CERTCON 2018- Learning For Life

CERTCON 2018!!

CERTCON 2018 is now in the record books. Thanks to all of the over 350 participants, thank you to the amazing Montgomery County CERT volunteers who put is so many hours of planning and hard work. Thanks to our wonderful partner agencies who kicked in the money to house and feed us. Thank you sincerely to each of our NCR CERT organization partners for all the help planning and executing the conference. And a huge thanks and job well done to the many speakers and presenters who delivered so many excellent training sessions. 


CERT CON 2019 will be hosted by Washington DC CERT (their first time hosting). I look forward to seeing all of you there! 

See the Augusta Westland AW-139 in action here!

Presented by


Greg St. James

Program Manager

Montgomery County CERT

Greg St. James is a native of Detroit, Michigan, where he enjoyed a career as a well-known and successful radio broadcaster for over 20 years. In 2000, he re-located to Montgomery County, Maryland. After the 9-11 attacks occurred, Greg decided to get involved in public safety and joined the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department as an EMT, eventually moving up to the rank of Master Medical Attendant at one of the busiest firehouses on the east coast, responding to thousands of 911 calls.

In 2007, Greg became the Program Manager for the Montgomery County Maryland Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Under his leadership, Montgomery County CERT has become one of the most innovative CERT programs in the country. Greg is an EMI certified CERT Instructor, ASHI CPR instructor and Maryland EMT-B.

In addition to monthly trainings in disaster preparedness, readiness, and CPR offered to thousands of residents, Greg has developed the annual National Capitol Regional CERT conference CERTCON, which attracts CERT members from all over the county each year for two days of  intensive continuing education in disaster preparedness topics, and a life-like field training exercise involving live role players, and various police and fire assets.

Greg also created and manages the nation's first Virtual Emergency Response Team (VERT) allowing VERT members to offer real time reporting on conditions at their location to emergency mangers during a weather or other incident. The VERT team has also partnered with Humanity Road to assist in data mining in international earthquake events in the Pacific region.

In 2010, Greg led a CERT team to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake there  to train village residents near the epicenter in emergency skills and the formation of a response team. He subsequently returned with a team of trainers for follow-up training in 2011.

In 2014, Greg developed  Storm Camp, an interactive readiness program for children and families featuring the innovative and nationally recognized "Ready Pirates" children's disaster education program.

In 2015, Mr. St. James guided the formation and management of a 24/7 CERT GoTeam of highly trained CERT volunteers able to support the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service (MCFRS) and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) anywhere in the county with 90 minutes notice.  In addition to GoTeam deployments, the team also volunteers at local parades, fairs, festivals and similar events.

In addition to his work with CERT, Greg St. James remains a broadcaster and can be heard on the air at C-SPAN Television.

Dave Mroz

Operations Coordinator, GoTeam

Montgomery County CERT

Dave Mroz is the Commander of the Montgomery County CERT Go-Team, a deployable asset with the mission of serving residents of Montgomery County in times of critical need.  The Go-Team is deployable via one of three partner agencies – Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service (MCFRS), Montgomery County Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security (OEM/HS), or Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) – and assists those agencies with specific efforts including post-fire residential escorts, missing persons searches, damage assessments, grid/line searches, and more.


Since taking command in 2016, Dave has been responsible for helping to define the overall direction and missions of the Go-Team.  He has created communications plans, crafted organizational policy, and furthered the integration of CERT into the Montgomery County Public Safety communication system.  Dave developed a training curriculum for MC-CERT Go-Team personnel and established safety standards for Go-Team members. He provides one-on-one training and mentoring as part of the development program for up-and-coming CERT Duty Officers (CDOs).


Dave is often found in the field providing on-site command for the Go-Team during various emergency deployments and preplanned events.

Kathleen Henning

Montgomery County CERT

Kathleen Henning, CERT Train-the Trainer, FEMA adjunct instructor, and Montgomery County Teen CERT Liaison will lead the panel. Ms.Henning was one of the founding members of MC CERT and an early Teen CERT instructor as well as regular CERT instructor.  Other panel members will be Teen CERT trained members of the GWGVFD Junior Fire Brigade.

