Safety Forum - SYTA AC 2018
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Safety Forum

Co-Pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, “The Miracle on the Hudson”

“No terrible thoughts went through my head, none at all. I didn’t worry that I might not live through this—and no pilot would. Unless the situation is completely out of your control, there’s always something you can do.”

Jeff will be followed by a panel of experts in the areas of safety, risk management and crisis communications. In the afternoon, attendees may participate in a series of education sessions with industry leaders.


Safety Forum: Exploring Safety Challenges Facing the Student Travel Industry – Together!  Being prepared requires thoughtful planning, communications and effective response capabilities.

Sponsored by:


HILTON BALTIMORE / General Sessions
7:30am – 8:00am Morning Joe & Light Breakfast
8:00am – 9:00am President’s Welcome & Meet the Candidates
9:00am – 11:45am Safety Forum

9:00am – 10:15am Jeff Skiles, Keynote Speaker
10:30am – 11:45am Industry Panel

11:45am – 1:00pm Annual Conference Kick Off & Lunch

The Safety Forum is a business-focused experience for tour operators and business partners on Saturday, August 25.

We’re excited to announce Jeff Skiles, co-pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549—”The Miracle on the Hudson”—will be our keynote speaker. When it comes to crisis management, Skiles knows what it takes. He’ll share the detailed lessons, training and scenarios that led to the successful landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson River—and what you and your business can take away from it.

Jeff will be followed by a panel of experts in the areas of safety, risk management and crisis communications.

Why should the community come together at the Forum?

Now more than ever, school boards, educators and administrators want to know their students will be safe when traveling with your group or visiting your destination or venue. It takes both sides working together to make this happen.

Whether or not you’re responsible for safety and risk management at your company—it’s imperative to be aware and ensure your organization is prepared in the event of a security situation or crisis.

Business partners may receive a complimentary registration for their company’s safety/risk management staff to attend the Forum.


Sue Warner-Bean, Facilitator
Principal/Crisis Response Strategist, NavAid Crisis Consulting Group

Sue Warner-Bean has first-hand experience in aviation and rail disaster response, twenty years in emergency management, and a deep commitment to her customers and those they serve. She has worked with a wide range of U.S. and international clients on emergency response program assessments, development, training, and exercises; clients include passenger and cargo airlines, air medical operators, airports, passenger rail companies, travel insurance providers, and non-governmental organizations. Sue teaches family assistance for the University of Southern California’s Aviation Safety and Security certificate program and was Principal Investigator for Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Research Report 171, Establishing a Coordinated Local Family Assistance Program for Airports.

Dana Amendola
Director of Operations, Disney Theatrical

Dana Amendola’s involvement in theatre launched his career in entertainment, which has culminated in his current position as Vice President of Operations for Disney Theatrical Group. Amendola majored in English and Art at F&M, and after graduating, earned a master’s degree in theatre from Villanova University. Since then, he has worked steadily in the entertainment industry, organized music festivals, and spent nearly 20 years working for Disney. Amendola is also responsible for the safety and security of the cast members in Disney’s theatrical productions. With the recent increase in terrorist attacks, particularly the Nov. 2015 attack in a theatre in Paris, the danger that a similar attack could occur on Broadway is quite realistic. After the terrorist attack on Sep. 11 in NYC, Amendola was responsible for re-starting performances of The Lion King as soon as possible.

Marc Claycomb
Law Enforcement

Marc started in his career as a First Responder in Fire/Rescue in 1989. He dedicated over 10 years to that profession. He then began his career as a law enforcement officer in 1991 and is in his 27th year as a First Responder. He is presently the Commander over the Criminal Investigations Division for the Melbourne Police Department, in Brevard County Florida. He has been an Officer, Sergeant, and Lieutenant prior to his promotion to Commander.  He was on the SWAT Team for almost 15 years. During that time he began as a SWAT Medic, and then he went to Operator, Team Leader, SWAT Commander, and ultimately the Commander over all specialty teams. He has spent time in all Divisions: Operations, Special Operations, Support Services, and Criminal Investigations.

Al Hutchinson
President & CEO

Al Hutchinson leads the growth of the convention and tourism industry in Baltimore, overseeing the day-to-day management of all sales and marketing programs and serving as the hospitality industry’s liaison to the business, civic and local community, all while demonstrating the impact of tourism on the City and State.

Elias J. Kontanis, PhD
Transportation Disaster Assistance Division Chief, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

Elias J. Kontanis joined the NTSB Transportation Disaster Assistance Division in 2008 as the Coordinator for Victim Recovery and Identification. In this capacity he was responsible for facilitating the victim recovery and identification process following transportation mass fatality incidents.  Elias currently serves as the Chief of the Transportation Disaster Assistance Division, and is responsible for managing the Board’s family assistance program.  During his tenure at the Board, Elias has responded to 41 aviation, highway, rail, pipeline, and marine accidents.

Leo Pratte
Division Director, American Red Cross

Leo Pratte is an experienced Division Disaster Director with the American Red Cross. Leo has firsthand experience with the US Air Flight 1549 response from his chapter in New Jersey.  Leo was also actively involved in the response to the deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia a few years ago, and more recently served on the response team to the tragic Duckboat incident in MO.  He has a wealthy of leadership experience and response knowledge.

BALTIMORE CONVENTION CENTER / Safety Forum Education Sessions
1:30pm – 3:45pm

SYTA Strategic Partners