Three years ago, Curtis Brown, the then head of emergency management for the Commonwealth of Virginia, addressed a Congressional House committee and told them that having more representation of minorities in emergency management should be a priority.
According to an article in Scientific American, Brown said: “An overwhelming number of individuals designated as emergency managers are white males. Diversity in emergency management will help to reverse the existing failure to enact equitable practices before, during, and after disasters.”
Brown is correct. Studies have shown that increasing the representation of minorities among federal, state, and local emergency managers would bring more equity to emergency planning, hazard mitigation, and disaster response, strengthening minority communities that are vulnerable to disasters.
Tidal Basin agreed. “We took a look at what could be done and decided to build a solution from the ground up,” said Daniel A. Craig, Chief Executive Officer of Tidal Basin. “It was important to me that we didn’t just talk about ideas but did something to make an actual impact for students, and in the lives of disaster survivors.” Tidal Basin partnered with the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management (I-DIEM) and together they created the Lt. General Julius Becton Jr. Scholarship after Craig recommended the scholarship be named after the first minority to serve as Director of FEMA. The scholarship is dedicated to increasing the representation of women and minorities within the emergency management and homeland security profession.
The first ever recipient of the Lt. General Julius Becton Jr. Scholarship is C. Wendell Grinton Jr., a Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech. Grinton Jr. first heard about the scholarship from his academic advisor at Virginia Tech. “Minorities are underrepresented in emergency management. We need to be in leadership positions to advocate more for minorities, help people from low-income communities, and lessen the suffering,” said Grinton Jr.
He also encourages high school and college students to consider emergency management as a career. “Definitely explore it. There are many opportunities for employment, research, career growth, and meeting incredible people.” After graduation, Grinton Jr. wants to move to Raleigh, NC, and work with the city’s energy infrastructure and emergency management programs.
“Tidal Basin’s investment in the I-DIEM Lt. Gen. Julius Becton Scholarship Program demonstrates our commitment to ensuring a new generation of leaders reflects the diversity of our country to better help communities be stronger than before,” said Craig.
Tidal Basin supports and funds the Lt. General Julius Becton Jr. Scholarship. Daniel Craig also conducted a CEO Challenge to encourage firms in the emergency management space to support this important cause. “Government and industry must do more to develop emergency management leaders who represent diverse communities and experiences,” said Craig.