The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has partnered with Imago Productions, Inc. and state and local emergency management agencies to launch a major new initiative that establishes Louisiana as the center of excellence for disaster management. The International Disaster Conference and Expo debuts January 17 – 19, 2012 and will feature the most renowned experts in the disaster recovery industry and showcase the latest equipment and technology from around the world. It will return every January thereafter and call New Orleans its permanent home.

The formal announcement was made by Mark Cooper, Director of the Governor’s Office Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness with a backdrop of the City of New Orleans’s new Emergency Mobile Command Center.

The scope of the event encompasses disaster preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation techniques. For the first time, disaster management and homeland security professionals from all aspects of the industry will have the opportunity to explore each other’s capabilities and challenges with the goal of minimizing the loss of life and property resulting from the next inevitable catastrophic event.

Louisiana agencies participating in the announcement include the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the New Orleans Mayor’s office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, and the LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute.

“The IDCE will provide a forum for emergency management and homeland security professionals to be better prepared for and respond to emergencies of all kinds,” said Mark Cooper, GOHSEP Director. “We look forward to bringing these different groups together, both public and private and providing the opportunity for them to learn from and support each other.”

“Our goal is to create opportunities for those who work diligently to ensure our communities recover from catastrophic events a forum that can bring greater cohesiveness to such response and recovery efforts,” said Jimmy Mouton, president/CEO of Imago Productions, Inc.

The event is expected to attract over 20,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors, and present a direct annual impact of $20 million within its first five years. The announcement was made at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the space the conference and expo will be conducted.