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EMHS grads are first responders in Texas

August 30, 2017

Among those on the ground in Texas this week providing services to residents affected by devastating hurricane and flood damage are two of UA’s own. Mason McMaster ’13, and Calvin Poznik ’16, are graduates of our Emergency Management and Homeland Security program. (McMaster is pictured here with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who visited the Texas State Operations Center in Austin on Tuesday.)

Mason McMaster and Sen. Ted Cruz

“I'm currently located at the Texas State Operations Center (in Austin) — most people have been working 12 to 18 hour days — it has been nonstop,” reports McMaster, who works for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is deployed as a member of the National Incident Management Assistance Team, West Region. As a mission assignment manager on the team, he is responsible for receiving state requests for resources and determining how to fill the requests through FEMA or other federal agencies. Poznik is based in Denton with other FEMA reservists.

“Processing a Mission Assignment (MA) requires coordinating with other agencies, developing a cost estimate, and developing a Statement of Work,” explains McMaster. “Once everything is agreed upon, I input the MA into FEMA's financial system so funds can be obligated to the agencies completing the task.

“As of now, we have processed over 90 MAs costing 330,000,000. That’s not including commodities, memorandums of understanding or other costs,” adds McMaster. “This disaster will be larger than Katrina in many aspects. This disaster, like most disasters, will require a great deal of tail end accounting. When it comes to saving lives we sacrifice accountability for speed.”

“We are proud to have our program graduates on the ground with FEMA in Texas during this disaster and its aftermath,” says Dr. Stacy Willett, professor and program director in Emergency Management and Homeland Security.