Posted by: Dan Stoneking, Director, Private Sector Division
I’m really excited about the momentum our program is gaining. Please join me welcoming Joseph Heckman, our new Private Sector Representative who will be helping us coordinate with the private sector during a 90-day stint here in Washington, D.C. Joe is an emergency preparedness and planning manager for Walmart Stores at their headquarters office in Bentonville, Ark. Like Hollis Stambaugh from System Planning Corporation, our current representative, Joe began his career in local government. At Western Illinois University, his alma mater, Joe participated in emergency exercises, and trained over 200 volunteers on campus. Hollis and Joe both “get it.”
While we look forward to Joe coming on board, I want to thank System Planning Corporation for all the great work Hollis has done during her tenure. While she has been with us, she has conducted research on the impact of disasters on small businesses as background for a targeted small business outreach effort. She has jump started development of a website which will be devoted to small businesses and represented their perspective in policy and program matters at FEMA.
So, what’s cool about this particular transition? We have small business. We have big business. And they are working together right now to give us an honest gut-check on how we can serve communities better. With each private sector representative we have gained different perspectives and broad input into our programs and policies. Hollis and Joe are helping us to connect the dots and build bridges between all levels of business in emergency management.
And since we are always looking ahead, we are excited to bring aboard candidates in new areas of interest. While we welcome any and all interested candidates, it would be particularly exciting to have individuals whose backgrounds include finance, cyber security, pharmaceuticals, transportation, or the food and beverage industry. If you or someone you know is interested in being a candidate, learn more about the program (PDF) (Text).
Meanwhile, look for a new small business section on our website soon. There we will be information and tips devoted to small business owners at the local level. Their resilience in times of disaster is critical to a community’s economic and emotional recovery.