Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

The Hagerty Advantage – Our People: Sydney Delmar

Sydney is a managing associate at Hagerty Consulting, Inc. She has worked with the Preparedness Division in Washington, D.C. since April 2018. Sydney is a hazard mitigation and floodplain management expert. Before joining Hagerty, Sydney supported FEMA and local and state governments with disaster recovery and mitigation planning.

What originally sparked your interest in emergency management?

During Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I was a senior in college and a tree fell through my parent’s house. My family was unharmed, thankfully, but the tree destroyed our entire house. I know what it is like to lose your childhood home to a natural disaster; I am able to sympathize with victims who have lost all of their possessions in a storm. That experience precipitated my interest in emergency management. After college, I was recruited to work in New York on the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. With my degree in environmental science, focusing on floodplain management was a natural transition.  

What brought you to Hagerty?

I was really attracted to the energy at Hagerty. Everyone at Hagerty is ambitious – they know where they are going, what they want to achieve, and are working hard to get there. I love being part of such a high-energy and passionate group of people.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of working in hazard mitigation?

I have always had a strong instinct to help people. Working in hazard mitigation is rewarding because you are taking something abstract and complicated and making it tangible for people to understand. Working at Hagerty has given me the opportunity to significantly impact people’s lives so that they are protected from future disasters. When I worked in New York, part of my job was to educate individuals about flood risk. I met one-on-one with homeowners and small business owners to teach them about the risks and how to best prepare. Knowing that my work is helping to protect my community is incredibly rewarding.

You deployed to support Hurricane Harvey recovery operations. What did you learn?

I was deployed to Houston, Texas for four months. As a Program Delivery Manager for FEMA’s Public Assistance program, I focused on three applicants: a fire department, a charter school, and a private non-profit pre-school. I saw the extent of the damage of Hurricane Harvey first hand through these applicants. Taking part in this recovery effort gave me a stronger understanding of the impacts of disasters and a fresh perspective towards my work in hazard mitigation. The best part of working in Houston? I learned that even after a hurricane, Houston still has delicious barbecue!

What advice do you give to friends and family about hazard mitigation?

  • Know Your Risk. Be curious what your risks are, ask questions, find ways to prepare for those worst-case scenarios, and seek out the resources that are available to you before a disaster.
  • Buy Insurance. Buy the best insurance that you can afford. Short-changing your insurance by purchasing a less inclusive plan may seem appealing when you’re on a tight budget but investing in a good insurance plan – whether it is insurance for your house, car, or health – it is one of the smartest purchases you will ever make.

Hagerty is always looking for talented professionals to join our team. Learn more here.