Elmarie Marais

Chief Executive Officer
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Robert Rowntree

VP Global Operations
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Barbara Webster

Executive Vice President, Americas
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John Bailey

Senior Associate
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Jeanine Burt

VP, Oceania
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Wilfred Kreuger

Senior Associate, Europe
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Amanda Sun

VP, Asia
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Greg Phillips

Senior Associate: Aviation Safety, Accident and Incident Investigation
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Intan Darlina Muhammad

Regional VP, Family Assistance
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Mario E. Gomez

VP Global Communications
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Barbara Kracht

Crisis Communications
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Linden Birns

Senior Associate
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Jerry Hendin

Senior Associate,
In Memoriam
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Iskandar Mirza

Senior Associate, Australasia
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Hennie Crous

VP Resources & Infrastructure
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Adrian Rodgers

VP Client Services
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Lawrence McDonnell

Senior Associate, Russia
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Rudder Wang

Senior Associate
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Gregory W Solecki

Senior Associate
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Mike Plottel

Senior Associate
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Dr. April Haberyan

Senior Associate
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David Rimmer

Senior Associate
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Biographies

Elmarie Marais

Elmarie Marais is the CEO of GoCrisis and is proud to lead one of the world’s most experienced crisis response teams. With over 17 years’ experience, she has worked with global brands, where she has assisted multiple sector corporations, NGOs and governments across the world to review their crisis response plans, building crisis response capacity and training crisis leaders.

Elmarie has front-line experience having responded to a number of aviation accidents, natural disasters, high profile corporate crises, mass product recalls and data breaches. She is an Incident Commander for the Red Cross and has led interstate humanitarian response to natural catastrophe.

Elmarie has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and studied Disaster Response and Relief at Harvard University.

Previously, Elmarie was a Director for a large disaster response company. At Business Link for London, she managed a government initiative in development of a Business Continuity Toolkit for London businesses to manage the aftermath of a disaster.

Robert Rowntree

Robert is well known around the world for his remarkable experience in crisis and disaster management. He has worked in disaster management for more than 18 years leading international teams responding to major incidents around the globe. Rob’s experience includes multiple aviation disasters, terror attacks, rail accidents, maritime incidents and natural disasters. His varied and global leadership and operational experience sets him apart as a true expert in mass fatality response.

For more than 40 years, Robert has worked towards ensuring total support for families during tragic events. He believes that supporting families is one of the most important elements of an operation. His passion for providing true and honest information and treating affected loved ones with respect and dignity underlines everything he does.

Previously, Robert worked in the funeral industry for over two decades. He is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer and has held the position of National President of the British Institute of Funeral Directors and the Cooperative Funeral Service Managers. He remains an active Member of the Emergency Planning Society.

Robert has a BA (hons) in Business Management and Administration from Buckinghamshire New University. He is regularly asked to speak and present at conferences and is a Guest Lecturer at several Universities on Post Graduate programmes lecturing on crisis management, disaster operations and family assistance.

Barbara Webster

Barbara Webster is Executive Vice President at GoCrisis, looking after North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Barbara is a renowned Crisis & Business Continuity expert. She was most recently the Senior Director of Emergency Response and Business Continuity at Spirit Airlines for nine years before joining GoCrisis. She has over 25 years of experience in the field of emergency management, which began in the oil & gas sector in Canada. Prior to her career at Spirit Airlines in Florida, she successfully developed and led WestJet Airlines’ Emergency Response and Family Assistance programs for nine years in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

She has extensive domestic and international response experience which includes a fatal hotel explosion in Playa del Carmen Mexico, aviation accidents in Tripoli, Libya, and Dillingham, Alaska, numerous aircraft-related incidents, a tall ship sinking off the coast of Brazil with high school students, three mass shootings, and multiple hurricanes requiring full facility evacuations. She also led Spirit’s partnership with Operation Puerto Rico Care-Lift, where she coordinated over 160 tons of relief supplies to Puerto Rico during the 2017/18 Hurricane Season.

She is a citizen of both the United States and Canada, and is currently based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Barbara is one of the Founding Board Members and former Chair of AERO, the Aviation Emergency Response Organization.

John Bailey

John is well known worldwide for his expertise and hands-on experience in Crisis Communications. During his years at IATA, he launched IATA Crisis Communications service for the aviation industry. John was also the Boeing PR Consultant in Singapore for 13 years. He has provided crisis communications training and consultancy to more than 100 clients globally, including 60 airlines, Airframe manufacturers (Airbus, ATR, Embraer), Engine manufacturers (P&W, Rolls-Royce), major alliances such as Star Alliance & SkyTeam. John has been part of IATA’s “Best Practice” initiative since 2012. He was involved in multiple aviation crises, including MH370.

