About PDC

Reduce disaster risk. Step into a safer world.

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  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Hawaii

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VIEW ALL HAZARDS

We help prevent hazards from becoming disasters and disasters from becoming catastrophes.

For more than 20 years, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has supported the most demanding government customers and nonprofits worldwide, sharing in the mission to save lives and reduce disaster risk. As an applied research center managed by the University of Hawaii, we are continuously developing new technologies and best practices to help our many global partners effectively mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. We work side by side with government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and humanitarian relief organizations to conduct baseline risk and national disaster preparedness assessments, create mitigation strategies, support training and exercises, and to implement our powerful DisasterAWARE® technology. DisasterAWARE provides global risk intelligence, early warning, and largest collection of global, scientifically verified geospatial data and modeling tools for assessing risk and hazard impacts. Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Iniki to the Hawaiian Islands in 1992, Pacific Disaster Center was conceived as a center to improve systems of communication and technology for disaster prevention at home and beyond. PDC now serves a global audience, helping to increase disaster management capacity and embolden more effective decisions, policies, and actions for a safer world.

Our organization and approach

PDC is an applied research center managed by the University of Hawaii that provides the most reliable information, ground-breaking research, applied scientific practices, and its powerful disaster risk intelligence platform, DisasterAWARE to empower disaster management decision makers and the public. We support disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery worldwide—using strategies that are consistent with the United Nations’ approach to disaster risk reduction.

Mission: Reduce disaster risk. Vision: Safer world.

A brief history of PDC

Our Team

Executive Management

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Ray Shirkhodai is responsible for PDC’s strategic development, market and partnership expansion, and all aspects of the enterprise operation. In information management and senior leadership roles since 1991, Shirkhodai first joined PDC in 2002 as the Chief Information Officer (CIO), before his selection for executive director in 2007. During his tenure at PDC, Shirkhodai architected PDC’s flagship DisasterAWARE® risk intelligence platform and mobile apps, developed and oversaw strategies for PDC’s expansion into the global hazard and risk reduction markets, and increased the Center’s competitive project revenues by more than 9-folds, augmenting PDC’s base research and operating budgets. Shirkhodai has led the Center’s support of major international disaster relief operations, at home and abroad. He has served as a chief technology advisor to many regional and national Disaster Management Offices around the world. He has written for numerous United Nations (UN) publications on analytical software design for risk reduction. He has been an invited keynote speaker, lecturer, and participant at many international industry events focused on technologies for risk reduction and resilience. Shirkhodai is on the advisory board of the UH Maui College Applied Business and Information Technology (ABIT) program. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA) in 1990, followed by graduate studies in Artificial Intelligence (1993) at GMU.

Ray Shirkhodai

Executive Director

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Chris Chiesa has more than 30 years of experience developing and leading enterprise applications of geospatial information technologies and has been actively involved in disaster management activities for the past two decades. He directs international deployments of PDC’s disaster management decision support DisasterAWARE® platform. Chris has extensive programmatic and institutional experience in the Asia Pacific region. His work has also taken him to Europe, Central and South America, and Africa. In 2005, Chris received Esri’s prestigious Special Achievements in GIS Award in recognition of the Center’s support to the Indian Ocean tsunami response. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BSME, MSNR) and the University of Arizona (MBA).

Chris Chiesa

Deputy Executive Director

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Dr. Joseph Green is an expert in the practical application of risk information for humanitarian assistance and resilience-building initiatives worldwide. His analytical work spans more than two decades, with specialized focus on the examination of the intersection between social vulnerability, health outcomes, and disaster resilience. Joseph earned his PhD in epidemiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to earning his PhD, Joseph earned a Master’s degree in medical geography from the University of South Florida and worked as a research fellow at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Joseph Green

Director of Applied Science

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For over 20 years, Dr. Erin Hughey has dedicated her academic and professional life’s work to advancing evidence-based practices in the field of disaster management. Leading PDC global efforts, she has developed the foundation for the largest operationalized national and subnational risk and disaster preparedness assessment. The breadth of her career spans hand-on response operations at local, state, federal, and international levels, to the development of regional and global policy focused on disaster risk reduction. Erin received her PhD from the University of South Florida and currently serves on the Board of Directors at Georgetown University in the Disaster and Emergency Management program.

