Crisis Management, Risk Assessment and Business Continuity

Ted Brown is the only Penn State Alumni who is a member of the Crisis Management Hall of Fame. Other members include Rudy Giuliani, James Lee Witt (Clinton’s FEMA Director) and Joe Bruno (Mayor Bloomberg’s Director of the NYC Office of Emergency Management).

This is what Mr. Brown’s Consulting firm does. Ted Brown is the only Crisis Management expert on the entire BOT. He has brought this expertise to Penn State from the moment he was elected to the Board. He has had unpublished meetings with campus Security, Police, Evacuation, Strategic Communications and Risk management. He has a working relationship with all these organizations. He was pictured on the front page of the CDT, discussing Risk Management with Karen Peetz before becoming a Trustee. He called special meetings with the Leadership of Hershey Medical Center because he was aware that they had no Business Continuity Plan. He has assisted with a Consulting RFP, pro bono, and was assured at the last Risk Subcommittee that they’d have a plan in place by year end 2016. This would not have happened without Ted’s Leadership. Ted successfully fought for a year and a half, to create a Risk Committee (or sub-committee). It finally happened in May of 2015, with Ted appointed as Chair. Ted called several meetings of this committee. Various Risks were reviewed and discussed including a 45 minute review of the risks at Hershey. (Having a Medical School and Medical Center is by definition, Penn State’s highest risk). Previously, the Audit and Risk Committee had spent as little as 10 – 15 minutes per year on Hershey’s risks. Ted has spent days addressing these and Penn State Hershey’s risks have been reduced.

Before Ted Brown became a Trustee there was no documented Crisis Management or Crisis Communications plan. Ted and Ryan McCombie were asked to review what was being developed. With their input and leadership, such documents exist today. They are incomplete and untested. This will be addressed going forward.

The Penn State Alumni Associations “books” had never had an external audit. Ted worked with David Gray to insist that this be addressed. It has been.

Mr. Brown continues to investigate and evaluate security and other risks on all campuses.

As a frequent speaker at Crisis Management Conferences, Ted Brown has the opportunity to shine the light of a national spotlight on the truth at Penn State. In November of 2014, Jim Satterfield, President of Firestorm, a National Crisis Communications Consulting firm spoke at a conference in Rochester, NY. He had three Penn state examples, all incorrect e.g. Penn State “has spent $1 Billion on their scandal.” As a speaker following Jim, Ted “bided his time, ” then took the opportunity to correct Jim privately and then in Ted’s opening remarks. Ted convinced Jim to join him in March at the Disaster Recovery journal Conference (largest in the industry) where they presented “Penn State… And now you know the rest of the story’’ Ted recounted a number of mistakes made by the Penn State BOT and closed with a glowing story of what the real Penn State is: Highest Academic Standards, world leading research, best on-line campus, success in fund raising and success with honor in athletic excellence. Ted will be teaching a one day class on crisis management at both March’s Disaster Recovery Journal Conference and April’s Continuity Insights Conference. In both cases, the errors of the BOT and the accomplishments of Penn State will be featured on a National Crisis Management stage.

On November 12, 2015 Ted was an invited panelist for a webinar on Risk Management for Boards of Directors.

Giving Penn State additional credibility and visibility in the crisis management world, Ted is on the USA Board of the Business Continuity Institute, serving as education Chair and has been nominated by the President of the Disaster Recovery Institute, International for a Lifetime Achievement Award. He is Vice Chair of the PSU BOT Audit and Risk Committee.

Ted Brown’s firm has conducted exercises with client’s on Work Place Violence, bombings, a Pandemic, major power outage, flood, etc.

How different things might have been had Ted Brown been a Trustee in November, 2011. Probably, no one would have been fired, but certainly not without due process and the media would have been dealt with differently.

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