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Association of State Flood Plain Managers

Association of State Flood Plain Managers Association of State Flood Plain Managers
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What Value has ASFPM Membership brought to your Professional Career & Personal Life?
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

“I became an ASFPM member to get the discount on the CFM exam, but I remain a member because of the positive impact it brings to my career and life,” said Karen McHugh, Missouri’s state floodplain manager and ASFPM’s former board treasurer and secretary.

“Becoming a member and getting involved with the ASFPM Board brings so many positive things to my life and career,” she said. “Being an ASFPM member and serving on the ASFPM Board of Directors introduced me to a wide variety of amazing and intelligent people (now friends) from all round the nation. It helped me to grasp the importance of national policy and allowed me to see how much ASFPM does to help shape the NFIP. I have definitely become more confident in my ability as a state coordinator, and I now have resources to help me with difficult and unusual situations. Because of my involvement in ASFPM, I am now more confident instructing NFIP trainings and helping our NFIP-participating communities with difficult situations!”


Bill Nechamen, past ASFPM chair and current manager of the ASFPM Mentoring Program, said, “When I began my career in floodplain management, I was transferred with one other employee to a ‘floodplain management section’ without any idea what that meant. I did have a background in water resources related planning, and had some knowledge of flooding and floodplains, but had very little knowledge of the programs or processes that floodplain professionals must know. ASFPM conferences were the one place where all of the facets of floodplain management came together. Not only did I learn about the program, I also listened to critiques of policies, ideas of where policies should go, and the technical side of the program.

“As I got more seasoned in the program, I got a charge from spending a week with an interdisciplinary group of professionals who all came at common problems from different perspectives. One time, after returning from an ASFPM conference, a friend asked me how I can spend an entire week discussing floodplains. I replied, ‘it wasn't enough.’

“ASFPM is probably the most interdisciplinary of any professional association. Where else can you go to one place and learn about natural processes, human behavior, risk analysis, actuarial insurance ratings, engineering analyses of flooding and mitigation, economic analyses of policy decisions, and public policy? Where else can you find people from all over the country and all professional backgrounds come together to solve one complex problem?

“As I spent time on the board and with committees, and got to know the executive office staff, my admiration of the work that the volunteers and staff do has grown. ASFPM is one of the most respected professional associations in the nation by staying true to its mission and developing sensible solutions. The diversity of professions and member locations is a plus. This is not a group that has a regional interest or a political approach. It works for the good of the nation in a manner that people of all political views can respect.

“I think the key takeaways of why I continue to renew my ASFPM membership are interdisciplinary approaches to flooding issues; professional growth and contacts; get help on your issue from people with experience and knowledge (ASFPM members are extremely helpful when asked); and being able to spend a week every year without a single person asking you, ‘What's floodplain management?’"

Joy Duperault, Massachusetts state floodplain manager and ASFPM Flood Mitigation Committee co-chair, said, “I first joined in order to get a better rate on the registration for the annual conference because I needed all of the excellent training that’s available there. After I joined, I realized that this really is a group of very professional people from whom I’ve been able to learn a tremendous amount over time. Once I began participating (board member for two years, committees, etc.), I have been blessed to be ‘in the thick of it all,’ and I receive breaking national information that is very helpful in my job.”

Lori Cary-Kothera, with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management and ASFPM’s Coastal Issues Committee co-chair, said, “I have been aware of ASFPM my entire professional career, but got more engaged with ASFPM over the past six years. And then recently upping the game a bit more as a committee co-chair. What I find unique is the passion and extensive expertise that the members have for floodplain management. The culture of the organization is very open, encourages debate, and sharing knowledge/perspectives - but the driver for ASFPM is to support the nation develop sound floodplain management policies.”

She added, “Being a member and getting involved with committee work helps you make additional connections on topics that matter to your work. I have found working with and through the Coastal Issues Committee gave me a better understanding of ASFPM, and it has also helped me make professional contacts that touch a wealth of experience and knowledge that I otherwise wouldn't have had, or it would have taken me a much longer time to cultivate. We live in dynamic times with flood-related issues as a core challenge this nation must address and respond to. Joining ASFPM is an essential professional tool that any floodplain manager should have in their tool belt.”