Caleb Ward, MD

Emergency Medicine Specialist

Children's National Health System

Josh Fowler

Security Specialist and Federal Police Officer

Department of Homeland Security

Josh Fowler is a Security Specialist and Federal Police Officer with Customs and Border Protections (CPB), Office of Field Testing Division, Office of Intelligence within the Department of Homeland Security. He is responsible for conducting tests, “Red Teaming” of CBP screening procedures conducted on US borders, internal Border Patrol checkpoints and international airports. A retired US Air Force veteran with 28 years of military and federal law enforcement experience, Fowler was an Antiterrorism Officer with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency and a member of the protection detail for two Secretaries of Defense. Fowler is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Joint Counter-intelligence Training Academy and a distinguished honor graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Uniformed Police Training Program. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York and obtained his MBA from Strayer University in Washington DC.

Andy Burrows

Emergency Management Specialist


Andy is the Citizen Responder Lead in the Partnership and Engagement Branch of FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division. His program areas include CERT, Citizen Corps, and the You Are The Help Until Help Arrives program.

Andy is a former Logistics Officer in the active duty United States Army. His final assignment was at Army Logistics University, in Fort Lee, Virginia as an instructor and then Chief of Operations and Curriculum Development for the Logistics Leaders College, Captains Career Training Department. This institution provides military logistics education to US Army, US Marine Corps, and International Officers.

Other military experience includes logistics management positions at Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, and positions in the 4th Infantry Division and 13th Sustainment Command as Company Commander, Operations Officer, Executive Officer, and Platoon Leader at Fort Hood, Texas. Andy deployed to Iraq for 27 months from 2005-2008.

In 2015, Andy completed an MS in Management and Logistics Management from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne FL. His undergraduate education was received at McDaniel College, in Westminster, Maryland where he earned a BA in Political Science and International Relations.

Andy’s other military and civilian education includes various courses in faculty development, curriculum development, operational planning, the military decision making process, contract management, leadership and leader development, writing, wilderness survival, emergency preparedness, the Army Infantry School’s Airborne Course and more. Andy is a member of SOLE, the International Society of Logisticians and is accredited as a Demonstrated Senior Logistician. 

  1. In his spare time, Andy can be found working on old cars and trucks, and working as a mate on a Chesapeake Bay charter boat among other outdoor interests. He sometimes stays up late planning and researching his dream project, a hobby farm in the Virginia countryside.

Chuck Bell


NBC 4- Washington

Chuck is a Boston native who grew up outside Atlanta and chose the University of Oklahoma for college. That background, perhaps, helps explain why he loves all kinds of weather from east coast snow storms to tornadoes out on the Great Plains. He has been presenting the weather on TV for nearly 30 years and the last 14 of those have been right here in the Washington, DC market. He worked as a chief meteorologist in Albany, GA, Roanoke, VA and Oklahoma City before coming to Washington.

During his career he has covered multiple tornado outbreaks in Oklahoma including 2 EF5 tornados that hit the town of Moore, OK in 1999, 2003. He was working as the morning meteorologist in Greenville, SC for the first “storm of the century” in March of 1993. He covered the Blizzard of ’96 from Roanoke where 29” of snow fell, crippling all of Southwest Virginia. First among his lists of favorite weather events here in Washington was the 2009-2010 winter with a record setting 55” of snow - including the back-to-back blizzards in February of 2010. Then there was Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the Derecho storm in June of 2013. In his role as station scientist he also helped to cover our big Earthquake in August of 2011.

Maria Stevens Hardy


Serve DC

Professor Maria Stevens Hardy, a third generation member of the Healthcare Workforce, became a Quality Assurance Specialist at 25. Travelling to resource limited countries to improve challenges in healthcare systems the one common challenge was the implementation of Quality Management Systems.

In 2009 she founded Medical, Laboratory & Technology Consultants, LLC which provides Educational and Technical expertise. Working with public and private sectors they offer Accredited Continuing Medical Education, Medical Facility and Laboratory Accreditation & Compliance Technical Support and Capacity Building Scientific and Technical Advising.

As a Health Educator, Maria studied Biology at Howard University and BioTech at University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology, a Certified Allied Health Instructor, and Certified Laboratory Consultant. Prof. Hardy has educated over 7500 participants in over 14 countries worldwide.  She has been featured on ABC, CBS, Fox News, NBC and NHK.

Maeir Y. Burstyn

Communications Co-Lead

Montgomery County CERT

Maeir Y. Burstyn has been an active member of the Montgomery County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) for about 12 years.  He participates in training incoming members whenever he is requested.

