The Corps of Engineers has selected 36 people for the 2012 and 2013 Emergency Local Government Liaison cadre, and the District’s Trent Simpler, environmental project manager, is among the selectees.
The cadre formed as a result of a week-long annual training held at the Corps’ Readiness Support Center in Mobile, Ala., where perspective members were evaluated based on their grasp of emergency concepts, course material, homework assignments, attitude, initiative, teamwork and public speaking skills.
The members are expected to be available for deployment at any moment and will fill key coordination roles at local government levels, facilitating successful mission execution by serving as a communication conduit between the local government, the supported district or recovery field office, and the Joint Field Office. In doing so, the members will coordinate not only with the Corps’ and local representatives but also with state and federal emergency management representatives.
“I feel that working for the Corps is more than just a job,” Simpler said. “Part of the reason I took this job is that the Corps helps the country when disasters happen, and I want to be part of that team.”
When Simpler was in the Army, he was part of a team who helped people after an earth quake in Guatemala. He gained experience working in remote locations, with little or no support, and he proved he is able to handle the stress of a disaster situation and still perform assigned duties.
According to Simpler, the training process for the cadre was like drinking from a fire hose, a lot of very valuable information in a very short amount of time. And, the stand-out message was that the Corps has a difficult emergency response mission and needs more quality people.
“Depending on the mission, I could be living out of a truck for days or weeks,” he said.
“Being selected for the cadre means that Trent Simpler is level-headed and highly trained to respond in an emergency,” said District Commander Lt. Col. Jason Williams. “It is an important professional achievement and an honor to be chosen.”
For now, Simpler will be on call to leave in a six-hour window every third month and will have a backup for all his projects. Otherwise, he said, his work will not be affected, except when he needs to report for the cadre’s training requirements.
The importance of the cadre was evidenced during last year’s response to the Alabama tornados. The team’s professionalism was noted and appreciation for their capabilities was voiced during the December 2011 Corps of Engineers Remedial Action Program conference and at the National Hurricane Conference.