Going Where Needed: Deployment Experiences in Texas

When disasters occur, federal funding is available to state and local governments and eligible nonprofit organizations; Indian tribal governments; and Alaska native villages for disaster-related debris removal, emergency protective measures, and restoration of damaged infrastructure. We've sent employees to areas throughout the nation to provide technical assistance to assess damages and support the repair or replacement design of public infrastructure.

In early spring 2016, 46 specialists were deployed to provide disaster recovery support to Texas communities that were impacted by severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, winter storms, and flooding. As last week's Hurricane Harvey made landfall, we monitored its progress and prepared to support our clients.

Discovering New Areas While Lending a Helping Hand

Michael Villanueva is a structural engineer in our Mount Laurel, New Jersey, office. "During my first few months at Dewberry, I volunteered for this program, was accepted, and underwent the training that was required. One year later, I was deployed to Texas in late March 2016 following the six active declared disasters that had occurred. I worked as a project specialist, formulating grants which detailed damages and costs for federal aid for applicants. I spent my first three months in Sulphur Springs, a small town in eastern Texas. Eventually, I was assigned to the joint field office to finish out my deployment in Austin. Through another firm, I have extensive experience with forensic engineering and dealing with insurance claims for structural defects, collapses, and failures. Being involved with disaster recovery sounded very appealing given my experience. It was a fantastic way to see different parts of the country, while helping communities recover following a disaster."

Second Deployment

Antonio Marques is a project manager in our Rockville, Maryland, office. "This was my second deployment. I was sent to Huntsville, Texas, to conduct road damage assessments. Typically, rural areas have roadways made of gravel. During storm events, road culverts flood and are taken over by rivers, washing away these gravel roads. The assessments I conducted enabled local communities to receive federal money to help repay what they spent repairing the damages caused by the storms. I was glad to travel to Texas to help this smaller community. To me, it's rewarding to see the positive impact these deployment programs have."

Helping Communities Close to Home

Similar to Antonio, Jake Lesué, project manager in our Dallas, Texas, office, was deployed to rural communities in the state to assist with road damage assessments. "It was my first time being deployed, and I was sent to various locations throughout Texas. I spent four months traveling to different small towns, providing road damage assessments. We documented the length of roads that had been washed out and repaired by communities, determined the quantity of aggregate and base materials they used to fix the roads, and submitted project worksheets to document the repairs. It was interesting to work in these rural areas with the local community personnel and staff. I spent a lot of time driving with the county precinct commissioner and was able to get to know him and the history of the area. Texas happens to be my home state, so it was a wonderful opportunity to serve these affected areas throughout the week, while also being able to spend the weekends with my family."

Our Involvement with Deployment

More than 500 experienced disaster response employees—like Michael, Antonio, and Jake—are available for immediate deployment. Whenever a natural or manmade disaster is declared, we're committed to serve impacted communities. Click here to learn more about our open disaster cadre positions to assist with response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Harvey.

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  • Michael Villanueva
    Michael Villanueva
  • Antonio Marques
    Antonio Marques
  • Jake Lesué
    Jake Lesué
 
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