Maeir, a Rockville, Maryland resident, started teaching CPR in 1982 and added First Aid in 1992 to the curriculum.  He founded his own company, CPR Educators, Inc., 30 years ago, affiliated with the American Heart Association and with the American Health & Safety Institute.  He teaches privately and group classes to members of the medical profession, the community, as well as individuals who just want to have CPR skills.

In his spare time, Maeir enjoys spending time with his wife, travelling, and repairing his home as necessary.

Les Garrison

Program Manager

Arlington County CERT

Born in 1954, Les Garrison was raised in Sioux City, Iowa. He served 20 years on active duty in the Marine Corps, seeing service in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and retiring in 1996. For 8 years, he had a business, a Bed & Breakfast reservation service, one of the many analog pre-cursors to AirBnB. In 2004, he volunteered for the Department of the Army and then the Department of State as a civil servant for work in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he spent over 4 years, specializing in teaching local governments to be as uncorrupt as the US government. He spent another 5 years training American military personnel prior to their deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Husband of Ann, father of 3, grandfather of 4, he has been a member of the Arlington CERT since its founding in 2002.

Joe Sciandra

Emergency Management Coordinator

The Paradios Group

Joe Sciandra has been the local Emergency Management Coordinator for Valley Township in Chester County, PA for the past 11 years.  He is the founder and Principal of The Paradios Group, LLC – an emergency management consulting and training organization.  He is active in CERT and is an adjunct instructor for the Emergency Management Institute teaching CERT Train-the-Trainer and Program Manager courses among others both at EMI and around the country.  He has presented topics at the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) conferences and various state CERT conferences.  Joe has served in the emergency operations centers for three National Special Security Events (NSSE) including the 2015 Papal visit, the 2016 RNC and 2016 DNC as well as numerous other EOC activations around the country. Joe is one of the lead instructors for the Chester County CERT training program.


Anita van der Merwe

Deputy Volunteer Lead

Fairfax County CERT

Anita van der Merwe has a passion for emergency management. She combines business continuity management and planning, technology recovery planning and exercising, emergency response, and emergency preparedness in her overall skillset.
As a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) by profession she plans and rehearses disaster recovery and business continuity strategies, plans and capabilities for corporations in the financial and technology industries.

In the capacity of Adjunct Instructor for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Training Division, she instructs in the Emergency Medical Technician, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation and CERT programs.
Anita holds the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician and is an operational member of Fair Oaks Volunteer Fire and Rescue. Additionally, she servers in the role of Director of the Board.
Anita is certified by the Emergency Management Institute as well as Fairfax County Fire and Rescue as a CERT Instructor. She serves as the Deputy Volunteer Lead for Fairfax County CERT and is actively involved in the program management as well as the training components of the program.

Missy Tuttle

Volunteer Lead

Fairfax County CERT

As serial entrepreneur and company founder of Patriot Training, Missy has over 25 years of leadership and business management experience. She teaches communities, corporations and individuals how to prepare for emergencies, whether large or small scale. She also serves as an adjunct instructor for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, Training 911 and Delmarva Search and Rescue.
Prior to founding Patriot Training, Missy served as CEO of Gemmis Technologies and as General Manager at Darden Restaurants’ Olive Garden restaurants. She has served as a member of Darden’s Political Action Committee and as a member of the National Restaurant Association PAC. Earlier in Missy’s career, she had been a Dispute Resolution Process (DRP) Facilitator and an Ombudsman in Crisis Management for the United States Navy.

Missy is actively involved in numerous charities and community organizations, a member of The Greater Springfield Volunteer Fire Department and a Search & Rescue Technician for Delmarva SAR. She currently serves as the Volunteer Lead for Fairfax County CERT.

Steven Austin

Deputy Sheriff III

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department

Steven is a 15 year veteran of the Montgomery County, MD Sheriff's Office. He is currently assigned to our K-9 Section where he runs an explosive detection and patrol trained K-9. Steven is an MPCTC certified Law Enforcement general instructor, firearms instructor, K-9 detection instructor, an ALERRT certified civilian response to active shooter threat instructor, ALICE active shooter response instructor, and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center active shooter response trained.

Other assignments include: Special Events Response Team where Steven responded to the Baltimore City Unrest in 2014, and the unrest during the 2017 presidential inauguration.