Jessica Ludy, with Environmental Science Associates and an ASFPM Risk Communication and Outreach Committee co-chair, said, "I 'found' ASFPM online in 2008 when I had just started the research for my master’s thesis on the perception of flood risk for people living behind levees. I was inspired to take this topic on after helplessly watching Katrina devastate New Orleans on TV from my hotel room in south Oregon in 2005. After perusing the ASFPM webpage and being inspired by the wealth of information on there, and the huge range of issues they covered, I knew they were an organization I wanted to get in touch with 'some day' in the future when I was a professional and not a grad student."

She added, "I went to my first ASFPM conference in Louisville three years later and was enamored by the enthusiasm I found among the leaders, the speakers, the 'Hurricane Glass,'and the amicable floodplain managers, perfect strangers, who cared to get to know me over a glass of Kentucky bourbon. Everyone seemed like they were out there making a difference, whether it was in their community or at the White House. Flash forward seven years later and I love ASFPM because I found my passion in flood risk management and every conference call, every conference, and every committee retreat I feel energized by being around others who are equally as passionate as I am about making things better—about making things right and reducing flood losses. I am a member and I also volunteer my time on two committees and the foundation because ASFPM fights to advance policy for all of us on the Hill, and because they make important information available and digestible to the thousands of floodplain managers (most of whom are not hydrologists, engineers, or flood “experts) who need it every day."

"Finally, I love the community I have found in floodplain managers. Multiple ASFPM-ers have mentored me over the years, offering me guidance, specific technical help, and opportunities to advance my passion and career--for this I will be eternally grateful. The ASFPM conference is hands down my favorite week every year (and that’s saying a lot considering I got married this year—don’t tell my husband). I get to spend time with wonderful people, be inspired, build new relationships, foster old relationships, and learn useful information to advance the best of floodplain management practice, which feeds my soul," Ludy said.


Dave Fowler, ASFPM’s Watershed Pod Facilitator, said, ”I became a member first and foremost because I found a group of like-minded individuals who shared a passion for solving the nation’s state or local flooding issues. They also knew how to have fun along the way. Not that we all agree on the types of solutions or how solutions should be implemented, but we shared a common outcome. I came to admire and like (love) my fellow travelers on the journey, which was also half the fun.”

“My career with USACE in the area of flood risk management allowed my involvement with ASFPM to be a natural extension of what I was already doing,” said Randy Behm, an ASFPM Nonstructural Floodproofing Committee co-chair. “Within ASFPM, I found the Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee, which, as a group of local, regional, state and federal officials, as well as private sector experts, were advocating for techniques that were different from the traditional levees and dams, so commonly implemented across the country. This inspired me. So, the policy committees, and what they represent, can be a significant attraction for people wanting to join ASFPM.”

Katie Sommers, with Wisconsin Emergency Management and our District 3 Chapter director, said, “I have found membership in ASFPM to be invaluable. While the educational opportunities and legislative updates are very useful to my career, it has been the individuals sharing their stories, their best practices, and their challenges that I have really gained the most from. The networking that ASFPM makes possible helps me in my work every single day. When I come up against a roadblock, I have a community to whom I can reach out. I cannot tell you how many times I have received advice that has helped me navigate the tricky waters of federal regulations. I feel fortunate that I have also been able to provide my own advice and experiences to others as well.”

Steve Samuelson, the Kansas state floodplain manager, as well as an ASFPM Region 7 director and ASFPM Flood Insurance Committee co-chair, said, “I went to an ASFPM conference in 2006. Was somewhat new in my job at the time and floodplain management was one of my responsibilities. There was no one in the office who could really explain to me what I needed to do, so I went to the ASFPM conference. The conference dues are set up so that being a member is the best thing to do. That first ASFPM conference opened my eyes to so many things. Met people who took time to respond to me and help me out when I contacted them after the conference. Learned tips that helped me to help my citizens save money on flood insurance. Got questions answered about a problem that was already having. The conference was such a great experience that I got involved with ASFPM and have been a member ever since.”

