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Resiliency Academies

Home » Our Events » Resiliency Academies

Resilient Virginia’s Resiliency Academy series was established in 2020 and continues to deliver timely and relevant resiliency topics via webinars. Past topics include resiliency planning “how-to’s” for local governments; disaster mitigation funding; economic impact and opportunities; resilient building and infrastructure design; and the role of ecosystems in community resilience.

Members have access to our entire video library of Academies, along with presentations and video from our past Conferences. Click here for a full list of membership benefits.

Resilient Virginia's Resiliency Academy

Climate and Hazard Mitigation Planning
March 26 –June 18

The Spring 2024 Resiliency Academy virtual series will highlight available tools and resources that communities can use to integrate climate into their Hazard Mitigation Plans and other planning efforts.

Climate and Hazard Mitigation Planning: The Spring 2024 Resiliency Academy

We are pleased to offer the 2024 Resiliency Academy free of charge
thanks to funding from MARISA.

Attention Certified Floodplain Managers

Each 2024 Resiliency Academy session has been approved by ASFM for 1 CEC. If you attend any of the sessions, please let us know and we will send you a proof of attendance to submit for your credit.

Attention APA Planners

We are awaiting approval. Stay tuned!

Session 3

Tools for Climate and Hazard Mitigation Planning

May 28   •   1:00–2:30 PM

Cost: Free   •   Location: Virtual

Registration is required for each session.

Join us May 28th to learn about tools from MARISA, DCR, FEMA, and USDN
for Climate and Hazard Mitigation Planning.

It’s essential to gather the right data for your region when planning for climate risk and hazard mitigation.
Fortunately, there are tools available to help with this task.

We have a great line-up of speakers for this session who will cover a variety of tools
that can be used in your planning efforts.

Speakers include:
Krista Romita Grocholski — Principal Investigator, MARISA
Lena Easton-Calabria — Program Manager, MARISA
Matt Dalon — Program Manager, Office of Resilience Planning, DCR
Bill Bohn — CEO, Community Resilience Consulting
K “Baja” — Former Senior Director of Direct Support and Innovation, USDN

Speakers

Matt Dalon, Program Manager for the Office of Resilience Planning, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Matt Dalon
Program Manager, Office of Resilience Planning
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Matt Dalon is the Program Manager for the Office of Resilience Planning within the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (CDR). This office is charged with developing the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan and the Virginia Flood Protection Master Plan to increase Virginia resilience to flooding. After 14 years in the private sector providing waterfront solutions including the beneficial use of over 2 million cubic yards of dredged material and waterfront facility climate adaptation plans, Matt joined DCR in 2021 to manage Virginia’s flood resilience plans. He is a Professional Engineer, Certified Floodplain Manager, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University and a Master’s Degree in Ocean & Coastal Engineering from Oregon State University.

Bill Bohn, Acting Chair of Resilient Virginia and Chief Operating Officer for Sobis, Inc.

Bill Bohn
Acting Chair of Resilient Virginia
Chief Operating Officer, Sobis, Inc.

Bill Bohn is Acting Chair of Resilient Virginia and the Chief Executive Officer for Community Resilience Consulting, LLC a small business headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia. For the last 20 years, he has supported communities and projects around the world with hazard and climate change risk assessments, including hazard mitigation and climate adaptation plans in the U.S. He has supported USAID, World Bank, IFC, and IDB conducting climate change risk assessments and adaptation plans in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Middle East, North America, and South America.

He supported the development of the Community Resilience Course for the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, the Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Course for NOAA’s Coastal Services Center, and was an author of the World Bank’s Community Reconstruction Handbook. He also helped develop and facilitate a one-day Flood Resilience Workshop for EPA’s Smart Growth Program. He currently supports FEMA headquarters with testing, developing training materials and technical manuals, and teaching their risk assessment software, Hazus. Mr. Bohn has an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and graduate degree in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences. He lives with his wife and three kids (and two goats and several chickens) in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Baja is the originator of the Resilience Hub concept and has been working on Resilience Hubs for over a decade throughout North America and Internationally.