Erin Hughey

Director of Global Operations

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Keone Kali is a transformational leader and Chief Information Officer (CIO), and possesses over 27 years of experience in information technology, business development, and senior management in both the public and private sector. Mr. Kali has served as the Director of Information Technology for the Maui Medical Group and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the State of Hawaii. Mr. Kali served in a key role as the Region IX Lead for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).  In that role, he routinely interfaced with U.S. States and Territories in Western CONUS and OCONUS and liaised with State CIO’s across the nation. Mr. Kali possesses an MBA in IT Management from WGU, and a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA.

Keone Kali

Director of Information Technology

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Scott Okada is responsible for PDC’s fiscal planning and management in all areas of budgeting, financial analysis, procurement, and business information technology applications. He has experience and training as a financial forecaster, auditor, tax-compliance officer, and report compiler for national and governmental organizations. His experience also includes high-level oversight of human resources management and loss prevention, as well as cash management and cost control functions.

Scott Okada

Director of Finance & Administration

Other Staff

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Bear (Bernd) McConnell

Senior Advisor

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Steve Recca has held several security policy positions with the State Department, Department of Defense, and in academia. He was Director of the University of Colorado Springs Center for Homeland Security where he managed research programs in civil security, defense-related topics, as well as institutional and government agency collaborative relationships. He is on the Editorial Review Board of four peer-reviewed journals and is a frequent guest lecturer on civil security topics for academic institutions across the United States. Steve holds a Master’s in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Steve Recca

Humanitarian Assistance Programs Senior Advisor

What our partners are saying about us...

Title Address Description
Kenta Hamasaki
Honolulu, HI, USA

THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF JAPAN, HONOLULU, HI (2016)

"Aloha Julie. Hello. After the registration [for DisasterAWARE], I started to receive warnings such as Typhoon Meranti. That data contains necessary info and is so graphic that it's easy to know at a glance how the impact is. This is very important for our duties. Thank you again."

Paulo Bayly
Fiji

PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE & TRANSPORT, FIJI (2016)

"Thank you and your team for so quickly responding to our needs."

Ana Ake
Tonga

MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, KINGDOM OF TONGA (2017)

"I was first introduced to EMOPS (DisasterAWARE)...during a HA/DR training in Auckland this year. I've worked with several tools and it is obvious that EMOPS is the only sustainable tool that is available and is openly available."

Jonathan Colwell
California, USA

GOESPATIAL COORDINATOR, DHS-FEMA REGION 9 (2016)

"EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) made my day so much easier while monitoring [Tropical Cyclone] AMOS. Data that I thought I'd spend a good part of the morning digging for was available, as were the tools to draw polygons and annotate and meet the requirement."

John Andoe
Texas, USA

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR, TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (2017)

“Keep up the good work. I'm using EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) in Texas to monitor Hurricane Harvey.”

Matt Lott
Virginia, USA

EMERGENCY COORDINATOR OF SAFETY, SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (2016)

"I work for the Virginia DOT as an emergency planner. I would like to be added to your distribution list for awareness products. I followed work during Hurricane Mathew and would like to avail our organization of your great products."

USDA Foreign Agriculture Service officer
Washington, DC, USA

USDA (2016)

"Your suggestion that we look at PDC content and capabilities has really paid off. We partnered with them, and are ingesting their global disaster feeds into [Global Agricultural & Disaster Assessment System] GADAS. The addition of a couple of our own applications to quickly delineate impacted areas and extract agricultural acreage and population has proved quite valuable."

Christopher Vaughan
500 C St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

FEMA NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS GEOSPATIAL INFORMATION OFFICER (2015)

"My sincerest thanks to the PDC team during this event. [Tropical Cyclone Dolphin] Your professionalism and dedication to the mission is to be commended. I'm sure we will have plenty to discuss/improve upon in the weeks to follow. Thanks again for all the support. Great job team."

