Kyle Olson is the President and founder of The Olson Group, Ltd. An internationally known authority on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and a leading designer and facilitator of preparedness and
response exercises. Mr. Olson launched OGL in 2005 to provide responsive, expert-driven support services to Federal, state and local homeland security, public safety and health agencies. Under his leadership, OGL has grown from a one-desk, one-room operation to one of the nation’s leaders in the provision of homeland security and emergency management services.
Mr. Olson has successfully worked with first responders and Cabinet officers, mid-level and senior officials at all levels of government and industry. His clients have included Federal agencies, state governments, cities and counties, international organizations, non-profits and Fortune 500 corporations. Over the past thirty years, Mr. Olson has designed and executed hundreds of Tabletop, Functional and Full-Scale homeland security and emergency management exercises, as well as facilitated major conferences, workshops and seminars. A problem-solver by nature, he is adept at defining novel solutions to complex problems and bringing “outside the box” thinking to bear in resolving intractable issues.
He has led a number of real world investigations and after-action report efforts, examples include the 1995 Tokyo Nerve Gas attacks, 2012 New York State Response to Superstorm Sandy, 2015 Washington DC Metro Tunnel Fire, and 2016 District of Columbia Winter Storm Jonas Response.
Mr. Olson has testified before Congress, contributed to and edited books and articles on national security issues, lectured at universities such as Georgetown and Harvard, and such institutions as the Aspen Group, the National Defense University and Air Force Special Operations School. He has frequently appeared as an expert on news programs in the United States and abroad, and is regularly cited in the written press.
West Virginia University
M.P.A - Master Public Administration
Montana State University
B.A. Political Science/History
Mr. Montella is an internationally recognized subject matter expert, speaker and writer on numerous topics relating to emergency management, homeland security, physical security and supporting technologies. With 33 years of direct experience in government, private, and non-profit sectors, he is considered one of the top practitioners and planners in the United States. As a Master Planner, Montella has either led or participated in the development of hundreds federal, state, and local emergency management and strategic plans and policy and procedural doctrine, major after action reports and assessments and dozens of special and national security events plans including the Summit of the Eights, four Presidential visits, two Olympic Games, and Superbowls XXV and XXXV. In addition, he has led or participated in the development, conduct, and evaluation of hundreds of tabletop, functional, and full scale exercises at all levels of government and the private sector.
His experience is highlighted by serving in senior leadership positions on well over 100 presidentially-declared disasters including Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Katrina, and Irma, as well as the September 11 terrorist attack and the anthrax release at the U.S. Capital. Following the events of September 11, 2001, Mr. Montella became the first General Manager of Emergency Management for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, helping to rebuild the agency that owned and operated the World Trade Center. His efforts in the field of emergency management earned him and his agency the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University.
Mr. Montella has served on the State of Florida Rapid Impact Assessment Team (RIAT) and on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Emergency Response Team (ERT-N) at the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC). Montella was the on-camera disaster and homeland security expert for the Discovery Channel Series, THE COLONY, and currently serves on the Department of Energy’s Emergency Management Special Interest Group (EM-SIG), the Editorial Board for two industry publications, and serves as the Private Sector Representative on American Public University System’s Curriculum Advisory Board. Mr. Montella has also served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) National Advisory Council’s (NAC) Public Engagement & Mission Support Subcommittee and the National Response Framework Working Group as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Intelligence Community Analyst – Private Sector Program.
Certifications: MEP; HSEEP
Aubrey Cheatham has a distinguished record providing leadership, management, and supervision to various organizations over the past 40 years. Over the past seven years, Mr. Cheatham has managed and helped design, facilitate, and evaluate well over 75 Workshop, Tabletop, Functional, and Full-Scale Homeland Security and Emergency Management exercises. He has led the planning, conduct and evaluation of multiple-agency, multiple-venue exercises addressing both natural disasters and acts of terrorism at the Federal and local levels. He has developed and delivered high-level exercises, briefings and other products for senior political and agency officials in both Washington and across the country. The vast majority of the exercises Mr. Cheatham designed and delivered involved multiple jurisdictions and response agencies with diverse plans, policies, and procedures. He also has extensive experience designing exercises for institutes of higher education; scenarios included active threat, mass evacuation, mass casualty, biological threat, and hazardous materials.
Mr. Cheatham has eight years emergency management and public safety experience as a local government Director and Deputy Director of a department responsible for the coordination of emergency management, fire, fire marshal, EMS, Emergency 9-1-1, and animal control services in a Central Virginia locality. He also has seven years’ experience as a United States Air Force First Sergeant where he was responsible for the morale, welfare, and discipline of organizations averaging 200 personnel in various worldwide locations. Mr. Cheatham spent thirteen years as a Security Force Manager in the USAF where he was responsible for the security of up to 500 nuclear warheads and the supervision of up to 50 individuals performing various nuclear security and law enforcement related duties worldwide.
