2020 Symposium


The devastating April 2019 Notre Dame fire shockingly brought to the forefront of every preservationist’s mind how quickly hundreds of years’ worth of historic material can go up in smoke.  While this fire’s aftermath is sure to kindle years of study and may eventually provide valuable lessons and technologies for improving fire safety, cultural resources around the world continue to be at risk for damage and destruction by fire, flood, earthquake, sea level rise, and other harms. In many (perhaps most) cases, this risk arises not from a failure to deploy complex and expensive technological safety devices, but instead from owners and institutions simply not having taken the time to systematically Consider what disasters their resources are most likely to face.

In contrast to the 2013 symposium entitled “Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery for Cultural Resources,” which featured presentations showing several after-the-fact disaster recovery case studies as well as presentations illustrating how BIM, laser scanning, and other software technologies could be used to aid in disaster preparedness, this symposium will instead seek to focus more narrowly on disaster risk evaluation and mitigation strategies.

To view individual recordings of each panel, click the panel name to be directed to the video on YouTube or you may view the full list here.


9:00 - Welcome and Introduction


9:10 to 9:50 -  Historic Buildings as a Climate Response Tool by Z Smith

9:50 to 10:00 - Q&A

Physical Security

10:00 to 10:20 - Physical Security Primer by Jennifer Holcomb (Link to notes)

10:20 to 10:50 - Ballistic History by Richard Off

10:50 to 11:00 - Panel Q&A


11:00 to 11:20 - Fires and Disasters by Chris Marrion

11:20 to 11:50 - Performance Based Analysis by Michael Fereira and Anne Weber

11:50 to 12:00 - Panel Q&A

2020 Disasters

12:00 to 12:20 - Compounding Risks for Heritage Structures by Elly Colmers Cowan and Katie Parks

12:20 to 12:40 - Managing Risk: Reopening in a Post-Covid 19 World by Lucy Midelfort and Steve Light

12:40 to 1:00 - Carlyle House: Reopening and Protests by Andrea Cochrane Tracey

1:00 to 1:15 - Panel Q&A


1:15 to 1:40 - Flood Risks to Historic Structures by Adam Rush

1:40 to 2:05 - Guidelines for Flood Adaptation by Jennifer Wellock

2:05 to 2:25 - Baltimore Penn Station by Nakita Reed and Jim Smith

2:25 to 2:35 - Panel Q&A

2:35 to 2:45 - BREAK


2:45 to 3:05 - Perpetuity at Risk from a Changing Climate by Raina Regan

3:05 to 3:45 - Resilience for Historic Building Museums by Roger Chang

3:45 to 3:55 - Panel Q&A


3:55 to 4:00 - Closing Remarks

4:00 to 4:30 - Happy Hour Trivia


Z Smith, PhD, FAIA, LEED Fellow, WELL AP

Z Smith is Principal and Director of Sustainability and Building Performance at EskewDumezRipple in New Orleans. His built work includes academic, laboratory and residential buildings, including winners of the RAIC Green Building Award and the AIA COTE Top Ten Award. He brings training and experience in physics (MIT) and engineering (Princeton) to the field of architecture (UC Berkeley), and is named as inventor on 10 patents and author on over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He serves as North American representative to the International Union of Architects (UIA) Sustainable Development Commission. He has taught at the Tulane School of Architecture, served on the national Advisory Group of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE), the USGBC Energy & Atmosphere Technical Advisory Group, served as Chair of the 2017 SCUP Southern Regional Conference, and is former Chair of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Louisiana Chapter. He is a member of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), the Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE), and the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP).

Jennifer Holcomb

A senior manager and licensed professional engineer with more than 20 years of experience in a variety of technical services, Ms. Holcomb leads Markon's security solution. Her responsibilities in this role include identifying, standardizing, and delivering industry-leading security advisory services. Because she has both security expertise and project management skills, she is routinely sought after to advise secure government agencies, various federal departments, and state, municipal, and commercial clients.

Ms. Holcomb holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Dayton and has earned multiple certifications: Professional Engineer (PE), Physical Security Professional (PSP), Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) - Professional Designation (CPD), and Project Management Professional (PMP). She is a member of ASIS International, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and Infragard.

Richard William Off, AIA

After graduating with a Master of Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University in 2012, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2010, Mr. Off completed post-graduate travel fellowships which examined the relationship between urban fabrics, local ecologies and global forces in Southeast Asia and South America. Mr. Off has managed and assisted with the investigation, design and construction of renovation and restoration projects for numerous historic buildings and spaces throughout the New York metropolitan area.

