NAPSG Foundation relies on the strength of our national practitioner network and our Regional Leadership Teams to advance our common mission in every state, region, and locality across the United States. To support the national programs and address policy issues, our core management and staff team is charged with coordinating our regional leadership teams and the national practitioner network.
Peter O’Rourke – Executive Director
I started my career in Washington, DC, with the U.S. Department of Energy in the nuclear weapons clean-up program in 1992. This eventually led me to work with the National Association of State Fire Marshals, which is where I found my passion for public safety and advancing the use of innovative technology. Bringing these two passions together is at the heart of NAPSG.
I was first exposed to GIS through the State Fire Marshals’ work on HAZMAT and pipeline safety. In 2007, I helped to create NAPSG Foundation and was asked to be its founding Executive Director. Starting with a handful of public safety organizations in its network, NAPSG has grown to include thousands of agencies across all disciplines in all 50 states and around the globe. I am very proud of what we have accomplished since 2007, and I measure my success as Executive Director on the participation of our ever growing network of members. There is much more work to be done at a time when geospatial technology is rapidly evolving and becoming more mainstream. It is an honor to lead the charge in overcoming these challenges, in executing NAPSG’s mission, and in seeing our vision to fruition.
Rebecca Harned – Director
I’ve dabbled in everything from environmental law compliance in the waste-water industry to sustainable community development in Latin America since I started my career over 15 years ago. My love for maps and GIS literally runs in my veins. I have early childhood memories of long road trips across country with my father, and he had me map our routes with these large fold out maps and a road atlas. You see, my father was a cartographer who invented new camera mount devices that were game changers for aerial mapping and remote sensing. While working in the field in Latin America, I developed an interest and passion for public safety through wilderness first response and basic search & rescue operations in remote tropical jungles. Several years later in Washington, DC, I found myself entrenched in changing the paradigm on public safety communications interoperability. NAPSG presented the perfect opportunity to marry-up communications interoperability with my passions for public safety and GIS.
I love what I do at NAPSG, creating and implementing innovative solutions to real world problems, and keeping our work deeply connected and meaningful to the local level. One anecdote that I believe is at the essence of NAPSG, and that I try to bring to everything I do is: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
Paul Doherty – Programs Manager
My passion is to ensure that the entire Public Safety community has access to the geospatial training and resources needed for their day-to-day work and beyond. Every incident, large or small, has a location and area of impact – this can be used to our advantage with the right approach.
While I started my career as a biologist (B.S. SUNY ESF, MS Hofstra Univ.), applying GIS to real-world problems became a core component of my education and research (PhD from the Univ. of California, Merced). As a former Law Enforcement/SAR Ranger in Yosemite National Park and now as a SAR Volunteer, I have been promoting the use of geospatial tools in SAR across the world since 2008. I am also an adjunct instructor for the JHU Advanced Academic program, teaching GIS for Emergency Management.
Most recently, I spent two years in New Zealand bringing together emergency management practitioners and GIS staff through my role in the private sector. This allowed me to apply principles developed by NAPSG Foundation in an Australasia context. From this, I have learned a great deal and am excited to help agencies develop, deploy, and use geospatial decision support tools for their public safety missions. My favorite part of working for NAPSG is facilitating collaboration and bringing communities together so that others may live…and recover more quickly.
Tari Martin – Program Specialist
I first became excited by Geographic Information Systems in its applications for environmental issues. I began my career working on environmental security assessments and was amazed by how impactful geospatial applications could be in assessing hazards and their associated risks. Since then, I have worked at both the municipal and county levels supporting Emergency Management, Law Enforcement, and Fire and Emergency Medical Services. Public safety is such an exciting and fast paced environment. I have loved working in a field where I get to help first responders and those that they protect. Finding and developing practical and innovative solutions to help them prepare for, respond to, mitigate against and recover from emergencies has been a rewarding endeavor.
I have learned a lot from my time staffing Emergency Operation Center, working with a Regional Incident Management Team, and a County’s Mobile Command and Communications Team. I have worked on all kinds of emergencies, from natural disasters to pandemics to security threats, as well as large-scale planned events. As a geospatial professional, I have worked on regional and state groups bringing folks together to address those challenges we all face. I was the Chair for the Baltimore Regional GIS Subcommittee under the Baltimore UASI, and I currently sit on the Maryland State Geographic Information Committee Public Safety/NG911 Subcommittee. I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that shares my passion for supporting public safety and bringing people together. It has and continues to be an exciting and rewarding field.
