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GSN 2011 Awards Dinner, Washington, DC, November 14, 2011

GSN Awards Dinner Winners and Sponsors: Tony Wilder, Incident Commander, Southern Agency Type 1 Red Team

The Bastrop County, TX  Unified Command was named Winner of GSN’s 2011 Award for “Most Notable Emergency Response – Federal, State or Local.”. Trophies were awarded to the Incident Commanders of all  four participating agencies.”

The Southern Agency Type 1 Red Team, the final unit to join the Bastrop County Unified Command, is described by Tony Wilder as an interagency incident management team which responds when called to major incidents such as large fires, floods, hurricanes and other disasters. It is one of two elite Type 1 Incident management teams in the Southern United States, made up of an elite all volunteer force that Wilder says he would rate a 10 out of 10 for effort, dedication and intensity. After he received the call from the Texas Fire Service saying that Bastrop County needed his help, team members on the roster were notified and given travel instructions according to a standard procedure that included  briefings and meetings resulting in a strategy and incident plan. If you follow the process, says Wilder, the results will come. Wilder confides that every year the Red Team borrows from the military, traveling to the battlefield of Shiloh with retired marines to discuss and evaluate decisions that were made. At this battlefield, he says, we learn how the Southern attack failed by not having a plan and having poor organization and communications. But the difference between a military battle and a fire, he concludes, “is that we don’t accept casualties. Everybody comes home at the end of the day, and they bring home all their toes and fingers, arms and legs.”

GSN 2011 Awards Dinner Winners and Sponsors: Elizabeth Cavasso, Type 1 Planning Section Chief, US Forest Service, National Incident Management Organization (NIMO)

The Bastrop County, TX  Unified Command was named Winner of GSN’s 2011 Award for “Most Notable Emergency Response – Federal, State or Local.”. Trophies were awarded to the Incident Commanders of all  four participating agencies.”

Elizabeth Cavasso’s career as a firefighter started in 1975 when she took a summer job to earn money for college. She liked it and and stuck with it, later becoming a “Forest Fire Management Officer”, which is equivalent to being a fire chief. She also qualified for Type 1 status, the highest qualified incident management level in the nation. In the Bastrop County incident, she recalls that Texas had been under extreme drought conditions and the Boise NIMO team had been put on stand-by. As the team drove into to Bastrop County, residents were on the way out, with trailers, flatbeds and their cars filled with their belongings. She knew that this was something serious. When Dan Kleinman of NIMO and Mike Fisher of Bastrop County met, the two incident commanders discussed how they would work jointly to manage the situation. Both concluded quickly that the situation would also require Tony Wilder’s Southern Red Team, which had more depth of specialists. It is true that many homes were lost, says Cavasso, but many more were saved, “because a group of people who did not know each other prior to this chaotic event came together and worked toward a common goal. That’s the beauty of the incident command system, and the beauty of how we’ve been trained. None of us do this for an award. We’re doing a service to our country, to our friends. We’ve been given an opportunity to provide a service, and that’s what we’re thankful for.”

GSN 2011 Awards Dinner Winners and Sponsors: Mike Fisher, Emergency Management Coordinator, Bastrop County, TX

The Bastrop County, TX  Unified Command was named Winner of GSN’s 2011 Award for “Most Notable Emergency Response – Federal, State or Local.”. Trophies were awarded to the Incident Commanders of all  four participating agencies.”

As Emergency Management Coordinator of Bastrop County, Texas, Mike Fisher was the first of four Incident Commanders to respond to the wildfires that ignited on Labor Day in September of 2011 and burned for 30 days before being contained by county, state and federal fire management teams. It was Fisher’s decision to call for state help first, from the Texas Fire Service under Incident Commander Bob Koenig, and then for federal assistance from the Boise National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) team under Dan Kleinman, and later from the Southern Area “Red Team” under Incident Commander Tony Wilder.  In this riveting interview  Mr Fisher recalls every detail, from the high wind and long drought conditions to the decision to focus on life safety first and then seek outside assistance, to the containment of the holocaust, but not before it burned 34,000 acres of land and destroyed 1714 structures, also causing two fatalities. “If we had any success at all in managing this horrible fire in Bastrop County,” says Fisher, “it was because all of us who had responsibility joined together in a unified command system, whereas each of us assured that the others’ missions could be accomplished.”  Fisher realized that his 26 years of service were all in preparation. “We followed the plan that we and our colleagues and the elected officials had put in place and had practiced. We were prepared for this day, and we knew it would come.”

