The National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) Institute at the University of Louisiana received the Acadiana Innovation Award for the non-profit sector at the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet recently.

"Researchers at NIMSAT work diligently to foster crucial partnerships during times of crisis while also providing solutions to rebuild economies following disasters like hurricanes. It’s an honor for NIMSAT and the university to be recognized by the Chamber for this important work,” said Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL president.

NIMSAT is a homeland security and emergency management institute created soon after the devastations of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

NIMSAT leaders Drs. Ramesh Kolluru and Mark Smith saw a need to bring the private sector more effectively into the management of disasters, as well as develop innovative tools to help emergency managers improve homeland security.

The institute provided support to Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) during hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. In response, a campaign was launched to develop and foster public-private partnerships for disaster management in Louisiana. This campaign resulted in the creation of the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center (LA BEOC).

NIMSAT serves as the lead for the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center (LA BEOC) under the overarching leadership of LED and GOHSEP, with support from the LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute.

"The Innovation Award from the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce to the NIMSAT Institute is a deserving recognition of Director Ramesh Kolluru’s vision of how university knowledge can improve economic development in our state," said Dr. Robert Twilley, vice president for research at UL. "Innovation is the way that knowledge within our university institutions can benefit the quality of life of persons across the state, particularly during disasters that require special services to minimize economic loss."

Within the past year, NIMSAT was recognized at the state-level, with its partnership in the establishment of the LA BOEC. Nationally, FEMA and the National Emergency Management Association NEMA asked researchers at NIMSAT to provide a public-private partnership handbook for state emergency management professionals based on their research and development advancements.

"As the NIMSAT Institute continues to enhance public-private partnerships as part of its core mission, it is honored to be recognized by the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, a truly great voice of the private sector in Acadiana," said Kolluru, NIMSAT’s executive director.

"We would not have been able to implement our mission without GOHSEP Director Cooper, who helped translate an idea in to reality. That was extraordinarily important in our evolution. We are pleased to collaborate with Secretary Moret of Louisiana Economic Development, Secretary Scott Angelle of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, and the LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute. We are blessed with an outstanding team of staff, research faculty from many disciplines at the university, and to have the full support of the leadership at UL. NIMSAT will continue to work locally, as well as at the state and national levels with the private sector in enhancing our disaster management and homeland security capabilities across the board."

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