2021 Wildfire Prevention Summit
Bob Marshall is the Co-Founder and CEO of Whisker Labs, developer of innovative and advanced technologies to protect families, homes and communities. He is passionate about solving hard problems and finding signals in the noise of big data to enable innovations such as detecting home electrical hazards before they turn into fires and detecting utility grid faults before they can ignite devasting wildfires. Marshall also co-founded Earth Networks, operator of the largest weather and climate sensor network. He has demonstrated repeated success in developing innovative technologies and turning them into real businesses.
Brian D’Agostino is the Director of Fire Science and Climate Adaptation for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). As director, D’Agostino is responsible for meteorology, fire science, the Community Fire Safety Program, and climate adaptation initiatives. D’Agostino joined SDG&E in 2009 and oversaw the development of the SDG&E’s weather network, one of the nation’s largest and most sophisticated weather networks. D’Agostino serves as an advisor and former chair of the American Meteorological Society’s National Energy Committee and sits on several advisory committees specializing in climate adaptation and fire science. D’Agostino is a graduate of Plymouth State University with a bachelor of science in meteorology.
Brian Fennessy became Fire Chief of the Orange County Fire Authority on April 16, 2018. Chief Fennessy began his career in 1978 with the US Forest Service and the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management working as a hotshot crewmember, hotshot/helishot/helitack captain and ultimately crew superintendent. In 1990, Fennessy joined the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) and ultimately became Chief of the department in 2015. One of his many accomplishments while with the SDFD was developing and establishing a multi-mission Fire/Rescue/EMS helicopter program designed to serve the citizens of the City of San Diego and the region. Chief Fennessy has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and has participated in hundreds of Fire Service, NIMS, and Incident Command Systems courses throughout his career.
Brian K. Rice is president of California Professional Firefighters, representing more than 30,000 front line first responders in nearly 180 local unions. California born and raised, Brian spent more than three decades as a firefighter with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department, rising through the ranks to become Deputy Chief of Operations. Brian spent 25 years on the executive board of Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522, including 12 years as president. In addition to leading CPF, Brian is also the chair of the California Fire Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) non-profit serving fallen firefighter families and the communities they protect. He is also co-chair of the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee, a unique labor-management training and recruitment program.
Caroline Thomas Jacobs is the Director of the Wildfire Safety Division at the California Public Utilities Commission with responsibility to promote investor-owned utility wildfire safety through Wildfire Mitigation Plan assessments, analysis, and compliance assurance. With over 20 years of experience in complex operations, technology and emergency management, Caroline has led modernization of public safety at the local, regional and state levels. She has held various technology, emergency management and homeland security positions with Apple, Inc., the Contra Costa County Sheriff, Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative, and, most recently, with the California Office of Emergency Services, where she led the CA Office of Emergency Service’s State Operations Center during the devastating flood and fire seasons in 2017 and 2018 and established its initial response operations to Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
Bob has been in the fire service for more than 42 years starting as a volunteer firefighter, then rising to executive positions. He served in the Ventura County Fire District for 34 years, the last 15 as Fire Chief. He then became the Nevada State Forester and is now the Co-Chair of the CA Fire Safe Council and Policy Advisor to the Western Fire Chiefs Association.
During his career, Bob continued his formal education and became focused on the wildland fire problem due to its dynamic nature and challenges. As Fire Chief of a CAL FIRE “Contract County” and the Chair of the FIRESCOPE Board of Directors, he became quite involved in state aid agreements and the state response system. He furthered his national wildland policy knowledge by becoming the Chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Wildland Fire Policy Committee. This forum required a global viewpoint of the nation’s wildland fire problem and interaction with National Association of State Foresters, federal partners and the international wildfire community. Bob was instrumental in the development of the Ready, Set, GO! program and was part of the development team for the National Wildland Fire Cohesive Strategy. During his career and post-career, Bob speaks at conferences; community groups, governmental entities (local, state & federal) and he’s authored various trade journal articles.
Daniel Berlant is the Assistant Deputy Director, Chief of Wildfire Planning & Engineering, and Fire Engineering & Investigations at CAL FIRE. Previously, Chief Berlant was the Chief of Public Information. He has worked for CAL FIRE for nearly 20 years.
Don Daigler is currently the Director of Business Resiliency for Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest utilities. In this role, he leads the company’s emergency management, business continuity, hazard assessment and mitigation, meteorology and other corporate resiliency initiatives.
Prior to joining SCE, Mr. Daigler was the Director of Response Planning for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, DC where he directed all of the agency’s emergency response planning efforts. He was also responsible for leading the agency’s chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives programs along with the National Hurricane Program and Remote Sensing Program.
