Led by nuclear safety and emergency management agency representatives, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Early Career Radiological Preparedness Executive Education Program offered certificates of completion to 16 participants at a June 17 ceremony.
The Early Career REP program enhances the next generation of Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) leaders’ understanding of the REP discipline and emerging trends. It provides the tools and resources they need to think and act strategically about off-site fixed nuclear facility emergency preparedness, enhancing their critical thinking and developing a better understanding of the complexity of their mission.
In interviews conducted on the day of the ceremony, three participants offered their views on the REP program and its benefits to themselves and their colleagues.
Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation Lead Emergency Planning Technologist Michael Dalby said he was encouraged to apply for the REP program by his manager, Matt Dekat, himself a participant in the program (REP cohort 2201). Dalby said the highlight of participating in the program was the opportunity to build relationships and network with his fellow participants, as well as absorb presentations relevant to his profession that he called “very applicable.”
“From my perspective, (the CHDS REP program) is invaluable to anyone involved in our environment today, whether in the nuclear regulatory environment or first responders,” Dalby said.
As a CHDS REP alumni, Dalby said he looks forward to making use of the plethora of CHDS resources.
FEMA Region IX Emergency Management Specialist James Fey said radiological preparedness is a “collateral” duty for him and his main duties include after-action exercise evaluation, best practice documentation, and producing feedback on areas for improvement in real-world disasters including hurricanes, fires, and floods, and the like. Fey said the REP program offered useful theoretical frameworks and provided him with the language to “describe complex and interrelated issues,” including “better analogies” to break down and explain those issues by making them “more relatable.”
Fey said he considers his fellow REP cohortians “friends and not just colleagues,” and is thrilled to join a “distinguished” CHDS alumni network and “build rapport” at every level of stakeholders in the REP world.
FEMA Region III Emergency Management Specialist Rahuel Preciado said the CHDS REP program “really challenged my thinking, even if I didn’t agree with every presentation.” Preciado advised REP program applicants to “definitely keep an open mind” while making friends and trying to understand other people’s perspectives.
“You all are doing a great job out there,” he said of CHDS, adding, “Keep going. I appreciate everything everyone has done for me and everyone else.”
In addition to Dalby, Fey and Preciado, the Early Career REP 2202 cohort included the following participants: Anthony Bateman, Andrea Blanchetti, Erek Culbreath, Courtney Eckstein, Heather Frey, Clint Garland, Taylor Griffiths, Mack Johnson, Jeremy Massicotte, Chelsea McCoy, Jofa Mwakisege, James Rhodes, and Hannah Schwartz.