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Contact: Christine Payton April 17, 2008
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
Key stakeholders to map out Gulf Coast plan during emergencies
More than 60 key stakeholders from private industry and government from across the nation that care about the Gulf Coast will be in New Orleans next week for a first-ever Secure the Coast, Protect the Nation national conference.

The event, set for April 22 – 24 at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, will bring together key stakeholders from private industry and government to being mapping out a plan to enhance the Gulf Coast’s vitality and resiliency to man-made or terrorism-related hazards.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) Institute is hosting the conference along with Sen. Mary Landrieu, James Lee Witt Associates and the Maritime Institute for Emergency Monitoring and Response (MIEMAR).

“ This conference is assembling the ‘movers and shakers’ from private industry and government who will speak about Louisiana’s critical energy, petrochemical and maritime industry infrastructure and private sector supply chains that are not only vital for the energy security and economic vitality of the nation, but are also vulnerable to natural and technological hazards,” said Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, executive director of NIMSAT.

UL Lafayette launched NIMSAT in late March but research within the Institute began long before then. Comprising 20 public and private sector partners from across 10 states in the U.S., NIMSAT’s focus is saving lives, strengthening the private sector supply chains that drive the national economy and protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources that support the economy and everyone’s way of life.

The conference is carrying on the mission of the Institute.

“ This is the first Gulf South conference focused on the issues of critical infrastructure risk, protection and resiliency,” said James Lee Witt, Chief Executive Officer, James Lee Witt Associates. “This will be a great platform to bring together the best minds in critical asset protection, gain a better understanding of the importance of this region to our nation's economic health and security, and find ways to protect it from future disasters."

In addition to James Lee Witt, Sen. Mary Landrieu, and Jeanne Meserve (CNN’s Homeland Security Correspondent), a host of notables including the heads of recovery and emergency management agencies for Louisiana at Mississippi will participate in the conference.

Senior Whitehouse and DHS officials in attendance will include: Thomas Bossert, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Preparedness Policy; Janet Woodka, Gulf Coast Recovery office; Cindy Taylor, director of Private Sector Office of FEMA; and Col. Merrick Krause, director of Infrastructure Analysis and Strategy Division. Also in attendance from DHS will be representatives from the DHS Threat-Fusion Center, the Federal government’s primary center for homeland security-related modeling, simulation and analysis and the R&D branch.

The conference also will include private sector senior executives from Wal-Mart, Chevron, Entergy, CLECO, Gulf of Mexico port directors, and non-profit agencies including The Red Cross, United Way of America.

“ With the technology that NIMSAT is making possible, we will be smarter and better prepared when the next disaster strikes. The conference is bringing together government and private sector leaders with the goal of securing our Gulf Coast communities from natural and manmade threats,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu. “I am proud to join this critical conference and will continue to support UL Lafayette’s efforts as the university and NIMSAT use technology to protect our future.”

To register for the Secure the Coast, Protect the Nation conference on April 22 – 24 or see a complete list of speakers, go to www.maritime-conference.com .


UL Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the state and is the largest of the eight institutions that comprise the University of Louisiana System. More than 16,000 students attend this public institution, which awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Curriculums are diverse with offerings from the humanities to scientific research. It’s a national leader in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. UL Lafayette is on the global technology stage with its one-of-a-kind Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, which features several visualization environments and is supported by some of the most sophisticated supercomputers in the world. Its student-athletes – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns – compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition. The campus is located in the heart of Acadiana – a rich Cajun and Creole cultural area known for its extraordinary food, music, festivals and quality of life.

Document last revised Thursday, April 17, 2008 1:48 PM

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