Friday, January 23, 2009

TEEX emergency management training pays dividends

When Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III amazingly landed the U.S. Airways plane he was piloting into the Hudson River, emergency responders sprung into action.

And after the hectic part of the response was complete, Jason Moats, a TEEX training manager received the following e-mail from Brian Onieal with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness:

“Please thank the staff of TEEX for their help in preparing our first responders and private sector for this port emergency. Everyone is complimenting the unified command operational effectiveness. Good outcomes during emergencies always start with good training.”

Moats is the manager for one of three TEEX training programs designed to teach and practice the “unified command” approach to emergency management and response. A unified command response is one where more than one agency or jurisdiction has authority or functional responsibility during a response to an incident. It facilitates response coordination, resource prioritization and reduces inefficiencies.

Incident Management Training: Moats heads up
TEEX’s grant-funded incident management training. The Incident Management course trains emergency response supervisors and mid-level managers in the skills necessary to effectively plan for and manage a large-scale incident using the previously mentioned unified command approach.

Enhanced Incident Management Training: To take it a step further, TEEX proudly operates the
Emergency Operations Training Center (EOTC), which is a 32,000-square-foot facility that provides realistic, scenario-based incident management training. The Enhanced Incident Management/Unified Command course is taught in the EOTC. The course is designed to give the participants an opportunity to practice the unified command approach by mitigating a computer-simulated disaster in a real-life command post.

“The more you practice, the better your response will be in an actual emergency,” said Dave Nock, training director for the EOTC. “We give emergency managers and responders the opportunity to practice in an environment that looks and feels remarkably close to a real incident.”

Exercises: Finally, TEEX provides varying levels of
exercises to jurisdictions, allowing them to assess their plans, policies and procedures during a simulated catastrophic incident in their own backyard. The exercises can range from discussion-based tabletop exercises to full-scale exercises.

A full-scale exercise is the pinnacle of simulated response. Everyone can play. Police, EMS, fire and other emergency personnel actually respond to an incident, while actors play the role of victims.

Over the past two years, TEEX has been assisting the New York/New Jersey Port Authority and responders from both sides of the Hudson in the design, development and delivery of exercises focusing on the establishment and operation of unified command during large-scale incidents.

“It is important that responders to an incident understand the plans, procedures and their role when an incident occurs,” said Hank Lawson, exercise program director for TEEX’s
National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center. “It is all about managing chaos when an incident happens. We’ve found planning, training and exercising play a central role in honing an effective response during a crisis.”

Read more about this in the
Bryan/College Station Eagle.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Director’s Take: TEEX can help get your product on the market

The TEEX Product Development Center (PDC): There are many models that have been developed over the years that prescribe a process one must undertake to convert research into a commercial product. These processes are usually multi-step road maps that help define what is required to be successful. However, the focus of the TEEX PDC is on the smaller company or the individual entrepreneur who just needs some help in getting past the next level of large hurdles. As a result, TEEX has a simplified approach that breaks these processes into four common needs: good technology, a champion (usually an entrepreneur), the ability to convert this technology into something tangible, and money. These needs are not independent and should be integrated into a dynamic plan.

The TEEX PDC was established to focus on the third need: the conversion of technology into something tangible and the integration of a business plan. Our experience indicates that this is one of the major gaps in the successful path to commercialization. TEEX is a natural catalyst in this respect, leveraging internal capabilities, the capabilities of The Texas A&M University System, and our associated networks. These assets allow us access to world-class facilities and equipment and intellectual expertise in the form of myriad subject-matter experts.

A little background information: A few years ago when we were working with NASA to help in the commercialization of its space-based research, we became strongly involved with the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program provides seed funds for small, high-technology businesses to conduct innovative research that could result in new commercial products.

One of these businesses was a very small Texas company that “spun-out” from a larger medical device manufacturer. The CEO of the company had received an SBIR contract to investigate better methods for the delivery of medications spawned by the anthrax incidents after 9/11, as well as medications to treat AIDS patients. TEEX worked with this CEO and the Athens (Texas) Biomedical Manufacturing Center on the development of a retractable and single-dose injection system. As a result, a viable product was launched and has been very successful in the marketplace.

An idea is born: The success of the product and work TEEX did to contribute to the product’s success started us on a path to determine if we could become more proactive in the area of product development.

The state of Texas has some of the finest research occurring within its world-class universities, federal laboratories and private sector. TEEX is not a research institution; rather TEEX focuses on applying this research to foster economic opportunity for the citizens of Texas. This challenging process is called technology commercialization and can cause some entrepreneurs to seek help any place they can find it. At TEEX, our intent is to provide this assistance at the local level, thereby encouraging the development of products within Texas. The results are new job opportunities while helping our companies compete globally.

Let us help your business: For further information on how TEEX can help get your product on the market, please visit the TEEX PDC Website (
www.teex.org/pdc) or contact Jeff Bolich at (979) 458-0857 or jeff.bolich@teexmail.tamu.edu.