Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote

Date: TBD
Time: TBD

Jim Wetherbee
Captain, U.S. Navy (retired)
Former Astronaut, NASA

"Controlling Risk—In a Dangerous World"

On the front lines of danger, operators face hazards and make life-and-death decisions in dynamic, complex situations. They are the last line of defense. How do we help them stay alive—and be more productive? Managers in organizations manage risk with systematic processes intended to limit the assessed risk. Even in the best organizations, when it is time to go to work, operators don’t manage risk; they control risk. To prevent all accidents—even unpredicted ones—the front-line workers need techniques to supplement the rules and procedures. Since the beginning of the space program, astronauts have developed techniques based on the principles of operating excellence to execute missions and stay alive in unforgiving environments. These principles-based techniques can help optimize performance in any high-risk businesses, and accomplish more in our dangerous world—or out of this world!

About the Presenter:

A six-time space traveler, Jim Wetherbee, a U.S. Navy captain (retired), is the only American astronaut to have commanded five spaceflight missions. After graduating from Notre Dame University with a degree in aerospace engineering, he became a U.S. Naval aviator and test pilot. In 1984, Jim was selected by NASA and flew twice to the International Space Station and the Russian space station, Mir.

For over thirty-five years, Jim’s work as a test pilot, astronaut, director flight crew operations, deputy director Johnson Space Center, and a safety executive in the oil and gas industry has given him experiences and insights into dangerous businesses. He is the author of Controlling Risk—In A Dangerous World.

Dinner Keynote

Date: TBD
Time: TBD

Chris Hart
Founder, Hart Solutions, LLC
Chair, Washington Metrorail Safety Commission
Former Chair, National Transportation Safety Board

"The Power of Collaboration to Improve Safety"

In the mid-1990s, the fatal accident rate in U.S. commercial aviation, after declining significantly for several decades, had begun to reach a plateau. Given the projections that the volume of flights in the U.S. was expected to double in the next 15-20 years, the industry became very concerned. If the fatal accident rate stopped declining, the public would soon see twice as many airline accidents. The industry’s response was a collaborative safety improvement program called CAST, the Commercial Aviation Safety Team. CAST brought together all of the key industry participants – airlines, manufacturers, pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics, airports, and the regulator – to collaborate. Their work would (a) identify safety issues; (b) prioritize those issues, since more issues would be identified than there were resources to address; (c) develop interventions for the prioritized issues; and (d) evaluate whether the interventions were producing the desired outcome without generating unintended consequences. CAST has been successful beyond all expectations. Although many safety experts thought that the fatal accident rate in the 1990s was already exemplary and could not be improved much, CAST reduced the rate by more than 80% in less than 10 years. Contrary to conventional wisdom that improving safety usually harms productivity, and vice versa, CAST also resulted in improved productivity. This presentation is about the transferability of CAST to improve process safety in other potentially hazardous industries, including nuclear power, petroleum exploration and refining, chemical manufacturing, and healthcare, to name a few, and workplace safety in all industries in which employees are being injured.

About the Presenter:

Christopher A. Hart is the founder of Hart Solutions LLP, which specializes in improving safety in a variety of contexts, including the safety of automation in motor vehicles, workplace safety, and process safety in potentially hazardous industries.

Hart is also chair of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, a three-jurisdictional agency (MD, VA, DC) that was created to oversee the safety of the Washington, D.C. area’s mass transit subway system. He was also asked by the Federal Aviation Administration to lead the Joint Authorities Technical Review that was created to bring together the certification authorities of 10 countries, as well as NASA, to review the robustness of the FAA certification of the flight control systems of the Boeing 737 MAX and make recommendations as needed to improve the certification process.

Until February 2018, Hart was a member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). In March 2015, he was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be chair, which he was until March 2017. Prior to that he was vice chair, after being nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2009 and 2013. The NTSB investigates major transportation accidents in all modes of transportation, determines probable cause, and makes recommendations to prevent recurrences. He was previously a member of the NTSB in 1990, having been nominated by (the first) President Bush.

Hart’s previous positions have included deputy director, Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service, Federal Aviation Administration; assistant administrator for system safety, FAA; deputy administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); deputy assistant general counsel to the Department of Transportation; managing partner of Hart & Chavers, a Washington, D.C., law firm; and attorney with the Air Transport Association. Hart has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in aerospace engineering from Princeton University. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association, and he is a pilot with commercial, multi-engine, and instrument ratings.