Waterfront view in downtown Norfolk, VA

Meet The Team

RISE is guided by a team of professionals committed to helping innovators, entrepreneurs and coastal communities respond to the growing challenges of climate change and sea level rise.

Executive Director
Dr. Paul A. Robinson

Dr. Paul Robinson is dedicated to expediting the development of innovative technologies in the resilience sector. Funded at $10M, RISE grows resilience-related businesses in the coastal Virginia region and assists in access to the worldwide market for their technologies.

Dr. Robinson is the founder and CEO of AeroTech Research, a company specializing in weather hazard detection for aircraft. He is also Senior Advisor to Focus Investment Bank in the areas of government, aerospace and defense. He is also a member of a local angel investment groups 757 Angels and Abundance 360, and works with several startups in technical and managerial roles.

Dr. Katerina Oskarsson
Senior Advisor
Dr. Katerina Oskarsson

Dr. Katerina Oskarsson works as a consultant to NATO and as the Adjunct Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University. Previously, she was the Deputy Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Norfolk where she worked on the development and implementation of the City’s Resilience Strategy as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative, and a winning proposal of $120 million from the HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition. Her work has been published by the Stanford University Press, NATO, and a range of policy and academic journals. Dr. Oskarsson earned B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Old Dominion University.

Resilience Project Manager
Barbara Walker

Barbara Walker works as a Consultant for the City of Norfolk for the Department of Homeland Security’s Flood Apex Program. Previously, she was the Director of Parking Operations for the MacArthur Center in Downtown Norfolk that consisted of 1.6 million square feet and ten levels including a staff of 70 and budget in excess of $3,000,000. Her prior work includes Project Management for Fortune 500 companies, budget management in excess of $20,000,000, and successful Management for large facility rejuvenation projects.

Chief Strategy & Communications Officer
Betsy Hnath

As the Chief Strategy & Communications Officer, Betsy leads the development and execution of the organization’s strategic vision, brand identity and stakeholder engagement. In addition to her 15 years of diverse experience spanning higher education, financial services, and healthcare sectors, Betsy’s personal essays have been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Huffington Post and USA Today.

Paige Dorsett
Financial Administrative Assistant
Paige Dossett

Paige Dossett is a former Operations Manager with over 7 years of experience in the tech sector and a proven track record of success. In her previous roles, she led the development and implementation of Trust and Safety policies and processes, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements while protecting users and maintaining a positive user experience. Paige also has experience in non-profit fundraising, working closely with organizations to help them leverage technology to achieve their goals.

Board of Directors

David Chase

David Chase

Wall Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C.

John Ryan

John Ryan

Board Member,

Rishap Malhotra

Rishap Malhotra

Board Member,
Modern Matter