Baja
Originator of the Resilience Hub Concept
Developer, New and Improved All Hazard Mitigation Plan

Baja (she/ki) is an energy rooted in empathy, love, and compassion. She coaches, facilitates, and leads workshops, retreats, and trainings that nurture heart-centered self- and collective-liberation while supporting deeper connectivity to nature’s genius and shifting of power. Baja is the originator of the Resilience Hub concept and has been working on Resilience Hubs for over a decade throughout North America and Internationally. She also developed the New and Improved All Hazard Mitigation Plan which integrates social, ecological and climate elements into Hazard Mitigation Planning and Process. Baja most recently served as the Senior Director of Direct Support and Innovation with USDN and was also the Climate Resilience Planner and Floodplain Manager with the City of Baltimore. She holds a Masters of Urban Planning and a Masters of Science from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Biomimicry from ASU. In 2016, she was recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change for her work on climate and equity.

Romita Grocholski, Physical Scientist, RAND Corporation; Lead Principal Investigator, Mid-Atlantic Climate Adaptation Program (MARISA)

Krista Romita Grocholski
Physical Scientist, RAND Corporation
Lead Principal Investigator, Mid-Atlantic Climate Adaptation Program (MARISA)

Dr. Romita Grocholski is a physical scientist at the RAND Corporation, a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and serves as the lead principal investigator for the NOAA-funded Mid-Atlantic Climate Adaptation (formerly RISA) program (MARISA). Her work on climate adaptation and resilience includes developing decision- and user-centered climate data tools and incorporating climate projections into stormwater management and hazard mitigation planning processes. Dr. Romita Grocholski is committed to co-development of these climate tools, iteratively updating their content to address users’ real-world needs and suggestions. Prior to joining RAND, she completed her Ph.D. in observational astronomy at the University of Florida. Romita Grocholski received her M.S. in astronomy from the University of Florida and her B.A. in astronomy and physics from Vassar College.

Past Spring Academy Events

• S E S S I O N   2 •

Understanding Climate in Virginia

May • 1:00–2:30 PM

In this session, we hear from Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the new requirements for Hazard Mitigation Plans and available resources. In addition, we hear directly from some who have already updated Hazard Mitigation Plans according to the new guidelines.

Attendees will leave with a better understanding of what is now required when updating Hazard Mitigation Plans and what resources are available.

Resources from this event will be available soon.

Speakers

Rodney Bahner
Community Planner
FEMA Region 3

Rodney Bahner is a Community Planner with FEMA Region 3, assisting Virginia communities with hazard mitigation planning and project implementation through the Virginia FEMA Integration Team (FIT). Prior to joining FEMA, he worked in local land use planning and historic preservation planning, most recently as the City Planner for Morgantown, West Virginia. Rodney received master’s degrees in Community and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation from the University of Oregon. Outside of the office, he’s served on nonprofit boards committed to advancing historic preservation and increasing parks access.

Dave Mandell, Deputy Director of the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management

Dave Mandell
Deputy Director
City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management

Dave Mandell has served as the Deputy Director of the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management since 2014. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and also received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. He earned the Certified Emergency Manager designation in 2019. Dave is responsible for all emergency management program areas, including response, planning, grants management, training and education, and public outreach. He manages the City of Annapolis Hazard Mitigation Plan, which was updated most recently in 2023 under the new FEMA guidance. Dave has a passion for bringing major mitigation projects to fruition. He has coordinated efforts that have secured about $9.7 million in mitigation grant funds for Annapolis.

Debbie Messmer, Deputy Director of Grant Management and Recovery, Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Debbie Messmer
Deputy Director of Grant Management and Recovery
Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Debbie Messmer has worked for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management for 19 years as a Grants Administrator/Project Coordinator, the State Hazard Mitigation Officer, and now as the Deputy Director of Grant Management and Recovery. She has managed over $350 million in mitigation grants across the Commonwealth ranging from acquisition and elevation of private residential properties to large-scale stormwater management projects to small educational opportunities. Debbie currently oversees the management of all Recovery, Mitigation, Preparedness, and NG911 grants administered in Virginia. Debbie received her B.A. from St. Andrews University and managed mitigation grants in North Carolina following Hurricanes Fran and Floyd. Her free time is spent playing tennis and watching her four children play sports.

