Pre-con Speaker Bios

Precon #1 – Hazardous Materials Team Tactical Operations: Developing the Tactical Plan

Presenter: Jim Graham, Deputy Fire Chief (Retired)

Jim Graham is a retired Deputy Chief with 35 years of service with Chesterfield Fire and EMS Department. He is currently an Adjunct Instructor for VDEM and J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College teaching courses in hazardous material response, tactics and strategy, emergency incident management, risk analysis and management.


Precon #2 – TRANSCAER Presents:  Taming the Tiger in the Tank – Tactics and Response for Anhydrous Ammonia

Presenters: David Binder, Tanner Industries and Ray Haring, Virginia Dept of Emergency Management

David Binder, of Tanner Industries Inc in Southampton, PA, is the Director of Quality, Safety & Regulatory Affairs, and leads the Ammonia Safety & Emergency Response Training program known as ASERT program.  He has been in the ammonia industry and emergency response training and planning since 1992.   David facilitates safety and emergency response training programs throughout the world.

Ray Haring has been in the HAZMAT response business since the mid 1980's. He has been a VDEM HAZMAT Officer for 17 years, and covers the Tidewater Virginia area.

Precon #3  – Hands-On HAZMAT

Presenters: Bob Coschignano, Bill Bennett and Phil Ambrose, HazSim

Robert “Bob” Coschignano has been in the fire service for 26 years most of which has been in Special Operations. Bob has served on several hazardous materials related committee’s and is the program manager for the Hazardous Materials Technician program at Valencia College. He is DEA certified in Clandestine Labs and is a former manager of the Central Florida environmental company responsible for their clean up. Bob is also Operations and Training Director for HazSim LLC. Bob is Co-Author of Chemical Card Guide™ and RBR Chemical Access Cards™ with Red Hat Publications and is an instructor and evaluator for several local and state competency drills. He also holds an A.S. degree in Fire Science and has written fro both FireHouse and Fire Engineering. Bob is currently a Hazardous Materials Lieutenant with the City of Orlando Fire Department.

Bill Bennett currently serves as the Vice President of Safety Systems, Inc. and has also performed as a Program manager for the past four consecutive years for twenty-three training programs that include Trench Excavation and Competent Person, Confined Space Operations, 24 Hour HAZWOPER, 40 Hour HAZWOPER Training programs and OSHA Forklift Operations. Bill is also a trainer for HazSim LLC. He is  qualified as an Instructor with various competencies within fire, rescue, and emergency services to include Safety Specialist, First Responder, OSHA, Fall Protection Rescue, and Rope rescue. Bill has been with Arlington Fire Rescue for 24 years

Phil Ambrose is a Fire Captain/Hazardous Materials Specialist/Paramedic for a busy metropolitan fire department in Southern California. Phil received the Exceptional Public Service Award from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for serving as a training liaison to their Hazardous Materials Response Team, and is past Board Secretary of the LA-based Consortium of Technical Responders (CTR).  Over the past 20 years Phil has held positions in several areas of hazardous materials including waste management, radiation safety, training, and regulatory management within university, hospital, industry, and municipal jurisdictions. Phil has trained members of fire, law enforcement, military and industry across the U.S. Phil holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loyola Marymount University and holds patents for his HazSim simulator device created to improve first responder training.


Precon #4 – Norfolk Southern Safety Train

Presenter:  Paul Williams, Regional Manager – Hazardous Materials, Norfolk Southern Corporation

Paul Williams is the Regional Manager for Hazardous Materials for Norfolk Southern Corp. Mr. Williams is involved with the transportation of hazardous material by rail.  His duties includes promoting the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail and providing training to emergency responders.  He responds to hazardous material emergencies and conducts tank car damage assessment, field transfer and provides technical advice.


Precon #5 – Sensors in the Sky: Utilizing small Unmanned Aerial Systems in HAZMAT Response

Presenter: Darren Goodbar, Piedmont Virginia Community College

Darren Goodbar is the Director of Aerial Services for Draper Aden Associates. In addition to his full time employment, he is a member of the Virginia National Guard with past training in Imagery Analysis and GIS. Darren currently serves as the UAS Coordinator for Piedmont Virginia Community College, developing UAS curriculum, providing technical and operations instruction, and managing PVCCs ongoing commitment to provide Emergency Services and Public Safety personnel with the most up to date training available on the effective deployment of sUAS in emergency response.