Episode-916- Anthony Veltri Author of Katrina A Journey of Hope

Anthony Veltri - Author and Consultant

Anthony Veltri - Author, Scientist and Trainer

Anthony Veltri served as a lead physical scientist in charge of the Department of Homeland Security’s iCAV geospatial system and 24×7 geospatial mapping production center which is charged with map production for a variety of natural and man made incidents.

In short, if it made the front page of CNN.com and it had the potential to impact the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources, chances are, his team made geospatial products for it. He is a long time listener to TSP podcasts and an avid lurker on the forum.

He is also the author of Katrina – A Journey of Hope, which recounts his experience as a member of the Rhode Island Urban Search and Rescue Task Force during their deployment to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Anthony joins us today to discuss what being versatile can mean for you in a disaster situation, both during the disaster and long-term. What to expect and how to interact with emergency services professionals. He feels his experience in the Gulf Coast after the Landfall of Hurricane Katrina needs to benefit someone other than me and he wants to make sure people have good information to keep themselves safe.

He will also discuss his experience in working in the technology sector with government employment and contracting and how young graduates can gain a competitive advantage in some non traditional ways.  Along with how 30-40 year olds caught in the middle of current technology migrations can adapt to change and continue to compete and excel.

Resources for today’s show…

Anthony’s Links

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

31 Responses to Episode-916- Anthony Veltri Author of Katrina A Journey of Hope

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this community via the podcast. If anyone has any questions post em here and I’ll do my best to answer them.
    best
    -Anthony

  2. Thanks, Anthony, for so much good information and a view at another way of preparing. When people tell me that when there’s a disaster or crisis, they want me in their group, I usually say something like, “it’s important to think ahead”. But after today, I think I’ll stop just showing and telling, and start teaching. I think you stirred me to promote, rather than just share. Thanks, Jack, for having Anthony.

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  5. This community continues to amaze me with the amount of knowledge that it has amassed. I can tell you from personal experience that the material that I present is perceived in an entirely different way when it is taught in an applied sense rather than just lectured about. As jack stated in the podcast, we can maximize our positive impact by focusing on things that are actually within reach for someone to accomplish… It’s a lot easier (and more practical) to start with three days of food than it is to start with conversations revolving around buckets of wheat. When I was traveling in Eastern Europe, I got stuck in the Iceland volcano Ash Cloud of 2010. My colleagues made fun of me for the large number of cliff bars I had with me in my carry on (maybe about 15 or so).

    In fact, I was laughed at when I offered a colonel with whom I was traveling a cliff bar as we boarded our plane from Moldova to Ukraine. Due to the ash cloud, we had to divert and were stuck in austria… at night, in the rain, competing with every other person to get lodging and a cab… I’ll never forget the sheepish look I got while I was working on scarfing down the second chocolate and peanut butter bar, she asked me for a piece of my cliff bar as we sat on our luggage, on a curb waiting for a ride in the dark, wet Vienna night. I gladly gave her two whole bars with a genuine smile of thanks and gratitude, she accepted and silently acknowledged that maybe I wasn’t so crazy after all…

    Hillhag: Thanks for your comments! Please let us know one thing that you plan to start doing today to achieve your goal of being a more effective teacher, and then let us know one thing that you will STOP doing that may be holding you back. I’d be interested to hear!

  6. Only just started listened to this episode, was gonna fast forward to an economic section of the last listener calls but glad that I opted for this instead!

    Anthony is spot on and so are you. The economic side effects of a disaster are much more likely to do lasting damage than the immediate impact of a disaster. I really like the way that he has given us all resources that we can read to help us prepare. Realistically a lot of the time I am listening to TSP I am at a computer and don’t have time to implement practical things, so giving us the NIMS link is great (I’m in the UK but appreciate the sentiment).

    I really think that surthrivalists (love that term!) should be looking to learn lessons from refugee stories, so the Yugoslavia link is gonna be useful too. The great thing about learning from refugees is it also teaches us a lot of humility and compassion.

    The career advice was so good from Anthony too. Thanks to your show (and the “five minutes with Jack” podcast) I have already started developing my skills to try and set up a secondary income. I also love the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series from Stanford University for good inspiration in this area.

