Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

The Hagerty Advantage: Our People: Lee Mayfield, Nicole Morales, and Caleb Smith

Last month, several of Hagerty’s Response and Preparedness professionals contributed to our hurricane and wildfire preparedness series providing emergency managers with things to consider as they prepare for the disaster risks their communities may face this summer. Today, we highlight their professional experience and why they find disaster response missions so rewarding.

Additionally, stay tuned! 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.


What is most rewarding to you about being an emergency manager, specifically a response professional?

Lee Mayfield: Finding solutions to complex problems and doing so in extremely difficult situations. Emergency managers help lead communities through some of their most challenging days by coordinating and communicating with a broad range of departments, agencies, and jurisdictions. Working with colleagues in this profession to overcome obstacles in the midst of a disaster is both meaningful and rewarding.

Nicole Morales: The most rewarding element is being able to pay forward the kindness, compassion, and resolve that first responders and volunteers from across the country extended to my city, New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. At Hagerty, we are able to channel our team’s intellect, ingenuity, and empathy to help communities navigate their very worst days—and as importantly, restore their hope and sense of empowerment over what lies ahead. We’re constantly reflecting on how to improve our processes and approaches, not for personal or professional acclaim, but to eliminate barriers, reduce stress, and minimize delays for survivors when minutes matter most.

Caleb Smith: My first job in emergency management was working directly with individual disaster survivors and that experience largely shaped how I see success and reward in this field. In emergency management, a lot of our planning goes on behind the scenes year-round and the immediate payoff isn’t always apparent or measurable until specific events arise. What’s important though is knowing all of these actions accumulate throughout the year, ultimately reducing suffering and loss of life or property. Knowing my work can help ease someone’s suffering or help their recovery from what’s probably one of the worst days of their life, that’s what I find most rewarding.


Lee Mayfield is Hagerty’s Response Director and is a proven emergency management leader with over 13 years of experience in disaster planning, response, and recovery – specializing in state and local coordination, training and exercise, mass care, evacuation prioritization, and crisis response.

Prior to joining Hagerty, Lee served as the Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management for Lee County, FL where he oversaw and supported the county’s response and recovery from Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Nicole Morales is Hagerty’s Deputy Director of Response and Preparedness. Over the last decade, she has supported public sector, private sector, and non-governmental organizations with preparedness initiatives and response operations. Prior to joining Hagerty, Nicole served as a consultant to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and United States (US) Department of State on domestic and international preparedness. 

Caleb Smith is a managing associate with Hagerty’s Washington, D.C. office, where he supports various workforce development initiatives for FEMA. Prior to joining Hagerty, Caleb served in roles with FEMA both as a consultant and public servant where he focused on National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) outreach, and supported individual assistance and stakeholder engagement in response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence. He is also a new member of Hagerty’s Situational Status (SitStat) Team.

Want to join our team?

Please fill out the form below and our Talent Acquisition Team will be in touch!