Daniel B. Whitley
1400 Independence Ave SW #5071, Washington, DC 20250, USA

ACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE (2017)

"On behalf of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services, I would like to express my appreciation and full support of the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) for its essential contributions...with data and support...we've been able to improve our global agricultural production and disaster assessment analyses, products, and decision outcomes."

Jesse Rozelle
500 C St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

PROGRAM MANAGER, NATURAL HAZARDS RISK ASSESSMENT PROGRAM, FEMA (2017)

"Aloha PDC team: I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for all of your support during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The modeling and risk assessment support you have provided to FEMA has been incredibly helpful for our response efforts and our emergency management partners. I'm looking forward to a continued partnership."

Lisa Samson on PDC products during hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria
Miami, FL, USA

ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISES & COALITION AFFAIRS, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2017)

"[I] wanted to pass along that the reports that PDC is generating are succinct and extremely informative. I've passed along to other colleagues in the HQs staff and other COCOMs to peak their interest. Well done!"

William I. Clark
9301 NW 33rd St, Doral, FL 33178, USA

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE DIVISION CHIEF, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2017)

"Our success during response efforts is directly related to PDC's contribution. The set of tools offered by your decision support system (DisasterAWARE), the large amount of data, the modeling and assessments, and skill set of your staff are unique. They provide my team with great situational awareness in a timely manner, enabling rapid and informed decision making in critical periods."

Brian Abbott
Doral, FL, USA

LIEUTENANT COLONEL, PUBLIC-PRIVATE COOPERATION PROGRAM COORDINATOR, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2016)

"As a Public-Private Cooperation (PPC) Program Coordinator, PDC's vision and leadership translates into strategies that enable others to effectively achieve results."

Gayle Outten-Moncour
The Bahamas

BAHAMAS DISASTER RECOVERY MANAGER AND FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY

Jeremy K. Delancy
Nassau, The Bahamas

SENIOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SERVICES & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS (2016)

"I wanted [PDC] to know that I used DisasterAWARE during Hurricane Joaquin and it performed admirably. Some further training will be needed for us to use it to its full capabilities. One of the persons who was quite impressed is Chief Meteorological Officer, Mr. Arnold King."

Carolann Albury
E Bay St, Nassau, The Bahamas

DIRECTOR, BAHAMAS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (2017)

"…thank you all for the assistance you have rendered on so many occasions to The BNGISC but more importantly to The Bahamas."

Marcus Elten
New York, NY, USA

UNITED NATIONS OCHA (2016)

"I was impressed with how quickly you guys developed situational awareness products...quite impressed with your team's work."

Claudia Mateo
Dominican Republic

PRESIDENT, REPUBLICA DOMINCANA COMISIÓN NACIONAL DE ENERGÍA

"Thank you for being aware of our situation and for the sending of images for analysis."

Paul Ugarte
Guatemala

CONRED SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF GUATEMALA

Eric Yarrell
Comayagua, Honduras

LIEUTENANT COLONEL, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, JTF-BRAVO (2017)

"JTF-Bravo sincerely appreciated the HADR decision-support information provided by the Pacific Disaster Center during Hurricane Irma response… has been both timely and valuable support of current operations."

Augusto Moreno O'Phelan
Peru

DIRECTOR GENERAL FOR POLICY AND STRATEGY, MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, PERU (2016)

"Many thanks for your important information about the ongoing outbreak of Zika virus in the Americas."

Mr. Eliezer Serrano, Jr.
Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

LEAD DATA FUSION MANAGER, U.S. SOUTHCOM JOINT OPERATIONS CENTER (2016)

PDC's support in the SOUTHCOM region and its commitment to promote public safety were unfailing during the Rio Olympics. [DisasterAWARE] greatly enhanced our situational awareness and offered an abundance of useful data and safety monitoring information."

Don Price
Myanmar (Burma)

DISASTER MANAGEMENT ADVISOR, U.S. FOREST SERVICE, MYANMAR (2017)

"The big floods in Southern China are causing some real problems for Vietnam and Myanmar and DMRS/EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) is the best visualization for this regional flood situation."

