Minneapolis’ director of emergency preparedness receives national award

The National Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) has named Minneapolis Director of Regulatory Services and Emergency Preparedness Rocco Forté "Outstanding UASI Manager." This national honor recognizes his work in preparing Minneapolis and the region for emergencies.

UASI was created in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to support the planning, equipment, training and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas around the country. UASI grants have increased the ability of urban areas to respond to all types of emergencies, both natural and human-caused. Each year, it honors the top emergency manager, partnerships, and programs in the nation. This year, a peer review panel chose Forté to receive the "Outstanding UASI Manager" honor.

As the Director of Emergency Preparedness and Regulatory Services for the City of Minneapolis, Forté’s responsibilities include establishing and maintaining the emergency preparedness framework for the City, which included the development of a 5-year strategic plan to address the City's emergency preparedness needs. With the cooperation of the Mayor and City Council, approximately $60 million in funds were secured through the City's budget process and grants to close the identified gaps and address the issues in the 5-year plan. The plan was implemented in July of 2007, which meant the City was fully prepared to respond when the I-35W Bridge collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007.

In his role with the Twin Cities UASI community, Forté has spearheaded efforts toward regional collaboration and partnerships, including the creation of regional asset teams such as the Urban Search & Rescue (USAR); pioneering the development of an extensive network of metropolitan memoranda of understanding for mutual aid involving law enforcement, fire service, public health and public works; regional multi-jurisdictional, cross discipline training programs; and the integration of Metropolitan Medical Response System/Port/Transit programs within a broader UASI framework. He has also been a leader in the development of ECHO (Emergency and Community Health Outreach), which exists to ensure that people with limited English proficiency receive life-saving health and safety information—in some of the languages they understand best.

Before working in his current position, Forté was member of the Minneapolis Fire Department for 30 years before retiring in 2004. He worked his way up the ranks of the department from Firefighter to Fire Chief for the City of Minneapolis. As Fire Chief, he earned the Chief Fire Officer Designation by the Commission on Chief Fire Officer Designation.

He received his A.A. degree in Industrial Arts from Minneapolis Technical College. He is also a graduate of the University of Minnesota -Human Resources Management and the Carlson School of Business. In addition, he completed training required by the State of Minnesota for Emergency Managers and became a certified Emergency Manager in March, 2006.

Published Jul 9, 2010