Pajak named chief emergency management officer at Syracuse University
Pajak named chief emergency management officer at Syracuse UniversityDecember 18, 2007Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
David Pajak, director of risk management at Syracuse University, has been named the institution’s chief emergency management officer (CEMO), responsible for coordinating the elements of the University’s institution-wide emergency management program. His appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2008.
Across the country, colleges and universities have identified emergency management as important in meeting the ever-changing requirements and realities of operating a complex educational institution.
Emergency management at SU is a team-based, distributed process, crossing organizational structures and departmental responsibilities, and involving many diverse capabilities, functions and tasks. Leadership, as well as operational support, is provided by the University’s Emergency Preparedness Committee and Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT), and by various assigned task forces and ad hoc committees, such as the Pandemic Flu Preparedness Committee and the Crisis Communications Alert Committee.
Managing the University’s emergency planning processes involves performing ongoing assessments, monitoring coordination of personnel and events across the University community, developing and maintaining written plans, and coordinating staff training, among other responsibilities. As part of his role as CEMO, Pajak will help coordinate the University’s strategic and holistic emergency management risks, including preparedness, best practices, business continuity planning and insurance for financial recovery.
“Dave Pajak’s knowledge, experience and commitment to risk management best practices will translate well to his new assignment, and I am confident Dave’s oversight and coordination of the elements of the University’s emergency management program will result in the University being well prepared to promptly and effectively manage and address any emergency matter,” says SU Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Louis G. Marcoccia, who also chairs the University’s Emergency Preparedness Committee.
While Pajak will provide oversight regarding various components of emergency management, the University will continue to rely on specific departments that have designated emergency management responsibility and accountability (i.e., Public Affairs for crisis communication; Public Safety for criminal response and alerts; SU Abroad for overseas emergencies; Information Technology and Services for technology disaster recovery; Athletics for Carrier Dome stadium emergency planning; Health Services for public health matters; Environmental Health for water advisories and radioactive materials, chemical and associated environmental spills; and Safety for food-borne illness-related incidents and campus fire alarm/building evacuations and drills) to accomplish emergency management program objectives.
Pajak will have a key strategic leadership role working with various committees and the University’s senior leadership, including the Chancellor’s executive crisis team, as well as external government agencies — the Onondaga County Office of Emergency Management, the Onondaga County Department of Health and the Syracuse Fire Department, for example — to help develop strategies and facilitate planning to guide the University’s emergency management program.
To codify the University’s emergency management program, Pajak will work with key University stakeholders to continue development of written plans and activities that provide a flexible framework for effective preparedness, response and recovery, such as table-top exercises and drills, the Campus Crisis Alert Notification System, the Emergency Procedures Reference Guide (http://emergencyguide.syr.edu/) and other Web-based resources, and the International SOS travel assistance program (http://riskmanagement.syr.edu/).
Pajak brings to the position considerable experience. He is a board member of the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA); vice chair of the University’s Emergency Preparedness Committee; co-chair of the Pandemic Flu Preparedness Committee, along with James Jacobs, director of health services; and a member of the CIMT and Crisis Communications Alert Committee. In addition, he sits on Onondaga County’s Emergency Planning Committee and is a member of the International Association of Emergency Management (IAEM). He served on FEMA’s Disaster Resistant University (DRU) task force in 2000.
While serving as CEMO, Pajak will also continue in his position of director of risk management, overseeing risk and insurance management programs, and environmental health and safety.