provided meaningful changes to the FEMA workforce, and bolstered state and local emergency management capability.

From 2008-2011, Brock served as Director of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) under Governor Bob Riley. As Director, he served as the State Coordinating Officer for 14 disasters, including eight presidentially declared events. Brock also served as an on-scene State Incident Commander for the Alabama Unified Command during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

He is a graduate of the prestigious Executive Leadership Program offered by the US Naval Postgraduate School/Center for Homeland Defense and Security. He attended Appalachian State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Public Administration.

Dr. Joe Saviak

image6z9yj.pngDr. Joe Saviak is an experienced senior executive, leadership and management consultant, author, researcher, college professor, and attorney. He has served on senior management teams responsible for significantly improving the performance of agencies with over 1,000 employees and annual budgets in excess of $100 million. He has also worked as an executive in the private sector. He is often asked to speak to audiences of public, private, and non-profit sector executives and professionals on strategies for success in the 21st century. He teaches the principles, strategies, and skills of effectively leading and managing change. Optimizing organizational performance is the focus of his advising, teaching, and research.

He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master of Arts Degree both in Political Science from the University of Florida. He earned his law degree from the Florida State University College of Law. He received his Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and his Ph.D. in Public Affairs from the University of Central Florida.

He has taught leadership to over 1,500 executives, managers, and supervisors in Florida and addressed thousands of leaders and professionals here and abroad at conferences.

He often conducts training on a wide range of topics involving leadership, management, and organizational performance for private and public sector and non-profit entities.  He has overseen studies and research for a number of clients.  Dr. Saviak has co-authored several articles, a textbook, and research involving public-private partnerships (P3s) and transportation policy and co-authored a guide for state and local officials on contracting and P3s.

Senior Attorney and CEO Sean Pittman, Pittman Law Group

imageb5qmc.pngSean Pittman is the Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Pittman Law Group, P.L., which specializes in the areas of government, administrative, education, and corporate law. Sean represents a diverse client list of private citizens, local governments, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. Sean serves as trusted legal counsel to cities, counties, hospitals, banking institutions, aviation and port authorities, universities, industries, corporations, and various professional associations.

As a local government lawyer, Sean represents Florida counties and municipalities before the Florida Cabinet, Florida Legislature, and other tribunals. As an administrative lawyer, Sean has a strong understanding of the Florida Administrative Procedures Act, advising clients on matters before the Department of Administrative Hearings and various State of Florida boards and agencies.

Sean received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 1990 and earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1994 from the Florida State University College of Law.

Sean served as the 2018-2019 President of the Orange Bowl Committee (OBC) and currently serves on the OBC Board of Directors.  Sean also serves on the National Football Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the Big 10 Equality Coalition formed by Commissioner Kevin Warren, is a member of the Florida State University Hall of Fame Committee and is the Founder and Chairman of the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce.  Sean most recently served as General Counsel of the National Bar Association and was presented the 2022 Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Lawyer of the Year Award by the National Bar Association.

Sean is a co-host of the popular television talk show “The Usual Suspects,” airing on one of the highest watched CBS affiliates in the country. On the show, he analyzes and provides commentary on the latest happenings in state and national politics. Sean also hosts his own radio show and podcast series, “The Sean Pittman Show,” which is widely acclaimed for its meritorious guests and significant insights into politics, business, sports, and more. In recent years, Sean has also made appearances on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, while also being published in USA Today, Tallahassee Democrat, the Palm Beach Post, and more.

Sean and his wife, Dr. Audra Pittman, reside in Tallahassee, Florida where they are raising their three wonderful daughters Paloma, Pilar, and Phoebe.

Blaze Schoembs, Emergency Management and Liason Coordinator

imagecyu1.pngBlaze is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in emergency management and a minor in national security and intelligence. Blaze completed her internship with Orange County's Office of Emergency Management and has been involved in several activations including Hurricane Ian, Hurricane Nicole, and Hurricane Idalia. Blaze has deployed to the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) as well as the State Logistics Response Center (SLRC). She also assisted in onboarding and graduating the inaugural class of the Florida State Guard. Blaze is currently a standby/active emergency services specialist for Merit.

