In Focus contributors are distinguished subject matter specialists from AIR's multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers, actuaries and statisticians, software developers and business analysts. Our internationally respected experts come from many different backgrounds, with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, but they are all innovative thinkers at the leading edge of their chosen professions.

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Following are contributors for our blog:

Luxi Zhou

Luxi Zhou is an Engineer in Catastrophe Fire Modeling in AIR’s Research Department. Previously, Luxi worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an atmospheric scientist, investigating the impacts of wildfires and agriculture burns on air quality, and the impact of air quality on solar energy production. Prior to EPA, Luxi worked at University of Helsinki as Graduate Research Assistant modeling atmospheric chemistry and new particle formation. She earned a BS, an MS and a PhD in Physics from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

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Marc Marcella

Marc Marcella is a Senior Manager and Principal Scientist in AIR's Research and Modeling Group. With a background in numerical weather prediction and regional climate modeling using dynamical downscaling techniques of general circulation models, he works on both meteorology and hydrology projects in the Flood Group. Marc's current focus is on methodologies for modeling precipitation from both tropical and non-tropical cyclone rainfall for AIR's flood models. Prior to joining AIR's consulting office in San Francisco in 2013, he worked on the development and improvement of numerical models via physically, statistically, and empirically based schemes, and examined biosphere- atmosphere interactions over West Africa and the Middle East using regional climate models. He earned a dual B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences and Biological and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University, and an MS. and Ph.D. in Hydrometeorology from MIT.

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Margot Doucet

Margot Doucet is a Risk Consultant with AIR Worldwide. As a part of the consulting and client services team, Margot supports clients primarily in the reinsurance and broker segments as well as provides internal support out of the Munich, Germany office for AIR’s flood research team. Margot received her MSc degree in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Munich in 2016. Prior to working at AIR,​ she worked as a researcher in flood modelling at the University of Stuttgart and worked in Canada ​as an environmental engineer in the ​geotechnical consulting field​​.

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Mark Hope

Mark Hope joined AIR in 2013 as an Atmospheric Scientist in our Research Department. Most recently, he was a graduate student working in the Computational Hydraulics Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, where he worked on the implementation and development of the SWAN+ADCIRC coastal circulation model. He worked in conjunction with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to develop the Texas Gulf Coast computational grid as well as a parametric study of storm surge risk for the Hawaiian Islands. Prior to this, Mark held a position as an intern at FM Global, where he studied effects of varying wave parameters in the SWAN wave model on coastal and inland water levels for Hurricane Ike. Mark has earned a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Marquette University and is completing a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. (Note: Mark left AIR in 2015.)

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Mark Szretter

Mark Szretter is a Manager, Client Relations in AIR's Business Development group and is responsible for market outreach and client support across the region of Latin America. He supports clients in the insurance, reinsurance, and intermediary markets across Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. He has extensive experience working with companies to leverage data analytics and information systems to improve real-time management of complex business challenges. Mark holds a B.A. in Spanish and Latin-American studies from the University of Massachusetts and an M.B.A. and an M.S. of Information Science from Boston University.

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Matthew Gewing

Matthew Gewing is a Manager in the Consulting and Client Services group, supporting several primary insurance clients. Prior to joining AIR, Matthew held a position as a Meteorologist/Product Specialist with Trinity Consultants, Inc., an environmental consulting firm. He holds a B.S. in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University, and has achieved the designation of Certified Extreme Event Modeler by completing the requirements of the AIR Institute Certified Extreme Event Modeler Program.

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Megan Zimmerman

Megan Zimmerman is a Senior Scientist I at AIR. She joined AIR in 2016 and is primarily responsible for seismic hazard research in the Caribbean, Central American and South American regions. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics with a concentration in Earth Science from The College of New Jersey in 2011 and a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from The University of Florida in 2016.

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Mehrdad Mahdyiar

Mehrdad Mahdyiar is Vice President in Earthquake Hazard for AIR's Research and Modeling Group. He has more than 20 years of experience in earthquake engineering, seismology, and numerical analysis. His work includes developing regional seismicity models, ground motion and site amplification studies, earthquake time dependent rupture forecast modeling, faults interactions, and general numerical modeling on natural perils. He received an M.S. in Civil Engineering (Hydraulics and Hydrology) and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of California.

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Melanie Parker

Melanie Parker joined AIR in 2012 as a Scientist in our Research and Modeling Department. Prior to AIR, Melanie was a graduate student at Yale University where she earned both her Masters of Philosophy and Doctorate of Philosophy in Geology & Geophysics.

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Meredith Kraner

Meredith Kraner joined AIR in 2018 as an Associate Scientist in Research and Modeling department. Prior to AIR, Meredith worked as a geophysicist for both Stony Brook University and the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno where she conducted research on the South Napa Earthquake and the San Andreas Fault in California. She also completed an internship with UNAVCO, Inc. evaluating real time GPS processing systems for earthquake early warning and tsunami warning applications. Meredith earned her B.S. in Geology from Stony Brook University and M.S. in Geophysics from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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Michal Clavner

Michal Clavner joined AIR in 2016 as a Scientist in our Research and Modeling Department. Prior to working with AIR, Michal was employed at the Department of Atmospheric Science Cloud Processes Group at Colorado State University as a Graduate Research Assistant where she used a mesoscale cloud resolving numerical model to analyze severe weather events. She also worked as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Earth Science Institute at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, where she performed statistical analysis examining the trend between modeled aerosol concentrations and forecasted tropical cyclone intensity errors in the Atlantic Basin. Michal earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Geophysics and Planetary Sciences from Tel-Aviv University in Israel, her Masters Degree in Atmospheric Science from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University.

