Kindling is a U.S. based tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2020 to support and inspire fire safety in vulnerable communities around the world. Our interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners have extensive experience in engineering, planning, and social and physical sciences in diverse geographies and sectors, such as the architecture/engineering/ construction industry, international development, humanitarian sector, disaster risk reduction, and public safety. Our team represents 13 countries by nationality and base location. As our organization grows, we aim to become increasingly diverse in backgrounds, experiences, geographies, disciplines, and more.
Board of Directors
Founder & Executive Director
Danielle is the Founder & Executive Director of Kindling. She has a proven track record of establishing and leading cross-discipline and cross-region teams to tackle intractable problems. Before founding Kindling, Danielle was a Senior Fire Safety Consultant with Arup based in the US, UK, and Hong Kong. She led Arup’s global research program on fire safety in informal settlements and established a global multidisciplinary skills group called City Fire Resilience. Previous to Arup, Danielle was a Fire Suppression Systems Researcher and Technical Advisor at Johnson Controls (formerly Tyco). Danielle has a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a M.S. in Fire Protection Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Chair of the Board
Jim has a PhD in refugee camp design, and more than 15 years field experience in disaster-preparedness, post-disaster shelter and settlements, and camp planning. Jim's experience in the field has included countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Jim has worked for the UN, the Red Cross movement, and a number of international NGOs. Jim has also conducted research into fire safety and shelter for the UK government, and is involved in ongoing projects to integrate fire-safety planning with other aspects of safety and protection in camps.
Jim Quiter recently retired as a Principal at Arup, a global design, consulting and engineering firm. His last position with Arup was as Managing Principal of their Los Angeles office, a 300-person multi-discipline office with over $100 Million in revenue in his last year. Other positions at Arup have included being a member of their Board of Trustees, leading global management consulting, leading the Americas fire team, and leading the San Francisco and Chicago offices. Jim has also been an active volunteer. He is a member of the NFPA Standards Council, he is former Chairman of the NFPA Safety to Life Correlating Committee, and he is a Fellow and Past-President of SFPE. He is currently involved writing chapters for the latest editions of both the NFPA and SFPE Handbooks, and in teaching educational courses for SFPE.
Christine is a fire engineering consultant at Arup, based in the Los Angeles office, with previous experience as a consultant for Arup’s London and Boston offices. Christine studied Fire Protection Engineering and has a significant understanding in subjects ranging from enclosure fire dynamics, smoke management, human behavior in fire, suppression system design, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Wildland Urban Interface fires, risk mitigation and resilience strategy. Christine has worked on projects spanning a variety of sectors, including healthcare, residential, rail, education, sports, arts & culture, retail, office and informal settlements. Christine utilizes her global perspective to
consider a variety of design solutions.
Guillermo is Professor of Fire Science at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Imperial College London and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Fire Technology. His research is centred on heat transfer, combustion and fire. The purpose of his work is to reduce the worldwide burden of accidental fires and protect people, their property, and the environment. His work has been recognised internationally with a number of research awards (e.g. 2018 SFPE Guise Medal, 2017 The Engineer Collaborate-to-Innovate Prize, 2017 Combustion Institute Sugden Award, 2016 SFPE Lund Award). He is a motivated teacher, enthusiastic about the education of the next generation of engineers, and passionate about engineering.
For over 20 years Dr. Noah Ryder has focused on understanding fire and explosion’s interaction with both built and natural environments. He presently serves as a Principal Engineer and Managing Partner at Fire & Risk Alliance, LLC. where he leads the Risk, Modeling, Applied Research, and Forensics group. He is a licensed professional fire protection engineer and focuses on how safety can be improved through the use of quantitative risk assessments, hazard evaluations, computer modeling, applied research, and performance-based design. Dr. Ryder has received numerous awards throughout his career and continues to serve the industry with his involvement in various safety focused organizations. He is the former chair of the Technical Committee of the SFPE Foundation and continues to serve as a board member, actively serves on multiple NFPA technical committees, is the former SFPE Chesapeake Chapter President, and frequently publishes and presents his work.
