I am an emergency management consultant from New Zealand. I started as a rescue volunteer, and then decided to try and make a career out of emergency management and ended up starting a consulting company. Our company has done a lot of emergency management consulting in New Zealand, with a lot of focus on planning and exercising. Our company is currently neck-deep in assisting the delivery of our third all-of-government exercise in New Zealand. Being a consultant has given what I think are incredible opportunities to observe emergency management from within a growing number of different organisations, and I believe that has given me some valuable insights.
I have always been strong in IT, with my first computer experience being a BBC Model B in 1982. Let's just say I haven't been far from computers since. Before I became a rescue volunteer I was a technical director at a web development company in 1996-1997 and I built New Zealand's first online pharmacy store.
Over the years I've completed a number of qualifications that have been very useful to the intersection of disciplines of this group. These include BCom (Information Systems), BSc (Management Science), Graduate Diploma in Emergency Services Management, and a Postgraduate Diploma in the Arts (Geographical Information Systems).
I was involved in a failed attempt to create an open source disaster management information system in 2003, but this failed due to a lack of drivers. When I found out about Sahana soon in January 2005 I starting contributing to the project (in terms of advice, not code) and have since become a member of the Board, and of the Project Management Committee.
It has been both through my dealings with clients and work on the Sahana project that I have become interested in standards for emergency management and I see the urgent need to map out existing standards to identify gaps that need further work. I am starting to get involved with the State Services Commission in New Zealand - our government agency that is responsible information standards in New Zealand, and I believe they are very interested in thei working group.
I look forward to the day where the emergency management standards are able to support a heterogeneous, federated network of different DMIS that are capable of being truly networked and interoperable, but can be customised and deployed to suit each organisations distinctive organisational and IT needs.