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Robert F. Smallwood is an American writer and technologist born in 1959 in Davenport, Iowa. He grew up in nearby Bettendorf, where he was an athletic, academic, and musical standout. After attending the University of Massachusetts Boston on a scholarly exchange program he graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1982 with honors and degrees in Business Management and Psychology. In 2000, Smallwood completed work on his Master of Business Administration degree at Loyola University New Orleans.
Smallwood moved to New Orleans where he worked for Burroughs Corporation (later Unisys after a merger with Sperry) implementing mainframe computer and document management systems for commercial banks and the Federal Reserve Bank branch in New Orleans. Later he worked for Wang Laboratories where he implemented some of the first commercially available document imaging systems, and law firm software. In 1988 he published a paper, "Implementing Document Imaging in Financial Services Applications" internally for Wang. In 1991 he became an independent IT consultant and in 1995 he merged with and co-founded IMERGE Consulting. A prolific writer and speaker on IT topics, he has published over 100 articles in trade journals and given more than 60 conference presentations. He was a chapter founder and president for AIIM International and was elected to its international Board of Directors in 1997, and the Board's Executive Committee in 1998.
He had begun working on his first novel, a New Orleans-based murder mystery, when Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. The Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina, Smallwood's account of his experience during the storm and in its aftermath, was his first book and the first personal account of the disaster to be published. The book was optioned for film in November, 2013, by Safier Entertainment under the working title, A Season in Hell borrowed from the extended poem of the same name by French writer Arthur Rimbaud. "One of the "five people" was Smallwood's friend and neighbor Harry Anderson, the comic actor who starred in Night Court, a popular 1980's sitcom. In 2006 Smallwood embarked on a 21-city book tour and interviews on C-SPAN (BookTV), BBC Radio, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, ABCNews.com and other major media outlets. He also published his first play that year, "Brando, Tennessee & Me." In 2007 he edited and published "Prisoners of Katrina" in 2008 he published his first nonfiction tech book, "Taming the Email Tiger" and in 2009 his first novel, "Jackson Squared." In 2012, Wiley & Sons published Smallwood's 'WikiLeaks prevention guide' entitled, "Safeguarding Critical E-Documents: Implementing a Program for Securing Confidential Information Assets" and in 2013, in collaboration with nine subject matter experts (SME), "Managing Electronic Records: Methods, Best Practices, and Technologies." A third book in the Wiley CIO series "Information Governance: Concepts, Strategies, and Best Practices" was released in April 2014. That book is being used to teach information governance to graduate students at University of Oxford, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland, San Jose State and other major universities. In April 2016 Smallwood published, "Information Governance for Executives: Fundamentals and Strategies."
As the executive director of the Louisiana Writers' Foundation, Smallwood was responsible for organizing a "Black & White Ball" at the Hotel Monteleone on the 40th anniversary of Truman Capote's famous New York event. The event was held to raise donations for writers struggling to return to post-Katrina New Orleans, in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. Honorees included noted Romanian writer and New Orleans resident Andrei Codrescu, Louisiana Poet Laureate Brenda Marie Osbey, and poet Dave Brinks. News anchor Angela Hill emceed the festivities.
- Smallwood, Robert 2 (2005). The Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina. BookSurge. ISBN 1-4196-1724-9.
- Prescott, Jean (August 10, 2006). "A tale of New Orleans after Katrina: Deckhead goes right here". The Sun Herald.
- Jones, Jeffrey (December 18, 2006). "New Orleans writers struggle to pen rebirth stories". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
- Burdeau, Cain (December 2, 2006). "Big Easy Recreates Capote's Masked Ball". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-05-25.