Advisory Board

Kristen AllisonKristen Allison

Kristen is a fire behavior analyst specializing in the use of emerging technology for wildland firefighting. She has been working in wildland fire since 1996 where she started on a Type 3 fire engine; she then worked on both Laguna and Sierra Hotshot Crews before taking a job in prescribed fire and Fuels management for the Bureau of Land Management where she has worked since 2002. For the last 5 years she has been working on merging emerging technologies in Geospatial Analyst with Fire Behavior Programs working to create user-friendly real-time fire behavior and weather information out to the field real-time. Recently she has been working with IPADS, Google glass and real-time apps. She currently works in the Eugene District Office as the Fuels Specialist. Kristen Holds degree’s in Communication, Political Science, and Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in policy and has completed the highest level of training in Advanced Fire Calculations.

Nelson Bryner, Nelson Bryner

Nelson P. Bryner is the group leader of and a chemical engineer in the Wildland - Urban Interface (WUI) Fire Group of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Division develops and utilizes measurement science for innovative fire protection technologies to enhance the disaster resilience of buildings and wildland-urban interface communities, fire fighter safety and effectiveness, and homeland security through cost-effective engineered fire safety for people, products, structures, and communities. Mr. Bryner holds a Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in chemical engineering from University of Maryland, College Park, MD.  Mr. Bryner has published over 72 papers and reports.  He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, National Fire Protection Association, ASTM, American Chemical Society, Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi (National Engineering), and Omega Chi Epsilon (Chemical Engineering).

Mr. Bryner's awards include the Equal Employment Opportunity Award (2000) from NIST, and the Department of Commerce's Bronze Medal (2004) for Smoke Detector Performance Metrics, Silver Medal (2005) for Rhode Island Fire Reconstruction, Bronze Medal (2007) for Positive Pressure Ventilation and RFID Tag Field Experiments, and Bronze Medal (2008) for Thermal Imager Performance Standards.

Brian D'AgostinoBrian D’Agostino

Brian leads the Meteorology team at San Diego Gas and Electric Company. After working for Weather Services International (WSI) in Boston and at the CBS affiliate in Missoula Montana (KPAX), Brian moved to San Diego and became the first meteorologist to work for San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). He was hired during the summer of 2009 to help develop a weather program, which focused on contributing to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity to San Diego County. Since 2009, in addition to providing operation support to the company, Brian has been deeply engaged with the scientific community in Southern California to ensure meteorological events do not pose a threat to the utility grid, and thus the surrounding communities. He has overseen the design and construction of one of the country’s most sophisticated and extensive weather networks, and sees great value in expanding the research opportunties for that network. He holds a degree in Meteorology from Plymouth State University in 2002.

Matt Duckham, Ph.D.Matt Duckham, Ph.D.

Matt specializes in spatial computing under uncertainty, decentralized spatial algorithms, and geosensor networks at the University of Melbourne’s Infrastructure Engineering Department in Victoria, Australia. Matt was as a postdoctoral researcher, first at the Department of Computer Science, University of Keele, UK (1999-2002), and then at the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA), in the Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering, University of Maine, USA (2002-2004). Matt is now an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2009-2013), with research focused in the area ambient spatial intelligence ( He holds a PhD in geomatics from the University of Glasgow.

Mark Finney, Ph.D.Mark Finney, Ph.D.

Mark works in the Missoula Fire Lab. He received his Ph.D. in wildland fire science from UC, Berkeley in 1991 studying prescribed fire and effects in the coast redwood forests. He earned his M.S. in fire ecology at University of Washington in 1986 working on fire history and effects in North Cascades National Park. He has a B.S. degree in forestry from Colorado State University (1984). Dr. Finney is responsible for developing the FARSITE Fire Area Simulator Model; the leading fire propagation model used by nearly all fire authorities in the United States. He is a leader in North American forestry and fire science and operational fire propagation modeling for first responders.

Robert FovellRobert Fovell, Ph.D.

Robert Fovell is a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He received his Ph.D. degree in 1988 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied under Prof. Yoshi Ogura.  Following a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Washington, he joined the UCLA faculty in 1991.

He conducts research in mesoscale meteorology, primarily using high-resolution numerical models.  He has written papers on squall lines, sea breezes, boundary layer rolls, gravity waves, climate classification and hurricane tracks, among other subjects.

He has served as Chair of the Faculty of the UCLA College of Letters and Science (2007-09), as chair of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Committee on Mesoscale Processes (2009-11), and as co-chair of the AMS Michio Yanai Symposium (2011).  In 2005, he received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award (the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching) and is the 2012 recipient of the AMS Teaching Excellence award.  His video course Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the Weather was published by the Teaching Company in 2010.

Eric Frost, Ph.D.Eric Frost, Ph.D.

Eric is Co-Director of the Graduate Program in Homeland Security as well as the Director of the Visualization Center and the Center for Information Technology and Infrastructure at SDSU. He works with geospatial imaging and data fusion as a means to support Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief globally, especially in joint projects with the US Navy and other Federal agencies in areas such as Central Asia, Indonesia, Mexico, Afghanistan, and Africa. He holds a PhD in geology and his years with the Geology program at SDSU continues to link him to natural disasters globally as well as in the fields of alternative energy, resilience networks, sustainability, global imaging, fiber optics, and cloud computing. He has worked with UCSD for many years to collaboratively process and serve data for disaster mitigation events, and continues to be a global leader in data visualization and information sharing for disaster response.

