June 17, 1998 Panel Discussion

FEMA Region IV Tornado Summit: A Safe Place to Go With
Time to Get There


Online Transcript
Download Transcript (MS Word File)

John B. Copenhaver
A. Todd Davison
Bryan Norcross
Elaine W. Sexton

Avagene Moore, EIIP Coordinator

Related Pages:
Summit Announcement
Press Release
FEMA Region IV Home Page

NWS Tornado Information Page
Storm Prediction Center Home Page


EIIP Virtual Forum Panel Discussion
Wednesday, June 17, 1998 - 12:00 Noon EDT

"FEMA Region IV Tornado Summit"

Featured Panelists

John B. Copenhaver
Director, FEMA Region IV

Bryan Norcross
Director of Meteorology and News Anchor, WFOR-TV Channel 4, South Florida

Elaine W. Sexton
Director, 911 Emergency Management Agency, Hall County, Georgia

A. Todd Davison
Director, Mitigation Division, FEMA Region IV

The EIIP Virtual Forum Panel discussion featured FEMA Region IV representatives to discuss the April 24 FEMA Region IV Tornado Summit: A Safe Place to Go With Time to Get There. As explained by John B. Copenhaver, Director of FEMA Region IV, the Tornado Summit was scheduled because more than 100 lives were lost as direct result of tornadoes and severe weather in the southeast in February, March and April 1998.
The challenge of the Summit was to collectively pool knowledge and experience to identify immediate actions, as well as future actions, to save lives and protect property from the devastation caused by tornadoes.

Summit attendance was limited to approximately 75 participants. The 1-day event included State Emergency Management Directors from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee; academic experts from Clemson University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Texas Tech University; local community emergency management agency representatives who recently experienced tornado impacts; meteorologists from local media outlets; and other federal agencies.

After a plenary session that covered key ideas, limitations, and technologies surrounding the detection, forecasting, warning, and safe sheltering of people at risk from tornadoes and severe weather, Tornado Summit attendees worked in three breakout groups to determine short-term and long-term recommendations on (1) Warning and Forecasting, (2) Tornado Resistant Construction for Shelters, and (3) Community Based Planning and Implementation. Work group facilitators, Bryan Norcross, Elaine Sexton and Todd Davison, shared findings and recommendations with the EIIP Virtual Forum audience.


FEMA Region IV

President Clinton appointed John Copenhaver director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region IV office based in Atlanta, Georgia, September 8, 1997.

As regional director, Mr. Copenhaver is responsible for administering a variety of federal emergency preparedness, prevention and disaster recovery programs for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Mr. Copenhaver is a long time Georgia resident with extensive private sector emergency management experience. He holds a bachelor's degree in planetary geology from Brown University and a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and is a Certified Business Continuity Professional.

Prior to joining FEMA, Mr. Copenhaver was team advisor for the Worldwide Crisis Response Team for IBM's Business Recovery Services. He also worked as director of Business Continuity Services for Bell South Business Systems and earlier served as that organization's Marketing Manager responsible for development and deployment of Bell South's Emergency Preparedness Program.

Mr. Copenhaver's diverse experience also includes previous service on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Disaster Recovery Journal, the International Hurricane Center's Education Advisory Board and, with the Disaster Recovery Institute where he served as Chairman and later on their Board of Directors.

Mr. Copenhaver and his wife, Lynn, live in Marietta, Georgia.

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Director, Mitigation Division
FEMA Region IV

Todd Davison currently serves as Director of the Mitigation Division, FEMA Region IV. While working on two masters degrees (Physical Geography and Coastal Geology from Louisiana State University), and a doctorate, he was employed by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources for five years in floodplain and coastal zone management programs, helping develop and manage the Louisiana Flood Grant Program.

Joining FEMA in 1985, he spent 11 years in headquarters with both the Federal Insurance Administration and the Mitigation Directorate, where he managed the Technical Assistance and Compliance Branch. He has authored or co-authored more than 40 state, trade association and FEMA publications pertaining to floodplain management, coastal hazards, and post-disaster mitigation, including nine publications in peer-reviewed, professional scientific journals.

