Nice to Meet You: Jay Kurtz
Disaster response takes many hands. Hands of the volunteers in the red vests, but also hands behind the scenes managing logistics and documentation. Jay Kurtz is the regional information and planning manager for our Red Cross region. His work tracking all aspects of disaster response is crucial, and he was nice enough to share more about his Red Cross role.
Q: What does your title mean?
A: It means I get to work with an amazing team of volunteer leaders that facilitate the Financial & Statistical Information Unit, Situation Unit, Documentation Unit, Disaster Assessment Unit, and DAT Dispatch (Duty Officers) for our region and all the related activities within these teams.
Q: How long have you been with the Red Cross?
A: 555 days as of November 10th. I’ve served in disaster response and emergency management for more than a decade prior to joining American Red Cross.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Diversity. My role permits me many opportunities to serve; spanning multiple technology platforms, across multiple teams, from local territories to working with National HQ. These opportunities range from answering software questions to helping lead disaster response operations. And for me, it’s perfect.
Q: What do you listen to during the workday?
A: My keyboard might not be the best answer, but it’s what I hear the most. Music can distract me at times, so I minimize background noise. Otherwise, it’s everything from Country to Classic Rock. I’ll throw in a little Blues, and a dash of Gospel when so inclined. More of that diversity or eclectic is a good description.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t working?
A: I volunteer with the local fire department and rescue squad, I’m building my own house and I teach Incident Command System (ICS) and chainsaw safety courses. Outside of work and volunteerism, I enjoy anything to do with the outdoors. Hiking, backpacking, kayaking, fishing, off-roading in my side-by-side, or simply walking in the woods.
Q: What is your favorite thing about where you live?
A: The people. Humble, easy-going, kind-hearted, generous and easy-to-laugh people.
Q: What has most surprised you while working with the Red Cross?
A: The powerful impact of culture. Red Crossers not only embrace the organizational culture but also share it everywhere. Maybe at its core, it’s having a heart for service, but it sure is powerful.
Q: What is a Red Cross moment that has stuck with you?
A: It’s not necessarily a single moment, but it’s the opportunity to help those who are helping our clients. I don’t provide in-person help typically, but get to help those people that are directly supporting clients, which is richly rewarding for me.
Q: What do you wish people knew about working at the Red Cross?
A: That it affords amazingly diverse opportunities, that it is accepting of all people, and we get stuff done well. From business people to construction workers; from veterans to class clowns. There is a place, a role, and a job for everyone. And, we get to help people.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like folks to know about you and/or working for the Red Cross?
A: I have more than I deserve, I’m richer by the people I know, and you can only get what you are passionately willing to give.
Jay is right. There is a place for everyone at the American Red Cross, and we are currently looking for more disaster services volunteers. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more and find the best fit for you.