Last Updated on October 12, 2018 6:06 pm
BOONE, N.C. — During Homecoming Week 2018, Brock Long ’97 ’99, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was recognized by the Appalachian State University Alumni Association as the recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes alumni who have attained extraordinary distinction and success in their career field and have demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership in their community.
At the Alumni Awards Luncheon held Sept. 28 on Appalachian’s campus, Chancellor Sheri Everts said Alumni Award winners “are exemplary individuals who have earned this recognition because they are models for our entire Appalachian Community through their work, service and philanthropy.”
“It is amazing to me that I am being called out for this award,” Long said. Additionally, Long said he was humbled to receive the award because he knows “there are thousands of Appalachian alumni doing great things out there.”
‘An outstanding person’
Hurricanes, floods and wildfires — these are the agenda items on Long’s daily calendar. He is no stranger to emergencies or public service.
Before becoming the administrator of FEMA, the Appalachian graduate was the director of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency, where he served as the coordinating officer for 14 disasters, including eight presidentially declared events. He also developed Alabama’s response to the H1N1 influenza and served as the on-scene state incident commander for the Alabama Unified Command during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In 2017, Long began service as administrator of FEMA. Shortly after, he was coordinating the historic federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, multiple wildfires and — most recently — Hurricane Florence.
Long, of Newton, graduated from Appalachian with a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice in 1997 and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) in 1999. In 2011, he completed the prestigious Executive Leadership Program offered by the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
Prior to being confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as FEMA administrator, Long had more than 16 years of experience assisting and supporting local, state and federal governments with building robust emergency management and public health preparedness programs.
Long’s career experience includes being executive vice president of Hagerty Consulting, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), hurricane program manager at FEMA and statewide planner and school safety coordinator for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).
Dr. Mark Bradbury, former director of Appalachian’s MPA program and now associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, said Long consistently makes time to return to Appalachian. “Brock has served as a guest speaker in our classes multiple times and always impresses students,” Bradbury said.
“He has also made multiple presentations at the annual fall gathering of public administration alumni in Boone,” Bradbury continued. “Here again, his enthusiasm and passion for emergency management is inspiring, thought-provoking and contagious. He embodies the notion of a public servant and a consistently engaged alumnus.”
Those who know Long speak to traits that go beyond his resume. Appalachian alumnus Nathan White ’93, vice president of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, said Long “is a member of the Appalachian family” and is an outstanding professional who should be viewed first as an outstanding person.
“Beyond any accomplishments he has achieved professionally, he has maintained a foundation of commitment to his family, his local community and his personal values,” White said. “These traits are as important to the job he maintains as his professional skill set.”
White said, in the midst of Long’s service, “he continues to have a heart for Appalachian State University.”
Long recounted a time when, while traveling aboard Air Force One, he asked if the TV channel could be changed from Fox News to the Appalachian football game, and soon found himself watching Mountaineer Football — with the president of the United States.