Emergency Academy 2023 Keynote Speakers & Presenters
Dr. Vincent Covello
Dr. Vincent Covello, director of the Center for Risk Communication, is one of the world’s leading experts and practitioners on risk, high stress, and crisis communications. He is the author of more than 150 articles in scientific journals and the author/editor of more than 20 books. Dr. Covello is a consultant, writer, speaker, and teacher. He is a frequent keynote speaker and has conducted communication skills training for thousands.
Dr. Covello has served as a risk, high concern, and crisis communications adviser to numerous public and private sectors organizations. For example, he has worked with over 400 of the 500 Fortune 500 companies and with over 200 government agencies, including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency, and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. His work has been applied nationally and globally to a wide range of topics, including radiological incidents, disease outbreaks, industrial accidents, water contamination, air pollution, food safety, climate change, physician-patient communications, and organizational change. Most recently, he has worked closely with the 50 U.S. State Health Directors on their responses to questions from the media and the public on COVID-19.
Dr. Covello has received many awards for his work and has held numerous positions, including Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Environmental Sciences at the Columbia University School of Public Health, a program manager at the National Science Foundation, a study director at the National Academy of Sciences, President of the Society for Risk Analysis, and Vice Chairperson of the Radiation Education, Risk Communication and Education Committee of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Dr. Covello obtained his BA with honors and MA from Cambridge University in England and his doctorate from Columbia University.
Scott is a principal of SAE Communications. SAE has provided crisis communications counsel, media relations, and Joint Information Center management for many of California’s most challenging recent crises, including the 2023 winter storms, 2020 Coronavirus response, 2020 election security, 2019 Conception dive boat tragedy, 2018 Montecito mudslide, 2017 Thomas fire, 2016 Sherpa fire, 2015 Refugio Beach oil spill, 2014 Isla Vista shootings, 2011 Seal Beach massacre, and numerous crises of confidence. Scott also advises on emerging issues such as cyberattacks, Public Records Act requests, homelessness, and First Amendment “auditors.”
Scott is past president and lifetime member of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO), CAPIO Paul Clark Award winner in recognition of outstanding service, grants chair of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, past executive board member of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA), past board member of the Bay Area Cable Excellence Awards, guest lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication, and Dean of Instruction and course designer/manager at the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI). Scott is a graduate of the Telecommunications and Film program at San Diego State University.
Dr. Zach Hall
Dr. Hall is a lead instructor for Public Information Officer education in the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal-OES). Dr. Hall is FEMA designated Master PIO, one of five in California and 1 of 150 in the nation. Dr. Hall has designed and delivered Cal-OES public information courses to help organizational leaders plan for and communicate in crises. Dr. Hall’s instruction and consulting include crisis communication, crisis communication strategy, media relations, public speaking, Joint Information Center management, and PIO survival skills.
Dr. Hall’s doctoral dissertation, and subsequent published works, focused on the PIO role in public organizations. Dr. Hall writes and speaks for national and statewide organizations about the relationship between leadership, strategy, and communication within public organizations.
His professional experience includes working in the advertising, marketing and multimedia industries in the Silicon Valley.
For last 20 years Dr. Hall has served as communication studies professor at the collegiate and university level. Dr. Hall is a tenured Communication Studies Professor at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
Dr. Hall’s published work includes:
Conclusions From a Needs Analysis: The Training Gap in the National Preparedness Goal. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Institute. September 2022.
Integrating Access and Functional Needs within the Emergency Planning Process Best Practices for Stakeholder Inclusion. Cal. OES, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. November 2020.
Integrating Access and Functional Needs Within Large Venue Emergency Operations Plans Best Practices and Lessons Learned. Cal. OES, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. November 2019.
California Community Colleges Technology Center Unified Strategic Marketing Plan For 2017-2018. The Technology Center for the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. July 2017.
Maintaining Accessibility to Information Technology: A Guide for California Community Colleges. The Technology Center for the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. March 2017.
Managing Information Security on Campus: A Guide for California Community Colleges. The Technology Center for the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. March 2017.
Marketing Firm Handbook. A guide to selecting and evaluating Marketing Firms. The Technology Center for the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. 2016.
Examining Marketing Officers’ Demographic Factors Influence on MIHE Scores at California Community Colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice. 36 (2) (2012, Winter)
An Exploratory Investigation of the Influence of College President Perceptions on Organizational Commitment to Higher Education Marketing at High Performing California Community Colleges. College and University 21(1). (2008, Fall)
An Exploratory Investigation of the Influence of College President Perceptions on Organizational Commitment to Higher Education Marketing at High Performing California Community Colleges. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of California, Santa Barbara. (2007)
Chris Amestoy is the Staff Chief of CAL FIRE Communications. He oversees the Public Information, Public Education, Outreach and Engagement efforts statewide for the department. He’s a 32-year veteran of the California Fire Service with deep and varied operational experience. Previous assignments include Director of Fire Training- South for the CAL FIRE Training Center, and Chief of Emergency Medical Services for CAL FIRE San Diego and San Diego County Fire. He holds a master’s degree in public administration.
Nick Schuler is the Deputy Director of Communications overseeing CAL FIRE’s statewide communications strategy including most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 fire sieges and a variety of other large-scale incidents and department initiatives. During his 25-year career he has worked as a firefighter, engineer, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief and deputy chief. He has spent more than 18 years assigned to Type 1 Incident Management Teams filling a variety of positions including Public Information Officer, Operations Section Chief and Deputy Incident Commander. Chief Schuler holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership, an associate degree in emergency management and fire science. He is a graduate of the Los Angeles City Fire Department Leadership Academy and is designated as a Chief Fire Officer from the Center of Public Safety Excellence.