As a 20-year employee of MIBAR, I have worn many hats during my career. With a degree in Applied Arts and Science and working in the food industry, I decided to make a career change in March of 1999. I started at MIBAR as a developer working in Visual FoxPro, then became the manager of the development team and later the Director of technical resources. Today, I spend most of my time managing our implementation team and projects. At a point in your career, you must stop and evaluate your contribution to not only your family and job but equally as important in my mind society.

At a recent MIBAR outing, Bart, our CEO, discussed the need for MIBAR to find ways to give back to the community. We recognized that our success as a company is not only quantified by our P&L, but also being altruistic and helping to promote technology and helping others.  I have always personally struggled with having the time to volunteer and give back to my community and the people around me who may be in need. It was always too easy to make donations at the end of the year to organizations I believed in but I know I needed to do more. In late January after Bart discussed what MIBAR will be doing as a company to give back to the community, I decided to see how I can utilize the skill-set I have acquired during my experiences at MIBAR. As such, I have always been interested in technology and I like interacting with people and learning something new every day. I was always intrigued by how TV’s and radios worked over the air with a simple antenna prior to the digital age.

I unfortunately was in NYC during 9-11 and experienced a disaster first hand and have always felt a need to be able to contribute as a first responder in some way. I decided to study and take the FCC’s Ham Radio technicians test to become a licensed ham radio operator which I passed in March. Achieving this license paved the way for me to become a member of the Orange County ARES / RACES Amateur Radio Emergency Service team. As a member of this team, we are a volunteer Amateur Radio group that provides emergency communications for local and state government agencies. We also provide communications for public service events such as walkathons, bike tours, and charitable events. We achieve FEMA certifications and are involved in emergency drills that will have us prepared for any type of disaster where radio communications become a necessity such as when the cell service was shut down during 9-11, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and we even participate in public safety drills for nuclear power plants such as the drill I will be involved in later this month with the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.

In short, I have found a way to leverage my business skills as a leader, project manager, communicator to better serve my community. I routinely participate in the Hudson Valley Net (HVN) where other “hams” participate in an organized net where we pass radiograms (Traffic) as we would in times of emergency when phones are not an option. I have started to learn how to create Incident Action Plans (IAP) which is a written plan that defines the incident objectives and reflects the tactics necessary to manage an incident during one operation period in order to effect successful outcomes in any situation, especially emergency operations, in a timely manner. WE also participate in SKYWARN® which is a volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service. In most years, thunderstorms, tornadoes and lightning caused hundreds of injuries and deaths and billions in property and crop damages.  To obtain critical weather information, the National Weather Service (NWS) established SKYWARN® with partner organizations such as the Orange County Ares / Races team.

 I would urge anyone reading this blog to take some time and think how they may leverage their work skills to volunteer in some way that will help others.