Open for Business: Rebuilding Florida
The immense damage caused by disasters like Hurricane Irma requires a smart, fast, and agile transition into recovery and rebuilding. Florida communities and businesses are at the center of the recovery effort, which means they must have access to the right resources, funding, and strategies as soon as possible.
ICF focuses on effective mobilization of all available financial and human resources. We facilitate early, rapid, and efficient implementation of coordinated recovery operations to minimize the extent of the economic dislocation—and help Floridians rebuild stronger than ever.
When it comes to recovery, doing it right and doing it quick is essential. But this level of speed and accuracy requires a shared vision of a more resilient future — not just a return to the status quo. With the future safety, livelihood, and economic prosperity of our citizens on the line, there is no room for delay, and learning from recovery lessons of previous disasters is imperative. That’s why our ample experience maximizing federal funding resources can help ensure accountability and end-to-end integration of the recovery and economic development process.
Our Disaster Recovery Work
ICF knows the profound importance of tourism to Florida’s economy, which took a significant hit after Hurricane Irma. ICF works with stakeholders across the travel and tourism industries on their efforts to promote destinations, develop air services, facilitate industry growth, create transportation infrastructure, and remove obstacles to tourism. We have a record of success in developing and marketing travel destinations. Our transformative brand and multimedia campaign for the Belize Tourism Board, for example, has made Belize the fastest-growing tourist destination in the Caribbean, with a 65% increase in tourism and a 2.4% increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Product since 2012. ICF’s research, digital, and marketing teams can support tourism organizations across Florida by getting people back to the state’s popular and iconic destinations. By facilitating the creation and training of rapid response crisis communication units, we help tourism authorities ensure that crisis messaging is reliable, standardized, and contextualized for varying parties. To help Florida overcome recent challenges and continue the state’s growth as a tourism destination, we support the state's official tourism marketing corporation, Visit Florida, with front-end web development and search engine optimization strategies.
With more than 3,000 economists, engineers, scientists, historians, archaeologists, planners, health professionals, and technologists in the United States, ICF enables clients to improve the security and resilience of their energy and water supplies, transportation and cyber systems, waste and wastewater management systems, health care systems, and other critical infrastructure. We cover the full spectrum of the man-made environment, from housing and commercial buildings; to dams, plants, and treatment systems; to multi-modal transportation investments; to electricity grids and broadband telecommunications. In New Jersey we designed, stood up, and implemented more than 30 disaster recovery programs for infrastructure, economic development, and housing. Additionally, we understand the importance of agriculture to Florida. Nationwide, we have analyzed the economics of agricultural, forestry, and fisheries sectors and worked with clients to restore natural areas.
Planning for and managing a huge influx of resources to rebuild entire neighborhoods is a daunting task. ICF provides advisory and program management services for some of the nation’s largest recovery efforts, including New Jersey’s $4.1B CDBG-DR Program from Superstorm Sandy. The achievements are significant:
- 30,000 homeowners and renters have returned home or relocated to safer areas
- $30M in CDBG-DR funds have enabled local governments to pay the required match for federally funded disaster recovery projects
- $50M spent to deter beach erosion
- 12,000 environmental review records processed
In 2017, the HUD OIG announced that New Jersey is the only recipient of grants for Sandy Recovery to comply with all HUD internal audit requirements that safeguard the distribution of federal funds and improve recovery operation.
ICF focuses on long-term strategies for a stronger homeland that integrate natural hazard risk mitigation, transportation and critical infrastructure protection, energy security and reliability, housing and community development, and workforce revitalization. Following Superstorm Sandy, for example, we worked closely with New York state leaders to develop a comprehensive resilience plan for the state, which has a Gross State Product of $1.4 trillion, and identified resiliency/mitigation measures for public housing facilities, while in New Jersey we helped design the Energy Resiliency Bank, which provides funding to hospitals to install resilient power generation systems. We have also supported resiliency planning at the city, county, and regional level, including work for cities, planning organizations, utilities, ports, and transit agencies in California, the mid-Atlantic, and the Gulf Coast regions.
Funds for recovery efforts come with requirements for stewardship of the environment. Building on ICF’s decades of experience supporting environmental reviews for publicly funded projects, ICF has managed compliance with NEPA and state environmental laws associated with recovery projects. In NJ, ICF manages six contractors that prepare the NEPA Environmental Review Records. The protocols, processes and management information systems ICF put in place allowed for preparation of 12,000+ high quality reviews of grant applications, some at the rate of more than 400+ reviews each week.
As the 2nd largest U.S. independent communications firm reported in PRWeek’s Global Agency Business Report 2017, ICF is the marketing partner of choice for FEMA, CDC, and others, providing communications around critical infrastructure projects. Across our public and commercial sector client base, ICF and its client-partners earned more than 70 creative awards in 2016 alone. Many of the outreach methods used by ICF to reach low-income and limited English proficiency communities were cited as promising practices in 2016 guidance issued by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and Transportation to ensure that individuals and communities affected by disasters do not suffer discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, including limited English proficiency.
Passionate, creative, and experienced