David is VP, Corporate Counsel with the Employment & Labor Law Department at Prudential. He provides counseling and training to internal HR and management clients regarding compliance with all federal and state employment and labor laws, including laws relating to workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and contingent workforce management. He has also conducted hundreds of fact-sensitive and intensive inquiries into allegations of discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, retaliation, ethical violations, and violations of Company policies.
Liz is currently the Global Lead for Construction at INGO Save the Children (SCI), with a varied career in Private sector Architecture, as well as Humanitarian and Development experience with the UN and NGOs, in Shelter, Refugee Site Planning and cross-sector construction programming. She currently supports SCI Country Offices in implementing high quality and safe programming for construction, with a diverse area of accountability in Construction Project Management, Procurement, DRR, Climate Change Adaptation, Inclusive design, Safeguarding and Safety, though the rollout of Construction Policy and Standards. Fire Safety is a core component of this work, with remarkable examples of success such as the nation-wide Fire Risk Reduction project in Lebanon since 2016. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Liz holds a MSc in Sustainability of the Built Environment, Diploma in Architectural Technology, and B:Tech Architecture Applied Design.
Darren has 15+ years’ experience designing and delivering urban and economic development programs for organizations like the World Bank / IFC, UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, European Investment Bank, United Nations, and private foundations. He works as an integrator across disciplines and sectors to deliver policy recommendations, program design, urban strategies, project pipelines and infrastructure investment advice. His north star is grappling with urbanization and climate change.
Head of Educational Research and Delivery
Senior Fire Safety Researcher
Fire Safety Engineer
Dr Helen Underhill is an educational researcher and practitioner. After over a decade teaching in high schools, she gained a PhD in International Development in 2017 that drew on this experience to explore informal and non-formal learning in social movements and community action. Having supported Operation Florian’s ‘train the trainer’ programme of work on fire risk in refugee settings with Save the Children in Lebanon in 2017, Helen went on to secure funding from the British Academy to research gender, fire risk and the possibilities for fire education in informal settlements in Lebanon (supported in her role as Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University). She and Laura Hirst are currently exploring this work together through co-writing. Helen is also interested in the possibilities generated through feminist and post-qualitative methodologies, and in the contribution of critical pedagogy to fire risk reduction and improved fire safety.
Dr Sandra Vaiciulyte is an interdisciplinary researcher in fire safety, and human response to natural hazards. She has a background in sociology, behavioural sciences, fire safety engineering, and international communication and development. Sandra is passionate about bringing together social science and engineering principles to improve safety in urban environments. During her PhD Sandra focused on human response to wildland-urban interface evacuations at the University of Greenwich, London, later joining Arup, London office, where she had hands on experience in fire safety in buildings projects, fire safety research and fire safety education for engineers. Currently Sandra is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Dr Antonio Cicione has a PhD in Engineering from Stellenbosch University. He is an adjunct senior lecturer and lectures in the Principles of Fire Behaviour, Structural Fire Engineering and Numerical Fire modelling at Stellenbosch University. He supervises a number of PhD and Masters students studying a variety of structural and fire engineering topics. He was previously employed as a Research Associate at the BRE Fire Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. He has been involved in numerous fire experiments, and has burned down more that 70 full-scale houses for research. He was also part of a team that conducted a number of large-scale fire experiments at the Underwriters Laboratories in Chicago. Dr Cicione has published a number of international journal and conference papers on a variety of fire and structural related papers. He consults to industry regarding specialist fire engineer projects, performs rational fire designs and conducts fire investigations. Dr Cicione is a committee member of SAICE’s fire division.
Fire Safety Researcher
Laura Hirst is a PhD researcher at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, working in collaboration with Operation Florian. Her research investigates vulnerability to fire risk in low income settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, using qualitative methods to understand how everyday urban fire risk is created, experienced and responded to by different stakeholders. As well as her research in Kenya, Laura was a key member of the Operation Florian team which carried out a fire risk assessment of refugee settings for Save the Children Lebanon, and supports further research on gender and learning around fire risk response in resource poor urban settings.
