On July 23 and 24, U.S. Northern Command hosted the 2012 Building Resilience through Public Private Partnerships Conference. More than 300 attendees participated in a variety of topics to include defense, international, youth preparedness, faith-based, as well as access and functional needs as they relate to the private sector. And the audience was as diverse as the content. Attendees include 156 from the public sector and 145 from the private sector (81 for-profit companies, 48 non-profit and 16 academia). U.S. Northern Command should be commended for the outstanding agenda and collaboration.
Deputy Administrator Rich Serino opened the conference with praise for how far public-private partnerships have come, and called for even stronger coordination into the future. In just these two days, we saw this partnership grow. Our latest FEMA Think Tank, led by the Deputy Administrator, took place as part of the conference. Check out the great discussion we had.
Throughout the conference, we were able to hear from seasoned professionals on lessons learned and best practices. We met newcomers to the public-private partnership arena who were eager to learn and offer fresh perspectives. And we heard stories. We heard from a young teenager who when faced with the loss of a close friend in a car accident found strength from lessons she learned in preparedness training. We were inspired by a Colorado family who lost their home in the recent wildfires. Having recovered a family heirloom, they shared how “beauty can come from ashes.” And we heard from a panelist who challenged us with the oft quoted advice attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, “be the change you want to see in the world.”
I was inspired to see the courage and resilience of the speakers and attendees. I was inspired by the many private sector leadership who helped guide us in the right direction. And yes, I was inspired by U.S. Northern Command and their team, who are always humble and reliable in their role in support of FEMA, state, tribal and local governments. But on these two days, their leadership was clear and all of us benefited.
At every step of emergency management, from preparedness and mitigation, to response and recovery, we do our best when we work together as a team. Today our team is stronger than ever. Through public-private partnerships, we can build resilience and be that change we want to see in the world.