Leadership Team

Key Personnel

Jeff Morgan

Jeff Morgan is President & CEO of Aviem International, Inc. Aviem International is dedicated solely to the task of helping mass transportation companies, corporations and other organizations prepare for disaster with planning, consulting, training, exercises, along with disaster management services.

Jeff Morgan created Aviem International, Inc. after a 20-year career with Delta Air Lines, Inc.  During his last six years at Delta he was instrumental in creating Delta’s first dedicated emergency management department, responsible not only for aircraft emergency response procedures, but general emergency preparedness, disaster recovery and business continuity planning.
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Jeff Morgan is widely recognized within the airline industry for creating the program that set the standard for how airlines respond to disaster with the joint Delta/Swissair response to the Flight 111 tragedy in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He also speaks often about the roles of airlines in emergency response to such groups as the Air Transport Association, Flight Safety Foundation, International Air Transport Association, American Association of Airport Executives and others.  He is currently a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers and the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Working Group.

Jeff Morgan currently works with companies around the world, including airlines, rail companies, cruise lines, medical facilities and other corporate/industrial clients. He is a commercial pilot with ratings for single engine land fixed wing aircraft and hot air balloons. He is co-founder and president of the Family Assistance Foundation.

Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

Dr. Carolyn V. Coarsey, President of Higher Resources, Inc., also serves as Executive Vice President of Corporate Philosophy and Family Assistance Programs for Aviem International, Inc. She has an innovative approach to designing effective family assistance training: she interviews survivors, family members, and responders to discover post-accident practices that are helpful and those that are not. These results form the basis for her curricula and approach to working with individuals and families in crisis.

Carolyn created Higher Resources in 1989 and since that time has produced videos and training programs for organizations that are designed to improve post-disaster response. Her training programs Human Services Response™, which highlight the unique role of employee responders of industrial tragedies, are used by aviation and rail companies, cruise lines, oil and gas and multiple agencies and organizations throughout the world.
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She is a family survivor herself of a mass transportation tragedy, having lost her fiancé, on Delta Air Lines Flight 191 in August 1985. She is an airline industry veteran, having worked for Eastern Airlines during three fatal crashes and Braniff International Airlines, where she was Director of Human Resources during shutdown of the airline in May, 1982.

In addition to being a psychotherapist, Carolyn holds a Ph.D. in Training and Learning Technologies from the University of New Mexico, with a program emphasis on managing trauma in the workplace. Her doctoral dissertation, titled Psychological Aftermath of Air Disaster: What Can Be Learned For Training? is one of the first scientific studies of commercial air disaster survivors. Her research has clearly shown the importance of an organization’s employee response on long-term emotional adjustment of survivors. In addition to studying survivors, Carolyn has conducted studies for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board on issues surrounding employee stress. She has also conducted research on the post-traumatic effects of fatal accident response on fire, police and other rescue personnel sponsored by government grants. In 1991 she participated on a task force with the American Hospital Association that developed the guidelines for handling mass transportation disasters. Carolyn has also worked with the US Department of Defense casualty bureau to address issues of dealing with families after military disasters, terrorist attacks and suicides.

In addition to her work at Higher Resources, Carolyn, has conducted training around the world in such diverse areas as Japan, South Africa, Northern Africa, and Europe. She is co-founder, president and executive director of the Family Assistance Education and Research Foundation, a non-profit organization which supports research and education of multidisciplinary response and improved organizational practices for delivery of services to survivors of disasters. Her book The Handbook for Human Services Response details nearly twenty years of her own research as to best practices for helping disaster survivors.

Jeff L. Braun

Jeff Braun is Vice President, Communications for Aviem International, Inc. and the Family Assistance Foundation, Inc. In this role, he guides the communications efforts to support and improve business and industry responses to emergencies and disasters.

In addition to serving as company spokesperson, Braun also leads the crisis communications training that is part of the Foundation’s fully integrated training and support programs.
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Before joining the Foundation’s team, Braun spent 10 years leading the crisis communications practice for a communications consulting firm. In this capacity, he distinguished himself by providing direct assistance and counsel to a wide range of clients in a variety of industry sectors including energy and utilities, technology, chemical, food manufacturing, transportation, hospitality, and retail, among others. Braun’s thorough and engaging techniques have helped to guide individual executives in preparing for crucial media interviews and presentations as well as Fortune 500 companies seeking support with crisis planning and response.

Before entering the training and consulting field, Braun led a distinctive 25-year career as a journalist where he held positions in the field as a reporter and a photographer before ultimately being promoted to the position of evening news anchor. Rounding out this experience, Braun also served as a news director for a CBS affiliate in Texas where he managed a staff of journalists and was involved in the first satellite news-gathering cooperative for CBS News.

Jeff Braun is a graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station. He resides in Cypress, Texas, a suburb of Houston, with his wife and three children.

