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2020 MDERS Annual Symposium – Postponed!


Due to the demands on our speakers and stakeholders because of COVID-19, MDERS has made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the 2020 MDERS Symposium. We will reschedule it at a later date. Please check back for updates.

Featured Presenters

Keynote Speaker

Eric McNulty, Associate Director, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, Harvard University

Eric J. McNulty holds an appointment as Associate Director of Research and for the Program for Health Care Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and Instructor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His work centers on leadership in high-stakes, high-stress situations. He holds a similar appointment at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, a joint program of the Harvard Chan School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. McNulty is the principal author of case studies on leadership decision making in the Boston Marathon bombing response, innovation in the response Hurricane Sandy and the professional/political interface in the Deepwater Horizon response drawing upon his firsthand research as well as extensive interviews with leaders involved in the responses. He has written multiple articles for the Harvard Business Review (HBR), Sloan Management Review, and Strategy+Business, among others. His HBR cases have been anthologized through the HBR paperback series and have been used in business education curricula in the United States and as far away as France and the Philippines.

Featured Presenters from the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally Vehicle Attack Response

Chief Andrew Baxter, Charlottesville Fire Department, Charlottesville, VA

Andrew Baxter serves as the Fire Chief of the Charlottesville Fire Department, located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville Fire is a Commission on Public Safety Excellence Accredited Agency and Insurance Services Office Class 1 career fire department that provides fire suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, technical rescue, and community risk reduction services to the citizens of Charlottesville, the University of Virginia, and parts of Albemarle County. Chief Baxter began his career in emergency services in 1990 as a volunteer with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad. He worked as a professional firefighter and fire officer for the Henrico County Division of Fire, in Henrico County, Virginia, starting in 1995 and retiring in 2015 at the rank of Assistant Fire Chief. During his tenure in Henrico County, Chief Baxter served as a charter member of the Central Virginia All Hazards Incident Management Team. Chief Baxter holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia, is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire Service Executive Development Institute. In 2015, Chief Baxter received an Outstanding Applied Research Award from the National Fire Academy for his research on psychological resilience in firefighters. Chief Baxter is licensed as a Registered Nurse and is a Nationally Registered Paramedic.

Major Todd Taylor, Virginia State Police

Major Todd Taylor is assigned as Deputy Director of the Virginia State Police (VSP) Bureau of Field Operations.  He is a 27 year veteran of the state police, with experience in managing uniformed operations and criminal investigations.  The pre-planned and emergency events associated with these responsibilities are frequent.  In 2018, Major Taylor served as the operations section chief for the August 12th anniversary events in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Although more comfortable in an incident command post than speaking to a crowd, he recognizes the critical importance of sharing lessons learned and identified smart practices across disciplines. He is a second generation Virginia state trooper who has worked for and with many outstanding leaders in his career.  Major Taylor strives to emulate the positive traits of those individuals and to deliberately pass them along to the next generation of leaders through a formal VSP mentoring initiative, the Staff and Leadership Employee Development (SLED) Program.  He led the initial development and pilot implementation of SLED and refined the program based on research conducted for his master’s thesis.  The VSP SLED Program is being expanded statewide, and the primary objectives include fostering emotional intelligence, collaboration, transfer of organizational knowledge, and critical thinking.  Major Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Arts in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security.  He also completed the University of Virginia’s National Criminal Justice Command College. 

Lee Williams, Chief Incident Management Program, Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Lee Williams is the Chief of Incident Management Programs for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) in the Special Operations Branch.  He coordinates the four regional Incident Management Teams in Virginia.  Specifically, he developed MOUs, budgets, team leadership coordination, establishment of membership and training criteria, and exercise schedules for the teams that are listed as state assets.  Lee also led a team to develop the Virginia VDEM credentialing program for the Incident Management Teams. Lee retired in 2015 as Assistant Fire Chief with Chesterfield Fire and EMS (Virginia) following a 31 year career. He has been a part of the Chesterfield Fire and EMS Senior Leadership Team since 2012. Lee also served as the Program Manager for the Central Virginia All Hazards Incident Management Team since 2009. He was also a long time member of the Hazardous Materials and Technical Rescue Teams.  Lee has received his Associates degree in Fire Science, Bachelors in Public Administration, and Graduate Certificate in Disaster Science. Lee also serves on the Board of Directors for the All Hazards Incident Management Team Association (AHIMTA).  He is also a part time employee for the U.S. Forest Service where he works in their Incident Management Team Program.  Lee serves on the Southern Area Type 2 Incident Management Team and previously served on the Southwest Type 1 IMT out of Arizona.  In these roles, he has responded on numerous Type 1 Incidents with well over 1000 persons assigned to the incidents.  Lee is credentialed as a Type 3 Incident Commander, Operations Section Chief, PIO, and Liaison Officer.

Robert Truoccolo, Director of Emergency Management, University of Virginia Health

Robert Truoccolo, MS, CEM is currently serving as the Director of Emergency Management for UVA Health, an academic health care center associated with the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. UVA Health includes the University Hospital (612-bed level 1 trauma center, tertiary care center, and designated Ebola/special pathogen treatment center), Transitional Care Hospital, Continuum Home Health, Outpatient Dialysis program, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and Health Sciences Library. In this role, Robert is responsible for all matters related to organizational preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Prior to his promotion to Director, Robert served the institution for five years as the Emergency Management Coordinator. Through his tenure with UVA Health Emergency Management, Robert has supported the response to numerous emergency events, including the 2015 Ebola events, 2016 Winter Storm Jonas, August 2017 mass casualty incident, 2018 civil unrest on UVA Grounds, and 2018 Crozet Amtrak crash. Before joining UVA Health, Robert was a State Planner with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) in Richmond, Virginia from 2010 to 2013. There he was responsible for the development and maintenance of the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan (COVEOP), and synchronized planning efforts across 68 state agencies and departments. As part of the VDEM Planning Section, Robert participated in the response to Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, as well as the 2011 Earthquake and 2012 Derecho. Nationally and regionally, Robert is an active member of the International Association of Emergency Managers and represents UVA Health on the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services Trauma System Committee for Emergency Preparedness and Response. Locally, Robert volunteers as an instructor for the Charlottesville-Albemarle Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Robert holds a Master of Science in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management from Arkansas State University, a Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM).