Vincent Bertucci

Associate

Location: Americas

Vince has over 15 years of aviation experience working in a variety of both operational, safety and emergency management roles, most recently leading the Emergency Response and Humanitarian Assistance Team at United Airlines.

Vince began his aviation career as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps where he was trained as an Aviation Safety Officer. He led an aviation mishap investigation and mishap board following a major accident. He is also a trained Casualty Assistance Calls Officer. 

Following his military service, Vince joined United Airlines where he led United’s Emergency Response Team. During his time at United he responded to several minor aviation incidents and major man-made and natural disasters. Vince deployed United’s Special Assistance Team to Houston, Texas following Hurricane Harvey providing humanitarian assistance to several hundred employees experiencing total loss of property. Immediately upon return he directed United’s EOC in supporting victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. As part of the star Alliance Emergency Steering Committee he co-developed a common disaster site plan used by all member airlines. 

Vince graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy where he studied Aeronautical Engineering. He currently resides in the Chicagoland area. 

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Bob Palestrant

Senior Associate

Location: Americas

Bob Palestrant has over 40 years of experience serving as a registered nurse, firefighter/paramedic, emergency manager, and in the discipline of homeland security. He is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), a credentialed Chief Fire Officer (CFO) through the Center of Public Safety Excellence and earned his master’s degree in Homeland Security from American Military University.

He was the Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for Miami-Dade County, Florida, coordinating multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional responses to disasters and large-scale emergencies, and as a member of a coalition of Emergency Managers from the 11 largest U.S. cities, worked with the Council of Excellence in Government to standardize and improve methods of increasing the preparedness and the ability of cities to respond to disasters on a national basis.

Bob has been instrumental in multiple activations including several major hurricanes, Superbowls XLI and XLIV, multiple mass casualty incidents, aviation disasters and mass shootings. As a member of the Florida Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team, he was on several deployments including the World Trade Center attack on 9/11.

As the Southeast Florida Fusion Center Terrorism Liaison Officer Program Coordinator, he served on multiple regional, state, and national homeland security-related committees and work groups. He is certified as an Incident Command System (ICS), instructor, and Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP) Bomb Making Materials Awareness Program (BMAP) Administrator/Trainer. He has received multiple service awards and honors, and in 2021, was selected as the Government Technology & Services Coalition-Homeland Security Today’s State Homeland Security Person of the Year.

Bob was a technical consultant for the show “Without Warning,” broadcast on both The Discovery and The Learning Channels and has been a panel member or given presentations on emergency management, aircraft rescue and firefighting, and homeland security issues at multiple conferences and symposiums across the country and internationally.

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Michele Derry

Senior Associate

Location: Americas

Michele Derry is a Senior Canadian Airline Executive with over 30 years of experience in the aviation industry. Her leadership expertise includes areas such as Emergency Response, Family Assistance, Operations Control, Commercial Operations, Inflight, Dispatch, Load Planning, Crew Pay, Crew Planning, Crew Scheduling, and Operational Manuals. Her speciality is in working with airline start-ups that use low-cost or ultra-low-cost business models. During her lengthy career, she’s assisted airlines such as Canadian Regional, WestJet, Enerjet, Encore, Swoop, Air North, Virgin Blue, and Lynx Air.
Michele’s focus with each organization she’s assisted has centered around people, operations, preparedness, and response. Her technical skills have also been recognized by Transport Canada for excellence in the development of manuals for regulatory requirements, including Emergency Response, Safety, Company Operations, Company Procedures, Dispatch and Dangerous Goods.
As Vice President at WestJet, in addition to her oversite of daily operations, she held the role of Incident Director for any major emergency and provided oversight of the Emergency Response and Family Assistance programs there. Together with the Manager of Emergency Response, she developed an industry-leading and internationally recognized Family Assistance Team and has continued to enhance her expertise by actively participating in advanced courses, exercises, and training sessions held in Canada, the United States, and the UK.
GoCrisis is thrilled to have Michele Derry as a Senior Associate. Her expertise in all facets of airline operations, coupled with her advanced technical skills, and her leadership in Emergency Response and Family Assistance, bring invaluable support to our clients around the world.

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Simon Hardern

Advisory Board

Simon joined the Royal Navy in September 1984 directly from school. His first years were spent at sea in Her Majesty’s Ships CATTISTOCK, NOTTINGHAM, LINDISFARNE and ALACRITY. Whilst on the latter, the Ship, when on deployment to the West Indies, provided humanitarian support to Hurricane-Hugo devastated island of Montserrat.

Having completed a ten-month tour as the Executive Officer of the Northern Ireland patrol vessel HMS CUXTON, he joined the staff of Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland as the Flag Lieutenant in May 1991. Returning to sea for a short tour as the Navigating Officer of the Type 23 frigate HMS LANCASTER, he qualified as a Warfare Officer in December 1995. He assumed Command of the Sandown class mine-hunter HMS WALNEY. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in November 1996, his final year with the Ship was spent deployed with NATO’s Standing Naval Force Channel.

Following a short period as the Operations Officer of the Type 22 frigate HMS BEAVER, he attended the Joint Services Command and Staff College in September 1998. Graduating from the Advanced Command and Staff Course with an MA in Defence Studies, he joined the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic based in Norfolk, Virginia as the Military Assistant to the US 4* Commander. He received the US Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his services before, and after, the tragic events of 9/11.

He returned to the UK in October 2001 and led, for a short period, the Royal Naval Presentation Team. Assuming command of the frigate HMS KENT in April 2002, his time included a nine-month deployment to the north Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf as part of the UK’s effort with the Global War on Terrorism. Joining the Ministry of Defence in early 2004, he first had responsibilities for the planning and programming of all major logistics-related equipment procurement programmes and then, in 2007, as the Military Assistant to Chief of the Defence Staff for Personnel.

Promoted to Captain in September 2008, he became Secretary to the three Single-Service Chiefs of Staff and Ministerial Team. His final 8 years were spent working at NATO as: the Chief Staff Officer to Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Secretary to the Military Committee and Chief of Staff for the International Military Staff; and, finally, as a Rear Admiral, Deputy Chief of Staff Plans, Exercises and Partnerships.

In June 2018, Simon joined a large Crisis and Disaster Management company as CEO. With dedicated full-time resources spread across the world, he ensured the provision of personnel and equipment as well as the incident response, particularly those involving major loss of life. This included directly supporting two aviation disasters in the USA and the southern Pacific Ocean.

Simon joined the UK Hydrographic Office in April 2020 as the Head of Partnering and Engagement; based in Washington DC, he has a roving brief covering all the Americas.

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Trevor Hale

Senior Associate

Location: Americas

With almost 30 years of global communications experience in mobility, technology and luxury industries, including 15 years in Asia (11 in mainland China), Trevor is a seasoned strategic counsellor for C-suite executives, with a track record of leadership, entrepreneurship, creative storytelling, public affairs and crisis management. In addition to leading communications in North America, he has helped numerous multinational companies establish and grow their presence in China, India, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa.

He has extensive corporate experience, having led communications for Fortune 100 companies and brands including Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, INFINITI, Chrysler and others, as well as serving as press chief for the Olympic Games. He helped establish Daimler Northeast Asia in Beijing at the beginning of China’s auto boom. He was the architect of Ford’s Asia expansion communications plan while leading communications for Ford in Asia Pacific in Shanghai during unprecedented growth in China, India and Southeast Asia. He helped establish Ford’s Middle East and Africa region in Dubai – a startup at a 120-year-old company – spanning 63 countries across the region. He also served as global Chief Communications Officer for INFINITI through three chairmen and significant upheaval at parent Nissan.

He was a finalist for PR Week’s global in-house professional of the year in 2020 as well as the top PR executive in Asia Pacific. He is an active member of The Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club and The Explorers Club. He began his career as a journalist at a small daily newspaper in Alabama and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

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Teresita Uribe

Associate

Location: Americas

Teresita resides in Medellin, Colombia and is an experienced aviation professional and Clinical Psychologist with more than 26 years of experience at Avianca and its associated airlines, 18 of which were in Emergency Response. She has responded to several major air accidents and incidents and provided support to passengers and families directly affected as a result of a hijacked aircraft.

Teresita’s experience and knowledge in psychological intervention during crisis situations from a clinical and educational psychological perspective have helped her to develop Emergency Response Plans that complied with industry-leading standards, that were easy to follow, tested in the real world, and aimed at managing and reducing the biopsychosocial consequences of family members and others affected by a traumatic incident or accident.

In addition, Teresita has held administrative and leadership positions in programs aimed at psychological assistance and adaptation to change, with special consideration given to empathy when dealing with people, organizations, especially those involved with Humanitarian Assistance.

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Oussama Salah

Associate

Location: Americas

Oussama has more than four decades of aviation experience in maintenance, regulatory compliance and safety with legacy and low-cost carriers, MROs and general aviation operators in the Middle East. He has been involved in the startup activities of 2 operators laying down the basis of their regulatory compliance framework.

