One of Us

Kelly Wilson

Posted

Can you please briefly tell us about your background?

I am a native Floridian, born and raised in Lakeland, Florida. I attended the University of South Florida where I earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree of environmental science, specializing in Karst Environments. After graduating from college, I moved to Key West, Florida and worked as an environmental planner before moving to St. Augustine and becoming the St. Johns County Emergency Management planner. I have served St. Johns County Emergency Management for 15 years, rising through the ranks of planner, coordinator and to my current position of deputy director.

 What do you enjoy most about your role?

My favorite part of my job is public outreach.  I get to go into the community and speak to our residents about being prepared, and ways they can mitigate their homes and businesses so even when we do have a natural disaster, they will better be able to recover. I have met so many interesting people in our community that I likely would never have had an opportunity to interact with if not for my job.

 What are some of the challenges that your industry is facing?

Most people have always considered emergency management the hurricane people, but in the past year, we became the pandemic people. Emergency managers are problem solvers. We have the advantage of working with so many different agencies and groups, that we know who to coordinate with to create solutions.

 What are your primary roles/responsibilities?

I spend a great deal of my time coordinating with our partner agencies. We work together to develop plans for all hazards and then coordinate the resources to turn those plans into response actions. I also spend time developing and conducting public outreach programs and activities.

 What do you enjoy most about living in the North Florida area?  I enjoy the people and the natural environment. We have some of the most beautiful natural areas anywhere in the state of Florida.  

 What do you like to do in your free time?  I enjoy taking a daily walk with my dog, Annie, and visiting with our neighbors. I also enjoy traveling with my boyfriend and visiting our state and national parks. One day we would like to visit all 62 national parks. We recently purchased a camper so Annie can go along with us on our adventures. I also weave baskets as a hobby, a skill I learned while living in Key West.

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