Marc HafnerMarc Hafner

Marc began his career in 1990 working as a Seasonal Firefighter in the San Diego Unit. After paramedic school he worked as a Firefighter Paramedic for local government. In 1998 he returned to CAL FIRE as an Engineer Paramedic in the Santa Clara Unit and promoted in 2001 to a FIRE Captain in Training. In 2002 Marc transferred to the San Diego Unit to supervise fire crews at McCain Valley Conservation Camp and in 2004 returned to his training background in the San Diego bureau where he initiated the remote learning program, using WEB Casting training sessions. In 2006 Marc promoted to Battalion Chief in the Ramona Battalion of the San Diego Unit. During his career Marc has served on CAL FIRE ICT 5 and 8 in the Logistics Section, serving as an Ordering Manager, Supply Unit Leader, and Facilities Unit Leader, until he reached Logistics Section Chief on Team 8. In 2011 Marc promoted to Division Chief of FIRESCOPE programs at the Southern Operations Center in Riverside He also served as the Southern Regions Intel Officer. In the FIRESCOPE capacity Marc is the Taskforce Liaison to the GIS Specialist Group, and the Emerging Information Technologies Specialist Group. In 2013, Marc Promoted to Deputy Chief adding Research and Development duties to his existing responsibilities.

Notable Projects Marc is involved with include the ASAPnet, a microwave data network that connects remote fire stations in San Diego county to broadband internet access for Public Safety. ODIN camera system on CAL FIRE’s Air Attack 330 which is an infra-red camera which transmits its live video feed to operators on the ground. Marc also serves as the CAL FIRE project lead for NICS (Next Generation Incident Command System) where he participates with other CAL FIRE subject matter experts and the development team for Lincoln Labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chris Lautenberger, Ph.D.Chris Lautenberger, Ph.D.

Chris is co-founder of Reax Engineering Inc. in Berkeley, CA. His responsibilities span building code and fire code consulting, fire science research, design of fire protection and life safety systems, and forensic reconstruction of fires and explosions including post-fire analysis of fire suppression and detection systems. Lautenberger regularly applies the Scientific Method to test fire investigation hypotheses under NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, by using fire dynamics and fire modeling to assess whether a particular hypothesis is consistent with fire science and the available forensic evidence, or should be eliminated due to contradictions with the same. Lautenberger's work combines analysis of fire/building codes and related standards with technical aspects of fire science such as combustion, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, fire dynamics, and fire modeling. Chris has over 13 years of experience applying fire dynamics and fire modeling in support of scientific research, Fire Protection Engineering design, and fire investigation. His areas of fire expertise include structural and wildland fire modeling; smoke, heat, and toxic species generation and transport. He has also consulted extensively to utility companies on fire hazard modeling and mitigation. He holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley.

Ross MartinRoss Martin

Ross Martin is the County of San Diego GIS Manager. He has spent 14 years working in GIS for local government in San Diego. During this time his job focus has ranged from operational use of GIS, to building the overall GIS capabilities within all the County of San Diego departments. Over the last 3 years he has worked to improve the GIS resources available to specialized public safety units in the region. Over this time he has also built the first enterprise GIS Service unit for the County of San Diego: LUEG-GIS. This unit is a flagship GIS unit with 15 staff and a very deep technical bench.

Recently Ross drafted the first County of San Diego Strategic Plan for GIS - GeoSD. His education background includes a undergraduate degree in Field Biology and a masters degree in Geography emphasizing spatial computer modelling. He has had continuing education in project planning and management.

Thom PorterThom Porter

Thom Porter started his career with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in February of 1999. He was first assigned to the Southern Operations Center in Riverside as a Forester I, in the Forestry Assistance Program. In 2001, he transferred to the San Diego Unit where he worked as the Urban and Community Forester and then Unit Forester, responsible for the Unit Vegetation Management and Pre-fire programs. After the 2003 fire siege, Thom was promoted to Forester II in the San Diego Unit, responsible for the Pre Fire Division, which includes Resource Management, Pre Fire Engineering, and the Fire Prevention Bureau. From 2002 through 2008, he was a key leader of the multi-agency collaborative Forest Area Safety Taskforce (FAST) and Border Area Fire Council (BAFC), and provided Unit Duty Chief/Agency Administrator responsibility through the many challenging fires during this time period.

In 2008, he promoted to Forestry and Fire Protection Administrator (Staff Chief) and returned to the Southern Operations Center in Riverside. He coordinated regional delivery of the Department's Resource Management Programs including the 12 million dollar fuels management grant programs. He further developed his abilities to collaborate with other agencies and non-governmental groups as the chairman of the Regional Area Safety Taskforce (RAST). Thom has been a key member of the Region Duty Chief staff, having managed several fire sieges, Multi Agency Coordination System (MACS) deployments, and has national fire response experience in coordinating Military Aircraft usage with the Modular Arial Fire Fighting Systems group (MAFFS). Thom serves on the: Uniform Advisory Committee, Fire Prevention Committee, Resource Management Committee and was on the CAL FIRE Branding Committee.