Anthony Monaco, CPA, National Emergency Management Practice Leader, State & Local, KPMG

imagew6lm.pngAnthony is the National Risk Advisory Solutions Industry Leader the State and Local practice. He has more than 34 years of experience in providing advisory services to governments and serves KPMG’s most prominent government clients. Anthony also serves as a national lead for KPMG’s Emergency Management services. In his role he has lead responsibility for the response and recovery services, program management; grants compliance; fraud, waste, and abuse; program integrity; and oversight monitoring services for all types of government grants, including but limited to the following:

  • Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery Grants (CDBG-DR)
  • National Disaster Resilience Competition Grants (CDBG – NDR)
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • FEMA Public Assistance

Professional affiliations

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Association of Government Accountants
  • Association of Public Administrators and Association of Government Accountants
  • Project Management Institute

Federal Coordinating Officer John Brogan, FEMA Region IV

John Brogan has served as the FCO for FEMA Region IV since July 2018. Prior, he served as an Emergency Management Specialist for nearly 10 years for FEMA in Kansas City, Missouri.

John is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served as an Army Officer for nearly a decade.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Gonzaga University.

Secretary Shawn Hamilton, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

imagekgrck.pngSecretary Hamilton has worked at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection since 2007, where he has risen through the ranks of the department.  Early in his career he served as ombudsman and public affairs manager in DEP’s Northwest District Office. He was promoted to assistant district director in 2010 and was appointed district director in 2011 and was subsequently promoted to interim deputy secretary of Land and Recreation in 2020 and formally appointed as deputy secretary in 2021.   

Secretary Hamilton has 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors, where he has proven to be an effective and driven leader with the ability to influence and build trusted and constructive connections with community stakeholders, elected and appointed municipal officials, and organizational team members.    

He served as the agency’s environmental justice coordinator with responsibility for providing statewide guidance on sensitive environmental justice issues and was appointed as the principal state liaison for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Justice.   

Secretary Hamilton had provided effective leadership, incident command, and focused recovery during multiple large-scale natural and industrial emergencies to include Deepwater Horizon oil spill, International Paper Mill explosion, and hurricanes Irma and Michael.    

He also led the creation and execution of reoccurring partnership meetings with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Gulf Power, Emerald Coast Utilities and Escambia County.   

Secretary Hamilton has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Troy State University with a minor in business.  He and his wife Charlene have three sons, Christopher, Brandon and Joshua.  

Brittany Castillo, Chief Executive Officer, AshBritt

imageu47s.pngBrittany Perkins Castillo is Chief Executive Officer of AshBritt, a national, rapid-response emergency management, logistics, and disaster response contractor. Since 1992, AshBritt has performed more than 400 missions serving 600 clients across the United States and Caribbean. AshBritt is the chosen contractor for government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels including FEMA, DHS, and DOD.

Prior to joining AshBritt in 2016, Brittany was an attorney, managed a law practice in Austin, Texas, and was a program manager in Doha, Qatar. She holds a Juris Doctor from The University of Texas School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University.

Brittany is known as a vocal advocate for women in business and frequently speaks about increasing and supporting women in the government contracting and emergency management fields. She launched WTFem.org, a repository for resources to help advance women in the emergency management field. Brittany was also appointed to the FEMA National Advisory Council, which advises the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management. Brittany is Chair of the Pace Center for Girls Board of Trustees, a member of the board of directors of the AshBritt Foundation, 4Girls Foundation, Dress for Success Palm Beaches, and on the Board of Counselors for Equal Justice Works. Brittany’s work as CEO was profiled in Forbes.