Reasat is a passionate and seasoned development professional and Commonwealth Scholar with 9 years of work experience in international development at the national and international levels. He has a proven track record of successful program development, project design and management, research, fundraising, donor management, and strategic partnership development. Until September 2020, Reasat lead program development, resource mobilization, strategy, innovation and real-time data management teams of BRAC Urban Development Program in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is currently a Doctoral Researcher in Economics focusing on Climate Change & Urban Migration at The University of Westminster. Reasat also has a BSc in Electrical Engineering and a MA in Urban Planning with a focus on urban resilience.
Dr. Lesley Gibson is a geographer and interdisciplinary researcher with a particular interest in geospatial science and its application across disciplines. Her PhD involved the use of remote sensing to estimate evapotranspiration, and her Master’s dissertation focussed on wetland mapping with remote sensing. She spent over three years at the University of Edinburgh, UK, where she was a postdoctoral researcher in fire safety for international development and was involved with the IRIS-Fire project where she applied geospatial techniques to map and understand fire spread in Cape Town’s informal settlements. She is grounded both practically and academically in the use of remote sensing and GIS. She has worked in a variety of settings in South Africa including science councils, a private consultancy, and a nature conservation agency. She is freelancing part-time as a Fire Safety Researcher at Kindling and is an Extraordinary Associate Prof. at Stellenbosch University at the Dept. of Civil Eng.
Kaitlin has spent her career creating impact. She builds on a broad skill set to develop innovative strategies that reach across industries and bridge diverse groups. Passionate about social entrepreneurship, rewarding partnerships; and innovative approaches to challenges in development. Experience in Indonesia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Liberia, Haiti & Kyrgyzstan. Kaitlin established an online platform, PLUS, that connects social entrepreneurs to opportunities and helps them grow by offering business consultations. PLUS is the go-to resource for information on social entrepreneurs in Indonesia, and is the first to develop a publicly available directory of social enterprises across the country.
George has significant experience in the design and supervision of structural and fire safety engineering projects. He joined Ove Arup in 1981 and worked as a structural engineer on a wide variety of projects in Africa, Europe and Asia until 1996. In 1997 he joined Arup Fire in London to pursue fire engineering and in 2002 he moved to Spain to set up a fire safety team. Since March 2019 George has been working with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as Chief Technical Advisor on the "Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Industry" programme.
John Twigg is an Honorary Professor at University College London, an independent researcher and consultant on disaster risk reduction, and a co-editor of the journal Disasters. His research interests include community-based approaches, extensive risks, early warning systems, socio-economic vulnerability to disasters, policy and institutional aspects of disaster management, post-disaster transitions and urban resilience.
Dr David Rush is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, where he obtained his PhD in Fire Safety Engineering in 2013. His two main current research projects focus on fires in the informal settlements and slums of Cape Town (IRIS-Fire) and Nairobi (Tomorrow’s Cities), respectively. Using a combination of; quantitative and qualitative social surveys; state-of-the-art multi-scale experiments; computational fluid dynamics modelling; and unique and novel applications of existing satellite data and analysis, David and his team are developing tools and methods to understand and improve the resilience of these settlements to fire. David is a member of ISO/TC92/WG14 - Large outdoor fires and the built environment; was invited to give a keynote talk to the Institute of Fire Engineers Centenary Conference entitled, “Informal Settlement Fires: ‘Young people and fire; reducing risks and saving lives’”; and in 2018 received an EPSRC Recognising Inspiring Scientists and Engineers: Making Connections Award.
Darlene Rini, PE, is a Senior Engineer in the Greater Los Angeles area where she leads the Wildfire Risk Mitigation practice. She has 18 years of experience as a project manager, fire engineer and team leader on a broad range of projects in the built environment in the US and abroad. Darlene's diverse knowledge has allowed her to apply her fire engineering expertise in broader contexts, specifically disaster risk management and societal resilience in developing and developed-country contexts. She integrates qualitative and quantitative socio-technical approaches to comprehensively assess societal risk and develop practical hazard mitigation/ management strategies at the city/county scale.
