From the Desk of your VEMA President... 

It’s hard to believe that is already August (BTW – my birthday is the 18th of this month for those that are feeling extra giving this time of year) and before we know it, School will be back in session, and we’ll all be scrounging for that last little quick vacation to hold onto summer.  Our hearts and prayers go out to those in and around Southwest Virginia and in Kentucky, as they continue to deal with the severe impacts of flooding.  Local EM’s and VDEM have been hard at work dealing with these disasters, so I ask that you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. 

This summer my family did our vacation a bit differently.  We actually took a cruise with my parents and my brother’s family, something none of us had done before.  Prior to COVID, my parents were “Cruisers”.  They have been all over the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, and will go to Italy and Greece this fall.  They knew the “in’s and out’s” of what to expect on the trip.  For myself, someone who had never been on a boat that big before, I was truly amazed.  Leading up to vacation, I heard both good and bad stories about going on a cruise, and for us, it was a very positive and rewarding experience.  I highly recommend it be a “bucket list” for everyone.  Not only is the process of getting on and off the ship a sight to see, so are the sights to see on the ship!  Then there’s the ports at which you will stop.  It was great to visit islands I probably would never travel to unless I was on that cruise.

As I have alluded to in previous articles, as Emergency Managers, we have a very unique way of looking at things, regardless of being on or off duty.  For me, the “EM” in me kicked in during the process of arriving at the Cruise Terminal, as well as when we disembarked when we returned at the end of the trip.  The process of dropping your bags, getting checked in, then walking onto the ship was a well-orchestrated endeavor.  The fact that in a mere few hours over 6,000 people are checked in AND their luggage is delivered to their respective rooms is quite astounding.  Then on the boat, every room is cleaned and turned over, new keys are made and on your door, as well as your luggage is at your room when the announcement is made that the rooms are ready.  The entire process is done every week, along with the restock of fuel, food, and supplies.  Within roughly 4 hours, the ship is ready for the next set of cruisers heading off on vacation. 

It probably has taken years to fully vet and refine the process that the cruise lines go through to set sail.  Kinda like what we do every year with our various plans, policies, and procedures.  What makes them successful is how they have adapted change to meet demand but to add value – both monetarily and for the end user.  For cruise lines, time is money.  We do the same thing in our line of work.  We enhance the processes to meet the needs of our citizens and provide them the best possible outcome when disaster strikes. 

There are 2 projects that VEMA is about to undertake that are process driven.  The Strategic Plan for the association is up for review and change.  The website is in need of some updating to better suit the membership and better serve as a repository for data collection, committee work, and caucus information.  To complete these projects, we need you participation and assistance, and to be part of the process.  If you are interested in helping out with either of these endeavors, please reach out to myself and the VEMA Office to be included in the workgroups. 

Lastly, as you may have seen (for those that are IAEM Members) I am running for Vice President of IAEM Region 3.  I have been working with Region 3 President Erik Gaull on a few initiatives and we meet regularly with all of the other State Association Presidents in our region.  I want to continue the work done here at the state level and apply it to our region.  I want to be able to bring back work done in our region and help better define the VEMA organization.  I truly enjoy the work I am doing as your State Association President, and would keep at it if we were structured that way, but there will be someone behind me to come in and bring a fresh perspective and enhance our team.  That’s the same thing I want to do for IAEM Region 3.  So, if you are an IAEM member, please consider voting for me as your next Region 3 Vice President.

I want to wish everyone a relaxing rest of summer.  If you ever need anything from me, I’m just a phone call away.  Thank you and continue the PROCESS of refining who we are and why we are such an amazing industry and organization.

“Your Process is what determines the weight of your journey.  Submit to your process so that your journey can be great”
- Bidemi Mark-Mordi