Active Shooter Schools attended:

ALERRT level 1 law enforcement response

FLETC Law Enforcement response to Active Shooter

ALERRT Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events Trainer

ALERRT External Response to Active Shooter Events

EMRTC Law Enforcement response to terrorist events

ALICE Employee Active Shooter Events Train the Trainer

David Schwartzman

AV/Digital Team

Montgomery County CERT

David Schwartzman is a lifelong Montgomery County resident currently living in Rockville, a third generation Marylander, and the proud papa of Lycisca, his 11 year old Siberian Husky. David has a BA in Technical Theatre and an MBA in Marketing from The American University. He currently works as a computer consultant and daily money manger for seniors. David is also a member of the Montgomery County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) where he serves as a member of its Steering Committee, a deployable Go-Team member, Go-Team Dispatcher, and assists their Training group helping MCCERT teach residents how to be prepared for disasters (great and small). He is also part of the MC-CERT’s AV /Digital team. For the past 15 years David has helped friends and neighbors develop emergency plans for their pets and has shown them how to assemble first aid kits for their pets.

Paul J. Benyeda

Adjunct Instructor/Course Manager



  • Millersville University, Millersville, PA- M.S. – Emergency Management 2013 Practicum
  • Gettysburg 105th Anniversary Special Event Plan University of Memphis, Memphis, TN- Bachelor of Principle Studies 1986 Nuclear Industrial Operations


  • Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)
  • Professional Certification for County Emergency Management Staff- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Master Exercise Practitioner Program 2008
  • Master Trainer Program 2006- International Association of Emergency Managers 2008, 2013
  • Certified Emergency Manager- Capital Region Council of Governments
  • Recognition of Exemplary Inter-town Cooperation 2003
  • Recognition of Exemplary Leadership
  • Currently hold an FCC Amateur Radio Technician License


Millersville (PA) University- Adjunct Instructor, Center for Disaster Research and Education (CDRE)

  • Graduate Courses: Emergency Preparedness for Industry and Response & Recovery
  • Undergraduate course: Intro to Emergency Management
  • Campus CERT Instructor- Department of Homeland Security/FEMA- Emergency Management Institute – Course Manager

Department of Homeland Security/FEMA- Emergency Management Institute – Course Manager

  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) courses and Lead Instructor for the International delivery of the CERT Program courses in Chengdu, China, part of International Agreement between FEMA and China to deliver Emergency Management Training to Chinese trainers.
  • Advanced Professional Series (APS) State/Local Field (“G”) courses.
  • Community Specific IEMCs, exercise based courses developed for local communities to address each community’s individual needs.
  • Delivered EMI courses at the IAEM Annual Conference.

State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security-State Training Officer: 2005 - 2006

  • Review and approve all training programs in the State of Connecticut that fall under the Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State of Connecticut Citizen Corps to ensure compliance with federal grant guidelines.
  • Responsible for all State of Connecticut and municipal all hazard emergency preparedness training and drills and State Administrative Agency (SAA) for ODP funded training and exercise grants.
  • Completed EMI’s Master Trainer Program and Incident Command System (ICS) Train the Trainer Program.
  • Supervise Training and Exercise staff and adjuncts.

Town of Manchester, Office of Emergency Management, Manchester, CT- Emergency Management Coordinator: 2001 –2005

  • Responsible for establishing, training and coordination of Manchester’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Manchester’s Emergency Communications Team (Amateur Radio), and Mountain Bike Search and Rescue Team.
  • Vice Chairman of Capitol Region Council of Governments Emergency Planning Committee (CREPC) and Chairman of Emergency Support Function 16 Volunteer Management and Chairman of Capitol Region Citizen’s Corp Council. CREPC is a local emergency planning committee (LEPC) comprised of 41 local communities, volunteer organizations, career and private first responder organizations, around Hartford, CT.
  • Updated Manchester’s Emergency Operating Procedures (EOP) following “All Hazard” Federal guidelines incorporated Incident Command System structure and organized Town Departments into Emergency Support Functions (ESF) following the Federal Response Plan.
  • Conducted EOP training and Table Top drills in the Town’s Emergency Operations Center for critical Town emergency management personnel.


