October 15, 2011 -- New Orleans, La. -- W. Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will deliver the keynote address to the opening session of the International Disaster Conference & Expo (IDCE 2012), which will be held January 17-19, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Fugate’s topic, “Private Sector Resources in the Emergency Management Plan; the Public-Private Partnership,” appropriately kicks off IDCE 2012, the first major global gathering of public and private sector professionals from all disciplines of disaster management.

Mr. Fugate’s address headlines an impressive opening session, including addresses from Tom Ridge, the nation's first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and former FEMA Administrator James Lee Witt.

Fugate has served as FEMA Administrator since May 18, 2009. Prior to coming to FEMA, Mr. Fugate was director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), which coordinated disaster response, recovery, preparedness and mitigation efforts with each of the state's 67 counties and local governments.

Mr. Fugate began his emergency management career as a volunteer firefighter and emergency paramedic in Alachua County, Gainesville, Fla. He served as emergency manager for Alachua County for a decade until May 1997 when he was appointed Bureau Chief for Preparedness and Response for the Florida Department of Emergency Management. In 2003, under Mr. Fugate's stewardship, the Florida Emergency Management Program became the first statewide emergency management program to receive full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). In 2004, Mr. Fugate managed the largest federal disaster response in Florida history as four major hurricanes impacted the state in quick succession (Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne). In 2005, he managed the state’s response to three more hurricanes: Dennis, Katrina and Wilma.

“We have learned that it is critical for government and private industry to integrate efforts to properly prepare for and respond to disasters,” noted Mark Cooper, Former Director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for the State of Louisiana and current member of the FEMA Advisory Council. “Mr. Fugate’s appearance and subject matter emphasize the importance of public-private integration and the role of this conference in facilitating such collaboration.”

For more information go to www.internationaldisasterconference.com