Tricia Lawson – Project Manager
My passion lies with all things geospatial, from traveling to technologies, I love the world and all its connections. After graduating with a Geography degree in 2006, I began my career as a GIS Analyst with a County Emergency Operations Center. From large-scale EOC activations to yearly functional exercises, I learned about the important role geospatial technologies can play in planning, response, and recovery. This experience led to my Master’s in Homeland Security and introduced me to NAPSG, where I worked for a short time, developing standards for the use of GIS during EOC activations.
Later, while working as a Department of Defense contractor, I gained experience developing geospatially-enabled emergency response Common Operational Pictures and was fortunate enough to work overseas conducting GIS analysis. I have also spent time integrating geospatial technologies into CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatch) and crime analysis software. All this experience serves me well in my current role as a Project Manager with NAPSG. I enjoy our work with local, state, and Federal public safety/emergency response agencies. I also enjoy being able to get involved in such a broad range of projects, from developing disaster exercise scenarios to working on mutual aid projects. I find what I do to be very rewarding.
Charlotte Abel – Program Specialist
I am a problem-solver committed to valuing people, helping others, and systematically tackling challenges. Through both formal and informal study, I am continually searching for ways in which we as individuals can effect positive change in our world and in ourselves.
I was given a taste of emergency management technology support through a summer internship as an undergraduate student. Shortly after graduation, I stepped into a position of systems engineer with that corporation. Now, after over a decade in the field, I’m particularly grateful for that initial opportunity to be exposed to big problems and big solutions in the realm of emergency management. This career has provided me with opportunities to continually learn and tackle new challenges.
As a former government contractor, I regularly crossed paths with NAPSG staff and always admired their passion, quality of work, and collaborative solutions. When I was offered the chance to join the NAPSG team, I found it to be an opportunity to unite many of my interests, passions, and skill-sets while working alongside some stellar individuals. I am glad to be here and look forward to more opportunities to help build a safer world.
Angela Pervél – Operations Coordinator
Some of my favorite memories revolve around taking humanitarian trips with my family to developing countries. Helping others has been my aspiration since a teenager, which is the reason I chose to study medicine. Growing up in Puerto Rico, we experienced many natural disasters. Through these often catastrophic events, I grew to appreciate and understand how important a well-trained and prepared emergency response capability can be to a community.
In 2007, I was working for the American Red Cross in Missouri as a phlebotomist traveling the region collecting blood donations, as well as teaching CPR skills for the Southern Missouri Chapter. Working for the ARC and teaching helped further my interest in public health and safety. At NAPSG, my responsibilities include managing virtual training and event registrations, updating website content, maintaining our contact database, coordinating event logistics, and providing support to the project managers.
Amy Chetelat – Certified Association Executive – Stringfellow Management Group, Inc.
Early on in my career, I found that I love working with numbers and using them to tell the financial story for the organizations I’ve worked with. I began working with nonprofit organizations in 1995 when I decided to move away from corporate accounting. Since that time I have worked with many foundations, charitable organizations, trade, and professional associations. I became enthralled with GIS and public safety when I had the opportunity to work with NAPSG and another organization that deals with GIS. I find that by using data mapping and applying it to financials, there is something new and interesting to learn every day.
Kate Davis – Human Resources Manager – Stringfellow Management Group, Inc.
As Human Resources Manager, I assist with recruiting, new-hire on-boarding, benefits enrollment, payroll and general HR-related functions. I have a B.A. in Mathematics from Bard College and earned my Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation in 2000. I have over three years of experience in HR and Accounting management and eight years of experience working in a consulting environment for retirement plans. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working directly with employees and clients to accomplish essential tasks.
Mary Skudzinskas – Accounting Manager – Stringfellow Management Group, Inc.
As Accounting Manager, I assist with the daily accounting operations and financial activities of NAPSG Foundation. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Loyola University, Maryland. I have over 15 years of experience in the General Accounting field. I am passionate about accounting and integrating technology into our day to day operations.
Francis A. McElhill, Esquire – Legal Counsel – Archer & Greiner, P.C.
My career began in law enforcement as a police dispatcher while a senior in high school in the suburban New York City Area. As I rose through the ranks to become Chief of Police and President of The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, I had the opportunity to watch GIS evolve within the law enforcement community throughout my 41-year career. Things we only dreamed about had become reality – crime mapping the ability to forecast crime trends, Automatic Vehicle Locators making the closest car concept a reality – to name just a few of the advances provided by GIS. These tools reduced crime rates and response times to serious calls for service. GIS provides fast, real time information that continues to advance our ability to reduce crime and ultimately save lives across the entire spectrum of emergency services.