Jeanine Burt

Jeanine Burt is GoCrisis’ VP Global Response. With more than 15 years’ experience in events management and 8 years business management in the tourism industry, Jeanine ensures GoCrisis people and equipment are ready to respond to crisis globally.
Jeanine has responded to major product recalls, Hurricane Katrina, the South East Asian Tsunami and British Airways flight BA38. She has a Bachelor’s of Business in convention and events management from Southern Cross University and a Project Management Diploma from Varsity College.

Wilfred Kreuger

Wilfred has 20 years’ airport operations experience. He has serviced flagship carriers such as British Airways, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air, FlyBe and Malaysian Airlines. His ground handling experience over the years included roles as station head, load controller, turnaround coordinator and flight manager.

Wilfred was Station Head for Malaysia Airlines during the MH17 tragedy where he supported the airline’s response in Amsterdam as the Airport Crisis Centre Coordinator, field manager and logistics manager.

Amanda Sun

Amanda brings a wealth of experience and international crisis response knowledge to our clients who operate in China. She was Planner of Business Continuity and Emergency Response at Air China for five years. She was also a flight dispatcher and has a great understanding for the complexities of airline operations. Amanda was responsible for developing the airline’s emergency response plan, assembling the response teams and training employees to prepare for an accident. Additionally, her team at Air China has provided planning and support to aircraft incidents, government disruptions, computer outages, pandemic response and civil unrest in various parts of the world.

In 2014, Amanda was elected as the China regional representative of the IATA Emergency Response Task Force and in 2015 as Asia Pacific regional representative of the Emergency Response Strategy Team by Star Alliance Safety and Emergency Committees. Amanda has a Bachelor’s Degree from the Civil Aviation Flight University of China.

Greg Phillips

Greg Phillips has over 40 years of aviation experience. He has been involved in designing general aviation and military aircraft and has over 30 years’ experience in aircraft accident investigation, accident prevention, liaison with domestic and international governmental agencies, aircraft and component manufacturers, airports, and aircraft operators.

Greg consults with Willis Towers Watson (a major international insurance brokerage) as their National Aviation Safety Consultant, and acts as an aviation safety and emergency response program advisor for airlines, corporate flight departments, airports, and aviation industry leaders. Greg also instructs aviation incident and accident investigation, aviation emergency response, and safety management systems courses for the University of Southern California (USC) Aviation Safety and Security Program through the Viterbi School of Engineering. He has provided accident and incident investigation training both domestically and internationally to many airlines, government agencies, and corporate flight departments.

Greg was an Aerospace Engineer, Senior Air Safety Investigator, Investigator-in-Charge (IIC), and United States Accredited Representative for the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, DC from 1988 to 2004. He was involved in many major accident investigations including USAir flight 427, United Airlines flights 232 and 585, and Egypt Air flight 990. Greg also was an investigator for the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board team. He has appeared in several aviation accident investigation documentary programs.

Prior to joining the NTSB, Greg held engineering positions for over 9 years with Northrop Grumman (formerly Northrop Aircraft) in Los Angeles, CA and Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, KS.

He is a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators. Greg holds a commercial pilot certificate with instrument, multi-engine, and seaplane ratings.

Greg resides in Southern Maryland and South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of Evansville (IN) School of Engineering (1979) and holds a Master of Arts degree in Management (1985). He completed the George Washington University/Brookings Institution joint certificate program in Advanced Public Policy Leadership while with the NTSB.

Intan Darlina Muhammad

Darlina Muhammad is well known worldwide for her outstanding contribution as Caregiver Manager for three tragedies, most recently  Malaysia Airlines flights MH17 and MH370, where she led hundreds of caregivers in Beijing, Amsterdam and Kota Kinabalu.  Darlina worked for Malaysia Airlines for 18 years where she trained cabin crew, cadet pilots, engineering trainees, external/third party training as well as staff in general. She was also an associate trainer with the Emergency Response team. In addition, Darlina headed Events for the Company under Corporate Communications, did Market Research (Qualitative), Business Administration, Risk Management & Business Continuity. She completed  a BA (Hons) English Studies in University of Kent, Canterbury, UK and started her career with lecturing English and Drama to International Baccalaureate students for two years before venturing into the hospitality and media industry. Darlina was a news presenter for several years on Traxx.fm.

