UTD To Launch Emergency Readiness Conference
And Exposition Series for Southwest Aug. 9-12

Scheduled To Become Annual Homeland Security Event;
Former FEMA Director Witt To Deliver Keynote Address

RICHARDSON, Texas (June 23, 2004) – The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will host a major “all-hazards” emergency readiness conference and exposition Aug. 9 to 12 to promote better coordination of emergency preparedness and homeland security activities and to discuss a wide variety of other critical security issues facing both Texas and the nation.

Dr. Hasan Pirkul
Dr. Bob Helms

The conference, which is being produced by UTD’s two largest schools, the School of Management and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, is scheduled to become an annual event and is believed to be the first regional gathering of its kind or scope held in the Southwest.

The first-year event, officially named Emergency Readiness Conference 2004 (ERC 2004), will be held on the UTD campus and will embrace an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness and homeland security. While it will focus on aviation security, hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction and disaster medical management, a host of other issues such as multi-sector coordination, public/private partnering, the National Incident Management System, management strategies and the applications of communications and information technologies also will be addressed along with regional concepts of preparedness and consequence management.

“The government and industry must work together to prioritize and respond to dynamic security challenges and the pressures of maintaining emergency readiness. Advancing the state of the art in areas of information technology will play a key role in these efforts,” said Dr. Bob Helms, dean of the Jonsson School. “It is appropriate that UTD, as a recently designated National Center of Academic Excellence and Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, take a leadership role in coordinating this effort to bring government and industry together.”

Dr. Hasan Pirkul, dean of the School of Management, added that “effective training programs in emergency preparedness and consequence management are important keys to responding to, and recovering from, tomorrow’s disasters, small and large.

“In today’s environment of public scrutiny, it is important to analyze potential threats, develop a solid incident response plan and execute within state and national legal frameworks. The Emergency Readiness Conference will focus on management issues that face senior elected officials and emergency managers in this era of heightened preparedness,” Pirkul said.

Nextel Communications (NASDAQ: NXTL) is serving as corporate sponsor of ERC 2004. O ther sponsors of the conference include the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the DFW Homeland Security Alliance, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, the Metroplex Technology Business Council, Collin County, the City of Richardson, Medical College of Georgia and UTD’s Digital Forensics and Emergency Preparedness Institute.

“Nextel is pleased to partner with The University of Texas at Dallas as the official corporate sponsor of the UTD Emergency Readiness Conference,” said Michael Orchard, Nextel area vice president. “Nextel is committed to ensuring that emergency responders have the interoperable communications tools they need to get their jobs done.”

The keynote speaker for ERC 2004 will be former FEMA Director James Lee Witt. Witt brings more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of c risis and disaster management. As director of FEMA from 1993 to 2001, Witt was responsible for the agency’s overhaul and became the first FEMA director to serve in a Cabinet-level position. During his tenure, Witt managed 350 federally declared disasters in more than 6,500 counties in all 50 states and territories.

Regional and national experts will address attendees at ERC 2004, who are expected to include elected officials, first responders and public and private sector preparedness and response program managers, including some from city, county and state governments as well as from the federal government. The event is not open to the public. On-site registration is required, with pre-registration available at http://som.utdallas.edu/erc/.

The conference will be organized as a combination of plenary sessions and program tracks (a viation security, hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction and disaster medical management). The expo will feature a variety of products, services and technologies related to counter-terrorism, homeland security and emergency response. The four-day Conference Expo Pass is $295 per registrant. Registration will allow entrance to all exhibits, keynotes, plenary panels and workshops.

WHAT: The University of Texas at Dallas

Emergency Readiness Conference and Exposition 2004

WHEN: August 9-12, 2004

WHERE: The University of Texas at Dallas, W. Campbell Road and University Parkway, Richardson, Texas

MORE INFO: For vendor, attendee and sponsorship information, please visit: som.utdallas.edu/erc/.


About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 13,700 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.