2018 Speaker Bios

Vanessa Allen Sutherland
Chairperson, United States Chemical Safety BoardWashington, D.C.Vanessa Allen Sutherland currently serves as the Chairperson and CEA of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Board (CSB). Chairperson Sutherland was nominated by President Barack Obama in March 2015 and confirmed by the Senate in August 2015. Prior to her appointment as Chairperson, Ms. Sutherland served as the fourth politically appointed Chief Council for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Before her political career, Ms. Sutherland spent seven years as Council at a Fortune 25 company. Ms. Sutherland was profiled in the Legal Times for being a top, senior, minority, and in-house lawyer. Ms. Sutherland attained her B.A. from Drew University in New Jersey; her J.D. and M.B.A from American University; and also has a Certified Information Privacy Professional standing from the IAPP. She speaks French and is proficient in Spanish. 

Christina Baxter

CEO, Emergency Response TIPS, LLC                                 

Dr. Christina Baxter is the CEO of Emergency Response TIPS, LLC which provides practical, evidence-based solutions for emergency response through the development of next generation tools for enhanced situational awareness and responder safety and instructional design materials for instructor-led and web-based programs in the areas of CBRNE, hazardous materials, and clandestine laboratory response.  Prior to forming Emergency Response TIPS, LLC, Dr. Baxter was the program manager over the CBRNE program at the Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office where she was responsible for negotiation and managing domestic and international CBRNE research and development programs to combat terrorism on behalf of the U.S. Government, as well as overseeing the international agreements with Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.  Dr. Baxter is the chairperson for the National Fire Protection Association standards for CBRNE personal protective equipment.  She is also a committee member for several other standards in the protection and hazardous materials operations arenas.  She has greater than 20 years experience in the CBRNE/hazardous materials emergency response community.


Stuart Becker

First Responder Sales Manager, MSA                                 

Stuart Becker has worked for MSA for over 25 years. He currently is the MSA First Responder Sales Manager for Illinois and Wisconsin. He also has a comprehensive back ground in confined space gas monitoring as the MSA Regional Portable Instrument Product Manger working closely with Petrochemical companies and Utilities in the Midwest.


Armando Bevelacqua

Senior Consultant, Murphy Bevelacqua Consultants and Associates

Armando S. Bevelacqua is 37 plus year veteran of the fire service, retiring from City of Orlando Fire Department where he served as Chief of Special Operations, Homeland Security and Medical Command.  He was the recipient of the 2010 “In the Zone Award” and the “Level A Award” for leadership, service and support in education of the hazardous materials first response community, and the Dieter Heinz 2016 instructor of the year award. Armando also teaches at local colleges, instructing Fire and EMS Classes. He writes free-lance, publishing articles and educational textbooks. Chief Bevelacqua serves on several federal, state and local committees. He holds membership to the Inter-Agency Board (IAB) for Training and Exercise development. Member of the NFPA 472, 473, and 475 Technical Committees along with representation on the ASTM standards development committee for emergency response. Chief Bevelacqua has assisted in the development of standards and protocols with Rocky Mountain Poison Control for the development of standardized Medical Protocol for the WMD event and for the State Department for WMD training of embassy delegates.


David Binder

Director, Tanner Industries, Inc/TRANSCAER                   

David Binder is a member of the National TRANSCAER® Task Group Executive Committee and chaired the curriculum committee that put together the TRANSCAER Anhydrous Ammonia training program. David is the Director of Quality, Safety & Regulatory Affairs for Tanner Industries, Inc. based in Southampton, PA. He leads the Ammonia Safety & Emergency Response Training program known as ASERT program. He has been in the ammonia industry since 1992. David facilitates ammonia safety and emergency response training programs throughout the world for industry, fire department, emergency response and emergency management personnel. He speaks and presents at numerous Federal, State and Industry Association conferences. He is very involved and in leadership positions with various industry associations, including the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO), national standards associations such as American Water Works Association (AWWA), Compressed Gas Association (CGA); and public-sector organizations such as LEPCs (David Chairs the Philadelphia LEPC).


Frank Bosco



Andrew Byrnes

Faculty, Utah Valley University                                              

Andy Byrnes retired after 21 years at the Orem Fire Department in Utah as a Special Operations Battalion Chief. He was also a sworn Law Enforcement Officer for 18 years and Paramedic for 16 years. He is currently an Associate Professor at Utah Valley University (UVU), Emergency Services Department in Provo, Utah. Andy is the Director of the Firefighter Recruit Candidate Academy program at UVU. Andy is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He holds an Associate degree in Fire Science, a Bachelor degree in Public Emergency Services Management and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology from Utah State University.


