The Hagerty Advantage: Our People: Cory Brown and Megan Krentsa
Here at Hagerty, we truly believe the advantage is our people. Throughout the months of June and July, we will be profiling several of Hagerty’s Response professionals – many of whom have been deployed continuously over the past year helping our clients respond to COVID-19 and other natural hazards.
Tell us about yourself and how your career path led you to Hagerty Consulting.
Cory Brown: I grew up in and around construction most of my life. After graduating from the University of West Georgia in 2008, I went into the field of construction management with my first project in Orange Beach, Alabama. Unfortunately, the timing could not have been worse for starting a professional career in construction at the peak of the housing crisis. After working through a deflated housing market for two years the unthinkable happened; the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico unleashing the largest oil spill ever in United States (US) waters. I rushed in to help, initially as a volunteer, but was quickly hired on as an operations technician where I was first introduced to Incident Command System ICS which changed my life forever. Over the years I have bounced back and forth between emergency response and construction and have had the opportunity to hone my skills in both fields. After closing out the Sheltering & Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program in the US Virgin Islands (VI) after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, I was introduced to Hagerty Consulting. Hagerty’s value system and focus on people, integrity, and leadership is what drew me in and made it an easy decision to join the team.
Megan Krentsa: I began my career as a paramedic, and worked in emergency medical services and medical education until 2017, when I began graduate school to earn my Master of Science degree in Medical Physiology. I ran an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program in Washington, DC that placed defibrillators in public buildings and trained the public on their use. I was working with a community paramedic program in St. Louis as COVID-19 began to spread and then began working with Hagerty in April 2020 to assist with their COVID-19 response.
What do you find most rewarding about working in the field of emergency management, especially as a disaster response professional?
Cory Brown: I feel a deep sense of purpose knowing that I am making a difference in people’s lives and their communities. Sadly, major disasters often begin with immeasurable loss. But, one of the most rewarding aspects of this profession is to witness people rise up, face extraordinary challenges, and create resiliency within themselves and their community.
Megan Krentsa: I have loved working with such hardworking and passionate individuals who are committed to improving the lives of those in their communities. The professionals I have had the privilege of working with truly care about doing good in their communities and work tirelessly to respond to changing needs that arise.
With hurricane season underway and the peak time for wildfires on the horizon, how should communities be preparing today?
Cory Brown: Given the unprecedented frequency and severity of both hurricanes and wildfires in recent years, it is more important than ever for communities to invest in, test, and reinforce their response infrastructure. Emergency managers must now prepare for sustained periods of response. As we’ve seen in the western states with season after season of extreme drought and record temperatures; both state and local fire departments have faced unbelievable challenges with many being pushed to the brink. With hurricane season, it’s not just about a single extreme weather event. Tropical storms and depressions can bring incredible amounts of rainfall to vulnerable regions with already saturated flood conditions that can cause catastrophic damage.
Megan Krentsa: The best way for communities to prepare for hurricane season and wildfires is to have a plan in place for how to respond to various anticipated impacts of the disaster. The more communities prepare with written plans with specific thresholds for action, the more rapidly the response can unfold and pivot to meet specific needs.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
Cory Brown: As a new father, my son and my family are incredibly important to me. I try to spend as much time with them as possible outside of work. Response projects can often call you away for weeks or months at a time; and even with remote working the hours can be intense. It’s important that we give our loved one’s as much of us as possible when we’re not supporting our clients and communities. Outside of family and work, I love being in the ocean. Whether its surfing, sailing, or diving; there is nothing more fun than being in the water.
Megan Krentsa: Outside of work, I enjoy volunteering as a paramedic and spending time outdoors (hiking, kayaking, etc.) with my husband. I also enjoy wheel-thrown pottery and have hand-made all the dishes in my apartment (as well as those in many of my family’s and friends’ homes as well!).
Where is one place in the world you would like to travel and why?
Cory Brown: As an avid scuba diver and supporter of marine conservation; a dream of mine has always been to travel to Australia and dive the Great Barrier Reef.
Megan Krentsa: I would love to travel to Iceland, to see the Northern Lights!
Cory Brown is a creative and driven project manager with 12 years of progressive project management and emergency response experience across a broad range of projects and varied industry segments. He has extensive experience with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recovery programs, project closeout, oversight of contractors, and construction management.
Megan Krentsa is an emergency management professional with 10 years of experience in the emergency medical services and disaster response field. She is a Nationally Registered Paramedic, holding additional licenses in Missouri, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Ohio. Megan holds a Master of Science in Medical Physiology from Case Western University, and a Bachelor of Art in International Affairs from the George Washington University.