2019 - 15th Annual Conference
NJAFM 2019 CONFERENCE RECAP
The 2019 NJAFM annual conference was a resounding success, with over 458 registered attendees here. This 15th annual conference was held at a new venue, the Hard Rock Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, which presented a few challenges as any new venue would. But the quality of the facility and services was outstanding and the lessons learned will only enhance our experience when we return here for the 16th annual conference on October 27-29, 2020.
The conference kicked off with a floodplain management training session on the evening of day 1, followed by the NJAFM Cracker Barrel consulting session, which was sponsored this year by our friends at PS&S https://www.psands.com/. Over 200 people attended the Cracker Barrel session, where they networked with a variety of agency and private sector representatives learning about new programs, regulations, products and flood mitigation strategies.
The first full day of the conference began with a Plenary Session that was part of the ASFPM Foundation’s Larry Larsen Series. For this session, titled Increasing Our Resiliency to Urban Flooding, we were honored to have Doug Plasencia (ASFPM Foundation President), Dr. Gerry Galloway (University of Maryland), Chad Berginnis (ASFPM Director) and Molly O’Toole presenting. This session included a summary discussion of the outcomes of the Foundation’s 6th Assembly of the Gilbert White National Flood Policy Forum held in Washington, DC in March 2019 (http://asfpmfoundation.org/events-forums/gilbert-f-white-natl-flood-policy-forum/2019-forum ).
For the Day 1 keynote luncheon, we were honored to have former FEMA Director Craig Fugate as our guest. Craig conveyed a wealth of information based on his extensive experience in floodplain management and emergency management, and was particularly candid in his remarks about what floodplain management officials at all levels need to do to better promote mitigation as the cornerstone of floodplain management.
The Plenary 2 session included David Maurstad, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation at FEMA, who presented a broad overview of FEMA programs and initiatives geared toward enhancing community safety and flood resiliency. David’s remarks touched on a number of actions and lessons learned from recent flood events in the southeast, Gulf coast states and the Caribbean.
The evening of Day 1 included the renowned NJAFM Exhibitor Network Social, where attendees had a chance to meet with exhibitors and colleagues, share some good food and drink, and participate in the awards scholarship auction. Over 20 exhibiters were present to showcase their products and services, and to network with attendees (a list of exhibitors can be found here: link). In addition, we raised over $3,000 from the auction, with funds dedicated to granting scholarships for deserving members to attend the ASFPM national conference and the NJAFM 2020 conference. Our sincere thanks go out to everyone who donated items for the auction, and to NJAFM Board member Brian Kempf for doing a great job organizing and managing this portion of the event (and his helpers, including Joe Barris, Ann Holtzman and Elissa Commins).
The network event also provided an opportunity to honor the 2019 Community Rating System (CRS) award winners. There awards are granted annually by FEMA region 2, in recognition of a community’s progress in the CRS program. Congratulations to all of the 2019 award winners (link here).
We wrapped up the first full day of the conference with a chill session at the Daer, a rooftop nightclub at the Hard Rock, where more than 100 attendees had a chance to mingle and unwind in a less formal setting. A good time was had by all.
Day 2 started off with a Plenary Session titled Connecting the Dots of Floodplain Management. This moderated panel discussion focused on cross-sector floodplain and stormwater management challenges and solutions, with an emphasis on efficient, collaborative and cost-effective strategies. Participants included Andrew Kricun, PE, Executive Director/Chief Engineer, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority; Caleb Stratton, AICP, CFM, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Hoboken; and Elizabeth Treadway, Principal Program Manager, Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions. NJAFM’s Vince Mazzei, moderated the session, which provided practical examples of the benefits of working collaboratively to address floodplain management challenges in NJ.
The NJAFM Awards Luncheon on Day 2 provided an opportunity to recognize professionals and programs that made significant contributions in the field of floodplain management during the year, and beyond. Congratulations to aoll of these honored awards recipients (link here).
The Awards Luncheon concluded with a motivation speech by Bill Beausay, titled How to Do More When You Are Fed Up, Done-In and Stressed Out! Bill’s talked about getting a bigger vision, the benefits of collaboration, learning to focus better, and creating new energy and new thinking to help us all rise above all the mental clutter that you have to deal with on a daily basis and put you back in control of how to respond to challenges in your life. “I’m strong if you’re strong!”
The conference finished up with our annual Ethics Training session for PEs, PPs, CFMs and other professionals. Taught by Lawrence Powers, Esq., this training included a two (2) CE course on professional ethics for professional engineers, addressing the statutory and administrative code provisions that govern the ethical practice of engineering, together with the provisions of the Canons of Ethics of the National Society of Professional Engineers. These various provisions were explained using the Socratic method and illustrated with examples, in order to provide the participants with guidance on the tenets of ethical practice.
One of the core highlights of the 2019 annual conference included 35 concurrent technical presentations throughout two days. These presentations addressed a wide range of floodplain management topics from mapping and engineering, to outreach and education, regulations, insurance, and many more (link to concurrent presentation schedule is here). Many thanks go out to our presenters for taking the time to share their work and expertise with our attendees. Their contributions to the annual conference cannot be overstated!
We are grateful to all those who contributed to the success of the 2019 annual conference and to the attendees who helped make this year’s event so successful. We expect that the 2020 event will be even more successful and welcome you involvement and participation as we continue to promote sound floodplain management throughout New Jersey. Check with the NJAFM Conference page here for more information.