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Emergency Management Is About Relationships

Hang on to good ones!

We all know that in emergency management it is the relationships we have with other professionals that are key. The phrase is said again and again — it is the people!

I was saddened to say that we lost one of the giants in the area of disaster recovery. Lucien Canton mentioned the death of Jerry Quinn. I’ll let you read his remembrance below and then I’ll add my thoughts.

“My friend Jerry Quinn was an emergency management professional who was an expert on disaster recovery policy and protocols. As a member of our California Emergency Services Association, he served on our Board and, as a member of our Legislative Committee, tracked legislation and represented our association before various political bodies.”

I first connected with Jerry on April 19, 2010. He had taken the time to respond to one of my blog posts and provided additional information on the topic I had written about. We were only able to connect in person one time over lunch when we both happened to be in the same California city at the same time. It was then that I figured out how wicked smart he was about disaster recovery. I’ve told many people over the years that the first thing you should do after you have a big disaster is hire Jerry Quinn to help with the public assistance portion of your recovery efforts.

Over the years we reconnected on various topics. Usually it was me calling him for information and on rare occasions him calling me for the same. My last interaction with him was to have him on my Disaster Zone podcast — the topic, naturally, was “Disaster Recovery for Public Agencies.” I recommend it for your listening.

That was around March 1 of this year and he was already ailing from cancer, but continuing to work.

Over the years we meet many, many different people. Currently I’ve got 12,868 contacts in my Outlook Contacts file. I of course can only remember a small fraction of those names and the people. But, Jerry was one of them who I did, and now do, remember.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.