Perspectives Series | The Engagement Continues: Illinois's BEOC

Perspectives Series | The Engagement Continues: Illinois's BEOC

February 18, 2016

Healthcare Ready is excited to share the first installment of our new  Perspectives series. Dedicated to highlighting perspectives at every level in the world of healthcare preparedness - public and private, federal and local - this series aims to broaden preparedness conversations.

The Engagement Continues: Illinois’s Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC)

An Integrated Public-Private Partnership for Emergency Management

February 18, 2016 – 'February,' that month when individuals “Reflect, Reevaluate, and Renew” their relationships. Taking this thought one-step further, February could become the month (even after New Year resolutions) to apply the three R’s to professional relationships.  Just undertake “reach out and touch/keep in touch” approaches. Whether the relationship has just begun or is mature, keeping the connections alive requires persistent awareness to detect blind spots, recognize opportunities and strengths, and then tackle challenges to close gaps toward effective and efficient partnership building.

Our public-private collaboration began in 2007 when the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) initiated “The Private Sector Alliance Project” as the framework for public-private partnerships in an emergency management environment. The private sector consists of partners that have assets in Illinois and range from Fortune 100 to 500 companies, small businesses, non-governmental entities, and sector-specific associations. After various iterations of partnership building, the Illinois Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) was born! Today it exists as our foundation for continued initiatives. Integration of the private sector into the emergency management cycle improves the capability to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from disasters/incidents.

For IEMA, the BEOC creates an environment where public and private partners share disaster intelligence, prioritize shared objectives, and coordinate response, recovery/restoration efforts for life safety and life essential protection of critical infrastructure and the environment. The BEOC activates in a physical, virtual, business unified incident command, or hybrid setting, depending upon the situation, and in conjunction with the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). The BEOC also unites with other state BEOCs and public-private partnerships for interconnected activities. We have a close working relationship with our state fusion center, the Statewide Terrorism Intelligence Center, (STIC) for situational awareness and operative response through all-hazards information and disaster intelligence sharing.

Following are two major areas of emphasis for value-added and trusted collaborating at the BEOC:

1. Shared information

  • Gleaned situation awareness and a shared common operating process for effective 360-degree communication and decision support
  • Access to Illinois’ disaster management platform, situational reports, a virtual BEOC portal, and a disaster intelligence public safety room as tools for real-time information exchange

2. Joint Exercises and Workshops

  • Private and Public Sector-led events
  • Consequential strategic and operational responses
  • Core exercise design and planning
  • Shared modeling and simulation
  • Testing business continuity plans
  • Evaluated critical infrastructure interdependencies, dependencies, and supply chain relationships

Thriving partnership stories during disasters and incidents include:

  • Private sector site access during disasters
  • Permits for private sector response and restoration
  • For business consumption
  • GIS maps of the tornadoes used for proactive outreach to customers/clients
  • Curfew information in an affected area
  • Retail and pharmacy opened/closed status
  • State/federal declarations
  • Common operating picture conferencing during flooding
  • Company provided donations “beyond the norm”
  • Business-to-business coordinated responses via the BEOC


Yes, this is a committed relationship. An outreach continuum is crucial to the success of the overall BEOC function. Partnerships need attention to flourish, so choose a timeframe to “Reflect, Reevaluate, and Renew,” then take action – and since it is February, why not do it now? Relationships=Success!

If you are a company or an association and would like to be a part of our BEOC, please contact Edie Casella at or 217.494.7968.

Edie J. Casella, Project Manager – Public-Private Partnerships at Illinois Emergency Management Agency

Edie J. Casella is a 26-year veteran of the Illinois State Police who retired as a Major in the position of Statewide Investigations Administrator.  In her final role, Edie had purview over the coordination and continuity of the department’s investigative body.

After retirement, as a consultant, Edie served as a business process evaluator for information sharing environments with the Microsoft-Illinois Fusion Center initiative and the Washington State Fusion Center project.

Currently, Edie, a Western Illinois University employee, is assigned as Project Manager of the Public-Private Partnership Initiative for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.  She oversees homeland security/emergency management initiatives that engage private industry in the emergency management cycle and promote a collaborative culture of disaster information sharing and coordinated response through the Business Emergency Operations Center.


Contact Information

Edie J. Casella

Western Illinois University

Project Manager, IEMA Public-Private Partnership Initiative

2200 S. Dirksen Parkway

Springfield, IL  62703