His regulatory compliance and SMS experience includes maintenance, flight and ground operations and security. He has been instrumental in setting up and administering Emergency Response Programs that comply with the requirements of Safety Management System (SMS) as defined by ICAO Annex 19, several international civil aviation regulations and industry standards. Further, he is a subject matter expert in hazard identification, risk management, root cause analysis and mitigation in safety and security.

During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown he was involved in setting up safety protocols that met the UAE GCAA Safety Decisions and Communicable Disease Management Program regulation in support of Gulf Wings’ continued international operations during 2020.

Insights

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Mike Plottel

Senior Associate

Location: Americas

Mike Plottel is an experienced senior leader with over 40 years’ experience in the aviation industry. His career as a pilot, manager and executive has spanned government, corporate and airline operations. Since 1995, Mike has specialized in aviation safety, focusing on safety management systems, fatigue risk management, human factors and safety leadership.

Mike has held positions with the British Columbia Government Air Services, Air BC Airlines, Transport Canada, the British Columbia Air Ambulance Service, WestJet Airlines and the Qantas Group. As WestJet’s Director of Safety Services, Mike was responsible for the development and implementation of several major programs including the airline’s Safety Management System, which comprised risk management, quality assurance, investigation, oversight, training and emergency response components. At the Qantas Group, Mike held positions as Head of Safety for Domestic and International operations, Head of Safety for QantasLink Regional Airlines and special advisor to the Qantas Group Safety Transformation Project.

Mike holds a diploma in Aviation Technology from Selkirk College, an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Victoria. He is based in Calgary, Canada.

Insights

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Mauricio Pontes

Associate

Location: Americas

Mauricio Pontes has more than 25 years of extensive experience in complex risk business as an International Crisis Management professional, having started as a pilot and aircraft accidents investigator. His academic background includes a Law degree and post-graduate studies in Marketing (Communication), Management, Policy & Strategy at Brazilian Superior War College Graduate Society, and works as a Post Graduate and MBA professor in the fields of Crisis Management, Safety Prevention and Investigation, Safety Management Systems and Complexity Management.

In 2018, he was selected by the US Department of State as a member of IVLP (International Visitor Leadership Program) as a Crisis Management and Emergency Responder expert, among 21 different nations representatives. He worked as Aviation Risk Manager and Senior Underwriter for SulAmerica ING insurance company, and acted as IATA ERP Task Force as Regional Representative for South America and Caribbean. He was also a member of Task Force 285, the Commission which helped to develop standards of aircraft family members assistance for ICAO.

While with TAM Brazilian Airlines, Mauricio managed real-world crises, including the response to a major aircraft accident. He went on to develop the Humanitarian Volunteer Program and Crisis Response Plan of Azul Brazilian Airlines, a department he led since the first day of Azul’s operation. Mauricio also worked as Head of Crisis at GRU/Sao Paulo International Airport, where he designed the sector from the 1st Situation Room floor plan until the protocols and plans for different abnormal situations, like pandemics, flight disruptions, hijacking and terrorism, among others. In this role he was responsible for managing special operations for major events, such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics & Paralympic Games of XXXI Olympiad.

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Mary Ruiz

Associate

Location: Americas

Mary Ruiz resides in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and has over 30 years of experience in the airline industry. She has extensive work experience in the areas of policies, procedures, and program management, always with a focus on people. She has worked for Pan Am, TWA, American Airlines, and most recently, as the Station Manager for Spirit Airlines, where she led the airline’s local station team in its response to various emergencies, including weather-related natural disasters. Her career roles and responsibilities as a Station Manager not only included the Safety and Security of the airlines’ airport operations, but she also worked as a Complaints Resolution Officer, providing attention and resolving disability-related issues for customers.

Mary became a central figure in the response and recovery of western Puerto Rico, working closely with Operation Puerto Rico Care-Lift which assisted in the delivery of over 160 tons supplies to the island. In addition, she also assisted in the distribution of the supplies to remote sections of the region, and helped many of her fellow Puerto Ricans cope during such a devastating period.

Mary has been very active in her emergency preparedness activities, having participated in the Aguadilla Airport’s Emergency Response exercises, contingency planning, and large security exercises. She is also certified in sign language, and has worked as an airline instructor as well as a tutor, volunteering frequently throughout her community.

In her academic pursuits, Mary began in the field of computer programming, where was on the Dean’s List. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Forensics.

Insights

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