Mr. Cheatham earned a Masters Degree in Management from Lesley College, is credentialed as a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers, and is a Master Exercise Practitioner.
University of Providence
Experience: 36 years
Certifications: CEM; MEP; HSEEP
Dorothy Lowry is an experienced emergency preparedness professional with many years of preparedness, response and recovery experience. Ms. Lowry’s areas of expertise include planning, training, exercises, evidence-based best-practice plan innovation, emergency management operations, public health and clinical emergency response. Ms. Lowry also has 24 years of clinical expertise in caring for individuals, families and communities. Ms. Lowry has a RN Nursing licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia and an M.S.N. from Norwich University, which focused on the public health response to pandemic illness. Additionally, she has completed academic work through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute, National Defense University, and the U.S. Army Academy of Health Sciences.
Ms. Lowry has worked successfully with local, state, Federal, and international agencies to develop and execute a variety of exercises, plans and processes for effective response to mass casualty incidents and catastrophic emergencies. Examples of Ms. Lowry’s exercise experience include design development, execution, and evaluation of state-level pandemic influenza exercises, Continuity of Operations exercises, response to a terrorist attack resulting in a mass-casualty incident, an insurgent attack on the U.S. Embassy, Kuwait resulting in a mass casualty incident and tactical response. She has 24 years of clinical expertise in caring for individuals, families and communities.
Ms. Lowry served as both an enlisted soldier and Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, was mobilized for Operation Desert Storm and Joint Task Force Raven and was honorably discharged in 2002.
M.S. Nursing Administration
Certifications: MSN; PMP; HSEEP
Alicia Toombs is an experienced Emergency Management Program Manager with eight (8) years of service primarily in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Through her tenure, Ms. Toombs has been involved in over ten real-world deployments and activations as an Emergency Management Practitioner. Ms. Toombs has worked in the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management (Dallas OEM), Dallas County Health and Human Services Public Health Preparedness Division (DCHHS), and the American Red Cross (ARC). Ms. Toombs was recognized as a leader within Dallas OEM, the North Central Texas Region, and among the 15 largest jurisdictions in the Nation. In 2016, Ms. Toombs served as the Co- Director of Big X 2016, a large, complex, Full-Scale exercise encompassing over 3,000 participants, 23 jurisdictions, and 11 emergency response disciplines. Big X included seventeen (17) standalone SWAT scenarios and six (6) scenarios in which SWAT teams integrated with Hazardous Materials (HazMat) teams and Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) teams in response to complex coordinated attack scenarios. All of these scenarios operated simultaneously for three (3) operational periods as participating teams rotated through scenarios.
Ms. Toombs has also led projects in the emergency management and public health fields, which include preparedness, planning, training, exercise, and response. Currently, Ms. Toombs is leading the development of Rice University’s Emergency Operations Plans (EOP), Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP),
and Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) as well as a mass fatality plan and a multi-jurisdictional Full-Scale exercise for the State of New Hampshire.
Ms. Toombs worked at City of Dallas OEM when both the July 7 th ambush on Dallas Police officers and the attack on Dallas Police Department Headquarters occurred. In 2017, Ms. Toombs was a Local Evaluator for the National Capital Region Complex Coordinated Attack SWAT response Full-Scale exercise. In 2018, Ms. Toombs served as a Local Controller for the State of Delaware during the National Level Exercise, a multi-jurisdictional hurricane response exercise which involved local, state, and Federal response and coordination.
University of North Texas
B.A. Emergency Admin/Disaster Planning
Experience: 8 years
Certifications: MEP; HSEEP
Glenn Epler is an expert in the management and execution of programs and projects related to emergency and crisis management. He has managed and executed projects for Federal, state, local and private sector entities. He has over 45 years of total work experience, including twenty years commissioned service in the U.S. Coast Guard, working in the maritime security, emergency management, training and exercising, oil and hazardous materials spill response, contingency planning, environmental health and safety, and port safety and security fields. Post-military experience includes 24 years crisis and emergency management program planning, project management, training and exercising, real time response, and contingency planning experience within the state and Federal government, as well as the oil, gas, transportation, microelectronics, pharmaceutical, finance and chemical business sectors. He has managed numerous training and exercise projects, policy and plan development efforts, and developed dozens of emergency response plans dealing with both natural and man-made disasters at both the corporate level (as a crisis management plan) and at the facility level (as an emergency response plan). Mr. Epler has worked with individual facilities and industries in developing crisis and emergency management exercise programs. In developing contingency plans, procedural documents, and exercises, he worked closely with all pertinent response officials from Federal, state and local government and industry sectors.
Mr. Epler has over 25 years of experience developing, conducting and evaluating all hazards emergency response exercises. Since retiring from the Coast Guard in 1994, he has spent the majority of his time working with clients in emergency management planning and exercising. His clients have included local, state, and Federal agencies, private sector and international corporations. He is certified under the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program.