In 2023, Brittany launched a children’s activity book, Kids can be Hero Helpers, and the initiative Stronger than the Storm, both focused on helping children understand, plan for, and recover from disaster events. Brittany facilitates workshops on this topic at national conferences and has distributed more than 5,000 books to cities and counties across the United States and Caribbean. In April 2024, Brittany and Stronger than the Storm launched Henry and the Hurricane, a reading book that teaches hurricane facts and preparedness with children.

Brittany is a mother of two preschoolers. When not engaged with disaster response, she enjoys time with her family and training for endurance events with her husband. She is a marathoner and completed an Ironman 70.3

Major General Robert G. Carruthers, III, Assistant Adjunct General – Army and Commander, Florida Army National Guard

imagewqxu.pngMajor General Robert Carruthers is the Assistant Adjutant General-Army and the Commander of the Florida Army National Guard (FLARNG).  He commands over 10,000 Soldiers and exercises management authority over all FLARNG programs.

Prior to this appointment, General Carruthers served as the Deputy Commander of the Florida Army National Guard, and prior to that as the FLNG Director of the Joint Staff and Commander of Joint Task Force Florida. He exercised command of JTF-Florida's 3,000-troop response to COVID-19.

General Carruthers earned his commission in 1990 through the Tulane University Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program as an Armor Officer.  While on active duty, he served at Fort Stewart, Georgia with the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment as Tank Platoon Leader, Mortar Platoon Leader, and Tank Company Executive Officer; at The Citadel as Assistant Professor of Military Science; and at Fort Hood, Texas as a Tank Company Commander with 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment and the 3rd Battalion, 395th Armor Regiment as Senior Observer Controller/Trainer. 

In 2001, he transitioned from active duty to the Texas National Guard serving with 2nd Battalion, 112th Armor Regiment as Assistant Operations Officer.  In 2004, he transitioned to the South Carolina National Guard serving with 1st Battalion, 263rd Armor Regiment as Assistant Operations Officer; 218th Heavy Brigade Combat Team as Brigade Plans Officer and Joint Operations Officer; 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade as Operations Officer (S3) and Battalion Commander for the 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Combined Arms Battalion.  He served as the Brigade Commander the 59th Troop Command followed by the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; and Deputy Commander, South Carolina Army National Guard Training Site Command and Joint Force Headquarters Intelligence Officer (G2).  He has served on three operational deployments that include Bosnia as a Company Commander, Kosovo as a Battalion Commander supporting Multi-National Battle Group – East and Afghanistan, and as a Joint Operations Officer (J3) supporting Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix.  His extensive leadership with Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations in the South Carolina National Guard was key to his selection for the DJS position in Florida.

General Carruthers’ civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Orleans, a Master of Science Degree in History from The Citadel, a Master of Business Administration Degree from Southern Methodist University and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies Degree from the U.S. Army War College.  His military education includes U.S. Army War College, Joint Task Force Commander’s Course, Dual Status Commander’s Course and Joint Combined Warfighting School.  His decorations include the Legion of Merit (2nd Award), Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award), Joint Services Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (6th Award) and Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award).  His military qualifications include the Combat Action Badge and Parachutist Badge.  He is Joint and Dual Status Command Qualified.

Secretary Shavaun Harris, Florida Department of Children and Families

imagevlg7.pngShevaun Harris has served as Secretary for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) since February 2021. She brought with her an innovative vision and a commitment to improving Florida’s approach in supporting vulnerable children and families. Her leadership is marked by a belief in empowering Floridians to thrive independently and harnessing the power of partnership to support strong and resilient families.

Secretary Harris began her career as a social worker, which led to her true passion - policy and administration in the field of health and human services. She spent nearly two decades at the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), where she excelled and served in key roles, including Acting Secretary. The majority of her tenure at AHCA was focused on the administration of the multi-billion dollar Florida Medicaid program, impacting millions of Floridians through implementation of sound policy and quality improvement efforts. 

Her pursuit of excellence continued at DCF. She immediately began seeking opportunities for improvement, asking hard questions, and challenging the status quo, with a specific focus on programmatic and cross-agency integration. The result has been significant people-focused changes that have elevated DCF’s work and improved outcomes for Florida’s children and families.