  • International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
  • Keystone Emergency Management Association (KEMA)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Scott A. Scarff


Gaithersburg Police Department

Sergeant Scott A. Scarff
Gaithersburg Police Department

  • 1982-1988 Deputy Sheriff -- Frederick County Maryland Sheriff’s Office
  • 1985 Appointed to Maryland State Sheriff’s Association’s Victim Assistance Task Force.
  • 1986 Assigned as Deputy-in-Charge of Planning and Budget for Frederick County Sheriff
  • 1988 Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, University of Baltimore
  • 1988-1990 Chief of Police -- Town of Brunswick, Maryland, overseeing 11 sworn officers serving a population of 6,000 citizens
  • 1991-1992 Police Officer -- Town of Hancock, Maryland
  • 1992-Present Police Officer -- City of Gaithersburg Police Department
  • 1996 Promoted to the rank of Sergeant with the Gaithersburg Police Department
  • 2018 Currently serving as Special Operations Sergeant
  • Professional Training Highlights
  • Certified Instructor-- Maryland Police Training Commission
  • Certified Victim Assistance Specialist -- National Sheriff’s Association
  • Certified defensive Tactics Instructor -- Maryland Police Training Commission
  • Certified CPTED Specialist -- University of Louisville
  • Crime Prevention Specialist -- Maryland Police Training Commission

Brandon Rytting

Emergency Planner

National Cancer Institute

Brandon Rytting is a native of Colorado and has lived in Maryland since 2011. Brandon received his Undergraduate in Communication and Leadership from George Mason University followed by a Master of Arts with Honors in Emergency and Disaster Management, from American Military University.  Since 2016 Brandon has worked as an Emergency Planner with the Emergency Management and Physical Security Branch at the National Cancer Institute. His prior experience supporting Local, State, Federal and International organizations and agencies has allowed him to bring a diverse background to support the Institute and the citizens of Maryland in both emergency and steady state operations.

David Steele & Kristen Wear

Lead CERT Basic Instructors, Moulage Coordinators

Montgomery County CERT

David Steele and Kristen Wear are Moulage Technicians for Montgomery County CERT and FEMA Instructors. Both Mr. Steele and Ms. Wear have received intensive training from professional makeup artists, mentors, and through independent study. They have built on this education and their experience as controllers and evaluators for multi-agency exercises to create evaluation guides, checklists, exercise plans and other systems that provide the ability to train with a focus on protocols that are expected to be used in real world responses.
As a team they developed an expandable system allowing mock victims to take an active role in their level of involvement while maintaining the scenario-driven injury “hit list” with pre-determined victim triage categories.
In addition to CERT events, their company, Diamondplate Training and FX, provides professional realistic scene-specific Moulage services for airport emergency action plan drills, military exercises, police department active shooter and other mass casualty training throughout the United States.

Cynthia Halota

Lead CPR Instructor

Montgomery County CERT

Cynthia’s career began as an EMT in Montgomery County. She then became a firefighter, which progressed to Montgomery County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainer. In addition, Cynthia holds certifications in several disciplines which include CERT Program Manager; Wilderness First Aid; Advanced Swift Water/Flood Rescue In-Service Training; Instructor Development Workshop at NY State Preparedness Training Center; American Heart Association BLS Instructor; Health and Safety Institute Emergency Care Instructor Trainer; and is a licensed Helicopter Pilot.

Cynthia currently works at Frederick Memorial Hospital on the Advanced Cardiac Unit and is under contract with Training Outreach to teach CPR to Montgomery County Residents. Her interests include pursuing an Emergency Management degree at the Emergency Management Institute.

Nancy Nadon

Lead Go-Team Dispatcher

Montgomery County CERT

Nancy recently retired after a career in science, first in academia, then in government, with 22 years at the National Institutes of Health.  She joined Montgomery County CERT in the spring of 2017 and took on the role of Lead Dispatcher in the summer of 2017.  Working with the Montgomery County CERT Program Manager and Go-Team Leader, she has been been working to streamline the dispatching process.  Nancy has also been active in the Basic Training classes for the past year and received her certificate as a FEMA trained CERT Instructor in April of 2018, and she is also in training to become a CPR instructor.  Nancy worked with Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management to help draft a plan for a CERT-managed Volunteer Reception Center for post-disaster operations.