Mario E. Gomez

FEMA Certified National Incident Management System Public Information Officer (IS-0072.a)

Mario E. Gomez is dedicated and passionate corporate public relations professional with more than 20 years of experience as director of corporate communications, media spokesperson, crisis communications specialist, media relations strategist and social media producer. Mario has held management/leadership positions with Kenyon International Emergency Services, The United Way of Houston and the Cenikor Foundation.

Mario has created and implemented international communications campaigns and secured national and international media coverage. Mario has successfully booked interviews with ABC News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, CNN International, London Times, commercial aviation trade publications in Europe and the Middle East.

Mario also positioned corporate staff as subject matter experts and booked national and international interviews related to the recovery efforts of Air France Flight 447, US Air Flight 1549 and crisis management challenges for the government of Japan after the earthquake and tsunami.

During his tenure with The United Way of Houston, Mario was a member of the Executive Management team. He analyzed the potential impact of a critical situation involving the 2001 Enron financial crisis (a major United Way corporate donor) and questionable donations to the organization. He implemented a crisis communications plan and managed a “feeding frenzy” of potentially negative national news coverage and minimized the impact to The United Way. Result: no negative news coverage with The United Ways’ involvement during the Enron crisis.

Mario‘s previous experience includes positions as a television news and radio reporter in Southeast United States. He has received awards from the Public Relations Society of America, Texas Public Relations Association, a Suncoast Television Emmy nominee and he is FEMA Certified National Incident Management System Public Information Officer (IS-0072.a) and is a member of the Public Information Officer (PIO) Network Houston/Galveston Region.

Barbara Kracht

Having held the prestigious position of Vice President of Media Relations for Airbus, Barbara has exceptional experience in Media Relations, Communications and Crisis communications. Barbara built up and led the Airbus commercial aircraft Media Relations department during most of her career and then the Airbus Military Communications for four years prior to her retirement from Airbus.
Barbara had to advise on, manage and master many kinds of crisis, including multiple aircraft accidents. This gave her a unique insider’s experience and a wealth of knowledge in all what post-accident crisis communications entails. Barbara is based in Toulouse and speaks fluent English, French, German and Spanish.

Linden Birns

Linden has more than 35 years of experience working in reputation management, crisis communications, media relations, public affairs, journalism and media production.

Linden has worked in a number of countries around the world, preparing leaders and management of airlines, aircraft operators, airports, aircraft manufacturers, industry associations, law enforcement agencies and governments for crises and guiding them through the intense heat that accompanies every crisis. In this role, Linden has led and participated in responses to several aircraft accidents, airline groundings, the 2004 Asia tsunami, labour strikes, corruption and corporate governance crises.

In addition, Linden has managed and worked on communications campaigns in several industries, including defence, minerals and resources, automotive, tourism, medical research, forestry & timber, engineering, public service administration as well as in industrial research and development.

Linden’s background was in journalism – he has worked in TV, radio, on newspapers and for magazines. During this part of his career he covered several disasters and emergencies including bombings, commuter train massacres, hostage dramas and an ocean-liner sinking. He has an intimate understanding of how journalists work and how the various types of news media function, which is invaluable when preparing and supporting clients with their crisis communications.

Jerry Hendin

It is with broken hearts that we announce that the GoCrisis family has lost a dear member of our team.

On Saturday, February 13, 2021, Jerry Hendin (Senior Crisis Communications Associate) unexpectedly passed away. Jerry was deeply respected in the aviation industry and well known for his expertise in crisis communications. As per his beautiful obituary in the Seattle Times, “Jerry spent much of his career in public relations. As Vice President of Communications for Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Company, Jerry wrote the first industry-wide manual on how to communicate during a crisis. In 1998, Jerry returned to Asia as president and CEO of Edelman Public Relations. In 2002, he formed Alliance Public Relations, and trained more than 500 senior executives in crisis management. Jerry served on the boards of directors for multiple organizations.

To us, Jerry was all of this and much more. He was our advisor, our gentle voice of reason, our colleague and our friend. We will miss him dearly.

Iskandar Mirza

Iskandar has 15 years’ experience in emergency planning, crisis management and business continuity, having held leadership positions with Changi Airport Group and Singapore Civil Defence Force under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore.