Anna Kimelblatt, CFM, Project Planner and Certified Floodplain Manager at Weston & Sampson Engineers

Anna Kimelblatt, CFM,
Project Planner and Certified Floodplain Manager
Weston & Sampson Engineers

Anna Kimelblatt, CFM, is a Project Planner and Certified Floodplain Manager at Weston & Sampson Engineers with approximately six years of experience in resilience planning and floodplain management. Anna graduated from the College of Charleston with a master’s degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Following graduation, Anna served as Charleston County’s floodplain manager for nearly three years before joining Weston & Sampson. Her expertise includes hazard mitigation planning, Community Rating System administration, National Flood Insurance Program administration, flood mitigation, retrofitting, resilience integration via regulatory tools, sustainable and resilient design, smart growth initiatives, and low impact development. Anna has assisted communities up and down the east coast with updating their hazard mitigation plans and obtaining FEMA approval.

Janet Moonan, PE, Senior Project Manager at Weston & Sampson Engineers

Janet Moonan, PE
Senior Project Manager
Weston & Sampson Engineers

Janet Moonan, PE, is a Senior Project Manager at Weston & Sampson Engineers with nearly 20 years of experience in interdisciplinary water resources planning, permitting, design, and construction. She earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a M.Eng. in Water Resources from Tufts University. Janet’s focus is on climate resilience projects that improve water quality and mitigate flooding, with a particular focus on nature-based solutions. Janet has prepared numerous FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plans throughout the northeastern U.S. for areas with populations as small as 1,500 to as large as 120,000 people and serves as a trusted advisor for those undertaking the HMP process.

• S E S S I O N   1 •

Understanding Climate in Virginia

March 26 • 1:00–2:30 PM

Get acquainted with future climate projections for Virginia in the first session of the series. Jeremy Hoffman, Director of Climate Justice and Impact at Groundwork USA and lead author of the Southeast Chapter of the 5th National Climate Assessment, will present a summary of the most recent projections for this region and additional speakers will discuss how the changing climate will impact their communities. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how communities across Virginia are going to be impacted by climate change and what they will need to consider in their planning efforts.

Resources from this event will be available soon.

Speakers

Jeremy S. Hoffman, PhD, is the Director of Climate Justice and Impact at Groundwork US

Jeremy Hoffman
Director of Climate Justice and Impact
Groundwork US

Jeremy S. Hoffman, PhD, is the Director of Climate Justice and Impact at Groundwork USA and an affiliate faculty in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Governmental and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of Richmond. Jeremy is an award-winning environmental educator and nationally recognized climate science communicator. He is the Lead Author for the Southeast Chapter of The Fifth National Climate Assessment, NCA5.

Jeremy will present a summary of the most recent projections for this region and additional speakers will discuss how the changing climate will impact their communities.

Dr. Jessica Whitehead is the Joan P. Brock Endowed Executive Director of the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR) at Old Dominion University

Jessica Whitehead
Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience
Old Dominion University

Dr. Jessica Whitehead is the Joan P. Brock Endowed Executive Director of the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR) at Old Dominion University. A nationally recognized expert in climate adaptation and using climate information for resilience policy, Dr. Whitehead served the U.S. Global Change Research Program as the chapter lead author for the Northeast Chapter of the Fifth U.S. National Climate Assessment, released in November 2023.

Within the Commonwealth, she is a member of the Virginia Coastal Resilience Technical Advisory Committee. Previously, Dr. Whitehead was the first state Chief Resilience Officer for North Carolina, based in the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, and the first coastal climate extension specialist with NC Sea Grant, the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) Program.

Jessica earned her Doctor of Philosophy in geography and Master of Science in meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Science in physics with a concentration in meteorology from the College of Charleston. Her work helping coastal communities in the Carolinas adapt to climate change has been featured in podcasts, books, newspapers, television, and public radio, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Weather Channel.

Brent Wills, Wills Soil & Stream

Brent Wills
Wills Soil & Stream

Brent Wills has been involved in regenerative agricultural systems and conservation for over 25 years and is the owner of Wills Soil & Stream in Montvale, Virginia, providing ecological land management services for farmers and land managers in the mid-Atlantic region.

Since 2004, Brent and his family have operated Bramble Hollow Farm in the mountains of Bedford County, Virginia, and use managed livestock rotations, composts and other soil-building techniques to diversify their pasture-based operation where they specialize in the production of heritage breeds of pigs and poultry, including farm-hatched heritage birds for laying flocks as well as meat birds.

From 2017 to 2023, Brent served as President on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Association for Biological Farming, promoting soil health, resilient farming practices, and the production of nutrient-dense and ecologically-friendly food. He now serves as Program Manager with VABF, providing technical assistance to farmers, coordinating outreach and educational programming and building a collaborative network of farmers and growers who understand that soil health = human health.

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