Brindisi Chan

Community Outreach Educator/Marketing Specialist

Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Management

Brindisi Chan is a Community Outreach Educator/Marketing Specialist at Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Prior to Prince George’s OEM, she was a marketing manager at a social media, marketing and PR software company and former chair of the Social Media Marketing Forum for the Chesapeake Regional Technology Council. Chan also spent time with Special Olympics International as a manager for the Marketing Resource Development Division. Chan is active in her community as a Security Chair for her neighborhood and part of the PGPD District VI Citizen Advisory Council. She speaks nationally on leadership, teamwork, social media, and the differences between Millennials and other generations in volunteer recruitment.

Margaret W. Latimer

Vice President and Provost

Montgomery College

Margaret W. Latimer is the Vice President and Provost of the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College.  Ms. Latimer holds a BS in physics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MS in biomedical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University.  She began her career conducting research at Brookhaven National Laboratory Accelerator Center performing flight loads analysis for NASA’s Space Shuttle, including the Hubble Space Telescope.  Margaret began teaching mathematics at Montgomery College in 1999 and in July 2014 was appointed the Vice President and Provost of the Germantown Campus.

Gerry Adcock

Communications Co-Lead

Montgomery County CERT

Gerry Adcock is a former Montgomery County Police Officer.  Later in his career, he transitioned into Information Technology for voice and data network systems.  Gerry is currently the Manager of the Radio Communications Services section and manages a multi-million-dollar project to upgrade the 800 MHz Public Safety Radio System infrastructure.

As a CERT member, Gerry is active with training, radio comms, the Go Team, outreach efforts, and Storm Camp.  His primary Storm Camp function has been with the Ready Pirates, a program designed for younger children to “get them prepared, not scared” for emergencies that could arise.

Kevin Semelrath MD, FACEP, Maj, USAF, MC

Uniformed Services Univ.

Kevin Semelrath, MD, FACEP, Maj, USAF, MC is an Assistant Professor of Military and Emergency Medicine. He is a residency trained and board certified Emergency Physician. In his current role, he teaches several courses in USU’s military unique curriculum. He is the Emergency Medicine Clerkship Director, advising and guiding students through their fourth year Emergency Medicine Clerkship; and he is the Course Director for Operation Bushmaster, the fourth year capstone event in the students’ military curriculum. This exercise pushes the students to apply all of their medical knowledge and leadership abilities in a simulated deployed environment.

Maj Semelrath is a native of New York. He received a BS in Biology, magna cum laude, at Stonehill College in Massachusetts in 2004. He then went on to Albany Medical College, earning his MD degree, cum laude in 2008. During medical school he accessioned to the US Air Force through the HPSP program. He completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2011. He started his active duty career at San Antonio Military Medical Center. He was core faculty for the Emergency Medicine residency there, eventually serving as the acting Associate Program Director during his last year. During his time in Texas, Maj Semelrath had the privilege of deploying twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom- once to Bagram Air Field and then to Ramstein Air Base as a CCATT physician. His current academic interests are LGBTQ+ population health and increasing medical provider knowledge and comfort in treating the LGBTQ+ population.

Georgianne Miller

Continuity of Operations Planner (COOP)

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Georgianne Miller MHA, MEP, MDPEMP

Georgianne is a Continuity of Operations Planner (COOP) for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Rockville, MD.  Her responsibilities lay in the development, implementation and exercise of continuity plans for all NCI administrative offices and laboratories to preserve cutting edge cancer research that could be lost and/or compromised.  She has completed the FEMA Master Professional Continuity Practitioner and Master Exercise Practitioner programs at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute.  She has participated in, and run exercises and drills, for the State of Maryland, cities in Florida and federal installations.  She is also a volunteer with Montgomery County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee and Community Emergency Response Team, and has helped many organizations with volunteer management and COOP planning and operations. Georgianne has certifications as a CPR instructor, a Stop-the-Bleed instructor, SkyWarn member, an Emergency Management Technician and is a past Maryland Defense Force Operations NCO.

COOP Planning for Small Businesses

Over 40% of small business owners do not reopen their doors after a disaster, such as a hurricane.  However, businesses that prepared and implemented a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) were 90% successful in reopening their business immediately after a disaster. Can you ensure that your business will reopen after an unplanned event? This presentation will help a small business owner understand how to create an effective and reliable Continuity of Operations Plan to ensure your business can continue essential functions across a wide range of hazards.

