An introduction to risk management

Published on January 18, 2015   65 min

A selection of talks on Management, Leadership & Organisation

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Good day. As you can see from the slide I am affiliated with the George Washington University Institute for Crisis Disaster and Risk Management, which resides in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. This is the only such program in the United States that is anchored in an engineering school. And we find this to be very successful. Our focus is on crisis emergency and risk management as a management science. And we have been very successful over the years with our students, assuming positions of great responsibility within the private sector, or the not-for-profit sector, and the government at all levels.
As a matter of introduction, my name is Greg Shaw. And I've spent 27 years in the United States Coast Guard with 12 years of operational duty afloat and ashore, and commanded four ships, or as we call them in the Coast Guard cutters. This operational type experience required significant risk management and risk-informed decision making in which I attempted to balance the life and safety issues of my crew, and my ships, and my unit with our mission requirements. As I go through the presentation I'll talk about guiding principles. But at this point I need to say that the safety of my crew and the protection of our cutter was the central focus of my decision. This is true of any organization in any sector. My last assignment in the United States Coast Guard was commanding officer of Coast Guard headquarters. And this tweaked my interest in continuity of operations. When I assumed this position I noted that we had no plan for continuity of operations, despite the fact that our headquarters building which housed over 2,400 people and provided support for the entire Coast Guard, was in a very flood-prone location. So I decided to engage the leadership of the Coast Guard in an effort to prepare to perform our highest priority tasks in the face of any type of disruptive event. This is what I would call applied risk management, where we looked at different things that could impact us adversely, and what we needed to do to fix them, and what types of resources we needed to devote to this. Luckily, during the period of time, the two years that I was the commanding officer at the headquarters, we didn't have any disruptive events. However, after leaving that position some four years later a major flood damaged the headquarters building and shut down the phone system, and the electrical system, and required a complete closure of the building for 27 days. Some of the members of the headquarters staff it was an extended holiday. But for many more, the plans that we had developed allowed them to accomplish the vital operations to support the Coast Guard. And this experience led me to seek the certified business continuity professional certification through Disaster Recovery Institute International and supported my private consulting that I've done over the past 10 to 12 years. For the past 14 years I've worked with George Washington University in administrative, research, and faculty positions. And as of August 31st of this year I'll finally retire full time while still teaching online and doing lectures for several of the universities.