A seed planted
Sridevi’s supervisor invited her to take ICF’s leadership training course, “which was a game changer. That’s where I met colleagues from our the new Disaster Management division, and I felt the stars align.”
Sridevi had been interested in disaster recovery work for a while. “Ever since I volunteered to help rebuild homes in Sumatra, destroyed by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake in 2009.” But she was under the impression that you needed relevant experience to break into this line of work. And she didn’t realize the full extent of ICF’s growing capabilities in this field. For over 20 years, we’ve helped communities recover and rebuild from some of the most significant natural disasters in U.S. history—from Katrina to Sandy to Maria to Harvey.
She was put in touch with the right people, and it was only a matter of time until her phone rang with exciting news. “ICF had won the City of Houston contract, and they asked for my resume.” (The Hurricane Harvey Recovery Contract will help affected residents access federal funding to rebuild their homes.) “My interests and skillset lined up with what the team needed. So, they offered me the opportunity!”
“Disaster recovery work is really different. I like the surprises that come every day. They’re not all good surprises, but I appreciate them nonetheless. They’re all part of helping communities bounce back.”
She had some reservations, of course. She cared about her current client—and her current team. “It’s natural, I suppose, to worry about who will pick up your workload.” But her team knew Sridevi needed to follow her passion, and did their part to smooth the transition. What made it easier, of course, was the knowledge that Sridevi wasn’t going far. She’s still part of ICF.
Making the most of transferable skills
Her new role has many moving parts, making use of the skills she learned through ICF’s in-house learning center—and her IT expertise. Like with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool her client is developing, to process applications residents fill out to request the money they need to rebuild.
However, each aspect of ICF’s City of Houston contract centers around the intake process. Which means she makes sure everyone has the information and tools needed to succeed at each of the 4 Hurricane Relief Centers (HRCs). From Intake Specialists to Facilities to the client and associated partners. “It’s an eye-opening experience. I never fully understood what went into disaster management until I landed here.”
That said, “I’m happy to have made this decision.” Disaster Management projects are incredibly complex. And the stakes are always high. But ICF makes the best-case scenario happen. We’re the first point of contact for most residents, and there’s a huge focus on making sure the work is done right. “I’m proud to be part of that effort.”
It’s a career trajectory Sridevi had hoped for, but didn’t know was possible. Especially without leaving ICF, a company she had grown to love. So, here she happily remains. As she settles into her first year in Houston, she’s got almost everything sorted out. Except… Houston humidity. “How serious is this ‘400% humidity’ I keep hearing about?!”