Where Are They Now?

Adam Allen, MPA (2011)

Adam Allen, MPA (2011)"As a business continuity associate with the Office of Business Continuity Planning at UNC Charlotte, I found that my formal preparation in emergency management was put to the test in a dynamic university setting.  Tasked with the development of a university-wide business continuity plan template and various HSEEP-compliant emergency response exercise materials, I was expected to conduct extensive research in an exciting and emerging market for government.  In pursuit of developing practical, user-oriented guidelines for foreseeable and unforeseeable service disruptions, I was exposed to industry standards for achieving and conveying holistic solutions to the University during times of crisis.  This exposure, buttressed by an exceptional career mentor turned colleague, provided me with the critical skills and necessary confidence to pursue opportunities in emergency management and business continuity planning in the DC-metro area. 

The EPOC Internship Program has presented open doors for professional growth.  The duties and tasks assigned to interns require a degree of autonomy, innovation, and a flexible understanding of emergency management to include business continuity.  The lessons learned from my EPOC experience have translated seamlessly into work with federal organizations in the National Capital Region.  As a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, I serve as a project lead for the United States Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration training and exercise programs.  In this capacity I am expected to design, direct, and execute work related to maritime exercise operations throughout the National Level Exercise 2012 and the TSA’s Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program (ISTEP).  I find the work fulfilling and dynamic.  I am grateful to have been given the tools to develop as a professional in this field.  I am also grateful to have served as the first EPOC intern and look forward to assisting future interns."

M. Scott Hess, MPA (2012)

Scott Hess served as a graduate assistant in the UNC Charlotte Office of Business Continuity Planning at UNC Charlotte.  In that capacity, he assisted in the creation of campus emergency response policies and personnel guidelines.  Projects included contributions to UNC Charlotte’s Emergency Operations Plan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Strategic National Stockpile incentive, and hazard-specific campus response plans.

“My experience as a graduate assistant in the Office of Business Continuity Planning's Emergency Preparedness and Operational Continuity (EPOC) program provided me with training and exposure that I could not have otherwise received.  The opportunity to collaborate on projects with real-world implications has provided experience that will serve me well in both public and private sector positions.”  Following completion of the Graduate Assistantship, Scott Hess resumed his position as a crew-chief/paramedic with a local EMS agency.  Upon completion of the MPA program, Hess plans to combine his operational background and academic coursework with the professional experiences gained as a BCP Graduate Assistant.

Breanne Simmons, MPA (2012)

Breanne Simmons, MPA (2012)"While working for the Office of Business Continuity Planning (BCP), I served as the Exercise Design and Evaluation Associate.  Working for BCP gave me the opportunity to go beyond the textbook, and apply the skills I learned in class.  The Graduate Assistantship helped me gain practical experience, and a better understanding of emergency management. 

Working for BCP gave me the opportunity to work on several different projects.  Specifically, I coordinated two full-scale exercises including the 2012 Tornado Exercise and 2012 Building Fire Exercise/Operation iVAC 3.  To prepare for these exercises, I created exercise materials including a Master Sequence of Events List (MSEL), Exercise Evaluation Guides (EEGs), and a training module for a Simulation Cell (SIMCELL).  During Operation iVAC 3, I was the SIMCELL Director and helped to ensure that inject messages were properly distributed to exercise players in the Emergency Operations Center, Joint Information Center, and Executive Team.  Once these exercises were completed, I participated in the development of After Action Reports (AARs).  Additionally, I created a Multi-year Training and Exercise Plan (MTEP), which mapped out University exercises for the next four years.  Finally, I helped to establish a Family Assistance Center (FAC) guideline for the University.

After graduation, I will be moving to Athens, GA.  There, I will be working for Silverleaf Centers for Alzheimer's Care."

Shawn Kiley, MPA (2013)

Shawn Kiley, MPA (2013)"As a student in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program with a concentration in Emergency Management, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to further my education and career by working as a Business Continuity Associate within the Office of Business Continuity Planning.  In this capacity, I have gained valuable experience in the fields of Emergency Management and Business Continuity Management from Business Continuity Analyst, Joshua B. Allen.  Through the Graduate Assistantship, I have acquired valuable work experience, interpersonal skills, and technical skills that I would not otherwise have.  In addition, I was exposed to various industry standards regarding Business Continuity Management and Emergency Management. 

