Homeland Security Industrties Association Launches First State Chapter in Florida

Orlando, FL - The Homeland Security Industries Association (HSIA), a Washington, D.C. based trade association that represents members offering products, technology, and services that support implementation of homeland security policies, launched the first of its state chapters in Florida during Enterprise Florida's "Homeland Security/Defense Business Forum," on May 27th. The HSIA Florida Chapter co-sponsored the event.

"The establishment of the Florida HSIA Chapter is important to the Sunshine State because, first, homeland security is the business of all business and secondly, our state has a vital interest in helping to maintain both the security of our Nation and of the strategic assets of Florida and the Southeast," said Yasmin Tirado-Chiodini, Chair of the Executive Committee of the FL HSIA Chapter, an attorney, and President & CEO of Intelliorg, Inc., a Central Florida woman-and Hispanic-owned technology startup focused on information pattern recognition technology.

"As the first national association focusing solely on the industries contributing to homeland security, HSIA has been interacting at the highest levels of government and the private sector in seeking homeland security solutions. As the first state chapter of HSIA, we plan to extend the leadership to the state and regional level that HSIA has shown nationally and internationally," Ms. Tirado-Chiodini explained. The Florida HSIA Chapter will serve as the national unit's Southeast Regional Center.

"We hope to provide a bridge between the private and public sectors in Florida in the all important task of implementing homeland security policy," she added.

Ms. Tirado-Chiodini said, "The Florida Chapter will follow the national association's model by serving as a vehicle for policy development and advocacy, will track business opportunities for members at federal, state and local levels, will closely follow homeland security legislation for members and will be a valuable networking forum."

Within this platform, Ms. Tirado-Chiodini says she intends to have the Florida HSIA Chapter help provide visibility to the Central Florida Modeling and Simulation community and local technologies, and afford support to small technology businesses pursuing homeland security opportunities.

According to Bruce Aitken President of the National HSIA, who will participate in the Florida event, "HSIA was founded to fill a much needed role for coordination between government and the private sector on homeland security issues.

"The launch of the first HSIA state chapter in Florida marks a major milestone in the strategic goals of HSIA. Florida plays a critical role in homeland security initiatives consistent with the Department of Homeland Security objectives," Mr. Aitken continued.

Two executives from security firms, Bruce deGrazia, an attorney and Chair of HSIA and Joseph D'Agostino, Vice-Chair of HSIA and Executive VP of Haynes Security, in Newark, NJ, joined Mr. Aitken in spearheading the creation of the National HSIA in the summer of 2002.

Since its creation, the National HSIA has signed more than 100 members--including companies such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Bechtel, Fluor, Textron, and Washington International Group--has organized nine task forces with more than 60 participating companies to draft and issue policy papers in eight major areas relevant to homeland security, and has met with staff and Members of the U.S. Congress on the needs for expediting homeland security funding. HSIA also participates as the only private sector representative to the Department of Homeland Security's working group on the creation of guidelines for implementing homeland security advisory system at state and local levels. The association is forming chapters in the United Kingdom, France and Israel in addition to kicking off its state chapter system in the State of Florida.

The HSIA FL Chapter will be hosted by the University of Central Florida Office of Research and Technology Incubator, at their Research Park facility in Orlando.

For more information on the Florida Chapter of HSIA, please contact Yasmin Tirado-Chiodini. Tel. (407) 882-0227, Fax. (407) 882-3583, e-mail: ytchio@hsiafla.org.

For further information on the Homeland Security Industries Association, visit www.hsianet.org.

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