Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

The Hagerty Advantage – Our People: Jake Weingroff

What led you to emergency management and your public service mindset?

My wife, 10-month-old daughter and I became disaster survivors when Hurricane Sandy ravished the Jersey Shore in October 2012. Four feet of contaminated bay water entered our home. I never fully understood the impact of a natural disaster until my family suffered. In the initial response, many organizations such as the American Red Cross, my local volunteer fire company, and other nonprofits were helpful. As recovery continued, it was difficult to find others who were understanding. My position as Sergeant First Class in the New Jersey State Police Department changed my perspective, though. I developed a passion to help victims of other disasters and assist them in the recovery process.

How have your skills and training in the private sector and in public safety contributed to your role as a recovery consultant?

I decided to enter the private sector after receiving my undergraduate degree in finance. I worked at a large financial information firm in New York City as a budget controller. There I learned how to achieve success while being tasked with multiple projects and satisfying strict deadlines.

As a Sergeant First Class, I learned to remain calm even when matters escalated. Most people have never been a victim of a disaster or experienced a calamity that might lead to irrational decisions and actions. Time constraints and external pressures are often the norm, but I have learned to adapt to adversity and succeed within these realms. My training and experiences have allowed me to react rationally and remember the immediate and long-term recovery goals. My private sector experience coupled with my role as a public safety officer has definitely made me a more competent and well-rounded Disaster Recovery Consultant.

Your background heavily revolves around financial management- do you feel these processes are often overlooked in recovery? How can communities prepare for the financial toll of a disaster?

The Public Assistance Program revolves around providing funds to public organizations that have fallen victim to a disaster. Yet, when a disaster strikes, financials are often overlooked or pushed to the wayside. Communities should prepare financial plans side-by-side with a recovery plan, from the beginning. By simply separating disaster-related expenditures, organizations can streamline the reimbursement process. I was deployed to Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. During my deployment, I assisted with the budget and financial preparations for Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) deployments. EMAC is a mutual aid agreement that enables states to share resources during times of disaster, enabling an efficient reimbursement.

Jake collaborating with Puerto Rico police after Hurricane Maria

What led you to Hagerty and what do you enjoy most about being on the team?

Hagerty has an impeccable reputation within the disaster consulting field. The firm has highly experienced and well-qualified emergency managers to assist our clients. Hagerty is often seen at the forefront of preparedness planning and response and recovery after a disaster.

I also appreciate Hagerty’s emphasis on team work, which has created a motivated and collaborative work environment. All the members of my team converse daily on matters across client projects. When a task is presented, the entire team engages to achieve the best results for our clients.

What keeps you busy outside of Hagerty?

I am a family man first and foremost, with two beautiful daughters that are ages seven and four, and a wonderful, supportive wife. When I am not coaching one of my daughters, I am practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, competing in a CrossFit event, or in my garden growing some of the best Jersey tomatoes and cucumbers.

Jake Weingroff is a Senior Managing Associate at Hagerty Consulting. He has ten years of emergency management experience ranging from the initial response to an incident to the financial reconciliation of a disaster. He has served as a Sergeant First Class within the New Jersey State Police during presidentially declared disasters. Jake earned a Master of Administrative Science degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Rowan University. Jake currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.