GSN 2011 Awards Dinner Winners and Sponsors: Dan Kleinman, Incident Commander, National Incident Management Organization (NIMO)

The Bastrop County, TX  Unified Command was named Winner of GSN’s 2011 Award for “Most Notable Emergency Response – Federal, State or Local.”. Trophies were awarded to the Incident Commanders of all  four participating agencies.”

As an Incident Commander from the Boise NIMO team, Dan Kleinman provided interim federal assistance to the Bastrop County Unified Command in facilitating command and control of the Bastrop County firefighting effort in the worst wildfire in the history of Texas. Kleinman recalls getting the call in California at about 1600, arriving at about 2200 and meeting up with Mike Fisher of Bastrop County and Bob Koenig of the Texas Forest Service. They spent the night working together building an action plan in preparation for the scheduled 0800 briefing of the firefighters showing up from many different agencies. With a wind-driven fire that was 10 miles long, they knew that people needed to be evacuated,  so the first priority was “structure defense” rather than “perimeter patrol”. Initial reports had estimated the fire covered 10-14,000 acres, but it grew to 33,000 acres. Kleinman remembers wondering how everyone was going to interface, but something told him that Mike Fisher had been planning for this event  for 20 years. Confirming Mike Fisher’s take on the incident, he points out that the biases, emotions and egos that can arise were put aside. With solid objectives and priorities established, it all came together. It was an effective and efficient effort.

GSN 2011 Awards Dinner Winners and Sponsors: Bill Conner, President and CEO, Entrust, Inc:

Entrust, Inc is an identity-based security company that focuses on government and enterprises, according to Bill Conner. The company had a big night at GSN’s 2011 Awards Program, being named Winner in “Best Certificate Management Solution”, “Best Smart Card Solution” and “Best Integrated Systems for HSPD-12/FIPS 201 Compliance”.  In the same week, Conner reports, the company also won a four-year GSA contract for PKI capability estimated at $4.5 million. Conner says these awards are based on the work that the company did with HSPD-12/FIPS 201 and with Interpol, involving chips, cards, certificates, component software that all needs to be bundled. But when you get compliance at that level, he adds, you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and that’s why Entrust is determined to make its solutions “best in class”. For many years companies have been trying to Web-enable their portals, says Conner, but today everyone is focused on mobile applications and how to make them secure.  In his final comments, Conner describes the many facets of the mobile phenomenon and how Entrust is zeroing in on identity-based solutions for government and enterprises in this next generation of security issues.

GSN 2011 Awards Dinner Winners and Sponsors: Cosmo Perrone, Principle, Cosmo Perrone & Associates and former Security Director, Port of Long Beach, CA:

The Port of Long Beach, CA, was named Winner of GSN’s 2011 award for “Most Notable Maritime/Port Security Program”. Cosmo Perrone, Director of Security for the Port from 2006 to 2011, tells GSN about the long-term challenge that he took on, in collaboration with former Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas colleague Mike McMullen, of transforming the Port into a world-class port security model, with the end-state vision of including all stakeholders in a software-driven common security management platform, using a geo-spatial concept of integrating all technologies and sensory systems below, at or above sea level.  With strong support from the Port’s Board, Perrone overcame initial funding problems and developed a partnership with the DHS science and technology, obtaining additional funds from a port improvement fund from the State of California.  Seeking a dynamic program that could anticipate future needs, he selected Proximex to furnish the software platform, ultimately producing a port security model that he believes other ports now want to adapt. The 2011 Award, he says, is validation of the hard work of the entire team, which included Proximex, GS4, Laneer, Tetra Tech and other key partners.

