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'Sully' Sullenberger keynotes HFES 54th Annual Meeting

SANTA MONICA, CARetired US Airways Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III will be the keynote speaker during the Opening Plenary Session of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society's 54th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Sullenberger, who masterfully landed Flight 1549 on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, will address how preparation, training, and leadership make all the difference when confronting a challenge. "Preparing for Excellence: Leading Your Team to Success" will be presented the morning of Tuesday, September 28, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, Embarcadero Center.

"As a lifelong safety advocate, I clearly understand the critical importance of designing systems to assign to people what they do best, and to machines, what is appropriate for them to do," Sullenberger said. "I know from long personal experience how vital a task this is in aviation, particularly as newer aircraft incorporate increasing levels of automation. I look forward to speaking to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society on this and other topics in our ongoing efforts to achieve the highest level of safety, performance, and compatibility in every area in which people and machines interact."

Although many know about Sullenberger's heroic actions on January 15, 2009, few have an understanding of the depth of his preparation, and how lives depended on his training every day. From his early career as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, to his ongoing work in commercial aviation as a pilot and safety trainer, Sullenberger's life-long pursuit of learning and investing in himself shows the importance of education and preparedness, and illustrates that true leaders must always lead by example. He also will address the importance of organizational culture and how best to allow for human factors when promoting safety.

Prior to Sullenberger's address, HFES President Kathleen L. Mosier will present "Human Factors in Aviation: A Brief (and Selective) History" to set the stage for the keynote. Mosier is a professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. She has been conducting research in expert decision making for almost 20 years as a senior research scientist at NASA Ames and currently as a principal investigator on NASA- and FAA-funded research.

Following the Opening Plenary Session, more than 500 presentations are scheduled in more than 100 concurrent sessions through Friday, October 1. Topics cover HF/E aspects of a diverse range of areas, including surface and air transportation, health care, cognitive engineering, human performance modeling, virtual environments, computer hardware and software design, product design, aging, training, test and evaluation, environmental design, and system development.

Here are a few highlights from the technical program:

  • "Green" Ergonomics: Advocating for the Human Element in Buildings (Tuesday, September 28, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon)
  • Privacy Issues and User Attitudes Toward Targeted Advertising: A Focus Group Study (Tuesday, September 28, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.)
  • Emotional Intelligence and Driver Stress (Tuesday, September 28, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.)
  • The Effects of Text Messaging on Driver Distraction: A Biobehavioral Analysis (Wednesday, September 29, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon)
  • Blasphemy or Pragmatics: When NOT to Follow User-Centered Design Techniques (Wednesday, September 29, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.)
  • Assessing the Performance of Common Tasks on Handheld Mobile Computers (Thursday, September 30, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon)
  • Effectiveness of Team Building and Team (Thursday, September 30, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon)
  • Tele-Ergonomics: A Novel Approach to Computer Workstation Ergonomic Assessment and Modification (Thursday, September 30, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. )
  • Chronic Disease Management: Improving Continuity of Care With Human Factors Engineering (Thursday, September 30, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.)
  • Training Requirements of a Video GameBased Cognitive Intervention for Older Adults: Lessons Learned (Friday, October 1, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon)

The full technical program can be searched online at

The meeting will also feature hands-on workshops geared toward professionals at all levels (CEU credit is available). Attendees will have the chance to browse book, service, and product exhibits; tour technical and research facilities in the area; and attend special events. The On-Site Career Center will be available to help match job seekers with employers.

Complete details about the 54th Annual Meeting page are available at


Contact: Lois Smith
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

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