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Milan Simic

As Executive Vice President and Managing Director of International Operations, Dr. Milan Simic is responsible for business development, strategic growth initiatives, and client services in London, Munich, Beijing, Tokyo,and Singapore. Milan has more than 25 years of experience in risk assessment, engineering consulting, teaching, and research. He is a Chartered Engineer through the UK Institution of Civil Engineers, a regular speaker at catastrophe-related conferences and has authored numerous papers and articles on insurance loss assessment and soil-structure interaction. He is also a member of the OECD's High-Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large-Scale Catastrophes. He earned his M.Sc. in Hydraulic Structures from the University of Belgrade and a Ph.D. in Earthquake Engineering from the University of Bristol.

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Min Liu

Min Liu is a manager of client service in AIR’s Beijing Office. In this role, she works closely with clients to effectively manage their risk workflows using AIR’s software solutions, including performing catastrophe analyses, interpreting model results, providing software training, and optimizing use of AIR’s models. Min has an M.S. from and a B.S. from Beijing Normal University.

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Nalan Senol Cabi

Nalan Senol Cabi joined AIR in 2012 as a Hydraulic Engineer in the Research and Modeling Department and is now a Senior Engineer. Most recently, she was employed at Symmes Maini & McKee Associates in Cambridge, MA as a Civil Engineer, where she performed stormwater management practices and hydrologic analysis. Nalan is involved with the nonprofit organization Engineers Without Borders (EWB), where she is the team leader of water technology group in a project in Tanzania and a mentor for the EWB-MIT chapter in a project in Uganda.

Nalan earned her second M.S. in Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Water Resources at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, and her first M.S. in Hydromechanics at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Nalan has also earned a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) license. (Note: Nalan left AIR in 2016.)

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Narges Dorratoltaj

Narges Dorratoltaj joined AIR in 2016 as a Scientist in our Research and Modeling Group. She earned two degrees from Virginia Tech; an MPH with a concentration in Infectious Diseases, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences with a focus on the mathematical modeling of Infectious Diseases. Narges received a second Master's degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Southern California.

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Natalie Love

Natalie Love joined AIR in 2013 as the Data Services Lead, having spent 13 years in the London Insurance market. Her previous experience in supporting Operations teams within the market led to a natural progression at AIR within Data Services.

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Naveen Venkat Aachi

Naveen Venkat Aachi joined AIR's Hyderabad office in March 2010 as a Senior Business Development Executive in the Client Services Group. He has an M.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Toledo in Ohio. Prior to AIR, Naveen was associated with RMSI, Hyderabad as Project Manager Spatial Modeling Group and before that with the Office of Environmental Engineering, Caltrans, Oakland, CA as a Transportation Engineer.

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Nicholas Brewer

Nicholas Brewer is a Risk Analyst at AIR. He joined AIR in 2018 and is responsible for contributing to regulatory submissions and handling regulatory client questions. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bryant University.

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Nicolai Thum

Nicolai Thum is a Senior Research Associate in AIR's Munich office. Prior to joining AIR in 2010, Nicolai worked as a freelance consultant analyzing weather induced risks in gross sales. He holds a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from Oregon State University.

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Nita Madhav

Nita Madhav is a Senior Scientist in the Research and Modeling group, where she leads development of AIR's pandemic model. Prior to joining AIR in 2005, Nita worked in the Special Pathogens branch of the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She earned her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with Distinction, from Yale University, and her MSPH in Epidemiology from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Her background is in the epidemiology of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, and the statistical modeling of disease spread. Note: Nita left AIR in 2015.

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Oscar Vergara

Dr. Oscar Vergara is a Manager in AIR's Business Development group, responsible for providing client support and services for the agricultural risk markets. He also oversees the current offerings of AIR agricultural portfolio risk management products and services to global reinsurers, brokers, insurance companies, multilateral institutions, and governments. Oscar received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Mississippi State University in 2001. His doctoral thesis focused on new and traditional risk management methods available to U.S. crop producers, focusing on commercial producers and limited-resource farmers. After completing his doctoral degree, Oscar joined the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Rome, Italy, as a program consultant. While there, he analyzed the economic impact of the WFP food aid program in Morocco, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Senegal, Angola, and Namibia.

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Pamela Eck

Pamela Eck is a Scientist in AIR’s Cyber Risk Modeling group. She focuses on the impact of silent cyber on commercial property. She earned a B.S. in Geoscience from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an M.S. in Atmospheric Science from University at Albany, SUNY.

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Peter Baltatzidis

Peter Baltatzidis is a Senior Director in AIR's Product Management group. He is part of the product management team that helped successfully launch Touchstone®, which has gained wide acceptance across the marketplace. He now guides several new Touchstone initiatives and supports efforts to ensure a positive user experience and workflow for clients. Peter also oversees the development of AIR's Integration Solutions, an API (application programming interface) that enables data and analytics to be embedded into existing applications and workflows-on the desktop,web, and cloud. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from the Olin School ofBusiness at Babson College.

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Peter Civitenga

Peter Civitenga is a Senior Account Executive within AIR’s Business Development group and is responsible for providing service and support to AIR clients within the insurance broker market. Before joining AIR he gained more than 15 years of experience in the software industry and the insurance/financial sector. Peter earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

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Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis is AIR’s Director, Technical Services. He is responsible for developing and executing information technology initiatives in support of AIR's business operations. He also leads AIR's technical support and Integration Solution teams, which are responsible for the maintenance and support of AIR's hosted and desktop applications in addition to custom integration with customer's systems. Peter is a Microsoft® Certified Professional specializing in systems support and database administration. Peter holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Northeastern University.

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