Mr. Off currently works for as a Licensed Project Architect and Manager for Hoffmann Architects in New York, overseeing architecture and engineering teams complete multi-million dollar exterior rehabilitation and preservation projects for multiple landmark structures, spanning a variety of traditional and modern façade, structural, window and roofing systems. A published author, Mr. Off has also written multiple articles on building enclosure rehabilitation and historic restoration issues, included in such magazines as Traditional Building, Construction Specifier, Building Design and Construction, and Hoffmann Architects’ Journal.

Christopher Marrion PE, F-SFPE

Mr. Marrion specializes in protecting our cultural heritage from fires & disasters. His work focuses on providing risk-informed, cost-effective prevention/mitigation, emergency response and recovery strategies to protect our heritage.  For over 30 years he has worked globally with numerous NGOs, Government entities, private and public clients to help create awareness, build capacity, develop codes and provide practical and effective guidance regarding fires.  Chris is the Founder of Marrion Fire & Risk Consulting, holds a Master’s Degree in Fire Engineering, is a Special Expert for the National Fire Protection Association, a Board Member of the National Fire Heritage Center, a licensed Fire Protection Engineer, and a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

Michael Fereira, PE

Michael is a recognized expert in fire protection engineering and was recently elected Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. He has special expertise in smoke control system design, modeling, and testing, having been involved in the design, modeling, and testing of hundreds of smoke control systems over the course of his career. He is proficient in performance-based design, people movement and evacuation modeling. He has been involved in the design of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) systems, conducts threat assessments, and performs building airflow modeling.

He currently serves as a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Committee on Smoke Management Systems, is a co-author of the ASHRAE Smoke Control Handbook, and is a past instructor for both the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and NFPA smoke control seminars. He is a recognized expert in smoke control system design, modeling, and testing and has published numerous peer reviewed journal articles and delivered numerous conference presentations and client seminars on the topic.

Anne E. Weber, FAIA, FAPT

Ms. Weber is an experienced historical architect based in Princeton, NJ who manages many notable preservation projects. She is expert in the documentation, rehabilitation, and restoration of historic buildings, as well as analysis of historic building materials. Ms. Weber has managed numerous projects for the National Park Service at significant historic sites including the Netherlands Memorial Carillon in Arlington, VA; President’s Park and Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC; and Harpers Ferry (WV) and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (MD) National Historical Parks.

Ms. Weber has also managed high-level documentation and restoration projects for the General Services Administration (GSA) including documentation and evaluation of buildings and landscape at St. Elizabeths Hospital, West Campus, and stabilization and restoration of Red Cross founder Clara Barton’s offices and residence. Ms. Weber has written and lectured extensively on accessibility in historic buildings, applications of the NJ Rehabilitation Subcode, 20th century building materials, life safety in historic structures, concrete restoration, battlefield preservation, and the philosophical and material issues involved with the preservation.

Elly Colmers Cowan

From drafting legislation, to meeting with key legislators and their staff, to testifying in front of committees, in her role as Director of Advocacy, Elly leads Preservation Maryland’s preservation and smart growth advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. She manages county wide smart growth coalitions and travels across the state to participate in grassroots advocacy issues. She organizes the annual Maryland History Advocacy Day that brings together over a hundred preservation advocates from across the state to Annapolis and leads the Maryland delegation for National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, DC. Baltimore-born and raised, Elly studied history and economics at the University of Baltimore.

Katie Parks

Katie Parks is a formidable development and real estate professional, and as Preservation Maryland’s new Director of Development, she will bring expertise in organizational fundraising, program efficiency, and property redevelopment at a time of strategic growth of Preservation Maryland major programs, including a revived Revolving Fund.

Katie was previously Vice President of Conservation at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy leading their programming across land conservation, community revitalization through the Center for Towns, and climate adaptation. Katie was instrumental in crafting the foundational partnership that led to ESLC’s critical role in the developing the Phillips Packing House in Cambridge, Maryland with Cross Street Partners, and other players. Katie attended Loyola University and received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore.

Lucy Midelfort

Ms. Midelfort is the architectural conservator at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. Current and past projects include developing proper treatment protocol for removing and preventing multiple types of roof corrosion, cleaning marble hearths, and preventing mold growth on earthen floors. She is well-versed with monitoring and ensuring sensitive and quality from contractors on large projects.

