LSU, UNO to Host National Evacuation Conference

02/03/2012 03:18 PM

BATON ROUGE – The second biennial National Evacuation Conference will be held Feb. 7-9, in New Orleans at the Hilton Riverside hotel. Stephen Flynn, professor of political science and the founding co-director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University, will headline the lineup of keynote speakers and panelists set to appear as part of the 2012 conference.


The 2012 National Evacuation Conference is organized by the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute and the Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency, which is housed at LSU and the University of New Orleans, respectively.


Flynn, who has authored “The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation,” will also host a book signing during the conference.


This conference will be relevant to both academics and professionals with an interest in the development and modeling of comprehensive evacuation plans, and will offer a venue for dialogue between the academy and practice, as well as between the private and public sector. Participants will contribute to an important step towards more efficient and effective evacuation planning.


“We are in the business of saving lives,” said Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation & Transportation Resiliency Director Brian Wolshon. “LSU is part of the organizing effort to bring this mix of academics, practitioners and government agencies to address a significant issue and develop solutions for emergency management needs.”


In addition to Flynn, speakers for the conference will include:


  • Richard Devylder, senior advisor for accessible transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation;
  • James Kendra, director of the Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware;
  • William Brockmann Long, vice president of state and local business development, Hagerty Consulting;
  • Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness; Clinical Professor of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University; and President and Co-Founder, Children’s Health Fund; 
  • Marcie Roth, senior advisor to Administrator Fugate, Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA


For speaker biographies, visit Additionally, those wishing to learn more can follow the conference on Twitter using the hashtag #NatlEvacConf.


“For us, this conference represents a key reason why our institute was founded,” said LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, or SDMI, executive director Col. Joseph Booth. “It convenes a rare audience comprised of academic scholars, emergency management practitioners, transportation engineers, nonprofit organizations and private sector companies – all of whom have a role in the planning and execution of evacuation plans. Bridging the gap between these groups is at the heart of SDMI’s mission.”


Following registration and a welcome reception hosted by AARP on Tuesday, Feb. 7, the conference will reconvene the following morning for its opening session. A total of six tracks including 40, one-hour and 30-minute panels will be held over the two days of the conference. The complete panel agenda can be viewed using the “program” link on the conference’s website.


Two journals have partnered with the conference to produce special issues featuring papers that will be presented at this event: “The International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters” and “The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Natural Hazards Review.”


Along with premier sponsor AARP, the National Evacuation Conference is being supported by the following governmental, educational, corporate and organization partners:


  • Entergy Corporation
  • ZeroHour powered by ASG
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • Atkins Global
  • Dewberry
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • First Line Technology: AmbuBus
  • Transportation Research Board of the National Academies
  • Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
  • The International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Natural Hazards Review
  • National Center for Biomedical Research and Training


SDMI seeks to bring business principles and applied research to bear on disasters, as well as disseminate best practices to the business and emergency management communities. Founded in 2007 in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, SDMI is a part of the Stephenson National Center for Security Research and Training at LSU. SDMI uniquely resides in the E. J. Ourso College of Business for enhanced collaboration with the private sector community. Contributions from individuals and industry, along with governmental contracts and research grants, are critical to the future of the institute. To support the institute’s mission, please visit


The Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency is a collaborative effort between the LSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the University of New Orleans’ Department of Planning and Urban Studies. The LSU-UNO Center is focused on evacuation and transportation resiliency in an effort to address the multitude of issues that impact transportation processes under emergency conditions such as evacuation and other types of major events. This area of research also addresses the need to develop and maintain the ability of transportation systems to economically, efficiently and safely respond to the changing demands that may be placed upon them.


As the only accredited urban planning school within the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, UNO’s Department of Planning and Urban Studies, or PLUS, has been an important regional institution helping to train leaders in urban issues for more than 40 years. Now, as New Orleans and the Gulf Region rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, PLUS faculty and staff continue this tradition of leadership by being at the forefront of rebuilding planning. With a range of programs from the undergraduate program in urban studies to the masters in urban studies and masters in planning to the advanced level of the urban studies Ph.D. program, PLUS provides comprehensive training to prepare students for careers in urban studies.


The tradition of excellence in the LSU College of Engineering is evident in its top 8 percent national ranking for the number of undergraduate students enrolled and top 10 percent in undergraduate degrees granted. As the alma mater to more than 50 percent of engineering and construction management graduates in the state of Louisiana, the LSU College of Engineering demands the best from its students in order to prepare them to continue building this great state.

Billy  Gomila 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Friday, February 3, 2012