Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference

Desiree (Desi) Matel-Anderson

Desi Matel-Anderson is the Chief Wrangler of the Field Innovation Team (FIT), 501(c)3, and CEO of the Global Disaster Innovation Group, LLC.  Desi is the first and former Chief Innovation Advisor at FEMA. During her tenure at FEMA, she led the first innovation team down to Hurricane Sandy to provide real-time problem solving in disaster response and recovery and ran think tanks nation-wide to cultivate innovation in communities.  Her emergency management experience began when she volunteered in Northern Illinois University’s Office of Emergency Planning. She then worked with the Southeast Wisconsin Urban Area Security Initiative, and the City of Milwaukee Office of Emergency Management. In addition to her regional emergency management duties, she worked as an assessor of the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, nation-wide.

Desi also lectures on innovation at Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley and several other universities across the country and serves as consultant on innovative practices and infrastructure for agencies and governments, nationally and internationally. Desi attended the National Preparedness Leadership Institute at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and School of Public Health in 2011 and served on the Advisory Board of Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Institute in 2013. She obtained a Juris Doctorate from Northern Illinois University in 2009.

In her present role as FIT’s Chief Wrangler, she works with a team of individuals and organizations. FIT’s volunteer subject-matter-experts range from additive manufacturers to educators to artists to engineers to community justice workers to filmmakers to roboticists, and beyond. They come to work with FIT by way of a mutual desire to craft collaborative and unique solutions that assist survivors. FIT has deployed teams to several disasters including the Boston Marathon Bombings, assisting at the scene with social media analysis; the Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes, leading coding solutions; the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan, through the building of cellular connectivity heat maps; and the Oso, Washington mudslides, with unmanned aerial system flights, which resulted in a 3D print of the topography for incident command. The team also deploys to humanitarian crises, including running a robot petting zoo in the US/Mexico border and led a women empowerment recovery movement after the Nepal earthquakes. Recently, her team deployed to Lebanon for the Syrian Refugee Crisis supporting artificial intelligence for access to health care, establishing the power grid and empowering refugees through evacuation routes utilizing 360-degree virtual reality capture video.

Eric Giguere

As I left for work on the morning of October 4, 2002, little was different in my daily routine. Working in a trench roughly six feet deep I crouched down near the pipe our crew had been laying. Without warning the sides of the trench collapsed, completely engulfing me with a crushing sensation. Immediately a sense of panic set in. Panic soon gave way to fear, and fear soon subsided as well, replaced this time with a sense of warmth and well-being—I was dying…