Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

The Hagerty Advantage – Our People: Amelia Muccio

Amelia is the Director for Mitigation at Hagerty Consulting, Inc (Hagerty). She has worked with the Recovery Division since 2013.  Amelia is an emergency management and public health professional with 15 years of experience who has spearheaded the submission of over a billion dollars of hazard mitigation funding on behalf of our clients.

How did you first become involved in Emergency Management?

After 9/11 and the Anthrax attacks, public health and emergency management intersected and the new field of public health preparedness gained focus and grant support. After responding to Hurricane Katrina as an American Red Cross volunteer, I realized that there was a need to be prepared for more than just public health emergencies. It was at this time, with New Jersey Department of Health grant funding, I began to focus on whole community planning and preparing our healthcare partners for various types of disasters and emergencies.

What do you find most rewarding about working in the Recovery Division at Hagerty?

I enjoy the clients that the Hagerty Recovery Division works with. Having worked for public organizations prior to joining Hagerty, I appreciate their mission driven, service oriented work. Public sector consulting provides a unique opportunity to partner with, prepare, and strengthen the essential functions of government agencies and public organizations across the federal, state and local levels.

How does your work in Mitigation at Hagerty compare to your past work in public health?

Public health and mitigation actually have a lot in common. Both fields strive to lessen the severity of adverse events and promote economic savings. Mitigation seeks to reduce the impacts from a disaster by breaking the cycle of repetitive loss and public health seeks to prevent the costly ramifications of disease. In mitigation, as is with public health, we identify and leverage cost effective interventions that are bound by Federal and State programmatic eligibility, and local compliance. Each are increasingly impacted by climate change and, more so than ever, require forwarding thinking policies and programs to lessen vulnerabilities while maximizing available resources and funding.

Can you tell us about your experience working in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake?

Before Haiti, I had worked in several developing countries, throughout Africa, as well as, in parts of India, but my experience in Haiti caused me to doubt myself on a professional level. I was very idealistic when I first began working in international health and development; I was ‘obsessed’ with the Millennium Development Goals. As I gained more exposure and experience within the field, I began to comprehend the limitations and deficiencies of foreign aid and development.

Initially, there was a tremendous amount of resources provided for the short-term needs in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, but the implementation of that aid was quite flawed. To address the long-term recovery needs in Haiti, the financial support needed a strategic approach to strengthen homegrown institutional capacity, as well as, local nongovernmental organizations. But, I realized, it was difficult to focus on cultivating that vision when people’s critical needs cannot be met—essentially, an empty stomach has no ears.

Given the magnitude, complexity, and limitations, I refocused my efforts on what I thought was a small, yet sustainable, grassroots program. It is these smaller investments in Haiti and Haitians, I believe, were what was needed to begin the process of rebuilding and recovery.

Where do you see the Emergency Management field going in the next 10 years as it relates to the fields of your expertise?

Emergency management is the logical choice to address challenges we face today and in the next ten years. To safeguard its place, emergency management must continue to focus on promoting and implementing realistic and attainable mitigation endeavors that improve the safety and resiliency of people, communities and organizations.

The Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) of 2018, has the potential to ensure continuous policy and program support for mitigation efforts, while streamlining and improving the service delivery of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) mitigation grants. While the mechanics of this legislation are still in progress, the National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation fund (Section 1234) and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for Resilience (Section 1235a), will allow for increased mitigation investments before a disaster and will enhance our resilience to future disasters.

Amelia Muccio is the Director of Mitigation for Hagerty Consulting. Amelia is an emergency management and public health professional with 15 years of experience. She serves as the mitigation lead for many of Hagerty’s clients and has extensive expertise and experience navigating numerous federal mitigation programs. Amelia graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Rutgers College and a Masters in Public Administration from New York University.

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