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Shake Hands Before Disaster Strikes

David Burke

David Burke, the Director of Field Operations, graduated from the University of Iowa where he majored in business, bicycle maintenance, and beer snobbery. He served just under 5 years in the Marine Corps as a logistics officer and he deployed to Iraq with RCT-8 and to Afghanistan with the 2d Marine Division. David finished active service as a Captain in Quantico, VA, supporting the M1A1 Tank and M88 Recovery Vehicle. After a short stint in consulting, David and his wife, Amanda, traveled the US logging 1000’s of miles on the road and 100’s with a backpack.

A year later, Augusta, GA is still learning from an unexpected weather event.

As a national disaster response organization, we have a an opportunity to gain and share experience with our state and local VOAD and Emergency Management partners. While we’re working to develop capacity to support as locally as possible, we will always deploy to incidents all over the country and share our successes and failures across all of Team Rubicon through participation, daily planning reviews, and after action reporting. This volume of activity and lessons learned allows us to develop best practices and standards that help us better serve any community affected by disaster – this varies significantly from the communities we serve, who, luckily, are rarely impacted by them. 


Bob Obernier led the team on Operation:Frozen Oak in response to last year’s ice storm, and he was able to support and make an impression on the City of Augusta and Georgia Emergency Management Agency. Our support here started with a simple but powerful thing – an introduction.

There’s a lot we do to assist partner agencies and organizations to prepare. The starting point is simple whether it’s before, between, or in the midst of a disaster – we reach out with our capabilities and introduce ourselves. This starts the relationship and begins to foster trust. Once a relationship exists, we get involved with planning, exercises, training – you name it.  We stand to have a huge impact with this simple step if we can incite action before it hits the fan.

Looking for a local leader in your jurisdiction? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll make the introduction.

  • Sophia Nicodemus

    I just signed up yesterday and I would love to get in touch with someone more local. I live in the boondocks so I’m not sure where to go. I’m in Oregon. Thanks!

  • olbiketech

    Great advice to utilize. Many of TR’s members are probably already connected to local EM’s and can be a benefit on OP’s in their areas. If you are a TR member consider becoming involved with local emergency services and start by taking the FEMA IS 317 CERT course.

  • Eugene Lewis

    I say Again: All we recieve at this LOC are Recon’s for money and TRX, “No-Reply, Comm’s”, TRX, Rose-Garden photo’s and TRX Selfie-Commendations.
    I met the gang at the Lucky Lab in Portland, all “3” of us had Pizza, however FREE at that. Don’t leave me on LPOP w/o Comm’s Bro…do a Fly-by or something…Are we winning?