Jim Cornish

Sales & Support Manager, Gasmet Technologies           

Jim Cornish holds a B.Sc. degree in Applied Chemistry received from Deakin University, Geelong in Australia. Working initially as a Petroleum Chemist with Esso and SANTOS and gaining hands-on experience with gas chromatography and other laboratory instruments before switching continents and professions. Since 1986, Jim has been actively involved in the field of environmental instrumentation as applied to air, water and soil remediation. Through this period, Jim has gained comprehensive first-hand experience in applying various field analytical measurement technologies including Gas Chromatography UV fluorescence and optical measurement technologies such as NDIR, Photoacoustic IR, NIR, UV and more recently FTIR. In 2008, Jim joined Gasmet Technologies inc., the North American subsidiary of Gasmet Technologies, a manufacturer of industrial FTIR gas analyzers and systems to provide application, instrumentation and sales support to Gasmet’s distributors, representatives and customers.


Bill Cullen

Principal, GoldShield TEAM LLC                                             

William Cullen has been involved in emergency services for over thirty years. He is a principal in GoldShield TEAM LLC where he provides consulting and training to public and private entities. Bill recently retired as the Assistant Emergency Coordinator at a large research facility of a Fortune 100 corporation. He is a former chief and Fire Commissioner from Fire District No. 1, Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ. Bill is a senior fire instructor at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy and serves as a Hazardous Materials Technical Specialist with the Franklin Township Office of Emergency Management.


Christopher Downey

Hazardous Materials Program Manager, University of Illinois Fire Service Institute                            

Christopher J. Downey is the Hazardous Materials Program Manager for the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute, where he is responsible for coordinating 120+ Hazmat courses per year. He serves on the OSFM Hazmat SCAC committee, as well as the State of Illinois SERC Training Subcommittee. He is a 20-year veteran of the fire service and currently a Lieutenant with the Decatur (IL) Fire Department.  Chris also serves as the Assistant Team Leader and Training Coordinator of the MABAS Division 46 Hazmat Team.


Richard Dufek

Battalion Chief (Retired), Carmel Fire Department

Richard is a 33-year member of the Carmel IN Fire Department. He is a National Fire Academy Adjunct Instructor for the Chemistry for Emergency Responders and the Hazardous Materials Operation Site Practices classes. Richard instructs for Smiths Detection and 908 Devices, and is an instructor for Signet NA teaching on all levels of hazardous materials response.


Rick Emery

President, Emery & Associates, Inc.

Rick began his fire service career in 1970 in the Chicago-metro area and has over 47 years of experience in emergency response. Rick attained certification as a Firefighter III, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer II, Haz Mat Technician and Haz Mat Specialist. He was appointed as the founding Coordinator of the Lake County Hazardous Materials Response Team in 1983. Rick was an instructor at the Illinois fire academy, and the National Fire Academy. He retired from the fire service as a career Captain, including 10 years as Coordinator of the Lake County Hazardous Materials Response Team. Rick validated as a Subject Matter Expert for the Department of Defense Domestic Preparedness training program. He has presented hazardous materials and terrorism training courses to municipal, government and industrial concerns, including the FBI’s haz mat program and at the Department of Justice Center for Domestic Preparedness. Rick was an ICS team leader at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games and was a member of the team that assessed security at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Rick is a principle member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials Response and the IAFC Hazardous Materials Committee. Rick has conducted training in Canada, Europe, Cuba, Sweden and Asia. The International Association of Fire Chiefs’ honored Rick with the “Level A” award in 2012 and he was the recipient of the “John Eversole Lifetime Achievement Award” at the International Hazardous Materials Teams Conference in June 2017. Rick received the “In The Zone” award at the 2013 Hot Zone conference in Houston, Texas.


Michael Frunzi

Senior Product Manager, Smiths Detection

Dr. Michael Frunzi is the Senior Product Manager and subject matter expert for optical technology at Smiths Detection, Inc. He specializes in development, deployment and global lifecycle management of hand-held sensor products for CBRNE and narcotics identification applications for military, transportation security and emergency responder markets. Dr. Frunzi has been with Smiths Detection for over six years.


Chris Hawley

Talent & Vibe Executive, Blackrock 3 Partners Inc.

