2019 Texas Emergency Management Conference Recap
The 2019 Texas Emergency Management Conference (TEMC) took place in San Antonio Monday, April 15, 2019 – Thursday April, 18. An estimated 2,800 people attended the conference hosted by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). Over 200 workshops and panels were offered during the 4-day event with presenters and exhibitors participating and traveling from all over the U.S. to connect with emergency management professionals.
Opening Session Highlight
Opening Session, the formal commencement to the conference, began at 10:30 a.m. on Monday April, 15 and was hosted by TDEM Chief, Nim Kidd. Special guests that provided opening remarks included, Texas A&M University System Chancellor, John Sharp, FEMA Region VI Administrator, Tony Robinson, Texas Adjutant General, Tracy Norris, Texas A&M Forest Service Director, Tom Boggus, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner, Dr. John Hellerstedt, and Austin/Travis County EMS Services Director, Dr. Mark Escott. In addition to opening remarks, brief presentations were given by the conference's featured "Lightning Round" presenters which included, Dr. Sam Brody, Director for the Texas Center for Beaches and Shores, Harry Evans, Water Research Fellow for University of Texas at Austin, Chad Wootton, Vice President of External Affairs at Texas A&M University, John Jones, Owner of Lochow Lake and Pond Management and Greg Waller, Service Coordination Hydrologist at the National Weather Service West Gulf River Forecast Center.
TEMC Award Winners
Each year, a select group of emergency managers are recognized for their proven leadership, courage and dedication to serving their communities during times of emergencies and disasters. Nominated by their peers, the following individuals received 2019 TEMC Awards:
Texas Emergency Management Partnership Award - The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management; The Harris County Flood Control District.
Dr. Charles Bauer Texas Emergency Management Medical Professional of the Year Award - Dr. Mark Escott, Austin/Travis County EMS Services
Texas Emergency Management Council Agency of the Year Award - Texas A&M Agrilife
Texas Emergency Management Leadership Award - Eddie Olivarez, Hidalgo County
2019 Hall of Fame Winners - Carol Edgett, Comal County, Charlie Waller, Uvalde County, Chief Juan Meza, Zapata County, Gilbert Jordan, Texas Department of Transportation
Emergency Management Hometown Hero Award - Aron Garcia, Kress High School and Kress Fire Department
This year's volunteers came from the Texas Military Department, City of San Antonio Development Services Department as well as the other departments within the City of San Antonio, San Antonio Water System, Red Cross, Bexar County CERT Team, Hill, Aransas and Rusk County Emergency Management Departments, USAA, as well as high school and college students. In all, 64 people volunteered to help with the conference totaling 1,169 volunteer hours. Their duties varied from stuffing attendee bags on Sunday, assisting with the exhibit floor, registration, VIP parking, staffing the information desk and last but not least, barcode scanning participants into workshops, meeting rooms and Opening Session.
Workshops and Panels
Regardless of an attendee's background and experience in emergency management, the education opportunities offered at TEMC this year were designed to send each attendee home more aware, informed and prepared for future emergencies. Each course was carefully selected to satisfy education areas of search and rescue, public health/medical/EMS, law enforcement/operations, technology, disaster recovery, disaster finance, and hazard mitigation. Over 200 workshops, four highlighted panel discussions and five Lightning Round presentations were offered this year and each proved great attendance!
Boasting over 120,000 square feet of floor space, the exhibit hall offered ample opportunity to visit with the 157 exhibitors who showcased their emergency management products and services. Displays ranged from 50-foot mobile command centers to high-tech communications platforms and response vehicles. The remote State Operations Center formed the main feature at this year's show and was the scene of two state-wide weather calls that attracted scores of emergency managers with jurisdictions in the affected areas. Additionally, booth exhibitors largely comprised of private sector businesses, state agencies, college universities and local volunteer groups in support of emergency management operations interacted with hundreds of attendees and provided information on the latest cutting edge technology and support services available to the emergency management community.