ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 27, 2006) -- Ohio University has hired David Hopka as assistant vice president for safety and risk management. He begins on Nov. 13 and will report to Bill Decatur, vice president for finance and administration.
"This position serves to integrate insurance, workers compensation, environmental health and safety, and business continuity and emergency planning," said Decatur. "This integration will allow for better identification of risk and appropriate transfer of risk to save the university money while improving conditions for faculty, staff and students."
Hopka comes to Athens from the University of Toledo, where he worked in a similar position. He arrives with extensive risk management experience through his work with a global medical equipment manufacturer and in the commercial insurance industry.
"The high cost and limited availability of insurance to protect the university from the financial impacts of accidents and other risks represent a significant challenge," Hopka said. "Just buying insurance against risk is not an option. Controlling accidents through attention to safety, health and environmental programs and controlling risks through identification and planning both work and are cost effective. One of my objectives is to combine the university's risk financing and risk control efforts in the right proportion."
Hopka believes that engaging the campus community to understand the importance of a collective risk management culture will add significant value to the process.
"I want to make everyone a part-time risk manager for Ohio University," he said. "This doesn't mean we say no to every risk -- it means we identify them, analyze, plan for and control them."
One of Hopka's risk management cultural objectives will be to create robust emergency preparedness and business continuity plans.
"Successful response to and recovery from a significant event will be proportionate to a process manager's involvement in developing and testing plans," Hopka said. "The planning tools and consultative assistance are positioned and now we simply need to convince process managers to take ownership and move forward."
A Cleveland native, Hopka has a master's degree in biology and an MBA from Cleveland State University. He is an associate in risk management, a board-certified safety professional and a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers.
Hopka and his wife, Nancy, have two adult sons living in Columbus and Detroit. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening and training for triathlons.
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