Chris is a partner with Blackrock 3, providing Incident Management training and consulting worldwide. Previously, he was a Deputy Program Manager with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) with responsibility for WMD and Counter proliferation courses within the DOD International Counter Proliferation Program (ICP). This cooperative program with the FBI and DHS provides threat assessment, haz mat and anti-terrorism training and full-scale exercises worldwide. Previous to this position Chris was the Special Operations Coordinator for the Baltimore County, MD Fire Department. Chris has been a firefighter for 24 years and a Haz Mat responder for 19 years.  He is the author of several haz mat and terrorism response texts with Cengage-Delmar Publishing, and is the co-author for Special Operations: Terrorism and Haz Mat Crimes.


Butch Hayes

Hazmat Technician, Houston Fire Department

Mr. Hayes started his fire service career in 1981 in Lebanon, Oregon and in 1990 joined the Houston Fire Department. He has spent the last 26 years on the hazardous materials response team as a hazmat tech. Mr. Hayes also teaches at two local colleges for fire science. He is a member of the IAFC hazmat committee, NFPA 472 technical committee. Butch serves on the Texas commission on Fire Protection hazmat curriculum committee.


Tom Kochevar

Midwest Regional Sales Manager, RAE Systems by Honeywell

Tom has been in health & safety for over 22 years with three gas detection companies:  Biosystems, Lumidor and RAE Systems.  He specializes in both fire and industrial applications. Tom assists customers obtain the product that will best suit their needs.


Bill Kotowski

Sales Manager North America State & Local, Thermo Scientific Field & Safety Instruments

Bill Kotowski is the Sales Manager for the North America State & Local team within Thermo Scientific Field & Safety Instruments. He has over 14 years of experience serving public safety markets, and has focused on Thermo Scientific chemical identification devices for more than 7 years.  Bill helped launch FirstDefender RM & RMX, TruDefender FTX & FTXi, Gemini and TruNarc.


David Matthew

Educator, Fire Service

David Matthew has 30 years of fire service experience in Kansas, and most recently in California. Matthew earned a Master degree in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies from Wichita State University (WSU). He graduated from the National Fire Academy (NFA) Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP) and has attained the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CSPE). As an educator, Matthew has delivered over 4,000 hours of training to responders over 34 different states and three countries.  He is a current instructor and developer for the Incident Management and Haz Mat/WMD curriculum. He serves as a Subject Matter Expert for the Department of Homeland Security conducting course reviews and evaluator for major exercises including Vibrant Response and Urban Shield. Since 2013, David has been active in conducting research efforts designed to improve responder capability and public safety.


Gregory Noll

Program Manager, South Central Task Force                   

Greg serves as the Program Manager for the South Central PA Regional Task Force (SCTF), one of nine regional task forces established throughout Pennsylvania. Greg is also the principal of GGN Technical Resources LLC, a consulting firm specializing in emergency planning, response and incident management issues. Greg has 46 years of experience in the fire service and emergency response community, and is the co-author of nine textbooks on hazardous materials emergency response and management topics. In 2011, he was the recipient of the “John M. Eversole Lifetime Achievement Award” by the International Association of Fire Chiefs for his leadership and contributions to further and enhance the hazardous materials emergency response profession. He is the past Chairperson of the NFPA Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials / WMD Response Personnel and is past State/Local Co-Chair for the Inter Agency Board (IAB) Training and Exercise Sub-Group. Greg also serves as a member of the IAFC Hazardous Materials Committee, the Fire Engineering Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, and the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) Advisory Committee.


Mark Norman

Director of Technical Service, 908 Devices

Dr. Mark L. Norman is the Director of Technical Service for 908 Devices in Boston, Massachusetts. He holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he investigated the infrared optical properties of upper atmospheric aerosols.  He is an author on seven peer-reviewed publications, including a 2003 collaboration with global climatology scientists from NASA. For the past 17 years, Dr. Norman has worked with monitoring technologies for emergency response and he holds two patents for the development of hazardous vapor identification systems.  He has developed and delivered numerous scenario-based training courses for chemical detectors and has taught chemical sciences at Bridgewater State University. Dr. Norman’s areas of analytical expertise include FT-IR, Raman, IR lasers, mass spectrometry, and chemical sensing.


Glen Rudner

Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer, Norfolk Southern Railroad

Glen is the Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer for Norfolk Southern Corporation in the Birmingham, Alabama Division covering the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Southwestern Tennessee. Previously he was the one of the General Managers at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, Colorado. Prior to this he was private consultant and retired as a Hazardous Materials Response Officer for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. His 39 years of experience in public safety include 12 years as a career firefighter/hazardous materials specialist for the City of Alexandria (VA) Fire Department, as well as a former volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT), firefighter, and officer. As a subcontractor, he has served as a consultant and assisted in development of many training programs for local, state, and federal agencies. He also serves as Secretary for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials Response, is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Hazardous Materials Committee, a member of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the Co-Chairman of the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition.


