On February 25, 2014 The Center of Excellence for Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) and Pierce College’s HSEM Degree Program held its first Advisory Committee Meeting of the year at the Port of Tacoma. The Committee elected Steve Reinbrecht and Keith Weir as Co-Chairs along with honoring our past Committee Chair, Vickie Brown for her six year services. She was unable to attend, but will be staying on as a member. We have four new members added to our Advisory Committee. Gerald Fiola is the Manager of Port Security at the Port of Tacoma; Bryant Harrison (alternate for Pat Massey) works at FEMA Region 10 specializes training and education in EM; Chris Johnson is an EM Program Manager at Virginia Mason Hospital & Medical Center; Richard Schroedel (alternate for Lowell Porter) works for Pierce County Emergency Management in supervising the Mitigation/Planning/Recovery process; and Jamye Wisecup is the Westside Representative at the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office in their Emergency Management Unit. Wisecup replaced former member, Ute Weber as our WSEMA representative.
After the approval of the October 22, 2013 meeting minutes our new members provided updates from their respected organizations and programs. Bryant Harrison updated everyone about the impacts on Alaska and Japan earthquake regarding radiation. He also mentioned how FEMA is trying to identify knowledge, skills, and ability (KSA) for their staff. FEMA is also transitioning to incident support instead of incident response. Harrison shared that the organization is working on new job titles and job organizations. Jeff Parsons at State Emergency Management Division (EMD) shared about the changes that happened at EMD. Parsons is in the business sector and deals with private business continuity. He explained that risk management is need for businesses. EMD staff, George Crawford is back to covering earthquake drills and exercises. Robert Ezelle is the new Director for EMD and he took command a year ago. Parson also shared that the Cascadia kick off for 2015 is in the works.
Jamye Wisecup works for WSEMA and replaced former Advisory Committee member, Ute Weber. Wisecup was unable to attend the meeting physically, but called via conference call to inform everyone what WSEMA has been up to this past year. The 2014 WSEMA conference is set to be hosted in Spokane on September 23-25. Wisecup informed that the organization is already working on the 2015-2016 conferences. The 2015 WSEMA conference will be a joint conference with Oregon. She also made notions to present to the WSEMA board about the HSEM curriculum and textbook requirements.
New member, Chris Johnson is involved with the Allied Health of EM. He said it is important we integrate Allied Health into the EM field. COE Director, Linda Crerar says that there is a possibility of establishing a certificate in Emergency Health and that one of the pieces that is missing to Health and EM is the lack of connectivity between each other. Johnson commented, “We want people in the Allied Health field to learn how to respond to a disaster.” He also mentioned that often health care professions only want to interact when there is a disaster and that there isn’t anything really established where they could start working together. Co-Chair, Steve Reinbrecht mentioned that he feels that the HSEM program is very EM heavy and not very robust on the security side. He says we should split 50/50 EM, Pandemic, and Continuity of Operations.
Vice President of Workforce Education for Pierce College, Jo Ann Baria discussed plans to help military veterans transition into new careers and education. Baria said, “Our goal is to help veterans transition their skills from the military to civilian life. They will need access for advising on how to transition out and have information available about a pathway for education and employment.” Research has shown that there are four areas that are pretty common to transition veterans: (1) medic to nursing (some grant money is funded to help research. Trying to align what the gaps are in order to transition them faster. Carol Knight-Wallace was hired to research the skills, gaps, and trends), (2) HSEM and Criminal Justice field (Will get some money to help identify the gap areas, (3) Trade Transportation and Logistics Management (Maybe next year a work group will get hired), (4) IT. Apprenticeships will need to be developed in order to help the veterans’ transition faster and easier. The HSEM degree program is happy to announce that they will develop a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree pathway by fall 2016. Advisory Committee member, Alisha Griswold (Port of Seattle) will help the degree program develop the Information Technology Certificate.
Ron May, Dean of Applied Technology/Allied Health Division shared that Pierce College’s marketing team has come up with a new initiative to market the school and programs’ Advisory Committees. What they would like to do is use Advisory Committees for marketing. They would take a picture and have members quote about the organization they are with. Robert Lord has volunteered the HSEM Advisory Committee members to participate. Linda directed everyone’s attention to the new COE-HSEM wire frame website content and address. We are going to be taking down our old site and replacing it with our new redesigned website. Amy Foster, a graphics and web designer at the college is helping the Center with the redesign for the new website. Robert Lord showed the members his educational plan for the Fire Command and HSEM degree programs and mentioned that he would like to integrate some of the HSEM courses with the FCA.
The next Advisory Committee meeting will take place on May 20, 2014 at Pierce County Emergency Management. Lowell Porter, Director of Pierce County Emergency Management, will be introduced as a new member and the Center and HSEM degree program are ecstatic about the new addition to the list of members. The upcoming meeting will focus more on a discussion of topics that our Co-Chairs will assist. Our goal is to keep the members engaged with what is going on in the industry and how we can improve our program.