Title: Essentials of Risk Management
Presenter: Larry Brekka, PhD
Date: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 8AM-12PM
Location: George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Nguyen Engineering Building – Room 2608
4511 Patriot Circle
Fairfax, VA 22030
Cost: Free



Closest to Nguyen Engineering Building is Shenandoah Parking Deck on Sandy Creek Way.
Most convenient entrance area to Shenandoah Parking Deck is to take Braddock Road to Roberts Road, turn left on Patriot Circle and right on Sandy Creek Way. Alternatively, you can take University Drive to Patriot Circle and follow Patriot Circle to Sandy Creek Way.


Effective risk management can not only avoid severe technical and functional problems, but reduce costs and build trust between the various participants, including both the developer and the customer. And, it can be done efficiently.

To be fully effective, risk management must take into account more than just the technical development effort. This requires consideration of company or agency strategies and goals, understanding its own technical capabilities, and understanding customer needs. Within the company or agency, there must be complete openness and sharing of the information on risk, and it should be provided and shared by the staff and management of each participating organization. For each risk, all implications and potential solutions must be identified and their potential impact assessed, along with who is affected by ripple effects.

In this presentation we will cover the needed scope of risk management vertically from the project task level through higher management, the tools and procedures required to capture and communicate the findings, the responsibilities of each player in the process, and the value of information from both the developer and customer. Examples will include space system repair on orbit, Y2K, microchip production improvements, education processes, and medical applications. We will also want to discuss insights from the tutorial participants on what they have found works in their field of development and what they think should be added to or deleted from future presentations.


Dr. Brekka received a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, S.M. and Engineer Degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from M.I.T., and a Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University. As a system engineer and analyst, he has participated in the analysis and design of solutions for space systems, IT systems, medical decision processes, education programs, economic development, environmental processes, and education programs. He has created risk management solutions involving these complex systems with technical, business, social, and environmental components.
Examples of his risk management work include environmental studies for water resource programs by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and creation of TRW’s Y2K solution. The latter was selected by Delta Airlines, Bell Atlantic (now Verizon), the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Department of Energy, and the U.S. Air Force. The basic principles were also applied to helping a school for learning disabilities decide to open a full-time school for their students. Under contract to NASA, he contributed to the risk assessment of the systems most required for the first Hubble servicing mission. His other major application of the concepts was to support Infineon, a spin-off of Siemens involved in the development of manufacturing software for advanced chip production. His approach established a new level of trust between TRW and Infineon. Dr. Brekka also applied these concepts to studies for the kidney transplant selection process at Stanford’s Medical Center, and improved triage monitoring in Army Field Hospitals. Dr. Brekka retired from Northrop Grumman in 2009 and does consulting work with a major emphasis on risk management.