Emergency Management Coordinator reflects on city effort to alleviate struggles of winter storm
Elliott Reep is the Emergency Management Coordinator for the city of Carrollton and has been with the city since June 2011. Reep manages and enacts the city’s Emergency Operations Plan in addition to developing and coordinating the city’s All-Hazard emergency management program. His duties include managing the city’s Emergency Operations Center, the operation of emergency warning systems, coordinating disaster response and recovery operations, mitigation activities and public preparedness programs.
How did you get in your line of work?
I discovered it by being involved with student government while attending the University of Texas at Austin. I was the student chair of the Campus Safety and Security Committee for several years, and in this role, I worked with campus administrators on multiple projects. One of these was the Director of Emergency Preparedness for the University. He and I collaborated on several projects while I was a student, and when I graduated, he offered me a job as his assistant. I happily accepted the offer, and it started me on my path to where I am today.
What's been your greatest career moment to date?
This February immediately comes to mind. We experienced back-to-back historic winter storms that not only resulted in every county in the State of Texas falling under a Winter Storm Warning simultaneously (that has never happened before), but it also triggered an unprecedented power grid failure. The latter left many residents shivering in the dark for days to weeks, watching and listening for breaking pipes. And all of this was on top of the worst pandemic in one hundred years. Yet, even in the face of all these compounding challenges we as a community, (City staff, residents, businesses, school districts, non-profits, houses of worship – you name it) came together to open an emergency shelter at Newman Smith High School in record time during the winter storms. And it was supported by 100% Carrollton effort, donations, and volunteers. Everyone came together to fill a need, and we met it with incredible success in the midst of historic adversity. We even heard feedback about how nice it was to have this shelter and how well it was run. So being a part of this awesome whole community effort in the midst of disaster upon disaster is definitely my greatest career moment to date.
Are you a native Texan? (where from?)
Yes, I was born in Paris, TX and lived in Clarksville, TX until I was five. After that my family moved to Texarkana and that was where I grew up until I left for college.
What's your fondest childhood memory?
Spending time with my family on the beach in Destin, Florida. I remember the great days in the water, the wonderful meals together, and my mom and dad posing for a picture with the sunset in the background. It was an awesome time.
What's your favorite area restaurant?
I have a couple in Carrollton. If I’m in the mood for Italian I love Amici’s in downtown Carrollton, and if it’s Mexican I love Nico’s Cocina. Oh, and I absolutely love Casa Vieja Columbian Restaurant.
What's your favorite movie?
Independence Day, I love a good alien invasion flick.
Tell our readers about your family.
My mom and dad still live in our family home in Texarkana, and I get over to see them as often as I can. I have a younger sister and an older brother. I am also gifted to be the uncle to two awesome nieces and one nephew. I adore them all, and some of my best times are spent with them.
What are your hobbies?
I’m an avid hiker and runner, and I love to travel. I’m also into photography, history, and science. I am an astronomy and space exploration enthusiast; I can talk for hours about extra-solar planets and black holes, and can spend an entire night peering up at the stars through my telescope.
If you were on a deserted island, what is the one item you couldn't live without?
A TV so I could watch college football. Go Longhorns.
Tell our readers something about you they would never guess to be true.
When I was a child, I nearly choked to death eating a lifesaver candy. Thankfully the little hole in the middle allowed me just enough air until it melted, ha. It was a red lifesaver too, my favorite. But I find it ironic now as an emergency manager that I almost perished from a candy called “lifesaver.”