Susan Cruz
Philippines

DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE (2015)

"We are very appreciative of your support to our country."

Giuseppe Timperio
21 Lower Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119077

RESEARCH ENGINEER, ADVANCED SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT & HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (2016)

"I knew of 'InAWARE' and I am impressed by its capabilities. Information sharing in the humanitarian context is still a big challenge (especially in ASEAN), and the efforts you are putting to close this gap are highly appreciated, and indeed highly useful for the whole humanitarian community."

Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
Matraman, East Jakarta City, Jakarta 13120, Indonesia

HEAD OF DATA, INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR INDONESIA'S NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AGENCY, BNPB

Harlan V. Hale
Banten, Indonesia

REGIONAL ADVISOR, USAID/DCHA/OFDA/EAP

"From a disaster management perspective, these agencies [PDC, HOT, PetaBencana.id] have combined their skills, have worked well together, and have created something that is really innovative, useful, and can actually improve both the disaster response by the government and citizen's participation in it as well."

Willem Rampangilei
Jl. Anyar No.12, RT.2/RW.1, Leuwinutug, Kec. Citeureup, Bogor, Jawa Barat 16810, Indonesia

CHIEF, BNPB

"As I mentioned when we met recently at BNPB HQ Jakarta, I want to extend my appreciation to you, to your colleagues at PDC, and to USAID/OFDA for your hard work and dedication – and for your tangible results – in building capabilities and capacities for disaster risk reduction in Indonesia, especially in the area of hazard monitoring and early warning."

Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
West Java, Indonesia

HEAD OF DATA, INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS, BNPB (2017)

"Thank you very much for your support in Mt Agung eruption. Very useful to us."

Captain Stephen M. Russell
Hay St, Nassau, The Bahamas

Director, National Emergency Management Agency, The Bahamas (2019)

PDC's advanced modeling capabilities and mapped products helped accurately anticipate the nature and extent of impacts from Dorian so that we could protect the most at-risk communities and coordinate life-saving humanitarian relief. These products were used daily in planning and public outreach, and in briefing national officials, including the Prime Minister, to prepare effectively. In addition, PDC team members gathered, analyzed, and disseminated critical information that helped organize crucial emergency support functions with the responsibility for evacuation
and relief, public health and human services, search and rescue, and the restoration of critical public infrastructure.

John Marinos
Bangkok, Thailand

Regional Information Management Officer
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Bangkok (2019)

I was specifically asked to pass on to you how everyone was impressed and grateful for the JADE for the Afghanistan scenario. It was exactly what they needed to begin discussions on contingency planning and all that. It of course paves the way for when we need to do one there for real.

Kevin Miller
Sacramento, CA, USA

Earthquake & Tsunami Program Manager
Seismic Hazards Branch, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (2019)

We appreciate the update and the fantastic map information products for the Garlock Scenario and are putting them to use on contingency planning. These are the types of info that can be shown in large format around the SOC helping with situational awareness.

John Marinos
Geneva, Switzerland

UNOCHA Information Specialist, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

PDC–United Nations OCHA collaborate on advanced data and science to support humanitarian assistance

Jenifer E. Smoak
Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaSenior Director, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, United States Department of Defense (2019)

There is no doubt that we would have been unable to conduct the 2019 COMMEX and STAFFEX
without PDC's support. In the words of INDOPACOM's Exercises Chief, this exercise was the most robust of its kind ever to be conducted in INDOPACOM.

Scott Griffin
Camp H. M. Smith, Halawa, HI 96701, USADeputy, C4 Engagements and Interoperablity, J65 U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (2019)

I am writing on behalf of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's Multinational Communications Interoperability Program (MCIP) to express our gratitude for the support your organization has provided in building and executing exercises, briefs to senior personnel, and training on DisasterAWARE. PDC's exceptional contributions led the effort to build a meaningful scenario and was the basis on which a very successful PACIFIC ENDEAVOR 2019 (PE19) was completed.

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