Ray Gonzalez

Ray Gonzalez is our Director, Client Services and Business Development. He most recently lead Carnival’s Care Team, which is comprised of over 400 land-based and some 4,000 shipboard company employees. These specially trained individuals assist guests, shipboard team members, and shore-side employees who experience a crisis or are involved in a traumatic event while vacationing aboard or working with Carnival. The team travels as needed to ports and locations worldwide to provide emotional and logistical support in various crises and emergency situations. Their training includes handling guests displaced by itinerary deviations and supporting people during the grief and trauma resulting from a more devastating event.

Ray has been involved in over 2,200 such activations in 26 countries and numerous US cities. He led recruiting and all Care Team related training programs for shipboard and shore side employees, port agents, tour operators, and ground handlers.  Ray has worked closely with his counterparts in cruise lines, airlines, and government and private organizations to establish a wide network of support, increase awareness, share best practices and learning opportunities, and foster partnerships. Ray has been engaged in many Mass Rescue Operations and Contingency Planning Exercises to develop strategic, operational and community based plans during an emergency.

Sylvia Farrington

Sylvia Farrington is our Director, Emergency Operations and Special Projects.  She has extensive staff and project management expertise and significant field-based operational experience in over 50 medium-to-catastrophic level federally declared disasters. During her 20-year tenure with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Ms. Farrington gained substantial experience developing public, private, and academic partnerships which resulted in successful, sustainable hazard mitigation initiatives. She has earned advanced certifications in Emergency Preparedness and Response, Incident Command System, Disaster Field Operations Management, Mitigation Planning and Management, the National Response Plan, and has been a contributing author to national policy and institutionalized operational designs.

Ms. Farrington also served as the Director of Emergency Management for the University of North Carolina Asheville.  In this capacity, she directly supervised the University Police, and the Environmental Health and Safety, Transportation, and Telecommunications Departments. She provided leadership and managerial oversight of the University’s training and operational programs for safety, security, emergency management and campus-wide transit. Her work was recognized for the development of collaborative partnerships with local, state and federal agencies; private and public sector entities to support UNC Asheville’s mission and strategic goals for emergency preparedness and response.

Ms. Farrington previously worked as a Senior Education Consultant/Program Implementation Specialist, providing consulting services to over 100 businesses and urban school districts for adult education programs.  She updated training methodologies and designed integrated education technology products and services for adult education curricula and employability skills programs.  Prior to educational consulting, she successfully worked as an AT&T Southeast Region Project Manager for call center development, customer service protocols and large team management for residential services.

She has served in voluntary positions and on the Board of Directors for several non-profit organizations providing job training, educational and life skills instructional services and resources in underserved communities.

Ms. Farrington holds a B.A. in Mathematics, from Columbia University, New York and is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM), with the International Association of Emergency Managers.  She currently resides in Tampa, Florida.

James Yatras

James is Vice President, Asia Pacific, of Aviem International, servicing clients throughout Asia, Australia, the Pacific and supporting Aviem International globally when his expertise is required.

Prior to his career in aviation, James worked in the finance industry as an IT Infrastructure Manager, where he developed business continuity and disaster recovery processes, designing fault tolerant systems architectures as well as managing service delivery and project management teams.
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Over the last decade, James held a number of roles within Virgin Australia, and his achievements include the project management of its first international subsidiary (Pacific Blue) and its MRO (Virgin Tech). James developed the Virgin Australia enterprise wide risk management framework with an emphasis on the practical application of risk to improve safety and business outcomes and which formed the foundation for the airlines Safety Management System.

During his time at Virgin Australia, James worked relentlessly to establish the Virgin Australia emergency response program. James expanded this program to Africa, Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific where he delivered training and used a risk based approach to ensure the capability of the program addressed the unique challenges in international locations as Virgin Australia expanded its operations. James was also instrumental in developing the highly successful Virgin Australia Special Assistance program.

James has responded to a variety of crisis events both domestically and internationally including Earthquakes, Floods, Tsunamis, Volcanic Ash, Mass Food Poisoning Events, Major IT Systems Failures in addition to a number of major aviation related responses for which he has received a letter of thanks from the Australian Minister of Aviation.

For the last 23 years James has been lovingly married to his wife Tracey, and together they raised a family, with two sons, Kirk and Luke.

Russell Goutierez

Russell Goutierez is Vice President, Operations and Business Development.  Russell’s  background in aviation and public safety includes over two decades of planning, operations and real-world responses. He possesses a unique blend of knowledge, experience and perspective gained by progressing from the front lines to leading a 1,300 member disaster response team.

Russell worked in various functional areas at American Airlines and was among the first volunteers for that carrier’s groundbreaking CARE Team. He responded to several major disasters in roles including Command Center Leader and Long-Term Family Liaison before eventually becoming the program’s manager.  In that capacity, Russell directed the team’s widely praised 1999 response to the Flight 1420 accident in Little Rock, Arkansas. Other notable contributions include principal authorship of the airline’s Survivor/Family Assistance Plan; serving as a liaison to family advocacy groups, government and non-government agencies, and other airlines; and testifying at the invitation of the federal Task Force on Assistance to Families of Aviation Disasters. Read more about Russell ›

Russell later worked in municipal emergency communications and with an industry-leading personal effects recovery provider. He has consistently earned the respect of his peers and has built an outstanding reputation for integrity and advancing the emergency management profession. One example is the LinkedIn group he founded in 2009 for emergency planners to share their experience, knowledge and best practices.

