Getting Down to Business
BENS Task Force Plan for Improving Public-Private Coordination

Kiersten Todt Coon
Vice President for Policy

Ern Blackwelder

Senior Vice President, Business Force

Business Executives for National Security (BENS)
Washington, DC

March 14, 2007

Transcript (HTML)
Transcript (MS Word)

Related Websites:
Getting Down to Business: An Action Plan for Public-Private Disaster Response Coordination
1/30/07 BENS Press Release
BENS Business Force
Business Response Network
Business Roundtable Partnership for Disaster Response Website

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Kiersten Todt Coon is Vice President of Policy for Business Executives for National Security (BENS) in Washington, DC. In her current position, she identifies and develops national security projects that leverage the expertise of the private sector to address public sector needs. She is responsible for BENS' work on integrating the private sector into emergency management response to disasters. Additionally, Ms. Coon works on issues related to port and cyber security. Prior to her current role at BENS, Kiersten Coon directed the organization's northern California office. Ms. Coon is also an adjunct lecturer at Stanford University.

Prior to working for BENS, she was a consultant for Sandia National Laboratories and worked with Sandia, Lawrence Livermore Laboratorary, the Bay Area Economic Forum, the local governments of the Bay Area region (9 counties, 101 cities) and the private sector to develop a homeland security preparedness plan for the Bay Area.

Prior to coming to California, Kiersten Todt Coon was a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs (now the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs); she worked for the Committee Chairman, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman. In this position, Ms. Coon was responsible for drafting and organizing critical components - including the science and technology and emergency preparedness directorates - of the legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security.

Kiersten Todt Coon graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and Princeton University, with a degree in public policy from The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and was selected to be a Presidential Management Fellow in 1999.

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Joining BENS in 2003, Ern Blackwelder played an integral role in forming the BENS New Jersey Business Force as a Principal with The Bridgespan Group, a non-profit consulting firm affiliated with Bain and Company that worked with BENS to establish the Business Force prototype.

As Senior Vice President, Ern oversees all BENS Business Force activities, including support for partnerships in New Jersey, Georgia, MidAmerica (based in Kansas City), California (San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles & Orange Counties), and Iowa.

Previously, he was COO of ArsDigita, a venture-backed Internet software and professional services firm, and Division President of Vivra, Inc., a public healthcare services firm. He received an MBA from the Harvard Business School and began his career as a consultant with Bain and Company.