Under her leadership, DCF has sought to capitalize on each encounter to ensure that families’ needs are addressed holistically and to create pathways for success rooted in prevention and integrating systems. Crowning achievements include the launch of Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, spearheaded by First Lady Casey DeSantis, which supports individuals in becoming economically self-sufficient; the launch of Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE), a vital tool in Florida’s fight against the opioid epidemic; and the establishment of the child welfare accountability system, created to drive performance improvement.

She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in social work from the Florida State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Quinnipiac University. She has a husband and two daughters, and her experience as a mom serves as a guidepost in her role as DCF Secretary.

William Craig Fugate, Former FEMA Administrator

imageiv2w.pngCraig Fugate was appointed administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency by former President Barack Obama. He served as the FEMA administrator from May 2009 to January 2017.

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. All total, Fugate led FEMA through more than 500 Presidentially declared major disasters and emergencies. Fugate set a clear and compelling vision, mission and priorities for FEMA and relentlessly drove the Agency to achieve better outcomes for survivors.

Previously, Fugate served as Florida’s Emergency Management Director under former Gov. Jeb Bush (2001–2007) and former Gov. Charlie Crist (2007–2009). Fugate was widely praised for his management of the devastating effects of the 2004 and 2005 Florida hurricane seasons.

Fugate currently provides senior-level advice and consultation in disaster management and resiliency policy through Craig Fugate Consulting LLC. He also serves as the chief emergency management officer at One Concern.

Gracia Szczech, Senior Advisor, McChrystal Group

image26c6o.pngGracia B. Szczech is a Senior Advisor specializing in emergency management with more than 30 years of crosscutting experience responding to and recovering from emergencies and disasters.

In 2022 Szczech was named as a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award—the highest honor that can be given to a civil servant—by President Biden in recognition of her years of service in the federal government’s Senior Executive Service. Szczech served as the Regional Administrator for FEMA Region 4 from February 2015 to June 2023, collaborating with partners across eight southeastern states and six federally recognized tribal nations. She successfully managed operations for more than 150 hurricanes, fires, floods, tornadoes, ice storms, and special events, as well as the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Szczech began her tenure at FEMA in 2000 as Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) and previously served as the Operations Section Chief of the Florida Recovery Office in the wake of the destructive 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. Szczech was ultimately the first woman to achieve the prestigious designation of a Type I FCO, FEMA's highest rank of emergency management expertise. Prior to FEMA, Szczech spent four years with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) as Assistant Director of Operations, where she managed contingency planning and radiological emergency and hurricane preparedness.

Szczech’s passion for disaster response was first kindled when she joined the American Red Cross in the 1980s as a volunteer after reading a newspaper article about the organization and the role they played supporting communities and families in crisis. Eventually, she became a staff member based in Savannah, Georgia, garnering extensive emergency management and leadership experience in responding to hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

Szczech completed the Capstone General and Flag Officer course in 2017 at the National Defense University and is a graduate of the Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program from the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Szczech also graduated from the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative’s Executive Education Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Anne Bink, Associate Administrator, Office of Response and Recovery, FEMA

imagez8n9b.pngAnne Bink has spent her career in public service assisting disaster survivors, building resilient communities, and developing and implementing policies and programs in New York State, including paid family leave and education programs.

Ms. Bink is an appointee in the Biden-Harris Administration and currently serves at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as Associate Administrator of the Office of Response and Recovery. In her role, Ms. Bink oversees FEMA’s response, recovery, logistics, and field operations nationwide. The Office of Response and Recovery coordinates federal disaster operations at the field, regional, and national levels using incident management and incident support cadres.

Prior to that, Ms. Bink served as Deputy Commissioner for Disaster Recovery for New York State since June 2018, Anne Bink oversaw a portfolio of over $20 billion in active disasters. During her tenure, she secured six Major Disaster Declarations and led New York’s legacy disaster closeout effort, resulting in the closure of approximately 8,000 projects and nine disasters. 

