THE HAGERTY ADVANTAGE – OUR PEOPLE: MACKENZIE FORGACS AND TANVI PATEL
Here at Hagerty, we truly believe the advantage is our people. This month, we highlight some of Hagerty’s new Associate professionals. We discuss their professional background and experience and how it led them to the Hagerty team.
1. Tell us about yourself and how your career path led you to Hagerty Consulting
Mackenzie Forgacs: My name is Mackenzie Forgacs, but I go by Mackie to all of my friends and family, including my new Hagerty family! I currently reside in the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina—known for its hiking opportunities in the Blue Ridge Mountains, great food, and, as the large painted water tower downtown states, its “chill vibes.”
Prior to joining the Hagerty team, I worked as the Preparedness Coordinator for a local emergency management agency. Working at the local level allowed me to take on a jack-of-all-trades role, formulating all of our Public Assistance (PA) projects, conducting training and exercises for other local agencies, and working in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during response efforts. This role opened my eyes to the private side of emergency management, which ultimately led me to Hagerty Consulting.
Tanvi Patel: I am based out of Austin, TX, and a proud alumnus of Texas A&M University. I unexpectedly stumbled upon the exciting field of emergency management through the relationships I built during an internship with the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Trauma Systems Department at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Through networking, I met with the Emergency Management Coordinator for my university, who gave me my formal introduction to the field of emergency management. My interest peaked immediately, and I soon found myself working at the State Medical Operations Center (SMOC) as a part of the state’s COVID-19 response team. During this response operation, I learned the importance of strong public health infrastructure, resilient communities, and overall emergency preparedness efforts. Through colleagues at DSHS SMOC, I was introduced to Hagerty Consulting, and the rest is history!
2. What do you find most rewarding about working in the field of emergency management?
Mackenzie Forgacs: For me, the most rewarding aspects of emergency management are the opportunities to be there for individuals during some of their most difficult days. As we all know too well, disasters do not discriminate, and they can impact individuals in any place, at any time. My role in this field can often provide a small glimpse of light on someone’s darkest days. Spending my life in service of others, even if it is something as “behind the scenes” as working through spreadsheets or reading over contracts, gives me purpose and pushes me through each day. Our work matters and has a significant impact on people’s lives, even if it may sometimes seem small.
Tanvi Patel: As a professional in emergency management, I find it humbling to play an essential and direct role in helping communities become more resilient and helping people whose lives have been affected by crises. Not only has my job as an emergency management professional equipped me with the knowledge and skills needed to serve our clients, but it has genuinely helped me develop a better perspective on the challenges that our clients and communities face today. A career in emergency management is both exciting and challenging as it allows you to engage with and learn from partners across various disciplines to work towards a common goal.
3. Which of the firm’s core values resonates with you the most and why?
Mackenzie Forgacs: The core value that resonates with me the most is Integrity. From a young age, my father would tell me that “integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.” Although he would often use this as a speech to keep me out of trouble, this saying has never been more applicable to me than in my time as a working professional.
Tanvi Patel: Hagerty’s values of Innovation and Excellence resonate with me the most. Every day, I see that the work my colleagues and I do is driven by clients’ best interests. We collaborate as a team and leverage our expertise, experiences, and skills to produce the best and most innovative results for our clients. Being a part of an organization that fosters creative thinking and recognizes clients’ unique needs allows us to deliver the best, most suitable, and sustainable solutions for those we serve.
4. What are you passionate about outside of work?
Mackenzie Forgacs: Outside of work, I have a multitude of passions! The first that comes to mind is any and all outdoor activities. I love camping, boating on lakes, playing sports, and hiking with my wife, Nikki, and our five-year-old dog, Summit! Beyond spending time with loved ones, traveling also holds a very special place in my heart. The opportunity to experience other cultures and learn from different perspectives is a type of passion that can only be fulfilled by opening yourself up to the world around you!
Tanvi Patel: Traveling is one of my greatest passions. Exposure to new environments, people, and cultures is truly an educational and fulfilling experience as it allows me to grow as a person and step out of my comfort zone.
5. Where is one place in the world you would like to travel and why?
Mackenzie Forgacs: There are so many incredible places that I wish to visit. The list is truly endless, but the next destination I want to travel to is Italy—who doesn’t love pizza and pasta? With so many beautiful places in the world to travel to, this feels like it would be a great place to start!
Tanvi Patel: I have a very long travel list, but Italy is towards the top! In addition to its beautiful culture and food, the country has a rich history and incredible architecture that I would love to learn more about. I have heard nothing but great things from those who have visited Italy and hope I get to experience it for myself soon!
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Mackenzie Forgacs is a recovery associate with five plus years of experience in the public and nonprofit sectors coordinating the function and operation of mitigation, response, recovery, preparedness, mission support, and grants programs. She holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in Emergency Management from Columbia Southern University and has participated in disaster recovery efforts in both the federal and county level.
Tanvi Patel is a preparedness associate with a multidisciplinary background in disaster management, healthcare consulting, and public health. In her role at Hagerty, she has supported response and recovery initiatives related to After-Action Reports (AAR), COVID-19 Improvement Plan (IP) development, and emerging grant funding such as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).