Steve Peterson

VERT Coordinator

Montgomery County CERT

Steve Peterson, CEM

Steve Peterson is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM), employed at the National Institutes of Health as an Emergency Management Specialist. He serves as the Chair of the Department of Homeland Security’s Social Media Working Group for Emergency Services and Disaster Management. Mr. Peterson has also served as president of the Montgomery County Community Emergency Response Team and is currently its Virtual Operations Team Lead. He recently developed a training curriculum on social media analysis during disasters for the National Library of Medicine’s Disaster Information Management Research Center. Mr. Peterson received his B.S. degree in Computer Studies from the University of Maryland, and attained his CEM designation from the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Jeff Alderdice

Emergency Preparedness Manager

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Jeff Alderdice has been in emergency services, emergency management, and other related fields for over 27 years. He has received a bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security and a master’s degree in Disaster Medicine and Management. He is also a graduate of FEMA’s National Emergency Management Academy and has been awarded a Professional Certification in Emergency Management by the Maryland Emergency Management Association. Jeff is currently working on a full-time contract as the Emergency Preparedness Manager for the National Cancer Institute, where he oversees all emergency preparedness and continuity of operations efforts for the largest of the National Institutes of Health.

Samantha Brann

Arlington County DPS/Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security

Samantha Brann serves as the Deputy Coordinator with the Arlington County Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management where she manages outreach and emergency support volunteer programs. Brann specializes in developing and delivering innovative outreach programs to foster community conversations about emergency preparedness. She has over a decade of experience in the fields of public health emergency preparedness and response and emergency management, including previous tenures in Fairfax, VA and Stafford County, NH.

Willie G. McElroy, Ed. D

A presenter in last year’s CERTCON in PG County is Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)/Emergency Preparedness Specialist at Serve DC/The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism. He coordinates classes and trains all DC CERT volunteers in Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster medical, Light Search and Rescue, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, Terrorism Awareness and Active Shooter Response. Mr. McElroy also, co-directs the DC Summer Youth Emergency Preparedness Academy. As an emergency preparedness instructor in the Office of the State Superintendent’s (OSSE) network, schedules and trains OSSE early education providers in emergency preparedness at various public and private agencies around the city. In addition, through a partnership with the American Red Cross, Mr. McElroy serves as trainer for CPR/AED, First Aid. Mr. McElroy was previously manager of the Vulnerable Population Community Health Care Coalition at Serve DC. Prior to arriving at Serve DC, Mr. McElroy served 22 years as a principal in DC Public Schools until his retirement in 2009.

Emily Homer

Director of Compliance and Regulatory in the Community Services Division


Emily Homer is the Director of Compliance and Regulatory in the Community Services Division at Melwood. She received her degree in Special Education from Ball State University. With 33 years of experience in the disability field, Homer has held various leadership positions during her career.

Shannon Earl

Safety Officer

Prince George's Public School

Marja Reed


Kathleen M. Dayton

Program Coordinator

Montgomery College

Kathleen M Dayton is the Program Coordinator for the Emergency Preparedness Management and Homeland Security Programs at Montgomery College. She is a Nationally Registered Paramedic and an instructor for several CPR and First Aid programs.

Stacey Arnesen/Victor Cid

National Library of Medicine

Disaster Information Management Research Center

Stacey Arnesen and Victor Cid are members of Montgomery County CERT and work for the Disaster Information Management Research Center, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.  Both Stacey and Victor have worked in disaster information management since 2000, working on a variety of projects and programs including the Latin American Network of Disaster Health Information, Disaster Information Specialist program, the Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) and other HazMat/CBRNE tools, virtual emergency management training, and resilient communications systems.  Stacey has an MS degree in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University.  Victor has a MS in Telecommunications Management form UMUC, and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Chile. Victor is also a licensed amateur radio operator and a member of the NIH Volunteer Emergency Communications Facility (VECF), a volunteer emergency communications service provided by the NIH Radio Amateur Club (NIHRAC) to NIH and the surrounding community.

Benjamin Koshy

Special Ops Coordinator

Montgomery County CERT

Benjamin Koshy joined Montgomery CERT in 2006 while attending the University of Maryland. During his time at UMD, he served as Operations Officer for Potomac Valley Rescue Group, a student based volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) team, and participated in multiple SAR operations across the Mid-Atlantic region. Currently, Ben serves as lead for Special Operations with Montgomery CERT. When not volunteering, Ben works as an IT security officer with the federal government in Rockville, MD.