Fire Safety Education Advisory Panel
Anthony is a staff member in the Fire Research Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) located in Gaithersburg, MD (USA). He has a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from the University of California at San Diego. His research interests include fundamental fire science and its application to fire protection and fire safety standards. He served as Vice-Chair of the International Association of Fire Safety Science and Chair of the Research Advisory Committee of the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Fire Protection Research Foundation. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Fire Safety Journal.
Zoe Susice is the Director, Research Amplification for UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI). She is responsible for leading marketing and enabling functions as well as strategic communications and public safety outreach to amplify the impact of FSRI’s research-driven insights. A member of the NFPA Educational Messaging Advisory Committee and Vision 20/20 Strategy 2 task group, Zoe also leads the UL217 Steering Committee that develops smoke alarm safety content for the UL enterprise, as well as the Close Before You Doze campaign. Prior to joining FSRI, Zoe held progressive roles in communications, marketing and strategy at consumer brands including Panasonic, Frank’s RedHot, and Pepperidge Farm and across UL, most recently as the Director, Strategy & Marketing for Underwriters Laboratories.
Muhammad is the Education Program Manager at ATAA for humanitarian Relief Association with 8+ years in the humanitarian field. He provides technical and strategic support to the Education (Formal, Non-Formal Education, Technical Vocational Education to vulnerable children, youth and adults) sector in the Emergency context in Northwest Syria. He helps to build the capacity of teachers during this emergency context and to raise awareness regarding important topics related to education and child rights to education. His goal is to help vulnerable children affected by conflict to receive quality basic education in child-friendly and safe environments.
Hanan is a survivor and bereaved of the Grenfell Tower fire that took place in London, 14th June 2017 where she lost five members of her family in the fire: her brother, his wife and their three children aged 20, 15 and 8. Hanan is a Grenfell Community Representative for the Grenfell Memorial Commission, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities and Local Government. Engaging and working with primary and secondary schools to support students whose lives have been impacted by the Grenfell tragedy. Committed to making a positive difference to children and young people, Hanan has more than 20 years’ experience in teaching, youth work and education, and she is a qualified and experienced primary school teacher. Hanan is resilient and organised, compassionate and creative, and has a breadth of life and work experience to draw upon. She has a community spirited approach to life and is committed to making a positive difference to children and young people.
George is a Colonel and Head of the Technical-Administrative Advisory of the General Commander's Office at the Federal District Military Fire Department (CBMDF/Brazil), where he has been leading research projects to improve fire prevention, firefighting, and fire investigation methods since 1994. He also works as a firefighter's instructor and fire investigator (urban and wildland). He was a guest researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL/USA) from 1999 to 2001 and a guest researcher at the Fire Fighting Technology Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST/USA), working on Fire Fighter Respirator Characterization and Fire Fighter Protective Clothing Performance Model projects, from 2009 to 2011. He was a research associate at the University of Brasília (UnB/Brazil) and co-advisor in graduate programs at the University of Brasilia, as well as the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRS/Brazil) and the University of Coimbra (UC/Portugal).
Eduard Tapia Bertran
Born and raised in Barcelona (Spain), Eduard has had a wide range of educational and professional experiences in relation to community mediation, conflict resolution, positive communication, and social services and social rights. He graduated in Political Science from the University of Barcelona, and specialized in conflict resolution studying a master’s degree in the same university; as well as a master’s degree on family law and children’s rights. He became a master on Models and Strategies for Social and Educational Action in Childhood and Adolescence. He is a conflict mediator in both the public and private sectors for communities and families. He has experience working in the charity sector fighting against youth homelessness (in London) and women’s rights (in Barcelona), and on social harmony projects for different town halls around Barcelona. He is currently coordinating community and educational projects, working as community mediator, and working towards his PhD about restorative practice as a model of respecting and taking care of children in residential settings in Chile.