Assistant Director's Monthly Letter, October 2021

RELEASE DATE: Nov 01, 2021

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A month into my role as assistant director of Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, I realize more and more each day, what a challenge NEMA and its team of stakeholders has faced during the last couple of years. The work associated with disbursement of funds as a result of damage caused by the 2019 floods and the COVID-19 response has been enormous. NEMA and its stakeholders have put forth an extraordinary effort. We could not have been, or continue to be, successful in this task as emergency managers if we hadn’t worked in tandem with our stakeholders.

I definitely value relationships, and I believe that our reciprocal interaction with our partners is a benefit to us all. A major initiative of my tenure at NEMA will be to focus on stakeholder engagement. Listening to, collaborating with and building our network is a priority. We will proactively communicate, consult and work to understand our partners. Realizing what success means to all of our partners is an important step to knowing what is needed to provide the best resources for the citizens of Nebraska during their hours of need.

Our goals will include continuing to build relationships, to plan, to manage risk, to anticipate, to realize success and to take simple and timely actions together. By getting to know our stakeholders, we can better understand what they need and how we can work together to accomplish our agreed-upon goals.

We will work together to make the most of available resources. Through our partnerships with local governments, nongovernmental agencies, state partners and federal assets we will focus on collaboration. Our stakeholders’ contributions, perspectives and concerns will influence our work. We want to be as inclusive and intentional as possible as we deepen our relationships and connect with additional stakeholders. In addition, our plan will include engaging in activities that maximize the opportunities for varied audiences to participate. It’s important we ensure we are communicating to as many audiences as possible.

A major component of our outreach is to truly listen and to develop an even better understanding of the needs of Nebraskans. We will work together as a team to provide successful preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation to assure long-term resiliency for our state.

Ervin L. Portis
Assistant Director