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Every nation plans for emergencies at the federal, state and municipal levels. Governments lead the emergency preparedness and response efforts and mobilize national or regional resources should disaster strike. As stewards of taxpayer dollars, governments are also expected to see that national infrastructure, public health, homeland security and defence needs are funded. For emergencies like floods or bushfires it is easy to justify budgeting and spending public funds to prepare for such emergencies.
For instance, imagine pandemic influenza. One of the most challenging scenarios a government has to prepare for. It happens two or three times a century. Humans have little immunity to new strains. How much of the national resources must go towards preparedness efforts? Governments are challenged when they have to prepare for infrequent events that can have catastrophic consequences. Citizens often wonder why investments in their communities and precious resources are spent towards preparing for events like a pandemic. While fires, earthquakes, floods, and other emergencies affect small regions of a country, a pandemic is a global event that will affect the entire country and the world.
Pandemic strains are mutations of influenza virus that will emerge at random in the future. How does a government prepare for a pathogen that has not yet emerged today? How much of the national resources should be spent on such an endeavour when infrastructure, health, security and defence needs are competing for the same dollars?
These answers are not easy. We live in a world of just-in-time production and just-in-time consumption. Our global production of goods and services for emergencies are also just-in-time. The system has enough capacity and elasticity to respond to sporadic rise in demand. It often lacks the capacity to respond to demand by every country in the world needing goods and services to treat their citizens in the event a pandemic.
A nation must assess its risks, capacity and ability to respond to such events and engage in a public dialogue with its citizens to find the middle ground in spending precious national resources. John Pournoor and his team have worked with over 50 governments over the last decade on such issues. He will share his experience working with these governments on scenarios like infectious diseases outbreaks, man-made events, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires and even major outbreaks of food borne illnesses. He will share the lessons learned through engagement with governments worldwide and speak to their implications towards Australia’s national preparedness efforts
Dr John Pournoor leads the 3M Government Markets program for 3M’s over 60 international subsidiaries. The team of 200 Government Marketing Leaders in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Central and Latin America focus on providing 3M solutions to their Governments and State-Owned Enterprises addressing national issues of significance.
These solutions focus on 5 segments: National Infrastructure (including transportation, energy, water and education), Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Defence.
During his career, Dr. Pournoor has led a number of programs for public health systems, Emergency Preparedness and response and Homeland Security and Defence segments in the U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific.
In the areas of Homeland Security and Defence Dr. Pournoor was the Chairman of the Board of the Chemical, Biological and Radiological Technology Alliance, a US government program sponsored by the National Technology Alliance (Executive Agent: NGA). CBRTA is composed of organizations in life sciences, materials, and photonics, electronics and other physical sciences leveraging their know-how towards homeland security solutions. Member organizations include: 3M, Becton Dickinson, Black & Veatch, Calspan—University of Buffalo Research Centre, Cargill, General Dynamics, Honeywell International, Johns Hopkins Univ./Applied Physics Laboratory, Lucent Technologies, Mayo Clinic, Motorola, RAE, Syracuse Research Corporation, Veridian Corporation. He was a Board member of U.S. National Homeland Security Centre of Excellence for Emergency Preparedness and Response based in Johns Hopkins University. Recently with the European 3M government team the work has been focused on NATO on their logistics and supply chain needs.
In the area of 3M Public Health, Dr. Pournoor’s team has developed new predictive tools in response to government requirements for 3M customers (e.g. Terrorism, Pandemic Influenza as well as All-Hazards surge capacity, decontamination, mass clinics demand planning tools), and has conducted sessions with governments in 30+ countries.
In the area of Infrastructure his focus has been on World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development funded projects for Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.
Dr. Pournoor has been an active partner with 3M government clients developing trusted, customized public health, safety, security and protection solutions based on national needs and government agency directives and guidelines. He and the 3M team work closely with many ministries; professional associations and industry organizations as well as U.S. trade representatives where the results of 3M’s work are shared. These experiences are now expanded to meet the needs of local, regional and multinational businesses.
Dr. K. John Pournoor earned his B.S., M.S., Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley and University of Washington in Seattle. He received his MBA in from University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.