Deputy Director, Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Claims Office
Jennifer joins the Claims Office after serving as Deputy State Voluntary Agency Liaison and Co-Chair of the Mora/ San Miguel Long Term Recovery Group for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire. She served in the US Air Force for 13 years, focusing on satellite launch operations and complex acquisition projects.
What motivated you to apply for this position?
I moved to the Las Vegas area in 2017 with my wife to be around family and community. My wife’s family on both sides go back many generations in Northern New Mexico, hundreds of years, and it really touched my heart knowing that this land is deeply rooted in the family. When the fires started, I was running a small business helping other small businesses with technology. In addition to local customers in the area, I had worked with several nonprofits and served on a few non-profit boards, so I jumped with two feet into “what can I do to help?” When I heard about this job, I knew I had the opportunity to make a big difference in the community. Mora/San Miguel is a very cohesive, close-knit, productive and efficient community. I knew that the Claims Office could fold into what the community is working towards and empower them and give them resources and support one another toward the same goal. At the end of the day, this is about partnering across county, state and federal programs to meet local needs.
What’s the most important thing you want the public to know about the Claims Office and the work going forward?
Number one is going to be transparency, because in order to establish community trust and confidence in the Claims Office we need to share information efficiently and clearly about where we are and where we are headed, this means providing realistic timelines, identifying obstacles and working to overcome them.
Residents are justifiably upset. Things have taken longer than we like but of course in a disaster it’s never going to be fast enough. So, we need to be able to say, “this is what we’re working on right now, we’re going to be forthcoming with what’s happening; feel free to bring your concerns forward so that way we can identify what the issue is and see if we can fix it.”
Which of the FEMA core values (fairness, integrity, compassion, respect) do you resonate with the most?
Respect. Nothing is going to get accomplished unless we do it in a manner that’s established upon mutual respect all around. We all have the same objectives and goals and that is helping the community.