At Changi Airport, he was responsible for getting one of the world’s best airport ready for crisis, with minimal impact to airport operations. Iskandar was involved in coordinating several major incidents affecting Changi, one of which was the Air Asia QZ8501 aircraft crash incident on 28 December 2014. Prior to joining Changi Airport Group, he was a Senior Fire & Rescue Officer with the Singapore Civil Defence Force, where he undertook several appointments, including helming a Fire Station as its Commander. As part of his tour of duty, Iskandar was also media-trained and had been previously deployed as a media officer for the Singapore Rescue Contingent in two overseas humanitarian missions – Indonesia and Pakistan in 2005.

Hennie Crous

Hennie Crous, VP Operations Africa, brings with him experience from a long career in aviation, project management, training and development. Hennie has worked on several incidents and accidents with a particular focus on Family Assistance Support Operations and Data Management.

Hennie has responded as part of the Emergency Operations Centre team for Helios Airways Flight 522. He also responded at the site incident command centre for Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 and the Libyan Authorities as a Data Manager, organising the setup of the Data Management Centre in support of the various data management functions during the accident operations.

Throughout his career in training and development, his focus remained with various soft skills disciplines including Train the Trainer, Customer Service Skills and Project Management Practices and Principles. As a part of developing content as per client specifications, he assisted in the rollout and implementation of these programs.

Hennie has a National Diploma in Hospitality Management from the University of Johannesburg, and studied at the International Business Training Association (IBTA) towards a Certified Business Professional (CBP). In addition, Hennie is also registered with CompTIA as a Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) and Project+.

Adrian Rodgers

Adrian is a Client Account Manager at GoCrisis, responsible for building client relationships globally. He is part of the GoCrisis team that ensures our clients are supported and remain closely connected with us throughout our partnership. With 27 years’ experience in mitigating risk for businesses in a variety of industries such as agriculture, logistics, insurance and aviation, Adrian is passionate about engaging with our clients to help ensure their business is prepared for any possible crisis event.

Lawrence McDonnell

Lawrence McDonnell is based in Moscow and runs a PR agency of 20 staff with a strong focus on consumer and corporate crisis communications. He is a former BBC correspondent and bureau chief in the region, with more than 20 years’ experience in working across Russian-speaking markets. That experience includes first response and deployment to the scene of a major air crash in Russia with loss of all passengers and crew and subsequent work with the airline in engaging with key stakeholders including media, family representatives and government authorities. Other experience includes response to hostile takeover of the Russian business of a major US corporation initiated by corrupt politicians and members of staff and response to a Russian shopping mall fire with multiple loss of life, mostly women and children. He speaks English, Russian and French.

Rudder Wang

Rudder is a senior associate, supporting our clients in Asia. She holds a master’s degree of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and a bachelor’s degree in emergency administration management from Arkansas Tech University in the US.

With a strong background in emergency management she has worked for a top crisis response consultancy firm in the US and participated in several national level planning and disaster recovery projects. After returning to China, she has joined Tsinghua University Public Safety Research Center and continued her practices in governance emergency management consulting.

Rudder is a FEMA certified Professional Continuity of Operation Practitioner, Certified Business Continuity Practitioner (CBCP) by DRI International, certified community emergency response trainer, certified severe weather storm spotters by NOAA, certified emergency planner for school districts by FEMA.

Over the past 12 years in the field of emergency management, Rudder has done extensive works in emergency planning and consulting, some of the consulting projects Rudder has worked on include:

  • Hurricane Katrina disaster recovery – public assistant effort (Baton Rouge, US)
  • Offshore oil spill emergency response system planning—Shengli oilfield Co. (China)
  • Arkansas 246 school districts continuity of operation planning (Arkansas, US)
  • China Custom emergency response plan revision (Beijing, China)
  • Alibaba Group Ant Financial business continuity planning (Hangzhou, China)
  • EOC system design for National Administration of Work Safety (Beijing, China)
  • Multi-hazards mitigation planning for Arkansas Tech University (Arkansas, US)
  • Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment for 11 Minnesota counties. (US)

Gregory W Solecki

CEM, CBCP, MCML

Greg is a respected emergency management executive with decades of notable experience instituting strategic emergency, continuity and leadership programs as a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM), Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) and internationally certified Incident Command System (ICS) instructor.

He also has experience managing the largest disasters in Canadian history, as well as maintaining the role of EOC Manager for hundreds of activations while providing leadership during 6 States of Emergency. Additionally, he has shared his expertise internationally as an assessor for the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), and as President of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) was invited to attend Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.

With in-depth knowledge and the practical experience to back it up, Greg was instrumental in the development of Canada’s National Critical Infrastructure Framework where he revised Canada’s Pandemic Plan. This included the development of emergency and business continuity processes specific to infectious disease management that were utilized during the SARS, H1N1 and COVID-19 Pandemics.