Florida Institute of Technology
M.S. Transportation Management
U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Experience: 25 years
Katie Gamble is a FEMA certified Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) and a Senior Associate with The Olson Group, Ltd. Ms. Gamble has served as the Region 4 and Region 6 Exercise Liaison under contract with the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) Regional Capability Project for 11 years, from November 2006 to the present. In this role, her responsibilities have included obtaining regional input for an exercise strategy, and development of exercise plans, schedules, documentation, conduct and evaluation of exercises. She also assists in other VDEM Regions and on other Olson Group exercise projects as requested, conducting studies and analysis, prevention and planning activities, and related tasks. She is well versed in the use of HSEEP methodology, and entry of data into the newly developed VDEM CAMS system and has been responsible for Region 4 and 6 follow up on related issues. Ms. Gamble recently supported the development, conduct and evaluation of an emergency exercise at the Big Walker Tunnel.
B.S. General Studies
Experience: 18 years
Ms. Chappell joined OGL in May, 2017 after a distinguished career of 32 years in public safety, with over 100 exercises under her belt. As a FEMA certified Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP), Ms. Chappell’s first assignment with OGL was serving as the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) Regions 2 & 5 Exercise Liaison for the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). Ms. Chappell was responsible for providing technical expertise in project management; emergency management; emergency planning; exercise design, delivery and facilitation and risk identification and management. She is also a member of the Hampton Roads
Incident Management Team (IMT).
Prior to joining the private sector, Ms. Chappell served 11-years with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) where she was the single all-hazards planner for the twenty-five Hampton Roads localities which make up VDEM Region 5. Her duties and responsibilities included: providing all-hazards plan development guidance for both localities and institutions of higher learning; assisting in the coordination of disaster planning activities and initiatives between local, state and federal partners; reviewing local government and institutions of higher learning Emergency Operations Plans (EOP’s) and Crisis Emergency Management Plans (CEMP’s) to ensure compliance with all State and Federal requirements; incident response and recovery operations.
Preceding her VDEM career, Ms. Chappell served 21 years with Chesapeake Fire Department (CFD). In her time with CFD, she served in multiple capacities which included: Volunteer Firefighter/EMT; Assistant Public Information Officer; Fire Life Safety Specialist; Fire Inspections Program Specialist; Emergency Management Technician; and Training Operations Specialist.
Education: I’m “first generation EM” and came up through the fire service thus never completed my bachelor’s degree.
Years experience: 32+
Certifications: MEPP, HSEEP, FEMA APS & PDS
Natalie Graver is an HSEEP-Certified Associate with the Olson Group Ltd., supporting and leading numerous projects in emergency management, public safety, and business continuity. Ms. Graver currently serves as the Project Manager for the Delaware Statewide Exercise Contract for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA). She manages the planning, design, conduct and evaluation for all DEMA exercises, including setting up planning meetings, developing exercise materials, coordinating staffing for conduct and evaluation of exercises, and ensuring that project deadlines are met.
Prior to working at the Olson Group, Ms. Graver worked under the Training and Exercise Coordinator at the Department of Public Safety Communication and Emergency Management (DPSCEM) in Arlington County, Virginia. While working at DPSCEM, Ms. Graver assisted in executing numerous discussion and operations-based exercises for eight emergency support functions and three outside organizations. Moreover, Ms. Graver was instrumental in launching the “Until Help Arrives” training program throughout Arlington County, VA. “Until Help Arrives” is a training program that teaches citizens how to be the help until first responders arrive on scene. Natalie graduated from St. John’s University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security and has most recently earned a Master’s Certification in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from George Mason University.
Mr. Forcucci brings 9 years of Emergency Mangement experience, and a total of 15 years of Operations Management and Planning from the public and private sector. He served as a Project Manager in plan development and implementation of the Escalations Team and later served in the capacity of Operations Manager within a Fortune 5 Company. Mr. Forcucci received his B.S. in Crisis and Disaster Management and has completed FEMA’s Professional Development Series. Mr. Forcucci is currently completing his Master in Public Health Administration.
Mr. Forcucci previously interned for Sarasota County, FL Emergency Management filling a Response Support role. He was a contributing author for Sarasota County’s “Code Red (reverse 9-11)” system along with the development of the County’s Emergency Role (E-Role) registration training aid. He has several years of experience in exercise planning and evaluations in various industries both private and public. Mr. Forcucci also served as the Technical Advisor, Emergency Management for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Florida. While in this position, he developed the Department’s Emergency Management program along with their Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP).
Mr. Forcucci’s additional experiences include Fire/EMS in the State of Iowa, active duty service in the United States Coast Guard, and the served in the State of Florida Medical Response Team (SMRT) as a Logistics Coordinator (FL SMRT now disbanded). He has knowledge and experience in Physical Security, Port Security, Homeland Security, Anti-Terrorism Force Protection, Migrant Operations, Counter Narcotics, Public Health, and Environmental Protection. Mr. Forcucci deployed in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita immediately after landfall and participated in the joint response and recovery efforts in New Orleans proper, Jefferson, and St. Tammany Parish.