Russell also serves as VP, Operations and Member Support for the Family Assistance Foundation. He and his wife live northwest of Atlanta and enjoy spending time with family, traveling and gardening. 

Joan Daley Sewell

Joanie joined the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in 1986 and retired in 2015 after 29 years’ service. The majority of her service was spent as a detective investigating serious crime. Her passion for and commitment to family liaison was strengthened when working as a Family Liaison Officer (FLO) on the Homicide Directorate. In 2001, she joined the MPS Family Liaison Team and worked on terrorist attacks, air, sea and rail crashes and mass fatalities in natural disasters. As a Family Liaison Advisor (FLA), Joanie was also responsible for the training of MPS FLOS’s and Family Liaison Co-ordinator’s, and Disaster Victim Identification training.
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Joanie has performed FLA roles for a large number of high profile incidences which include the UK response to the September 11th 2001 terrorist activities in the USA working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London as well as being sent to New York to assist British and American families. She was the UK’s FLA for the bombings in Bali in 2002 the British Compound in Riyadh in 2003 and at the British Consular in Istanbul in 2003, the 2004 Tsunami in South East Asia, the London bombings of 7th July 2005, the Bahrain boat disaster in 2006, the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011, the 2014 Malaysian air crash in Ukraine and the Tunisian Beach massacre of holiday makers in June 2015.

Joanie also worked closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the kidnaps of two British citizens in Iraq in 2004, Margaret Hassan and Ken Bigley who were both subsequently murdered and the kidnap of Annette Flannigan in 2004, in Afghanistan who was safely rescued. Jihadist terror groups were suspected of involvement in all three cases, which were not only politically sensitive, but received a huge amount of media coverage. Joanie’s role was to advise senior diplomats with Family Liaison Deployment Strategies and provide specialist strategic and tactical advice to Ministers for questions in the Houses of Parliament and to brief and support the FLO’s deployed to the families of the hostages.

Joanie together with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office produced a document “Guidance and Good Practice for Consular Staff and Family Liaison Officers Working Together Overseas”. She has also worked with the Home Office and contributed to a publication “Information for the Bereaved” and she was instrumental in setting up a Freephone 0800 telephone number for Police Officers and Notification Officers within the Armed Services on how to deliver a death notification.
In 2004 the Ambassador of the Embassy of the United States of America (Public Affairs Section) invited Joanie to participate in the International Visitors Program where she visited five cities, Atlanta, Washington, San Francisco, Denver and New York. She met with experts in their fields of interest from public and private sectors. Through these experiences; she gained deeper insights into the US democracy, society and culture and appreciated the diversity of opinions also perspectives among Americans.

In 2006, the Foreign Secretary and the head of the Consular Section at the FCO nominated Joanie to be honoured in her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday honours list. She was awarded a Member of the British Empire medal (MBE) for her services to family Liaison especially involving incidences overseas. Joanie’s work raised the profile of the MPS as an organisation and proved it can deliver a high quality service wherever in the world in London and when British Citizens require it.

During her police service, Joanie received 16 Commendation Awards for her professionalism, investigation and compassion from the Police Commissioner, Senior Police Officers and Judges.
Joanie was introduced to Dr. Carolyn Coarsey and her work with Human Services Response™ in 2001, which truly inspired her, and she has been fortunate to work with Dr. Coarsey and represent Aviem International and the Family Assistance Foundation many times since.

Sandra Novak

Sandra Novak is a social worker who divides her time between a clinical practice in Hollywood, Florida and as Director, Care Team Operations for Aviem International and the Family Assistance Foundation. Sandra is also a trainer/facilitator of family assistance and employee support programs for Aviem International and the Family Assistance Foundation.

After 30 years with Delta Air Lines, Sandra’s second career in mental health began after many of her flying partners died in an air disaster in 1985. Determined to understand how survivors (victims, families, and employees) could be better supported by the mental health field as well as the organization they worked for, Sandra began the work she does today as a therapist specializing in crisis and trauma response.
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Sandra has trained airline, cruise line, industrial and healthcare employees on how to assist victims and families as well as other responders following traumatic loss in the workplace. She has personally assisted families and employees at major air disasters such as Swissair 111, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 1998; Comair 5191 in Lexington, Kentucky, August, 2006; and Santa Barbara Airlines 518, February, 2008. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Sandra was instrumental in assisting numerous flight crews in their ability to regain their trust in flying and return to the cabin and cockpit.

In addition to Sandra’s clinical experience and training expertise in trauma response and support, she has also performed work with victims of domestic violence in the court system, group and individual cases with families and children in cases involving emotional, physical and sexual abuse, inpatient and out patient treatment with dually diagnosed patients, and chemically dependent adults and children.