This alumni spotlight on MSgt Bradley Wilson ('07) first appeared in the fall 2016 issue of The Mitigator, the EMDS department newsletter.
"My path in Emergency Management (EM) post EADP has taken me down a few unique roads. I actually began my career long before actually studying EM at UNT when I enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard in 2002. I picked what was then known as Disaster Preparedness not really aware of what kind of impact it would have on my career. I began my studies in 2005 at UNT, and graduated in 2007 from the EADP program. During my time at UNT, I was lucky enough to be the IAEMSC President, the IAEM Student Region Vice President and held the honor of being a Maxwell Award recipient. Shortly after graduation, I was offered and accepted a position as a Bioterrorism and Pandemic Influenza Planner for the Northeast Georgia Health Department which operates locally as a State agency in Athens, GA and serves ten surrounding counties. In addition to working on pandemic influenza and bioterrorism planning, I managed two different grants and held the position of the Medical Reserve Corps coordinator. We worked the medical logistics component during floods, bomb threats, droughts, and helped coordinate surge capacity for the worst case scenarios.
Just short of a year after moving to Athens, my Air National Guard (ANG) Civil Engineer unit in Fort Worth, TX was mobilized to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and I was coincidentally recalled back to Texas. Upon returning, I became the Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Manager (or “Prime BEEF”) for the 136th Airlift Wing. This started my path towards the logistics side of EM and slowly took me out of what we would be considered the traditional EM job.
Across the Air Force, the unit Prime BEEF Manager is responsible for organizing, training and equipping the forces to meet the mission requirements of Combatant Commanders, Governors, and the President of the United States during disasters, national emergencies, and wartime situations. This was a unique role as I had a hand in recruiting and retaining members of a 62 person rapidly deployable civil engineer team. I was also responsible for making sure they had access to the right equipment, opportunities to train on their skill set, and were ultimately able to deploy within a short amount of time anywhere our services were needed. During this time, I deployed over 800 people to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Cuba for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and to Bosnia, Louisiana, and Mississippi for humanitarian assistance. We responded to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav and to multiple wildfire events in west Texas, saving lives, property and the environment. I was one of the first Air Force Emergency Managers to graduate with a B.S. in EM. As such, I was fortunate enough to help modernize the Career Field in 2008-2009 by integrating our skill set with the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).
In 2015, after over 10 years in Fort Worth, I accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau (NGB), Air National Guard Readiness Center (ANGRC) as the Air National Guard (ANG) Civil Engineer Training Manager. This is a headquarters level position that directly serves over 9,000 ANG Civil Engineers. In this position, I coordinate formal schools, develop ancillary training policy and guidance, help manage four ANG Regional Training Sites, (which allow units to deploy in mass for disaster response training), sit on the ANG Crisis Action Team (essentially a HQ EOC) and participate as an advisor and training validator in the Deployments for Training program, which take our engineers to every part of the globe to work on construction projects.
My advice to those that are looking for careers in EM: Do not limit yourself in your job search. Seek out the lesser known organizations, localities and companies. Be flexible and go with the flow. Seek out positions on organizations and groups that have an impact on the field as a whole and build positive relationships with as many people as possible. Develop yourself professionally so that you can market yourself during your job hunt. Lastly, understand that fundamentally your work is not for you—it is for the people that you serve."