From the Desk of your VEMA President... 

Happy Spring my fellow VEMA Colleagues!  I hope and trust the Spring is treating you all well, and you’re gearing up for Summer.  Hurricane Season will be here before we know it.  However, we cant forget that we are in the midst of Tornado Season.  The unpredictable weather of the Spring months can produce these violent weather events, so being prepared is paramount.  Please do not take them lightly, and work to ensure both employees and citizens know what to do when both a Tornado Watch and Tornado Warning are issued.

Last month we were able to bring a years’ worth of hard work and determination to fruition with VEMS 2022!  What an awesome event!  The general sessions, the breakouts, networking events, and social engagements were well attended and received by all.  Obviously not having an in-person Symposium in 2 years comes with its challenges and learning opportunities, and the Symposium Committee wants your feedback.  We will be making some adjustments to make next year’s Symposium better than the event in Norfolk.  We are working on posting the presentations inside the “Members Only” section of the VEMA website.  More information to follow once these are ready for review.  Also, the VEMA Voice Podcast is available to listen to.  To access them, simply click HERE.  A huge thank you to Paul Helmuth for his work on putting these together.  Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the Symposium Committee members for ALL of their work and assistance to bring the organization an outstanding event.  If you haven’t served on the committee in the past, I highly recommend you get involved.  When you find out just how much work goes into putting the symposium together, you’ll be actually very surprised.  It’s just another reason why the VEMA organization is so great to be a part of. 

So, as we move further into the Spring and stare Summer directly in the face, the days get longer and so do our “To-Do” Lists.  This time of year sees a surge in workload but also in extracurriculars.  Its tough to look outside and see a beautiful Spring day and not think about getting a little vitamin D, or about those DIY projects that are looming from the winter.  Baseball is back, and rec sports go into high gear.  It’s inevitable to feel that “pull” in different directions between work and home and managing the scales of responsibility.  I mention all this because it’s imperative to remember to take time each season to decompress and reset.  We know that the work will always be there.  But your mental and physical health are MORE important than the work.  If you aren’t healthy, then the work will get pushed to someone else.  And think about it - if you don’t take time NOW to be ready for Summer, then what’s going to happen the next few months??  Can you make it in your current state until the Fall?  Get out and enjoy the change in seasons and get some sun (wear sunscreen of course) and let your mind and body heal and get ready for the busy Spring and Summer ahead. 

Lastly, as I write this, the Baseball season started yesterday, and the Masters is in day 2 of the tournament.  I get excited to see some great competition as baseball gets going and hope for a tight race at Augusta going into the weekend.  As a Coach, a word I use often with my team is “COMPETE”.  This word is interchanged both on a TEAM level and an individual level.  The definition of Compete is “strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same.”  While I’m not suggesting we “compete” amongst each other as Emergency Managers, I encourage you to foster competition within your department, agency, or organization.  Push your TEAM, staff and coworkers to compete and rise to a higher level.  Defeat those issues or gaps that continually plague you.  The field of Emergency Management has proven to be superior industry that the world needs to survive.  We constantly compete to keep our citizens and employees safe and prepared.  I challenge you to continue to compete at a high level and show your fierce, heartfelt, yet competitive side as you endure the tasks and challenges that we must overcome. 

In closing, I want to say THANK YOU for your votes and entrusting me to run the VEMA organization for another year.  I am truly blessed and fortunate to have this role and I promise to continue to do great things for our membership and the association.  I take great pride in being your President, and we have an exceptional Executive Board of Directors that I can work alongside to accomplish our goals.  I cannot do it alone – they have and will continue to be instrumental in our success.  I hope you all have a very blessed and relaxing Easter and Spring Break.  Remember to take some time to enjoy the change in seasons. 

If you ever need anything from me, I just a phone call away.  Thank you and continue to COMPETE and be part of an amazing industry and organization.

“In baseball and in business, there are three types of people.  Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened” 

- Tommy Lasorda