As a team member for the development of international Emergency Management Standards (ISO 24518,22301), he provides a full curriculum of training courses from the front-line responder to leaders and decision makers in management positions. He has developed and implemented Emergency Management and Continuity Programs for Fortune 500 companies including mining, oil and gas and power generation. This has resulted in the development and implementation of plans in Australia, the Caribbean and throughout North America.

Finally, Greg is a strong believer in life-long learning and continues to foster the development of high-performance teams through Emotional Intelligence training and assessments as a certified coach.

Mike Plottel

Mike Plottel is an experienced senior leader with over 40 years’ experience in the aviation industry. His career as a pilot, manager and executive has spanned government, corporate and airline operations. Since 1995, Mike has specialized in aviation safety, focusing on safety management systems, fatigue risk management, human factors and safety leadership.

Mike has held positions with the British Columbia Government Air Services, Air BC Airlines, Transport Canada, the British Columbia Air Ambulance Service, WestJet Airlines and the Qantas Group. As WestJet’s Director of Safety Services, Mike was responsible for the development and implementation of several major programs including the airline’s Safety Management System, which comprised risk management, quality assurance, investigation, oversight, training and emergency response components. At the Qantas Group, Mike held positions as Head of Safety for Domestic and International operations, Head of Safety for QantasLink Regional Airlines and special advisor to the Qantas Group Safety Transformation Project.

Mike holds a diploma in Aviation Technology from Selkirk College, an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Victoria. He is based in Calgary, Canada where he enjoys running, swimming, reading and racquet sports.

Dr. April Haberyan

Dr. April Haberyan has over 20 years of experience working in nursing, psychology and disaster response. She holds a Doctorate in Social Psychology and a Master’s of Arts in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Master of Science in Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.

Dr. Haberyan conducts training programs in Suicide Prevention, Family Assistance, Psychological First Aid, School Safety, and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention. She is a co-author of a Suicide Prevention Training Manual for University Personnel. She has co-authored a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) Campus Suicide Prevention grant which was funded for $406,000.00. April has conducted research studies on suicide prevention and disaster response. She and her colleagues have reported the resulting data at national conferences and in refereed journals.

Dr. Haberyan has experience as a clinician in inpatient and outpatient mental health programs at several hospitals in the United States. She has also been a college faculty member in Nursing, Psychology and Emergency and Disaster Management Departments. She has served as a trainer/evaluator for the Missouri Hope Disaster Field Training Exercise conducted at Northwest Missouri State University, the Atlantic Hope Disaster Field Training Exercise conducted at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida and the Summer Institute in International Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Assistance in Macedonia. In addition to her teaching duties, April has been a Behavioral Intervention Team member for 3 different institutions of higher learning, and an Assistant Emergency Manager for a University in the Midwest. She has responded to aviation incidents, school crises and mass shootings in the United States.

David Rimmer -CAM, FRAeS

David Rimmer is a veteran business aviation executive and entrepreneur. He is CEO of the AB Aviation Group and serves on the Board of Advisors at Hopscotch Air. Based in New York City, David is the former President of ExcelAire, Alerion and Talon Air, three prominent aircraft management, maintenance and charter providers.

He is a battle tested leader with an intense focus on high standards and safety. In 2006, David was one of seven survivors of a major midair accident between a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800 and an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet. The accident was the deadliest in Brazilian aviation history at the time, killing 154 people on the airliner, while the occupants of the smaller jet landed safely.

As a result of the accident and its aftermath, he became a leading aviation safety proponent, speaking about his experience to groups around the world. David has also incorporated this experience into his professional responsibilities, serving as both an Emergency Response Manager and Accountable Executive.

Before beginning his aviation career, David was a media professional. He has served in programming and marketing positions at several national radio networks and local radio stations, including ABC, NBC, Sony and Bloomberg LP and has written for Business and Commercial Aviation, Resilient Aviation/Blue Sky News, Airliners, Airways and FORTUNE Custom Publishing.

David remains committed to personal and professional growth. He became an NBAA Certified Aviation Manager in 2020, is a Fellow at the Royal Aeronautical Society and previously served as Chairman of the NATA Air Charter Committee, on the Air Charter Safety Foundation Board of Governors, and as a member of the NBAA Corporate Aviation Management Committee.

Consultants and Support Staff

GoCrisis has a team of Social Media and Support Staff in our response team. The team consists of experienced, energetic and professional people. All our team members have been trained in stress management, crisis communication skills, soft skills and Psychological First Aid.