Under her leadership, New York State received the first Major Disaster Declaration for a pandemic event (COVID-19).  Ms. Bink collaborated closely with FEMA to enhance existing guidance and policies under the Public Assistance and Individual Assistance programs throughout the pandemic, helping New Yorkers and the communities in which they reside recover.  Ms. Bink also led New York State's development of new virtual outreach and educational methods under the Public Assistance Program, ensuring all eligible applicants had access to available assistance given the everchanging nature of the disaster and evolving eligibility criteria.

Ms. Bink oversaw the development of major wastewater system resiliency projects through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, including their complex financing structure of multiple federal, state and local funding streams.  Two such projects, the Bay Park Conveyance Project and the Suffolk County Coastal Resiliency Initiative, will reduce nitrogen along Long Island’s shoreline and protect against storm surge in extreme weather events.

Ms. Bink first joined the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) in 2016 and served as the Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance prior to her work in Disaster Recovery programs.  In her role in Administration and Finance, she led the development and implementation of a new state grant program protecting private non-profit entities from hate crimes and created a new risk management unit to strengthen agency operations and fiscal compliance.

Before joining the DHSES leadership team, Ms. Bink served in various leadership roles within the New York State Division of the Budget, including Unit Chief for Public Protection and General Government from 2014 to 2016, Assistant Unit Chief for Education from 2012-2014, and Associate Budget Examiner for Human Services from 2008-2012.  In these roles, enacted budget proposals developed under Ms. Bink’s leadership resulted in improved core services and agency operations while saving New York taxpayers over $2 billion. Ms. Bink served as the lead in developing and negotiating key budget initiatives and policies, including an expansion of pre-kindergarten programs, a new Paid Family Leave program, Kinship Care program for youth in foster care, and re-entry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Ms. Bink holds a Master of Social Work, a Master of Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts from The State University of Albany in Albany, New York. She lives in Loudonville, New York with her partner Laura McMillen and their four children.

Erica Borneman, Vice President, Planning and Risk Reduction, AC Disaster Consulting

imageyi4b7.pngErica Bornmann joined ACDC in June 2023 and serves as Vice President of Planning and Risk Reduction where she is responsible for all matters of Homeland Security, Emergency Management, Risk Reduction, Planning and Preparedness, Climate Adaptation and Resilience programs.

Prior to this date, Erica served 16 years with the Vermont Division of Emergency Management (VEM), the last 6 of which she lead the Division as State Director after she was appointed by Governor Phil Scott in January, 2017. During her time as Director, Erica was elected by her state counterparts across the country to serve as the President for the National Emergency Management Association during 2021-22. She previously held positions as the Vice President, Regional Vice President as well as Preparedness Committee Chair and Vice Chair. Erica was the US Co-Chair of the International Emergency Management Group from 2019-21 and she also served on the Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee, the State Emergency Response Commission, and co-chaired the Rural Resilience and Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Vermont Climate Council. Throughout her career with Vermont, she supported and lead the statewide response and recovery to 27 different federally-declared disasters including Tropical Storm Irene and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Since joining ACDC in June, Erica has worked with the State of Oregon on their Wildfire After-Action Report and crisis exercises/planning, as well as in an SME/Advisor capacity for the State of Vermont and multiple municipalities in response to their recent floods. Erica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Western New England College and a Master of Public Administration from Norwich University.

Sheriff Michelle Cook, Clay County, Florida

imagenlpn.pngThe Cook family moved to Clay County in the early 80’s when Michelle’s father, a Navy veteran, was stationed at Naval Air Station Cecil Field.  Sheriff Cook attended Orange Park Middle School and is a Clay High School graduate.  