From 2012 to 2013, as an active duty Chief of Police, I was appointed by the United States Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security as a Distinguished Fellow. In that assignment, I worked at FEMA Headquarters where I got to see the real time power that GIS offers in providing invaluable critical information used to provide answers to the most critical incidents.
I served for 12 years as the GIS Administrator and Chief Information Officer for the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida State Emergency Response Team managing GIS applications, databases, web and mobile applications. I have over 24 years experience applying GIS technologies to natural resources protection and emergency management programs. In late November 2018, I started a new chapter as Director of Catastrophe Response for the Geospatial Intelligence Center. I am a graduate of New College, the Honors College of the State University System of Florida, and a Geographic Information Systems Professional.
My background is diverse, yet revolves around a common theme—public safety. After receiving an associate degree in Fire Science from Hutchinson Community College in Hutchison, KS, I attended Washburn University and dual majored in Criminal Justice and Anthropology. As an undergrad, I volunteered at Mission Township Fire Department where I would later be hired on as a full-time firefighter—gaining invaluable experiences as an active member of the dive and technical rescue teams. During this time I completed an M.A. in Geography with an emphasis in GIS at the University of Kansas and focused my thesis on lost person behavior in Yosemite National Park. I went on to intern at Esri on the Technical Marketing team, responded to wildfires as a GIS technician with FireWhat, taught GPS courses throughout the state of Kansas for Midwest Search and Rescue, and became a member of the Kansas GIS Response Team. I currently live in Kansas City, MO, where I work as a contractor for Sundance Consulting, Inc., supporting the National Park Service Wildfire Risk Assessment project and serve as a Co-Chair on the NAPSG Search and Rescue Working Group.
I am a recently retired member of the military having served 37 years in both active duty and the National Guard. I served as the Chief of Geospatial Information Systems for the New Hampshire National Guard, and I participated in various national teams to promote the use of GIS within the National Guard and collaboratively with our emergency response partners. I previously served as the Director of Plans at the state level, and as Chief of Plans and Logistics, Director of Personnel, and Chief of Supply at the Wing level.
I am a supporter of efficiency and find GIS to be the most reliable, visual and expeditious means of providing situational awareness when time is of the essence. Equally important is the use of GIS for planning and exercise purposes, living up to the adage that we should ‘practice like we play’. Developing plans and exercises with state and regional counterparts increased my awareness of how we can collect data, provide actionable knowledge for decision makers, and share event situational awareness to regional and national counterparts. I am thrilled to be part of the NAPSG Foundation team and look forward to bridging the gaps in awareness between public safety and military organizations.
Throughout my career, I’ve been passionate about maps and using GIS to improve government services. Working in the public safety arena has allowed me to make a difference and bring the benefits of geospatial technology closer to the public. The rapidly accelerating pace and the quality of the types of tools that the internet allows us deploy makes me believe that there is no better time to be working with public safety GIS.
I’m a GISCI-certified GIS Professional, and I’ve been working in local government for over 25 years. I discovered “GIS” while in college at Virginia Tech, and I soon realized I could have a career doing something I truly love. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Geography with a concentration in cartography and remote-sensing, I went to work for the county government of Fairfax County, Virginia. I’m currently the GIS Coordinator for the Fire and Rescue Department where we use GIS to support all aspects of the department including Virginia Task Force 1 (VATF1), our Urban Search and Rescue Team. I’m also a GIS Analyst with the National Capital Region’s Type III Incident Management Team (NCR-IMT) as well as being a member of NAPSG’s Maryland and NCR Regional Leadership Team.
My Fire Department career began as a Fern Park Volunteer firefighter in 1970 and later becoming the first paid member as a Lieutenant in 1973. I joined City of Altamonte Springs Fire Department in 1974, and retired as an Assistant Chief in 1998. Upon retiring from the fire service, I worked with the State Division of Emergency Management as a Government Analyst and implemented the Lewis Commission Report as a result of the 1998 Wildfires. In 2009, I was first promoted by Governor Crist to the position of Deputy Director, then to Director of the Division. After Governor Scott was elected, I was asked to stay on as the Deputy Director. Since retiring for a second time in 2012, I have been a Consultant, Senior Advisor, and Subject Matter Expert with various firms conducting business with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
During my career, I have served in numerous capacities such as Boards, Foundations, and on national committees. Some of these include Chair of the Florida Fire Chiefs Association (FFCA) Statewide Disaster Committee, Chair of the Florida Fire and Emergency Services Foundation, member and chair of the National Wildland Urban Interface Working Team, member of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee for the Commandant of the Coast Guard, member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), member of the National Fire Protection Association 1600 Committee, National Hurricane Conference Committee, and Paramedic.
