Photo by Brad Ahlm

King For A Day

Many civil servants love their job and most of my co-workers have a true passion for what they do. However, those with creative minds are always looking for stimulation, which they often find outside of work, such is the case with Cal OES employee Brad Ahlm.

Recently, a Sacramento television station ran an inspirational story about Ahlm.. Alhm is an Emergency Notification Controller in the California State Warning Center (CSWC). The CSWC is responsible to receive, coordinate, verify and disseminate information pertaining to events which occur within California or that could affect California. It is staffed 24 hours, seven days-a-week and is the central information hub for statewide emergency communications and notifications. When he’s not at work handling calls, reporting hazardous spills, or sending out notifications, you can usually find Ahlm pursuing his passion of photography.

Shooting pictures has also been an escape for Ahlm who recently lost his newborn son, Nehemiah. In addition to the loss of his son, he has also been coping with his mother’s health, who has an inoperable brain tumor. Ahlm’s father felt his son needed some encouragement, so he wrote to the Sacramento Kings hoping to lift his spirits. Surprisingly, Ahlm was invited by the Kings to be their sports photographer for a day.

The Kings gave him an opportunity to take some shots, when they played the Denver Nuggets in January. Of course the shots he was taking weren’t at the hoop, but with his camera. The Kings were his dream of pursuing sports photography and as any aspiring photographer would do, he jumped on the opportunity. I mean who wouldn’t want the chance to get up close and personal with Demarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay?

The Kings were so impressed with the amazing shots Ahlm delivered, that they invited him to take photos at the “Breakfast with the Kings” event last week. Many of the photos he took at the Kings game and event, can now be seen at


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When Ahlm is photographing, he loses sight of everything, but the object. He is used to taking photos of his 21-month-old daughter, but not basketball players, who are tall and fast.

“Photography really isn’t creating something rather it is capturing a moment,” he said, “and I have always loved the capturing of a moment.”

He thoroughly enjoys real estate photography, there is some artistic value, and he is able to express himself creatively.

It was his son’s short life that made Ahlm realize that life is short and fragile. As Brad pointed out, “If you hate what you do, then you’re not doing it right.” He wants to pour his time into something that he has a passion for and has meaning to him.

He would like to grow in the field of photography, whether it is in real estate, sports, or photo editing. He just wants to improve his skills. He would love to have the chance to shoot photos of every sport including a Rivercats game, the Republic FC, and even the 49ers. As he builds his portfolio, this could definitely be a dream come true.

Cal OES is proud of Brad Ahlm and his accomplishments. We wish him all the best in his pursuit of his passion, whether it be photography or whatever he choses in life. You can see more of his photography at


Robb Mayberry

Robb Mayberry is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He has assisted in the response and recovery efforts with some of California’s worst disasters, including the San Refugio Oil Spill, the Valley and Butte Wildfires, Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Erskine Fire, and the Winters Storms of 2017. Prior to public service, he spent 25 years managing the public and media relations for some of Northern California’s largest healthcare organizations.

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