Rob Schnepp

CEO, Blackrock3Partners

Rob Schnepp is the retired Division Chief of Special Operations from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the author of a textbook entitled “Hazardous Materials: Awareness and Operations”, by Jones and Bartlett Publishers, and is on the editorial advisory board for Fire Engineering magazine. Rob is a member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials Response Personnel, and task group lead for NFPA 473 Standard for Competencies for EMS Personnel Responding to Hazardous Materials. Rob is also a former instructor for the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency, providing hazmat/WMD training to an international audience.


Gary Sharp

Director of Training, Federal Resources

Gary Sharp is the Director of Training for Federal Resources, the parent company of HazMatIQ. Our team of 50 instructors teach CBRNE response and planning, including the patented HazMatIQ system, to responders and warfighters around the world. Previously Gary spent 15 years in the fire service, including working full time for the Independence Fire Department serving as an Engineer, Staff Captain, and Deputy Fire Chief. Gary currently volunteers as a Hazmat Team Leader for the Oakland County, MI hazmat team.



Keith Silverman

VP Global Operations, Quality & EHS, Ashland

Keith Silverman, PhD, MPH is vice president of global operations, quality and environment, health, and safety (EHS) for a specialty chemical company. He is Chairman of the National TRANSCAER® Task Group. Keith has thirty years of experience in emergency services, and is a former Chief with Franklin Township (NJ) Fire District No. 1. He is a senior instructor at the Somerset County (NJ) Emergency Services Training Academy and the former coordinator of the fire officer program. He serves as a technical specialist with the Franklin Township Office of Emergency Management and is a member of the IAFC Hazardous Materials Committee.


Gregory Socks

Captain (Ret), Montgomery County, MD HazMat

Emergency Response/Training Consultant
Gregory Socks served as a Firefighter, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and Fire Chief. Socks began his fire service career in 1977 with the Montgomery County, MD Fire and Rescue Services in the National Capital Region of Suburban Maryland. He attained state certification as a Firefighter III, Fire Instructor III, Hazardous Materials Instructor, Fire Officer II, and Hazardous Materials Team Specialist. Greg also obtained NPQ certification as an Instructor III, Hazardous Materials Awareness, Operations, Technician, and Marine Firefighter I and II. He holds a degree in Fire Science Technology. In 2012, Greg received the IAFC Hazardous Materials Response Teams Conference (Level A Award) and 2016 Hot Zone Conference (In the Zone Award).


Michael Tyszkiewicz

CBRNE Sales and Business Development Manager, Smiths Detection

Mike has 10 + years of experience in haz mat response while working at Exxon Environmental Engineering Co. He also has over 12 years at Smiths Detection, focusing on CBRNE Products, Sales, and Training. He developed scenario based workshops to teach end users the proper use of all the tools in their response tool box.


Darrell B. Wiseman

Fire Captain, Phoenix Fire Department

Darrell is a 30-year veteran Fire Captain with the Phoenix Fire Department and a member of their Special Operations Team as a Hazardous Materials & Technical Rescue Technician, and Helicopter Rescue Crew Chief. He responds to all Special Operations incidents within the 2,000 square miles of the Phoenix region. Darrell has been a member of the FEMA team, Arizona Task Force 1 (AZTF-1) since 1997. Darrell deployed to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Olympics and New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Currently, Darrell is assigned as the Special Operations Safety Officer and Hazardous Materials Continuing Education Manager.


Jeffrey Zientek

Fire Captain, HIRT LLC / Phoenix Fire Dept.

Jeff is a 31-year veteran Fire Captain with the Phoenix Fire Department.  He is the responding Safety Officer to all hazardous materials, technical rescue incidents and all greater alarm fires in the Phoenix Metro area. In addition to being a certified Hazardous Materials Technician, Jeff also is a Technical Rescue Technician and Helicopter Rescue Crew Chief. When not responding and working special operations incidents, Jeff conducts administrative works and instruction for the Special Operations Team. He has been a member of FEMA team, Arizona Task Force 1 (AZTF-1) since 1995 and is also an appointed member of the Hazardous Materials Workgroup for FEMA and works to keep consistency for the teams in relation to training, procedures, & equipment. In his time with FEMA he has been on deployments to Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics, 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City, and the devastating hurricanes of 2005 in southern U.S. (Katrina/Rita). Jeff is also the author of the book “Hazmat Response; A Field Operations Guide” which gives 1st responders and Hazmat Technicians critical information for working a hazardous materials incident.