|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
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|Former FEMA External Affairs Leader Joins
|John P. “Pat” Philbin, Ph.D., named Senior Vice President
of firm providing leading public information
BELLINGHAM, WA -- January 16, 2008 -- PIER Systems, Inc., leading provider of public information software for large-scale events, today announced that John P. “Pat” Philbin, Ph.D., formerly Director of External Affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has joined the company as Senior Vice President. His responsibilities include developing relationships with existing PIER clients in federal, state and local government agencies and helping to build the company’s presence in the commercial, industrial and educational markets, particularly on the East Coast.
“We’ve known Pat since his days as head of Public Affairs for the US Coast Guard,” said PIER founder and CEO Gerald Baron. “He was instrumental in maximizing the capabilities of PIER within that agency and he knows the value of coordinated communications in a large agency or enterprise better than almost anyone. Pat clearly shares our vision for helping organizations build trust in the most trying circumstances and we are fortunate to have someone of his experience, knowledge and credentials on our team.”
Philbin joined FEMA in June 2006 and helped transform the agency’s approach to public information management, increasing transparency and speed in responding to requests for information from the media, legislators and the public. He was in his last days of service at FEMA and about to begin a new federal agency assignment when FEMA was severely criticized following an ill-planned press briefing related to the California wildfires.
“We looked closely at this situation before offering this position to Pat,” Baron said. “Knowing Pat, we knew it was not in his character to be deceptive or to try to pull a fast one on the media or the public. It was clear to us that Pat became aware of the planning errors while things were happening. True to his character, he accepted responsibility for the problems and he has paid a very high price by both the media who mischaracterized the errors and by his superiors who, in our view, did not demonstrate the same level of leadership, professionalism and personal courage that Pat did.”
PIER was created in 2000 out of a large-scale pipeline disaster in the Pacific Northwest. Since then it has been widely adopted in the oil, energy and shipping industries, by federal agencies such as the US Coast Guard and the USDA, by industrial and commercial companies such as Boeing, Allstate and Albertson’s, by major universities such as the University of North Carolina and the University of Houston, and by many local and state government agencies, including multi-agency emergency management jurisdictions in Texas and Georgia. PIER has helped deliver media, stakeholder and public information in such recent events as the Georgia drought through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the San Francisco Bay oil spill through the US Coast Guard, and the Whiting, Indiana refinery expansion issue through BP. It was used by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the largest municipal utility in the United States, to communicate power status during this year’s heat and wind storms in Southern California.
PIER, an acronym for “public information emergency response,” is a comprehensive web-based communication management system that allows a communicator or dispersed communications and executive team to perform all urgent communication functions from any internet connection. Core functions include drafting, editing and approving information releases, managing audience contact information, website content, posting images and video, managing inquiries, distribution of information through e-mail, fax, text-to-voice telephone callouts and SMS text messaging. The company recently announced an integration between PIER and the industry-leading emergency operation center solution, WebEOC from ESi® in Augusta, Georgia.
“PIER is a critical component of the Coast Guard’s public affairs efforts and one reason why they are one of the most trusted government agencies,” said Philbin. “Miscommunication and lack of coordination between leadership and staff can lead to serious problems, as I personally experienced at FEMA. I am convinced that PIER is a solution that speeds the dissemination of information, increases efficiency and ultimately helps agencies and their leaders build trust. That’s why I’m very pleased to be a part of this growing and innovative company.”
Philbin will remain in the Washington, DC area where he will direct the company’s efforts on the East Coast. PIER Systems, Inc., a privately held company, is headquartered in Bellingham, Washington, north of Seattle.
About PIER Systems, Inc.
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