I was commissioned to develop a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) template for the University.  I also used the BIA to analyze various departments and business units throughout the University.  I also had the opportunity to develop a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) template and a BIA template for the University of North Carolina General Administration (UNCGA), which oversees seventeen constituent institutions within the UNC System.  I was also tasked with the responsibility for statistically analyzing a sample population within the UNC System to evaluate the need for a system-wide COOP template that supports Business Continuity Management.  In addition, I was able to work on crowd sourcing and mapping pertinent to business continuity related information, further expanding my skill set.  I worked on numerous exercises using Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) protocols for planning, implementing, and after action reporting.

While working within an academic setting, this opportunity enhanced my education by putting my newfound knowledge in the classroom to use in a dynamic environment.  With a goal to work in Business Continuity Management at the national level in government or, by proxy, in the consulting industry, the Graduate Assistantship has opened up doors to me that I never realized were there.  I plan to leave this program with the knowledge and skills that will translate into a long-lasting and successful career in Business Continuity Management.

I am currently serving as the Business Continuity Analyst for UNC Charlotte. I have taken what I learned in the EPOC program and am using it every day."

Michael Goldsbury, MPA (2014)

"My experience as a graduate assistant in the Office of Business Continuity Planning has been both rewarding and eye opening.  Working in an emergency management and business continuity capacity has allowed me to absorb experience and skills from both fields that go hand in hand with my MPA education.

I was recruited to assist in the development of the campus business continuity plan, as well as continuity of operations plans for university business units.  While working in this position, I’ve also developed and managed data visualization software, including a campus-wide interdependency map that highlights the reliance of campus units on each other. Additionally, I’ve assisted in creating, implementing, and analyzing preparedness exercises for various organizations across campus.

Working in this position has allowed me to supplement the theoretical knowledge I’ve gained in the classroom with a bevy of real-world practical experience. I have no doubt that the skills and experience I gained during my time in the Office of Business Continuity Planning were instrumental in helping me to secure an Emergency Management Associate position with IEM, a private sector consulting firm.  This position will make full use the skills I’ve developed, as I’ll be providing technical assistance and expertise in the field of emergency management to various levels of government, as well as private entities."

Candace Butler, MSPH (2015)

"As a Graduate Assistant with the Business Continuity Department, I was able gain a wealth of knowledge. In particular, learning about various ways to mitigate and minimize risks during unexpected disasters or emergencies.

During my role as the graduate assistant, I was involved in several projects and Emergency Operation activities. In particular, I assisted with the 2014 Football Stadium Explosive Device Exercise and UNC-Charlotte Police and Public Safety Hostage Exercise. I was able to observe various planning processes which included, scenario development, formulation of the Master Sequence of Events List (MSEL) and Situation Manual. In addition, I assisted with the 2014-2015 Academic Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) project. During the project, I consulted with various department administrators to assist in the development of their Continuity Plans. Moreover, I created an Information Technology Disaster recovery plan and framework for recovery strategies for Academic Affairs.

Through real-world experiences, this position has allowed me to strengthen my critical thinking and analytical skills; skills sought after in an array of professions. After graduation, I plan to secure a role as a Public Health professional, applying the knowledge and expertise gained at the Office of Business Continuity."

Following graduation from the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) program, Candace received a fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Hannah Panicco, MPA (2016)

"This graduate assistantship has been extremely valuable in providing me with hands on experience in the fields of Emergency Management and Business Continuity Planning. I was able to get practical experience with helping university departments develop Continuity of Operations Plans, conducting research for university plans, and developing and evaluating a variety of exercises. This position tied in well with the emergency management and disaster management classes I took within in the Masters of Public Administration program. In addition to the great experience I gained, I was also introduced to a number of professional in the field and able to make connections. There is no doubt that my experience in this position was the main factor in being offered a job in the field within two weeks of graduating. I highly recommend this position to any student considering a career in the field."