GSN Awards Dinner Winners and Sponsors Interviews: Scott Paul, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Sarix Line, Pelco by Schneider Electric:

Scott Paul describes Pelco by Schneider Electric – 2011 winner in “Best Network IP Cameras” -- as a leading provider of video surveillance equipment sold around the world. Products range from analog to IP cameras and include the Spectra and Sarix lines. Among the markets served are new building and construction, highway and transportation infrastructure, casinos, banks, education, airports, seaports and government buildings. At the top of the Sarix line, according to Paul, is Pelco’s Surevision technology, featuring wide dynamic range sensor, which produces clear images in difficult light conditions, allowing users in lobbies or city centers to see faces clearly and read license plates of cars in spite of head lights and street lights. Sarix with Surevision is backed up by a lot of development  and intellectual property,  says Paul, can work in daytime or nighttime with no change of settings and can produce good images in any light conditions because of multiple exposures at the pixel level, so that images come off corrected.  Paul elaborates on the three pillars of Sarix technology – image quality, performance and ease of installation, concluding with a plug for Pelco’s  Sarix IT thermal imaging cameras, which Pelco is now taking main stream with a dramatically reduced price point.

GSN 2011 Awards Dinner Winners and Sponsors Interviews: Bill Eckerd, Director of Sales for Strategic Account Group, Verint Video Solutions

Verint Video Solutions was a 2011 Winner of “Best Intelligent Video Surveillance Solution” for its Nextiva Physical Security Information Management System (PSIM). According to Bill Eckerd, the PSIM technology allows users to integrate subsystems with a four-phase incident management system which includes personnel training plus planning, monitoring and debriefing.  Major markets include state and local government, petro chemicals, critical infrastructure protection and airports. One of PSIM’s chief benefits, Eckerd says, is its ability to integrate access control, CCTV and intelligent analytics, allowing the monitoring of behaviors and a heightened situational awareness. Users are provided the ability to understand events occurring in real-time and, through actual intelligence, can implement responses that are predetermined, allowing them, for example, to know who needs to be evacuated and where they need to go. Describing additional features and benefits of its 4-step program, Eckerd says PSIM fills the market’s need for interfaces that can combine and integrate disparate systems, enabling professionals to do their job in an easier and more efficient manner.

GSN Awards Dinner 2011 - Winners and Sponsors Interviews: Howard Ryan, Founder, CEO Total Alert Systems

According to Howard Ryan, Total Alert Systems is a one-stop shopping mass notification portal used by government agencies, DOD, industrial and health care users. It is capable of sending alerts to cell phones, giant voice, billboards, text messaging and handheld radios. The company is a successor to Desktop Alert, which was a Finalist and Winner in previous GSN Award programs. Despite Desktop Alert’s success in signing up the U.S. Army and Air Force, he felt the name was too limiting and he created Total Alert to incorporate new products. In the 2011 Awards Program, Total Alert’s client FEMA received the award for Most Notable Federal Government program based on the Total Alert mass notification system, which is installed in FEMA headquarters and can send messages to all FEMA offices around the country with one click in less than 30 seconds. Total Alert has added many new capabilities, according to Ryan, including social media, which enables communication across competitive barriers and enables customers to share information. Withholding actionable information that can safe an airman’s or a soldier’s life is inexcusable, in Ryan’s opinion.

GSN 2011 Awards Winners and Sponsor Interviews: Tom Harada, Managing Director, Security Systems, Pentax Ricoh Imaging of America

A few moments after Pentax Ricoh accepted its 2001 Award for “Best Specialized CCTV Lens,” Tom Harada sat down with GSN to talk about his engineers’ strategy of getting back to the basics in optical technology. “When it comes to long-range zoom lenses,” he points out, “the longer the distance, the more difficult everything gets. Interference reduction factors are more difficult and the lenses’ optical center shifts.” The Pentax engineers, he asserts, are very careful in paying attention to the details of astigmatism resolution, optical center shift and atmospheric interference from fog, rain, snow, sand and heat. Harada also credits the marketing team’s strategy of providing demonstrations to all levels of buyers in the homeland security market, from key systems integrators to prime contractors and ultimate users. In less than eight hours, he discloses, his team will be in the Mohave Desert for an important demonstration of the lenses’ long-range capabilities. He concludes by saying that he is eager to share the news of the Best Specialized CCTV lens award with his chief engineer, who is visiting the United States, and the top management of Pentax Ricoh.

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