Mr. Daigler has more than 35 years of experience in emergency management, national/homeland security and business resiliency and has filled various leadership roles with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency in the areas of nuclear counterterrorism, research and development, health physics, and nuclear weapons testing. He also served in the United States Air Force and has a Bachelor of Science degree from Regents College in Albany, NY.
Edward (Eddie) Goldberg is the Chief Executive Officer for Perimeter Solutions. He brings more than 18 years of executive leadership to fire safety products and operations. Before joining Perimeter Solutions, Eddie was Business Director for ICL Performance Additives and Solutions, where he held general management responsibility for the company’s global fire safety segment. Eddie is credited with building ICL’s global fire safety business, focusing on products for wildland fire management and municipal and industrial fire suppression. Eddie holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University.
Heath Flora is a farmer, firefighter and business owner with the kind of real world experience desperately needed in the State Assembly. He was
raised on a farm and has been a small business owner and volunteer firefighter for over fifteen years. A life-long farmer, Heath serves as a Director for International Sales at the Exact Corporation, a family-owned business that manufactures innovative products for both nut harvesting and forcible entry equipment for firefighting. Heath also owns Golden Valley Equipment, which sells used agricultural equipment. Prior to entering the business world, Heath received training as a paramedic and worked for CAL FIRE for three summers.
Having served as a volunteer firefighter for over fifteen years, Heath worked his way up the ranks — serving as firefighter, engineer, Captain and now as Battalion Chief. As a regional director for Sons of the Flag, Heath is working to bring together community leaders, pioneering physicians, experienced military service members, and dedicated first responders to advance care and treatment of long-term burn victims.
Joe Stutler is Co-Chair of the Western Regional Strategy Committee (WRSC), part of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. The WRSC is a network of federal, state, tribal and local agencies, organizations, communities and individuals focused on the implementation of the Cohesive Strategy to address wildland fire across the country. The Cohesive Strategy is the foundation for all the proposals and actions that result in meaningful progress towards resilient landscapes, fire-adapted communities and a safe, effective, risk-based wildfire response. Stutler works for Deschutes County in Bend OR and is one of three National Area Commanders in the US.
Michael O’Connell is Founding President and oversees all aspects of stewardship, public programs, and operations for the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. He has over 30 years’ experience in land protection, management, and conservation science including senior positions with The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund. He has served on the Board of Governors of the Society for Conservation Biology and is currently on the Dean’s Leadership Council for the School of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine, and the Board of Directors of Crystal Cove Conservancy. Since 2014, he has facilitated the COAST Fire Prevention Working Group, bringing together more than 25 agencies, organizations, and fire departments to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfire in Orange County.
Randy Moore became Pacific Southwest Regional Forester in October 2007, giving him overall responsibility for 18 National Forests in California, covering one-fifth of the state or 20 million acres of land, as well as responsibility for State & Private Forestry programs in Hawaii and the affiliated Pacific Islands.
A native of Bastrop, Louisiana, Moore graduated from Southern University and began his federal career with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service in North Dakota. He started his U.S. Forest Service career on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado, and the Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands in Kansas. He served as Deputy Forest Supervisor on the National Forest of North Carolina and the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri, before serving as the Forest Supervisor of the Mark Twain National Forest. He served in numerous other assignments at the local, regional, and national levels, and has been a catalyst for change and creativity in how the Agency does its business of caring for the land and serving people.
Moore also has national-level experience in Washington, D.C., serving as acting Associate Deputy Chief and the National Deputy Soils Program Manager. He also served in the Legislative Fellows Program working with former U.S. Senator Johnston (D-LA).
Robert Edson is the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Intterra, a Colorado-based tech company that provides decision support solutions for the fire service. Robert has more than 23 years of successful sales background in public safety and emergency management, including implementation of the United States’ first statewide VOIP 911 solution. Robert also operated as a liaison to Denver’s Office of Emergency Management during the 2008 Democratic National Convention where he seamlessly coordinated an emergency response through federal, state, and local teams. At Intterra, Robert’s focus is growing all revenue channels while developing marketing initiatives.
Ron Raley has worked in wildland fire management for 52 years. He spent 35 years with the United States Forest Service (USFS), finishing his career as the Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the Pacific Southwest Region. While with the USFS he held numerous positions on Incident Management Teams, including service as a Type I Incident Commander dealing with complex incidents across the country. For the past 17 years, he has served as the owner and principal of Raley’s Forestry and Wildfire Management, working as an agency liaison for Perimeter Solutions. He is a Registered Professional Forester and a long-standing member of the Society of American Foresters. Raley is a member of CAL Chiefs, National Wildland Fire Suppression Association and National Fire Protection Association. He has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Humboldt State University.
