Professors Brief Emergency Management Leaders at Governor’s Hurricane Conference

By: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala on

Two UCF professors conducted workshops Friday for emergency management personnel across Florida during the annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference.

Associate professors in public administration Christopher Emrich and Claire Connolly Knox are experts on different aspects of disaster recovery and members of UCF’s National Center for Integrated Coastal Research.

Emrich focused on the challenges facing Florida disaster-recovery efforts based on what we’ve learned from hurricanes the past few years. He addressed working with federal programs that help states post emergencies.

Knox and her team presented “Community and Organizational Resiliency: Analysis of Hurricane Irma After-Action Reports,” which was followed by a panel discussion with emergency managers from across Florida.

The conference draws hundreds of emergency management personnel, first responders and planners and helps inform attendees learn about best practices from experts and colleagues across the state. This conference convenes every year before the start of hurricane season June 1.

Emrich joined UCF after serving as the GIS unit leader for FEMA’s Florida Long Term Recovery Office and eight years at the University of South Carolina as a research associate professor and associate director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute.

Knox is an expert in environmental policy and management, environmental vulnerability and disaster response. She is also the director of the UCF Emergency Management and Homeland Security program.

Knox has extensive experience with federal and local agencies. While in Louisiana, she was an interpretative specialist at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center for the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act, and then a planning assistant with the Lafayette Parish Traffic and Transportation Department. She has worked with multiple Florida agencies and counties on disaster response and in 2015 won the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association’s Gary Arnold Award for her dedication to improving Florida’s emergency management community.

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