About Us

Our membership includes large and small businesses, emergency personnel, and city municipal government.  The SWHSP Board of Directors is representative of this mix.


Board of Directors


Lia Ruszczynski – MGIC


Matthew Meyer – Associated Bank

Vice Chairman

Ben Schliesman – Wisconsin Emergency Management


Colleen Hayes – Baird


Chris Miles – Milwaukee County Emergency Management

Nick Tomaro – City of Milwaukee Health Department

Pam Volk – Baird


Chris Miles – Milwaukee County Emergency Management

Nick Tomaro – City of Milwaukee Health Department

Pam Volk – Baird

Organization History

After September 11th, in the early history of Homeland Security, it became evident of a tremendous disconnect in awareness and preparedness between the various levels of government as well as between the public and private sectors.

Around this time Dave Duecker, one of the founders of SWHSP, was working on a project building a portfolio of Wisconsin-based companies which had technology and/or services with applications in the Homeland Security world. As a private citizen interested in securing our homeland, Dave went looking for a process or exercise to unite the sectors in awareness, education and preparedness and found some work done by Dr. Paula Scalingi from the U.S. Department of Energy. She did an incredible job of illustrating the “interdependencies of our critical infrastructure” and the “cascading effect” of a disruption to the infrastructure through the pre-Olympic “Black Ice” exercise in Salt Lake City, UT (see http://lists.jammed.com/ISN/2001/10/0153.html). Since then Dr. Scalingi has taken that model and assisted many communities across the U.S. and Canada in public/private partnership building.

It took nearly two years of cold calling and cajoling the Milwaukee area stakeholders, public and private, to grasp the concept of partnerships. We had a formal conference committee and core group which began work in early 2004 to plan for the “Kickoff Conference on Infrastructure Security”.

Initially the group was made up of staff from M&I Bank, Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual, Baird, Michael Best & Friedrich, The Medical College of Wisconsin, The Milwaukee County Executive’s Office, the City of Milwaukee Police and Fire Departments, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and others.

By the time they were heading into their initial event in October 2004, we had already determined to create an entity. A Wisconsin, nonprofit organization with a board of directors, bylaws and the application to secure IRS tax exempt status as a 501c3 was created.

SWHSP provides a platform for the public, private and non-profit communities to bring awareness, issues and solutions to the Homeland Security world jointly as true partners. This was the first time in our state where public responder groups, the volunteer community and private businesses were able to sit at the table and learn from each other about capabilities, concerns, resources, etc.

The most important aspect of SWHSP’s development is the fact that it was done without monetary assistance from the public. Driven by the core group and board of directors, it is a true example of partnership and sustainability.