Shirley Zylstra serves as the Supervisory Program Manager, Wildland Fire chemicals/Aerial Delivery for the US Forest Service. She has worked in the wildland fire chemicals program for 25 years. Early in her career, she was extensively involved in general laboratory and field evaluations of fire chemicals and aerial delivery systems, as well as developing field effectiveness tests for fire-fighting foams. After completing a graduate degree, she became a project leader at NTDP, where she oversaw testing and qualification of new fire chemicals and was responsible for interagency fire chemical reporting.
As a Program Manager at NTDP, she leads the fire chemicals qualification program and administers the Forest Service Specifications (5100-304c, 5100-306b, and 5100-307a) and Qualified Products Lists for fire chemicals. In 2017, she also became the Program Leader for Aerial Delivery Systems, qualifying the tanks and gating systems of airtankers.
She is a subject matter expert who has served on numerous regional and national committees, boards, and training faculties, providing advice and insight on the appropriate testing and use of fire chemicals and has presented internationally. She’s been a member of Type II Incident Management Teams in the Great Basin and the Northern Rockies.
Shirley has a B.S. degree from Oregon State University and an M.S. degree in Environmental Toxicology from Colorado State University.
Sumeet Singh serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer overseeing all risk management related to PG&E’s operations and public safety including evaluating risks associated with wildfires, nuclear, dams, natural gas and natural disasters, the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program, as well as other strategic risks confronting utilities such as those relating to cyberattacks and the COVID-19 pandemic. Since joining PG&E in 2000 as an engineer, Singh has also worked in various natural gas distribution and transmission engineering roles, as well as in the Finance, Energy Procurement and Electric Operations functions. Singh holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Business Administration degree from UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Thom Porter is the Fire Chief and Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). He was appointed Director by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 8, 2019. Chief Porter was designated Acting Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on December 14, 2018. He has been serving as Chief of Strategic Planning in CAL FIRE Sacramento Headquarters since January 1, 2018. Chief Porter’s depth of fire department management expertise is balanced by his forestry background. He is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) in California with a Bachelor of Forestry Degree from the University of California Berkeley.
Vicki Christiansen serves as Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, leading a workforce of more than 25,000 permanent employees who sustainably manage 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands; support the world’s largest forestry research organization; and work with States, Tribes, and others to sustain all of America’s forests for the benefit of all citizens, today and in the future. Under Vicki’s leadership, the Forest Service cares for shared natural resources in ways that promote lasting economic, ecological, and social vitality for all communities nationwide.
Vicki’s personal passion is connecting people with their natural resources. Over her 39-year career, she has accumulated a wealth of experience in natural resource and wildland fire management. Her commitment to the core values of the Forest Service—conservation, service, interdependence, diversity, and safety—is evident in the priorities she sets for the agency, including controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, providing economic relief to communities, tackling climate change, advancing racial equity, and improving the Forest Service workforce and work environment. As Chief, Vicki is leading agency efforts to tackle climate change and improve the condition of America’s forests and grasslands through shared stewardship with local, State, and national partners and Tribes. Vicki’s focus on investing in respectful relationships inside and outside the agency is reflected in the Forest Service’s dedication to advancing racial equity in the communities we serve and to creating a safe and respectful workplace where we model integrity, protect one another, and learn from mistakes.
Vicki joined the Forest Service in 2010 as the Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management. Prior to serving as Chief, she worked as Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry overseeing Forest Service activities in managing wildland fire and working with our partners to sustain the health and productivity of non-Federal forest lands. Prior to joining the Forest Service, she served as the Arizona State Forester and director of the Arizona Division of Forestry, where she was responsible for the protection of 22 million acres of State and private lands in Arizona. She had previously served as the Washington State Forester, the culmination of a 26-year career with Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
Wade is a Certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist from the National Fire Protection Agency, NFPA and has a Degree in Fire Science. Wade has spent his professional fire career in wildland fire suppression, fuels mitigation and fire management before coming to APS in the Forestry-Fire & Resource Management Department. Wade works for Arizona Public Service where he oversees a Comprehensive Fire Mitigation Plan for APS Transmission and Distribution Operations.
Wes Bolsen is the Business Director of Wildfire Prevention and Protection at Perimeter Solutions. Wes is an entrepreneur and executive that brings almost 20 years of business experience to the company. He served as President & CEO, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of LaderaTech prior to the company’s acquisition in May of 2020. He is a former executive at Cool Planet, where he developed solutions for the renewable energy as well as Ag technology and animal nutrition markets. Prior to that, he served on the executive team of public company Codexis (NASDAQ: CDXS) in Redwood City, CA as their CMO.