Who is Richard Hildreth
So who is Rich Hildreth. I am a former elected official who retired from a 25-year career as an electrician in order to become an emergency management professional. I hold a Master of Arts degree from American Military University, am active in the International Association of Emergency Management and am driven by a belief that he most cost effective means of preparing a community is to build individual and community capacity.
When I first became involved in emergency management, I was serving as Mayor of Pacific Washington. Although I am proud of what I learned and did as Mayor, I had a lot still to learn. The first of which was how importance of building capacity on a team and not just in myself. Although I encouraged others to take advantage of training, I would still step in and not allow others the opportunity to lead. I now realize the missed opportunities that attitude resulted in.
At the entrance to the Pierce County EOC is a sign telling everyone to leave your ego at the door. However, it was not until I left office and was able to see how important community capacity is that I truly understood that. During and following a disaster, I don't care if I am IC or making coffee and sweeping floors, you do what is needed to ensure that you serve the best interest of the jurisdiction. As has been seen in football, you can be the greatest QB in history, but success relies on teamwork and having shared priorities. That does not mean individuals cannot shine, but not at the expense of the team. This is what I believe Pierce County’s sign truly means.
Something I am proud of is my ability to think outside of the box. I learned as an electrician there is always more than one way to accomplish a task. Sometimes that is following tried and true methods, other times it is bringing together otherwise separate resources and combining them in new ways. One of the areas I take great pride in is what TPWD is doing to build emergency management capacity in rural areas of Texas.
After conducting a performance needs analysis on the agency to honestly assess the agency’s capacity, I recognized that we had concentrations of resources in some areas, and deficits in others. Although TPWD has the ability to temporarily deploy needed resources anywhere in the State, it still left gaping holes until those resources arrived. To close that gap, TPWD has partnered with the Texas Association of Regional Councils (TARC) to develop CERT programs in rural areas of Texas. As a CERT Trainer / Program Manager, I have brought together resources to provide the initial basic training in communities surrounding rural state parks. We will then work with those local authorities to develop sustainable programs, including development of local instructors and program managers. TPWD has acquired the CERT Backpacks (from TARC’s grant) and student manuals (from GPO), and has partnered with other CERT programs for instructors.