    Thanks for a great show Jack, first time I’ve felt like commenting but I’ve been a long time subscriber to the podcast from across the pond!

    Cheers and keep up the good work,

    Luke

    • Luke,
      Thank you so much for your feedback. When I worked for DHS, I tried to limit my social profiles to keep in line with the operational security/personal security requirements and guidelines that they put forth. As a result, I became a net consumer of TSP resources, and was an avid lurker on the forum and other portions of the site. While I still observe many of the OPSEC/PERSEC guidelines (facebook can be a dangerous place, after all), I realized that it was time to give back.

      Regarding the NIMS link: I think that it is really important for people to have a general understanding of the framework by which Gov’t is set up to respond to a disaster. There is actually training that you can take online for free, and aside from being good general info, it will allow you to better tailor your prep and bug out plans based on how the Gov’t response framework is set up.
      Hint: If you try for a job in the homeland security community, this is a free resource that will help you in your interview… Knowing what these acronyms
      are and more importantly how they fit in the big picture is an important, yet overlooked, step of those trying to enter into the homeland security career space.
      FYI, the high-level emergency management functions of the UK fall under the auspices of the CCA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Contingencies_Act_2004 I could go on for ever comparing and contrasting high-level international emergency management frameworks, but that would be a boring post!

      The Death of Yugoslavia BBC documentary is absolutely chilling. It is loooong and broken up into several chunks, but it was so riveting that I watched it all in one sitting. I kept saying to myself “just one more video and then I’ll go.” but I could not pull myself away. Things to pay attention to in this documentary: 1: note the significance of enclaves and exclaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclave_and_exclave) as they relate to both ethnic, religious and racial issues and also to transportation and geopolitical issues that led up to the conflict. Ask yourself, how is this similar to areas of the US, how is it different? 2: Note the media interviews with the political and military leaders. They are significant and interesting because they are happening during the conflict, and they are very candid. note how each side presents its case, not only to the media, but also to the people of the nation they represent. 3:Try to understand the racial, ethnic, religious and nationalistic connections of each of the state and non-state or guerilla actors involved. It is difficult… I actually had to make a chart and draw it out to understand it, but it is worth noting for the purpose of complexity! 4: what was the interaction from the international community. How did this stress/strain these relationships?

      Regarding the career advice: my mantra is: You are not your job. If I put effort/energy/resources into developing myself, then I will not only be a better person, but I will bring more to the table in any working relationship. If I put the same into developing a specific job, the reverse may not be the same.

      Thank you so much for your feedback. As I continue to expand from my social media bubble, I will look for additional opportunities to serve this community. I welcome all comments and suggestions!

  7. It’s great Jack that you’d take a go-getter, a younger person with a lot of drive. However, when you reach your late 50′s and early 60′s, you’ve exhausted all of your options, as my husband did in the computer field, it becomes nearly impossible to be a “go-getter.” He was laid of one job of 20 years in 2005; he was laid off another job in 2009. We lost our house and used all of our savings to make ends meet. This mindset of taking the younger go-getter is why there ARE so many of the older (reliable) workers are OUT of work and nobody will hire them for their experience. I get your point but experience doesn’t seem to mean much anymore.
    Thanks,
    Shawnne

  8. I do agree with points such as we need to be masters of our own lives, take control of our families, etc. That’s a great point. The other thing I agree with is “Doomsday Preppers” is overly extreme. I watch it because the people are only focusing on ONE bad thing happening and not taking in the big picture, also for the entertainment quality. Overall, a very good podcast today.
    Thanks,
    Shawnne

  9. Anthony, A few days ago I set a date by which I will have my rooms, supplies and equipment reorganized for classes. That date is my 75th birthday in Sept. That involves relocating prep storage.

    I can have a pottery shop that will double for other clases such as dehydrating, canning, fermenting, etc.

    Then the fiber shop can have classes in spinning, weaving, quilting, leather work, maybe rope making, knots, etc. There’s a lot to think through.

    I grow a lot in containers and have an 1800 sq.ft. high tunnel so there can be classes/workshops in permaculture, hugelkulture, gardening, seed saving, and wildcrafting, etc.

    I have bees, chickens, guineas, and rabbits, but have also raised sheep, goats and other livestock, so I can help mentor a beginner in those areas or help with resources.