Awarded a FEMA Congressional Fellowship in 1989, he spent a year in the office of the ranking member of the NFIP oversight committee drafting legislation that became the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994. He has directed mitigation operations following Hurricane Iniki, the Houston floods, Hurricane Marilyn, and Hurricane Fran. He also is rostered as the deputy federal coordinating officer (DFCO) for mitigation on the ERT-N (White).

He and his wife, Victoria, and their young daughter reside in Tyrone, Georgia.

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Director of Meteorology and News Anchor
WFOR-TV Channel 4, South Florida

Bryan Norcross literally "talked South Florida through" Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and, since that time, his level-headed advice, professional presence and measured delivery have earned him the trust of South Florida television viewers.

As Director of Meteorology and News Anchor on WFOR-TV, Channel 4, Bryan presents weathercasts on News 4 South Florida and co-anchors WFOR's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He also produces special reports for WFOR and works closely with the team to ensure the station's state-of-the-art forecasting and meteorological capabilities.

Bryan Norcross was named Expert Advisor to the Academic Task Force on Hurricane Catastrophic Insurance by Florida State Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson. Also, in recognition for his work before, during and after Hurricane Andrew, Bryan received the 1993 David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Communication and the Media Day Award for Outstanding Service from the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association.

Byan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Math and Physics and a Master's degree in Communications and Meteorology from Florida State University. A resident of Coconut Grove, Bryan has lived in Florida most of his life.

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Director 911Emergency Management Agency
Hall County, Georgia

For four years, Ms. Sexton has served as the 911/Emergency Management Team Director in Hall County, Georgia. Prior to serving in this capacity, Ms. Sexton served as the Hall County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director and the 911 Director for fourteen years.

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Avagene Moore, CEM

Avagene Moore is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) who served as the Director of Emergency Management for 16 years in Lawrence County, Tennessee. Avagene worked four years (1991-1995) as an Emergency Management Project Manager for the Emergency Management Laboratory, Oak Ridge Associated Universities; her responsibilities included the coordination of the Occupational Safety Special Interest Group (OS SIG) for TRADE. She currently runs her own company, Avagene Moore/Professional Management (AM/PM), and serves as Vice President of TEAM Simulations, Inc., of Tallahassee, Florida. As part of her work, Avagene coordinates the Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership (EIIP) for the National Coordinating Council on Emergency Management (NCCEM).

Avagene is a 22-year member of NCCEM. She is a Past President of both NCCEM and the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners (ASPEP) and established her name and credibility with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other Federal agencies and national organizations through speaking engagements, published articles and papers, and testimony before various congressional committees on behalf of NCCEM and the emergency management profession.

Summary of Background/Experience:

Avagene Moore / Professional Management (AM/PM), 10/95 - present
Current Responsibilities as Personal Services Contractor:

  • Write Video Scripts, Training Manuals and Guidance Documents
  • Manage Emergency Information Infrastructure Partners (EIIP) - NCCEM/FEMA
  • Manage and Develop Projects for TEAM Simulations, Inc.
  • Work projects with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)

Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 6/91-9/95
Emergency Management Project Manager for the Emergency Management Laboratory; Group Coordinator and Project Manager for Training Resources and Date Exchange (TRADE)

ERP&M, Inc., Princeton, New Jersey 1/91-6/91
Personal Services Contractor:

City of Lawrenceburg, Lawrence County, Tennessee 1975-1990
City/County Emergency Management Director; Chaired Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and 911 Emergency District Board

Professional Affiliations:

National Coordinating Council on Emergency Management (NCCEM)
American Society of Professional Emergency Planners (ASPEP)
National Association of Female Executives (NAFE)
American Management Association (AMA)
Toastmasters International (TI)
Emergency Management Association of Tennessee (EMAT)

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