I am a Firefighter/Paramedic with the Baltimore City Fire Department (BCFD). I joined the BCFD in 1998 and have been assigned to Medic 7, Truck 1 and Engine 6, which are some of the busiest apparatus in the region/nation. After being injured on a fire ground in 2007, I was detailed to the BCFD Information Technology Division to aid in a project with the Department of Public Works (DPW). The project’s goal was to map all the hydrants of the city. I became passionate about GIS following this, and I am now assigned to our IT department where I manage all the GIS needs for the department.
I have become a member of many working groups in my area and region, but the work I do for NAPSG excites me because we are working to improve the use of GIS in the public safety arena. I feel that GIS is an incredible tool that is underutilized and can help agencies become more efficient, make better decisions, and create safer working condition for first responders, which will allow them to save lives and property.
I began my career in 2012 as a GIS Teaching Assistant at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, which is where I also learned I had a passion for teaching. While attending school, I worked for the City of Kingsville, TX, as a GIS Technician in the Engineering Department. It was here that I first experienced the impact GIS can have on solving real-world issues. Using GIS, I was able to assist Engineering staff on developing a 20-year Street Pavement Model. In 2015, I became a GIS Analyst for Montgomery County, TX. I had the pleasure to work on many projects that moved forward the GIS infrastructure in the county, while also educating users on GIS. This opportunity allowed me to experience for the first time the positive impact that GIS has on public safety by doing flood mapping for decision making. In 2017, I became a GIS Specialist for the Texas Department of Public Safety. As an analyst in the Texas Joint Crime Information Center, I help support many units in their mapping needs to help understand data better and more efficiently. I am glad to be a part of NAPSG and its mission to bring public safety and emergency management resources to those in need.
I worked for the Fire Department City of New York – Bureau of Emergency Medical Service (FDNY-EMS) from 1989 to 2015, and responded at both attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001 while working in a field assignment. In 2003, I became the Commanding Officer of the FDNY Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Unit at the FDNY’s Headquarters. In 2006, I was promoted to the rank of Captain and remained as the Commanding Officer of the FDNY GIS Unit. As part of the FDNY Incident Management Team (IMT), I have been involved with deployments for incidents including: Hurricane Earl (2010), NYC Blizzard (2010), Hurricane Irene (2011), Susquehanna River Floods in Binghamton, NY (2011) Hurricane Sandy (2012) and the Harlem Explosion/Building Collapse (2013).
I’m a fire lieutenant with over 25 years of experience and an unusual fascination with maps. I started my fire service experience as a resident firefighter while going to college for cartography. I realized my professional passion was being a firefighter. However, I never lost my excitement for cartography. I became a career firefighter in the Seattle area nearly 20 years ago. When my department hired me, they had in the back of their mind that “this is the guy who is going to fix our maps”. My department was one of the first users of GIS in the region. This ignited my passion for the uses of GIS in the fire service. I truly believe that GIS is a tool that will make my profession safer.
I’m a GIS Professional and Geographer who has had a fascination with maps and all-things geography my whole life. Growing up, I never knew that a “Geographer” was someone I could be until I stumbled upon the Geography Department as an undergraduate at the University of Mary Washington over 10 years ago. Needless to say, I have been in the GIS/Geography field ever since. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I went on to earn a master’s degree in Geography from the University of South Carolina and have since made a career doing GIS.
I’m currently the GIS Manager for the Montgomery County, MD Police Department, where I spend my days doing everything from incident data analysis to supporting our team of Crime Analysts. My knowledge of and experience with Public Safety GIS spans all realms — I previously worked as a GIS Analyst for the Fairfax County, VA Fire & Rescue Department. I truly love doing GIS for Public Safety because I know that the work that I do is helping to make the jobs of first responders safer and easier. On top of that, I really enjoy the technical side of GIS. I’m always willing to be the first to try out the latest-and-greatest GIS technology, and I make it my priority to find ways to apply GIS technologies to Public Safety GIS.