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Metzger Joins Amtrak’s Emergency Management Division

Center for Homeland Defense and Security graduate Jim Metzger has been promoted to deputy chief of emergency management at Amtrak.

Metzger, a 2006 CHDS graduate, will be responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the national rail company’s emergency response functions. He will report to fellow CHDS alum Susan Reinertson who was promoted in May with the task of building a new Emergency Management and Corporate Security department that would consolidate Amtrak’s emergency management functions.

Metzger’s role will be overseeing the day-to-day implementation of the company’s emergency management functions as well as overseeing 10 emergency managers to be located across the United States in major Amtrak service areas. He will also collaborate with Amtrak’s "host" partners – companies that own track that Amtrak rents space on to run its routes.

The overall task is to ensure passenger safety as well as training the first-responder community in incident response.

"My responsibilities move beyond preparation and regulatory compliance and when things go wrong on the railroad, being able to respond efficiently and with a focus on our customers," Metzger said.

Another responsibility is response training that is required under federal law. However, that federal law does not provide for the resources to conduct that training, so Metzger is identifying priorities and risk areas to ensure the company meets that dictate. For example, the company needs alternative plans when traversing the snowy Sierra while also tailoring plans to meet the challenges of mudslide-prone Seattle, Metzger noted.

Metzger moves into the new job after serving as Amtrak’s Station Action Team coordinator. Prior to joining Amtrak, he worked for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority where he commanded the Special Operations Division.

His CHDS education has him well-prepared for the challenges ahead, especially in terms of collaboration. Amtrak runs through 23,000 governmental jurisdictions, 46 states as well as into three Canadian provinces. Maintaining relations with a bevy of local and state officials is crucial to effective accident response.

His thesis, "Preventing Terrorist Bombings on United States Subway Systems," taught him that no single agency can meet all the homeland security challenges alone, he said.

"The same is true for dealing with emergency management at Amtrak that runs throughout the United Sates on host railroad territory and our own infrastructure," Metzger added. "Coordination and collaboration are crucial to our success."

Moreover, he credits not only the master’s degree program but also the annual alumni conferences as helping him stay attuned to the demands of homeland security.

"My time at CHDS and subsequent alumni conferences has allowed me to keep grounded in the fact that we are in the business of homeland security together," he said. "Building collaborative networks internally and externally allow Amtrak Emergency Management to achieve our objectives and promote safety, reliability and protect the Amtrak brand."

Aside from executing the daily functions of the job, Metzger has set professional goals for himself. Among them is upholding Amtrak’s tradition of focusing on safety and security, customer Focus, and organizational excellence.

"My goal is to ensure we are prepared to meet the challenges of an all hazards incident and can maintain operations in the safest most effective manner for our customers," he said.

Along with Reinertson, Metzger also regularly works with CHDS alum Lisa Shade, assistant chief of Amtrak police.

"The three of us work together and with our internal and external partners and provide tipping point leadership to ensure we protect and prepare America’s Railroad for the future," Metzger said.