President's Message - September 2017
Kevin Starbuck, CEM, TEM, CPM - President
Hurricane Harvey has provided a powerful reminder of the challenges facing emergency management professionals in Texas. Everyone associated with EMAT extends our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Many of our members are directly involved in response and initial recovery efforts with others working to shelter those in need, mobilize resources, and support those impacted by the storm. Hurricane Harvey will not break the spirit of the people of Texas, but will show how Texans come together when faced with the most extreme challenges. God Bless our Emergency Managers, First Responders, and Volunteers working along the Texas Gulf Coast!
September is designated as National Preparedness Month and offers a great opportunity to focus on improving the preparedness of our citizens and communities. If your agency is hosting events to promote preparedness, EMAT would love to assist in promoting those events through our social media outlets. In addition, EMAT is excited to announce the launch of our improved website. Take some time to check it out at… https://www.emat-tx.org/.
Lastly, EMAT values your membership and participation in the organization. Starting in October, EMAT will begin our annual membership renewal drive and is looking forward to expanding our membership. I am challenging each of our members to promote EMAT and get at least one additional colleague to join EMAT. If you need some help explaining the benefits of EMAT, we have you covered with a “10 Great Reasons to be a Member” list on our membership page… https://www.emat-tx.org/Membership.- Kevin Starbuck, CEM, TEM - Region 5
Assistant City Manager
City of Amarillo
P.O. Box 1971
Amarillo, Texas 79105-1971
Work: (806) 378-3077
Cell: (806) 584-8845
Office Expires: 2019
May 2017The extremes of Texas weather were on full display as April came to a close. In the area around Canton, Texas a series of strong tornadoes devastated communities with at least 4 fatalities, countless injuries, and significant damage. At the same time in the Texas Panhandle region, a rare spring winter storm blanketed the area with light to moderate snow accumulations and extreme winds, causing travel issues and wide spread power outages. In the meantime West Texas continues to experience critical fire danger, inching closer to the federal threshold for Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) and coastal communities continue to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. Such are challenges that face emergency managers in Texas. While it remains to be seen if any of these incidents will rise to the level that federal assistance is made available, it is important for emergency managers to stay informed on the transition of leadership at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Last week, the Trump administration named Brock Long as the nominee for FEMA Administrator. A brief review of Mr. Long’s bio indicates 16 years of experience with FEMA in hurricane preparedness, with the State of Alabama as the Director of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency, and most recently as a vice-president with Hagerty Consulting supporting emergency management projects. In addition, the Trump administration named Thomas DiNanno as the nominee for FEMA Assistant Administrator. Mr. DiNanno brings 20 years of experience in government and private sector with a focus on critical infrastructure protection. In a couple of weeks, many of us will come together at the 2017 Texas Emergency Management Conference. This will be another great opportunity for emergency managers to come together to learn from our shared experiences. As part of the conference activities, EMAT will be conducting a meeting of the Board of Directors. A couple of topics that will be at the top of the list are EMAT membership, TEM processing, and continued improvement of organizational communication. I know that I speak for all of the Board members when I say that we also look forward to visiting with each of you on items of interest to the profession and EMAT. Hope to see you in San Antonio! - Kevin Starbuck, CEM, TEM - Region 5
With the success of our 10th Annual EMAT Symposium, we have had yet another opportunity to come together as emergency management professionals to learn from our shared experiences. Thank You to everyone that attended this year’s symposium and for all the hard work of the Symposium Committee to put together such a great event. We are already looking forward to next year’s symposium, scheduled for March 4-7, 2018 in San Marcos.
I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Jeb Lacey for serving as EMAT’s President for the past 4 years. His dedicated leadership of EMAT is much appreciated and epitomized the mission of EMAT to shape emergency management policy and practice in Texas. I would also like to recognize Sharon Nalls who will be stepping down from the EMAT Board of Directors as Jeb transitions into the Immediate Past President position continuing to serve our Board… Thank You Sharon for your leadership and support of EMAT.
As the new EMAT President, I look forward to working with all of our members to continue to promote the role of EMAT in shaping emergency management policy and practice in Texas. At the core of the EMAT mission is the continued advancement of professionalism of emergency management in Texas.
With the withdrawal of the University of North Texas from the Certified Texas Emergency Manager (TEM) certification process, the EMAT Board of Directors will be looking at options for review of the TEM application packages. During the Symposium, the Board stepped up to review 15 applications that have been received over the course of the last couple of months. While this provided a short-term solution, we will be looking at options to revamp the review process and update the application package to provide greater clarity. Stay tuned as we work to revamp and improve the TEM process.
Other areas that we will focus on are improving our communication to our members. The EMAT Board of Directors along with our committees will be looking at improving our website, creating new mechanisms for regular communication to our members, and highlighting the activities of EMAT that serve as a benefit to our membership. In addition, I would like EMAT to continue to look for ways that we can use our expertise in the profession to assist each other in times of disaster. Law enforcement, fire services, and emergency medical have all created mechanisms for supporting each other across the state. We can improve our mutual support of each other when EOC’s are activated.
In closing, I am honored to serve as the EMAT President and look forward to working with all of our members to promote the emergency management profession. I hope to see all of you at the Texas Emergency Management Conference in San Antonio this May. In the interim, feel free to contact me or any of our Board members to discuss what EMAT can do for you!
The Emergency Management Association of Texas is dedicated to the advancement of the field of emergency management both statewide and nationally. To that end, EMAT engages in an array of efforts to advance a statewide emergency management agenda and to promote the professional growth of the emergency management practitioner.