    I am making kombucha tea regularly, and am currently growing a 15″ scoby to dry for use as shoe leather. If that works out, I will share that on tsp.

    Today: I will write a mission statement then look at the fall calendar and make a rough outline for workshops/ classes. I’ve already been working with friends and family. Public conversations with strangers, almost always ends up in a discussion on the economy and preparedness.

    Stop? I’ll stop expecting or waiting for help. I’ll do my best and what I can, and consider that enough. Can’t live forever, but surely can spread the knowledge and leave something helpful behind. Thanks for helping me see that.

    • Wow! Talk about action. That is inspiring. It just goes to show you that motivation and drive knows no bounds when it comes to age. Who will you be sharing your passions with or teaching all of this great stuff to?

      Your comment about waiting on others really hits home as well. It really is entirely up to us to make it happen. So many people wait on “permission” from others or from society to take up a hobby or passion. Good on you.

  10. Shawnee, I’m almost 75 and alone. I taught school, but as an older person with advanced degrees, I couldn’t find work after moving, so I couldn’t retire. I started farming with my daughter’s 4-H projects and ended up with a commercial rabbitry and sheep dairy and rented pastures out to a nearly dairy. I made a mistakes in judgement which lead to my losing the farm and mountain house. I ended up homeless in ’96, so I know it’s easy to get discouraged, but let me encourage you to think of what you have and can do, rather than what you don’t have, can’t do, or other limitations. If you can’t count on experience, try to create new experiences. Hang in there, and never give up.

    • Thanks for responding to my post. We ARE doing other things. I work from home doing something I love (not tons of money in it) but doing it, all the same. My husband works for a communication company, making about 1/3 of what he used to make. I just wanted to comment about the mindset that hiring the go getter 25-year-0ld was the better choice, in Jack’s words. We have reinvented ourselves to the best of our ability, trust me. When my husband tried to get other jobs in his field, he was overlooked for the younger workers. That’s why I posted in the first place.
      Thanks!
      Blessings,
      Shawnne

  11. Anthony, I don’t know if you really wanted to know, but I was thinking about the times I waited for physical help moving heavy stuff. Permission isn’t an issue as I have lots of people constantly asking for info and exampling. When I have guests I cook wild food along with other stuff, and also try to include food from the solar oven and food I’ve dehydrated. This week it was lambs quarters, and bread baked outside. Last week it was purslane fritters and bread made with the yeast from Kombucha tea. I’m weird and everyone knows it. lol If I build it, they will come.

    • Wow! I tell you what, That sounds delicious. Bet you could get some folks to help you move stuff for a meal like that! Heck, I know my wife would sign me up for physical labor if she were able to learn skills like that in exchange (she’s nice like that).

  12. Anthony, I’ve hated self promotion but you hit the nail on the head.

    I consider myself a craftsman and a good one at that. I’ve been self employ for 10 years, When I started my work sold itself, My skill set was needed. Technology has made it easier for the rank and file to do what I do. Reading the customer is getting harder and harder.

    So where is it someone goes to learn true self promotion without the feeling like they are turning into a slimy used car salesman?

    • Scott,
      I have struggled with this myself and I’m glad to say that I’ve more or less gotten over it. We have been conditioned to think that sales and self promotion are always bad.

      Think of it like this. Let’s say that your goodwill=rice for the sake of this discussion. You are a very good farmer and you produce a ton of rice. To get it to the market you have to transfer it to bags. The only tool you have available for this is a pitchfork. Your neighbor farmer has poor farming practices and he only generates a tenth of what you generate, but he has a scoop designed for the task of bagging the rice. he never spills a single grain, yet you struggle to fill even one sack to gain from the fruits of your harvest.

      this is why “jerks” who don’t put out much good yet are really good at capturing any benefits seem to get ahead while meek get nothing. It has nothing to do with being “meek” is has to do with having the right “tools”
      for the job.

      Here is my podcast on this very subject. ;) It is Episode 1xx diesel jetta quality, but it gets the point across.
      http://distinguishedgraduate.com/2012/06/how-to-get-credit-for-the-good-things-you-do/
      let me know what you think!