Lucy received her Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, with an emphasis in architectural conservation. With that training comes a strong familiarity with historic building materials, their vulnerabilities, and how they change over time.

Steve Light

Mr. Light is the Manager of House Tours at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. He manages the historical interpretation and daily operations of Monticello's house tours, serving approximately 430,000 visitors with over 19,700 tours a year and up to 100+ tours on a normal day. He leads a staff of 4 full-time interpreters and supervisors and approximately 20 part-time interpreters with his duties including training and mentoring of interpretive staff, and assessment of interpretive materials and experiences in order to meet the Foundation's vision of bringing history forward into national and global dialogues.

Steve has created several new tours and experiences for Monticello guests, including the Hemings Family Tour, a dialogue-based house tour that focuses on the perspective and experiences of enslaved people at Monticello, which asks guests to consider the historical legacies of slavery and racism in the United States.

Andrea Cochrane Tracey

Ms. Tracey is the Site Director at Carlyle House Historic Park. She is an experienced museum director with a demonstrated history of working in the museums and institutions industry. She is skilled in nonprofit organizations, event management, facilitation, philanthropy, and proposal writing and holds a Master of Science in Historic Preservation focused on Museums and Historic Site Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Adam Rush, PE

Adam Rush has extensive structural engineering experience managing condition assessment, renovation, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation projects involving vital structures at risk of flood damage. He is an active member in the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) and served as the President of the organization’s Washington, DC chapter in 2013.

Jennifer Wellock

Jennifer A Wellock is an architectural historian and technical reviewer with the National Park Service’s State, Tribal and Local Plans & Grants branch. Jennifer is a co-author of the recently released, Guidelines on Flood Adaptation for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings written in response to requests in the preservation field for recommended approaches and strategies for reducing water damage risk to historic properties.  She has had the opportunity to respond for the Department of the Interior under the National Response Framework, which is intended as a unified response to disasters and emergencies.  In 2011, she was deployed to Birmingham, Alabama, under the Emergency Support Function (ESF) #11, to assist in recovery efforts from the April tornadoes.  Jennifer was the Superstorm Sandy Project Lead and oversaw the allocation and management of $50 million in Federal funding that was granted to states and tribes by the National Park Service.  In Washington, she is responsible for reviewing NPS funded historic preservation projects for conformance to National Park Service guidelines. Prior to moving to Washington, she was employed at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and at the West Virginia’s State Historic Preservation Office. Jennifer represents the National Park Service at conferences nationwide. She has previously presented on this and related topics.


The focus of Nakita’s career is the intersection of historic preservation and sustainable design. She is skilled in both the restoration and adaptive reuse of historic buildings and is well versed in the myriad strategies to incorporate sustainable features into existing buildings. Nakita recently joined Quinn Evans from Encore Sustainable Design, a firm she co-founded in 2012 to help clients capitalize on the financial and cultural incentives of reusing existing buildings.

Jim Smith, AIA

Jim is a registered architect with substantial experience in the essential aspects of the architecture profession. Experienced with renovations, additions, and new construction for a broad range of building types and diverse clients. In addition to project management and design, special areas of expertise include design development, technical resolution, consultant coordination, specification writing and overall quality control developed through a hands-on approach with close oversight.

Raina Regan

Ms. Regan is the Director of the Easement Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a national program of land and building stewardship of 135 preservation and conservation easements in 25 states and the District of Columbia. She has over 10 years of professional experience in the nonprofit and government sectors with a focus on cultural land conservation. 

She is also the creator and author of "Uplifting Preservation", a monthly newsletter of uplifting ideas on how to improve historic preservation professional practice inspired by business, psychology, and self-help literature. Each month, she digests one book and applies its relevant concepts to historic preservation. She hopes to start conversations about how we can grow our professional practice by improving our personal perspective.

Roger Chang, PE, ASHRAE Fellow, LEED Fellow

Mr. Chang is the DLR Group’s mechanical engineering practice leader. He has presented at several regional and national APT conferences and has worked on numerous historic structures. In 2019, a retrospective on the history of HVAC systems in historic theaters was published in the ASHRAE Journal in celebration of its 125th anniversary. Roger was the lead engineer on the Renwick Gallery modernization completed in 2015 and sustainability consultant for the GSA’s first net zero energy National Register building, the Wayne Aspinall Federal Building. He is a voting member of DC’s green and energy technical advisory group and is currently leading the development of DC’s public building strategic energy masterplan for existing buildings.

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