Sheriff Cook entered the law enforcement profession as a Patrol Officer, working as a beat cop on the street in 1992.  With earned promotions throughout her career at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, she retired as a 3-star Director and 3rd in command from the JSO, a 3,300-person agency and the nation’s 25th-largest police department.  As Director of Patrol and Enforcement, her responsibilities included the strategic deployment and activities of over 1,000 first responders and community relations personnel and direct management of a budget of over $100 million.  She also oversaw the over 1,000 special events that occurred in the downtown Jacksonville area each year.  She served as the agency lead on collective bargaining and routinely worked with elected officials while promoting the law enforcement mission. 

In 2017, Sheriff Cook accepted the position of Chief of Police for the City of Atlantic Beach, Fl.   The Atlantic Beach Police Department (ABPD) is a full-service agency with a 6-million-dollar budget, serves approximately 14,000 residents, and handles approximately 25,000 calls for service each year.  Under her leadership, the City of Atlantic Beach saw a decrease in the crime rate and improved employee and citizen morale and support.  She is credited with successfully leading the ABPD through the Florida Commission for Law Enforcement Accreditation process. She is also credited for writing the City of Atlantic Beach All-Hazard Response (hurricane) plan. 

In early 2020, Sheriff Cook retired from the Atlantic Beach Police Department and began her campaign for Sheriff in the County she was born and raised in.   She beat out 5 other candidates to win her primary and was declared the winner of the race for Clay County Sheriff. Shortly after her victory, Governor Ron DeSantis stepped in and asked Michelle to start her term early and on September 1, 2020 she was sworn in as Sheriff of Clay County. 

Recognized for her extensive experience and leadership in law enforcement, Sheriff Cook has built a reputation of being a firm, yet compassionate law enforcement leader whose integrity and genuine management style bring respect not only from her work family but also the community she serves.

Sheriff Cook has a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from UNF and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Public Administration.  She is also a graduate of the FBI Law Enforcement Executives (LEEDS – Session 80) training and a member of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

Sheriff Cook currently serves on the following boards and committees:

  • Co-Chair – FDLE Regional Domestic Security Task Force
  • Board Member – Northeast Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
  • Commissioner – Florida Commission for Accreditation
  • Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention State Advisory Group
  • INTERCEPT Executive Board Member
  • Zone 3 Task Force Leader – Florida Sheriff’s Association Statewide Task Force
  • Committee Member – Florida Sheriff’s Association Research Committee
  • Committee Member – Florida Sheriff’s Association Legislative Committee 
  • Incident Commander – Region 3 All-Hazards Incident Management Team
  • President – Clay County Police Athletic League
  • Ex-Officio Board Member – Clay County Chamber of Commerce
  • HCA Orange Park Hospital Community Advisory Council

Sheriff Cook’s career highlights include:

  • Served as the Incident Commander during SWAT/Negotiator call-outs
  • Training Academy Director; commanded the firing range, recruiting, basic recruit training, Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission Trust Fund Advanced and Specialized Training, and all police and corrections basic and in-service training requirements
  • Assistant Chief of Narcotics and Vice; oversaw all undercover narcotics and vice operations, internet crimes against children, technical support, High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area member
  • Chief of Professional Standards; commanded the firing range, training academy, polygraph unit, inspections, internal affairs, accreditation, crime analysis, continuous improvement, fusion center, and information systems management
  • Commander of the Intelligence Unit; represented JSO on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, North Florida Fusion Cell, and served as key agency liaison to US Marshals and FBI
  • Incident Commander for the North Florida All Hazards Team for hurricane and crisis response.  Credentialed through the Emergency Management Institute as an Operations Section Chief and Incident Commander. Sheriff Cook has served as Incident Commander and Operations Section Chief for over 500 unplanned incidents and pre-planned events in the region, combining her extensive knowledge of the Incident Command System with real-world experience handling complex critical incidents
  • Instructor/Consultant for an organization that provides training nationally for Active Shooter Incident Management.  With her extensive experience and training combined with her hundreds of documented responses to critical incidents, she is one of the lead instructors for the “Command” portion of the training curriculum and provides crucial input and feedback on course development                                        

Sheriff Cook has earned numerous awards for her service, including:

  • Law Enforcement Legacy Leader Award
  • Contributing Writer/Award Winner – “Police Director’s Consortium”
  • Chad Reed First Responder Award for Hurricane preparedness and response
  • 6 Pillars of Character Award Winner
  • 2021 Best of Clay – Law Enforcement Officer
  • 2022 Best of Clay – Law Enforcement Officer

Sheriff Michelle Cook is married to Don, and they have 6 children between them, 4 of whom were adopted out of the local foster care system. 