    • This is a really important question, so I recorded my answer to it. There are many instances where serving the customer requires self promotion. not doing this can actually be a disservice to the customer. If you do it right, you can provide excellent service to your customer while promoting yourself at the same time.
      I’ve recorded a 5 minute audio in response to this question.
      http://distinguishedgraduate.com/2012/06/episode-7-my-reply-to-a-question-about-self-promotion/
      lemmie know what you think

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  14. @Anthony -
    As someone who’s spent a little too much time/energy on people that should be ‘black tagged’ I really appreciated your comments on triage. Its a great mental tool I’ll be using going forward.

    I also wanted to say that I’m constantly amazed by the quality of people that are part of this community, and I’m truly grateful for what you’re doing.

    p.s. and thanks for the book, i look forward to reading it.

    • When I was training to be an EMT, we drilled repeatedly on how to respond to X via our various protocols. What was so mentally challenging about the MCI training was the fact that you had to choose to let people go. People who you could have treated in a single patient scenario were lumped in the same black tag category as someone who was truly dead (massive displacement of organs, rigor mortis, etc). This was a challenging, but essential concept to overcome.

      I’m glad that the show was of use to you and that it gave you some other ideas on how to better utilize your time, but more importantly your talents a you engage people on topics that are meaningful to you.
      THANKS!

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  16. Jack,I love the show. One thing that stood out in this episode was your mention of Dilbert and HP. I can tell you that I worked at HP from 1998 to 2006, and we had Dilbert stuff all over the place. It certainly was not banned. I always thought Scott Adams was from IBM. Wikipedia mentions that he worked at Pacific Bell between 1986 and June 1995 so I may be wrong about that as well. But, I can say for sure that there was no company wide ban on Dilbert stuff at HP. We all loved Dilbert.

    -Corey

    • Modern Survival

      Hmm another urban legend down in flames?

      • I suspect this is an urban legend. It is possible that it’s true at a different company, but not at HP.

        • Useless Dilbert trivia. Scott Adams continued his cubicle life for a while before Dilbert made him rich enough to quit. He worked in a complex right off the freeway where I did a lot of hauling back in my trucking days (CA Hwy. 680) and I used to see him on his way to & from work. He had a little sports car, I think it was a Masda, and the personalized plate was: Dogbert. Cracked me up every time I spotted him & I’d give him a shot with the airhorn. Never met the man, but he knew my Peterbilt and knew I was a fan.

  17. radiomacgyver

    Anthony,

    Thanks for the info and telling it like it is. I work in emergency services and too am amazed by how much people expect.

    Nice to meet a fellow Rhode Islander,

    • Rhode Island has been hit hard by the economic downturns. I cringe every time I see an article online about RI schools laying off all teachers, or the city of Central Falls going out of business. Many of the emergency services professionals who appear in my book are impacted directly by the financial morass that has come home to roost in RI.

      I echo your statement about the sense of high expectations when people press the digits 9-1-1 on their phone. But then again, I suppose I am preaching to the choir with this audience!

  18. Hi again Anthony,

    I just tried watching those “Break up of Yugoslavia” but unfortunately they were a bit too dry for me! Horses for courses and all that…

    I decided to search for something with a bit faster soundbite and came across an interesting series produced by UNHCR (the UN refugee agency). Now, clearly these are going to be biased in favour of refugee camps… and they are! This aside though they do make for quick interesting stories and with a little imagination you can apply a lot of the stories to your own situation and try to see how you would feel. Here is one on Kosovo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD4f-XhJFlU&feature=relmfu

    Hope you enjoy it.

    Cheers,

    • Luke,
      Wow. that was a powerful video. Different strokes for different folks. I think part of my fascination with the BBC docu was the fact that I needed to learn about that region while I was working as a guest lecturer and facilitator with partner nations as part of the CMEP (civil military emergency preparedness) program http://www.pims.org/pims-capabilities/event-support/profiles-of-selected-exercises/civil-military-emergency-preparedness-cmep. For me it’s not so important how the lesson is taught, but rather that it is learned!

      This interview has been a great learning experience for me. I’ve gone back and listened to it several times to pick out areas where I could be more effective in my presentation and improve my effectiveness in the delivery of this information. I think that finding punchier videos that get the same point across is part of that process!

      Thank you again for your very valuable feedback and for the link. I will add it to my arsenal of teaching materials.

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