It’s been one hell of a year, and since last week marked my anniversary at Team Rubicon, I thought I’d share a few reflections on how far we’ve come.
When Will McNulty and Jake Wood first approached me about joining TR 18 months ago, there were seven full-time staff members and fewer than 1,000 volunteers. The notion of becoming a truly professionalized disaster relief organization was just that – a notion.
Today, we are 20,000 strong, with 28 employees supporting Regions that will soon have their own full-time administrators. Most importantly, we are a no-shit disaster relief organization that has fully adopted the Incident Command System allowing us to easily collaborate with partner organizations on the ground.
Our strategic focus on building a professional response capability is paying off. During Operation: Humble Trooper, TR received its first delegation of authority from a government entity. We were ready. The team downrange hit a home run, and the community of Pateros, WA will forever be grateful.
But that’s not all.
We owe our members much more than the occasional deployment, so we’ve invested heavily in training and other programs.
Our engagement tempo has increased even faster than our ops tempo, with more than 350 TR-sponsored events in 2014. We didn’t track events a year ago, but there’s no question we’ve come a long way. An increasing number of those events involve training or other preparation for field deployment.
On the mental health front, we doubled-down on our partnership with Give an Hour. And for the first time in our history, we are collecting real data on the impact these efforts are having on our members’ lives. This ground-breaking work, while supported by HQ, is being led by our members in the regions.
We have a lot left to build. We’re starting by reinforcing the foundations, investing in everything from training to technology to mental health. We need to beef up our Incident Management Assistance Team and work on our international deployment plans.
We’re poised to keep growing. There’s no shortage of disasters, and we’ve only begun tapping into the giant reservoir of veterans and first responders who can help us respond. As impressive as our achievements have been to date, real greatness lies before us.
2015 is going to be a big year. Into the breach…