In this episode (#65) of All Hazards, we talk about the important relationship between Cal OES and the private sector. We sit down with two people who have forged a working relationship that exemplifies the symbiotic nature of disaster response and recovery teamwork. Abby Browning is the Chief of the Office of Private Sector/ Non-Governmental Organization Coordination at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services; Tim James is Senior Manager, Local Government Relations, California Grocer’s Association.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) recognizes the need for communication, coordination and cooperation among all emergency management stakeholders in California. This is underscored by our long-standing relationship with the private sector. The impact of the 2007 and 2008 California wildfires emphasized the critical need for the organized synchronous exchange of information and resources between public and private sector organizations in mitigating against, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disaster events.
Historically, information and resource sharing activities between the public and private sectors have too often taken place in an ad hoc, isolated, and reactive fashion, resulting in less than optimal assistance to individuals, families, communities, and the economy. Realizing the need for stronger public-private collaboration, legislation was enacted (Senate Bill 546) and issued, giving Cal OES greater authority to partner with private industry. The “Authorities” Section of this document provides additional information about the statue and directive. A copy of the legislation may be found in the “Appendices” Section. To further support those efforts, Cal OES signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with private sector and non-profit organizations creating the Business and Utility Operations Center (BUOC) comprised of the Utility Operations Center (UOC) and Business Operations Center (BOC).
Abby Browning is responsible for developing and maintaining CalOES’s relationships with business, associations, companies, and universities, as well as nonprofit, nongovernmental and philanthropic organizations. Prior to joining CalOES, Abby was the Special Advisor for International Trade in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. She was an essential member of the Brown Administration’s international team, working on trade missions to China and Mexico, as well as fostering countless other international business connections for California. Abby has also worked with the California Chamber of Commerce in the International Affairs and Corporate Relations departments, as well as the California Seismic Safety Commission. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from West Virginia University and she earned an M.A. from the School of Government at California State University, Sacramento.