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Using federal dollars to improve energy infrastructure resilience

Sep 17, 2019 3 MIN. READ

Martin (Marty) Altman previews his 2019 NASEO Annual Meeting presentation entitled “So Where is the Money?”

With more than 35 years of experience in the disaster management space, Martin (Marty) Altman has seen it all. You could say that helping others is in Marty’s blood: his grandparents, father, and uncles were career firefighters, and this family of role models inspired him to run toward disaster in order to support those most in need.

Marty combines his heart of service with an expert understanding of federal funding programs for disaster aid to help those communities hit hardest by natural disasters. In his presentation for the 2019 NASEO Annual Meeting, Marty will discuss how states, communities, and local governments can use federal dollars to improve energy infrastructure resilience. We grabbed a few minutes with Marty before the 2019 NASEO Annual Meeting to preview some of the highlights from his talk. Transcript below:

Q. What’s your presentation about in a nutshell?

A. It’s called “So Where is the Money?” and my goal is to make everyone in the audience aware of the pre-disaster resilience opportunities that exist out there that are funded by the federal government. There are opportunities for funding that will enable you to start looking at your systems, your critical infrastructure, and how you can protect your communities before a severe weather event happens. I’ll share examples from my own work of how FEMA federal dollars have changed the recovery process, bringing sustainability and resiliency into critical infrastructure.

Q. What are you most looking forward to at the 2019 NASEO Annual Meeting?

A. I’m excited to meet and communicate with folks in the energy sector. I want to hear what their vision is for resiliency within the infrastructure, and hopefully they can take away some of the information I share in order to help their communities prosper. I look forward to having great discussions at the event.

Q. Any final words before you take the stage?

A. It’s so important to understand how we got here. Over the past couple of decades, we have seen tremendous suffering in communities because of the lack of funding resources allocated to maintaining the critical infrastructure. When I started my career, a major disaster was a couple hundred thousand dollars, and now we’re looking at billions of dollars. One of the things I’d really like to focus on is helping people understand how critical it is to maintain your infrastructure. That needs to be a priority because without the critical infrastructure, we lose everything—we lose educational institutions, we lose the economy, we lose everything. I’ve seen communities fold after a catastrophic event, because of a crumbling infrastructure. And that’s sad. We need to start taking it seriously, and we do that by building resiliency into the infrastructure—creating stronger systems that last a lot longer. We must start thinking about our children, our grandchildren, and what they need to have in order to sustain themselves. How do we build a better future for our children ahead of us? It starts with maintaining your critical infrastructure and securing the dollars to do so before a disaster hits. That’s what I want to help these communities do, and that’s what my presentation will be about.


By Martin Altman

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