After limping away from an early career as an ironworker my primary employment the last several decades has been with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as an economist, planner and project manager and as a Professor of Economics at Notre Dame of Maryland University. For the last 25 years or so I have also worked as a private and independent consultant in risk analysis, planning and economics.

Making decisions under the ubiquitous conditions of uncertainty has managed to provide a very exciting focus for my professional career. I love stepping not a complex or even a complicated situation, defining the decision context and finding a way through the uncertainty to a preferred course of action. Risk analysis and planning both provide such opportunities in abundance and it has been a lot of fun to work with so many people over the years on such a wide variety of problems and opportunities.

My professional work has enabled me to work on many dozens of risk assessment projects primarily in food safety, international trade and natural and environmental resources, including natural and anthropogenic disasters. Most of this work has been quantitative risk assessment, although my qualitative risk assessment experience stretches back over 20 years as well. In recent years there has been growing interest in how to organize for and do risk management and this has been a growing part of my work experience.

In addition to doing risk assessment and assisting in risk management issues I have designed, developed and delivered made-to-order risk analysis training programs in over two dozen countries. Some of my clients include Taiwan FDA, Honk Kong Center for Food Safety, Honk Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, FSANZ, Australian Dairy Industry, Mexico’s Federal Commission for Protection from Sanitary Risks, BIOTEC (Thailand), Croatian Food Agency, National Food Institute of Thailand, and African regional trade organizations including CEMAC, WAEMU, COMESA, and SADC. Since the 1990’s I have trained well over 1,000 US government employees from USDA, FDA, USACE, EPA, and other agencies.

In the past few months some of the things keeping me busy include helping the Army Corps of Engineers develop and apply a risk analysis model for the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study. Congress directed USACE to conduct a study to determine the range of options and technologies available to prevent aquatic nuisance species (ANS) from transferring through aquatic pathways from one basin to another. Together we developed a sophisticated qualitative risk assessment and risk management methodology that will enable the Corps to advise Congress on how to manage the ANS risk.

I have been collaborating with a team from JIFSAN and the University of Maryland to design and develop a program to train three levels of food service workers in all the healthcare facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs in food safety and food defense methods. This program has been in partial response to post 911 efforts to build the Nation’s food defense capacity.

During the last several months I have been fortunate enough to have been instrumental in designing and implementing the USACE SMART Planning initiative to modernize water resources planning across the Nation. This effort has enabled me to assist in introducing a risk-informed planning process to the Corps that will save the Nation millions of dollars in the cost of completing feasibility studies. The most recent efforts have included flood and coastal storm risk management, ecosystem restoration and deep draft navigation issues in places like the Skagit and Blanchard watersheds, Charleston Harbor, Arctic deep draft port study, and the Texas coast from Sabine to Galveston.

In addition to these public agency efforts I have been able to work with private companies on a wide variety of issues from TQM and vulnerability assessments to specific risk assessments on everything from power generation, risk-based budgeting, financial analysis, and continuity of business plans. Developing a common sense approach to recognizing and addressing uncertainty in decision making through the tools of risk analysis has provided me a rich array of experiences. Adapting concepts from water resource management to food safety and vice versa, for example, expands the perspectives, techniques and methodologies available to the benefit of my clients. Being able to then take these experiences into the classroom for my students has gifted me with the best of all possible worlds professionally.
Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland
BS in Economics, University of Maryland
MPS in Policy Science, University of Maryland Baltimore County
MS in Water Resources Policy, Colorado State University
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Natural resource planning, especially risk-integrated planning
Risk analysis
Risk assessment
Risk management
Food safety risk analysis
Food defense
Economic analysis
Personal Interests
Mountains and mountain stuff
Boxers, mostly fawns but some brindles
Hometown sports teams
Rolling Stones
Craft beers