Monica Russell, Director, Account Relations, KPMG

Monica is a senior director in the State of Florida account with a specialization in optics. Based in Tallahassee, Monica has almost two decades of experience helping agencies, officials and others in the field of government in the areas of communications, public relations and public affairs. Monica previously worked in executive management at both the Executive Office of the Governor and the Department of Economic Opportunity where she advised on all public relations and engagement strategies. Monica will serve as an advisor to the team and provide strategic leadership and insight regarding communication strategies and core messaging.

Corey Simon, Florida State Senator

blobid20.pngCorey Jermaine Simon Sr., born on March 2, 1977, in Pompano Beach, Florida, is an American politician and former professional football player. He is a member of the Republican Party and has been serving as the Florida State Senator from the 3rd district since 2022.

Before his political career, Simon was a professional football player. He played as a defensive tackle for eight seasons in the National Football League (NFL). His college football career was at Florida State University, where he earned consensus All-American honors and was a member of a BCS National Championship team. He was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the sixth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, and he played professionally for the Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, and Tennessee Titans. He was selected to the 2004 Pro Bowl.

Simon was born in Pompano Beach, Florida. He attended Blanche Ely High School, where he played for the Ely Mighty Tigers high school football team. As a senior, he was the Miami Herald’s defensive player of the year, named to the All-USA squad by USA Today, and a Super Prep Dream Team selection.

Simon accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Florida State University, where he played for coach Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles teams from 1996 to 1999. He was considered to be the most dominating defensive lineman in college football. Following his senior season, Simon was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selection, and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. He was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy.

After his football career, Simon transitioned into politics. He was elected to the Florida Senate in 2022 for the Florida Senate District 3. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer Florida, appointed by Governor DeSantis in December 2020.

Andrew Phelps, Chief Operating Officer, AC Disaster Consulting

Andrew brings more than two decades in emergency management and response operational and leadership experience to his role as Chief Operating Officer with ACDC. As a consultant, Andrew works with clients to develop risk reduction and consequence management strategies and programs that are unique to their needs, built on a foundation of equity, and prepare communities for whatever may lie ahead.

Immediately prior to joining ACDC, Andrew served as the Director of the Oregan Department of Emergency Management where he oversaw the state’s comprehensive planning, training, exercise, and community engagement programs to reduce risk across the state and manage the consequences from emergencies and disasters. Andrew also served as the governor’s Homeland Security Advisor and the Governor’s Authorized Representative for nine federal disaster declarations. In 2022, Andrew led the creation of the state’s first cabinet-level Department of Emergency Management replacing the previous office of emergency management that had been a division of the Military Department.

Andrew has been an active member of the response and emergency management community in New York and New Mexico, where he has worked for local and state government as well as the non-profit sector. He has served as a firefighter, public information officer, planner, search and rescue technician, emergency operations center manager, emergency medical technician, and other roles throughout his career.

Andrew is an honors graduate from John Jay College in New York City. He received his Master of Arts from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California. His thesis, Play Well With Others: Improvisational Theater and Collaboration in the Homeland Security Environment was published in 2013. Andrew is also a graduate of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University and the FEMA Vanguard crisis leadership program. He is currently serving a three-year term on FEMA’s National Advisory Council (NAC) where he leads the Climate Subcommittee.

Andrew and his family live near Portland, Oregon. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys exploring Oregon’s coastline, mountains, rivers, deserts, and forests and fine-tuning his skills as a coffee roaster.