He added, “I used to think that things were going to happen in DC, and I would just keep doing my job in my community and that the politics didn’t affect me. I was very wrong about that and came to that hard realization after Biggert-Waters 2012. Citizens I worked with suddenly had huge spikes in flood insurance premiums. ASFPM is my primary method to stay in touch with what happens in Washington DC. ASFPM is a voice of reason to represent my interests and the interests of my citizens. Through my involvement and membership with ASFPM, I hope that we can have better floodplain management legislation in the future. Being involved means providing feedback and participating in committees. That is how I share my views with ASFPM so the organization can provide that to Washington.”

During our annual national conference in Atlanta, Georgia in 2015, ASFPM asked attendees why they were ASFPM members. Here’s what they said:

"ASFPM is a non-political organization looking to protect financial and physical health of the nation. Its members can change policy for the better," said Tim Trautman, ASFPM's Mitigation Pod Facilitator and Program Manager for the Mecklenburg County Engineering and Mitigation Department in North Carolina.

"ASFPM membership enables me to partner w/ folks nationwide as passionate about FP leadership as I am: together we serve better!" said Del Schwalls, P.E. and CFM from Orlando, Florida.

"I love being a member of ASFPM. Where else can I talk about NFIP, CRS, LiMWAs, CAZs, FIRMs, SFHAs, Map-Mod, D-FIRMs, ECs and CFMs without having to translate? Floodplain geeks together!" said Claire Jubb, CFM from Charlotte County, Florida.

"What's not to LOVE about being @FloodsOrg member? Access to experts, education, community, resources, knowledge share, GREAT people," said John A. Miller from New Jersey.

"Best advantage as an ASFPM member: the conference fully charges my batteries and I'm ready to promote smart floodplain management," said Tom McDonald, CFM from Georgia.

"Networking, webinars, conferences and new ideas," said Melissa Becker, CFM, from Louisiana.

"I love being able to help my community be safe," said Jill Growe from Chatham County, Georgia.

"The best part about being an ASFPM member: Geek becomes a term of endearment," said Kyle Riley, ASFPM District 4 Chapter Director from Iowa.

"I am a part of ASFPM's work to reduce suffering," said Janet Thigpen, a CFM in New York and ASFPM's District 1 Chapter Director.

"The hundreds of resources readily available, the people and contacts, and of course - the amazing conference," said Kara Moree, a CFM in Louisiana and Louisiana Floodplain Management Association secretary.

"Brings me closer to the people who are knowledgeable about floodplain management," said Kevin Hayes, a civil engineer in Georgia.

"I started in 2013 having an emergency management background and little exposure to floodplain management. Everyone I have met has been extremely helpful and mentoring as I took tentative steps into this deep pool. I have learned as much from all the sessions at conference as the networking. I feel blessed to have so many new friends and colleagues. Learning more as I join the ASFPM Foundation. I am ready to dive in for more!" said Veronica Villalobos-Pogue, program coordinator for the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission.

"The networking of all of these very knowledgeable people," said Darla Duet, a CFM and floodplain manager from Lafourche Parish, Louisiana.

"I love being a new member of ASFPM. This was a great week meeting new friends and making great connections at #ASFPM2015 Atlanta," said Melinda Hopkins, a CFM and NFIP Planner for the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.

"I ♡ @FloodsOrg and #ASFPM2015 because flood friends are the best friends! Everyone is so genuine and wants to share their experience with you," said Josh Overmyer, a CFM and CRS specialist with the Florida Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee, Florida.

"Why am I an ASFPM member? Because I now have a family of 16,100 who work with me to reduce risks to floods! I love you all!!" said Terri Turner, a CFM and development services administrator for the city of Augusta, Georgia, as well as an ASFPM No Adverse Impact Committee Co-chair.






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