15 years of Kestrel

  • July 5, 2018
  • Uncategorized

The origins

In 2003 Kestrel was established to assist the emergency management sector adapt to the many changes required by the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act that was introduced in 2002.

As one of the founders, Dave Brunsdon had been closely involved in both Lifelines engineering and emergency management during the 1990s and early 2000s. He was joined by directors Michele Daly and Gavin Treadgold, and they were supported during the challenging start-up phase of the business by Kristin Hoskin and Debbie Cunningham.

A key element of emergency management is being prepared to respond. Kestrel became involved in facilitating exercises for organisations, and in some cases, whole sectors (for example, the gas sector exercises in 2003 and 2004).  This grew into the co-ordination of a number of national multi-agency exercises.

Kestrel also became involved in the development of national readiness and response resources such as the arrangements for rapid building assessments following earthquakes. Additionally, Dave was closely involved in the development of New Zealand’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) capability. He led the USAR engineering team for almost a decade including during the response to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Michele, Gavin, Kristin and Debbie moved on to other challenges and a new leadership team that included Karen Stephens and Sandra Pedersen was established.

Industry leaders in crisis management and business continuity

Major events such as the Christchurch earthquake and the rise of cybercrime heightened global awareness of the need for organisations to be prepared and practiced. Karen and Sandra responded to this increased demand for business continuity and crisis management planning by establishing a new model for delivery of these services.

With Karen and Sandy’s expertise and many years of experience, Kestrel developed a process for organisations to create their own business continuity plans. In recent years, Kestrel has developed more creative and contemporary exercises, so companies can practice how to respond to realistic scenarios.

Kestrel is now the largest private company delivering crisis management consultancy services in New Zealand. Many of New Zealand’s major organisations rely on Kestrel’s support for building and maintaining their crisis response capability.

Kestrel’s reputation as leaders in resilience planning has attracted some of New Zealand’s most experienced and respected people in their fields. David Middleton, John Hamilton and Alisha Kidd have joined the Kestrel team and are contributing to the high-quality work we do.  More recently Mike Stannard has joined Dave on the building engineering side of the practice, adding his vast knowledge and experience to the capability that Lisa Moon has provided for a number of years working for us in Christchurch, principally for the Ministry of Education.

Innovators in crisis management

In 2014 Kestrel welcomed Michelle Isaac to the team.  With an IT background, Michelle was perfectly positioned to help develop the company’s mobile crisis management app, Talon. Increasingly we found that management teams don’t use traditional paper-based plans in a crisis. Executives now expect information to be delivered digitally, right at their fingertips. With valuable input and feedback from our clients, Talon is now an integral part of crisis management for many leading New Zealand companies.

With the launch of Talon in 2016, Kestrel repackaged its crisis management and exercises under the banner ‘Wingspan’ and launched its new website.

What the future holds

A great part of the success of Kestrel has been its people and the partnerships we’ve made with various organisations, including both government agencies and business.  Kestrel aims to maintain a team that’s at the top of their game and provides consulting services to the highest standards.