Casey Tingle, Senior Vice President, Plexos Group

Casey Tingle maximizes federal grant funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and other federal sources for infrastructure, utilities, broadband, housing, economic development, and disaster recovery programs.

Casey is a recognized emergency management leader with a proven track record building resilience through disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts. A former Director of Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), he draws on extensive knowledge of the Stafford Act, FEMA programs, and national response and recovery frameworks with in-depth experience navigating complex and evolving financial and compliance requirements.

At GOHSEP. Casey served as the governor’s authorized representative for all federally declared disasters and led the closeout of the state’s largest mitigation project. He increased collaboration with Congressional and legislative partners through frequent briefings and work on several important legislative reforms.

After Hurricane Ida, Casey helped establish and implement a first of its kind disaster non-congregate sheltering program providing shelter to over 5,000 families. Casey also worked closely with local, state, and federal partners to establish the Louisiana Watershed Initiative following historic flooding in 2016.

While serving as deputy director of hazard mitigation, Casey was responsible for implementing FEMA hazard mitigation programs across the state through a more than $1.5 billion mitigation funding portfolio. By improving collaboration with FEMA and parishes, he increased the efficiency of the funding process and funding approvals. He also managed the implementation of a grants management system to improve transparency for all stakeholders.

Casey served as Response and Recovery Chair for the National Emergency Management Association working closely with FEMA headquarters on response and recovery initiatives.


New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity

Louisiana State University




Disaster Recovery


Stafford Act

FEMA programs

Strategic Planning

Cyber Planning

Project management

Program Management

Mike Sprayberry, Senior Advisor for Emergency Management, Hagerty Consulting

Michael (Mike) Sprayberry is a proven leader and emergency manager with a career in public service spanning over 42 years. Prior to joining Hagerty, Mike served the State of North Carolina for more than 15 years in various leadership roles within the state’s Division of Emergency Management; eight of which he served as the Division’s Director while also leading the state’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and serving as the state’s Deputy Homeland Security Advisor.

Mike was appointed as the Director of North Carolina’s Division of Emergency Management (NCDEM) in February 2013 after serving as the Deputy Director and Operations Section Chief since 2006. Prior to that, he served as the Division’s Deputy Director and Logistics Section Chief.

During his tenure as Director, Mike successfully led the State Emergency Response Team’s response and recovery efforts for 19 state declared disasters and 13 federally declared disasters, to include Hurricane Florence, now known as North Carolina’s “Storm of Record.” In just the last four years, Mike led North Carolina’s recovery efforts from major hurricanes, winter storms, earthquakes, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As Director, he also served as vice-chair of the state’s Emergency Response Commission and as a member of the state’s Radiation Protection Commission. Additionally, Mike was President of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) from 2017-2018. In this role, Mike advocated for federal policy changes that helped progress the field of emergency management, including supporting the passage of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 which made pre-disaster mitigation a national priority and bolstered state and local emergency management capabilities.

Moreover, under Mike’s leadership, North Carolina became one of only fifteen states to achieve the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Enhanced State Hazard Mitigation Plan status, thereby granting the state access to millions of dollars in additional federal funding to build resiliency against future disasters and hazards. During his term, the state also achieved national reaccreditation for the emergency management program and increased the capacities of its Hazardous Materials Response program as well as its internationally renowned Search and Rescue program.

Before joining state government, Mike honorably served in the United States Marine Corps and North Carolina Army National Guard for more than 25 years.

Mike holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His achievements in emergency management and beyond have been well documented and include being the recipient of two departmental Secretary’s Gold Circle Awards, the North Carolina Emergency Management Association Colonel William A. Thompson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Emergency Management, the North Carolina Housing Coalition Public Official of the Year, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Friend of the Counties, the NEMA Presidential Citation, as well as the NEMA Lacey E. Suiter Distinguished Service Award. He is also a proud member of the North Carolina National Guard Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.

Mike and his wife, Laura, have been married for over 30 years, reside in Raleigh, NC, and have two daughters, Alison and Megan.

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