Catastrophic Hurricane Evacuation
U.S. DOT Study Findings and Recommendations

Kimberly Vasconez
Emergency Transportation Operations Team Leader
Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

September 27, 2006

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Related Websites:
Report to Congress on Catastrophic Hurricane Evacuation Plan Evaluation
FHWA Emergency Transportation Operations (ETO) Program
FHWA's Using Highways During Evacuation Operations for Events with Advance Notice

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Kimberly C. Vásconez serves as the Emergency Transportation Operations (ETO) Team Leader in the Office of Operations at USDOT/Federal Highway Administration in Washington, DC. With 19 years of experience in a variety of areas that required a knowledge of emergency transportation and traffic management, she assumed her current position in late February 2006, after spending one year with FHWA's Office of International Programs as the Global Technology Exchange Team Leader. Ms. Vásconez transferred to FHWA in 2005 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she served almost 14 years in a variety of capacities.

At FEMA, she developed the National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) capability and managed their use in the field for Hurricane Andrew, Northridge earthquake and Oklahoma City bombing responses. She also developed and managed the Federal Disaster Logistics System, a program that grew from no resources to one averaging $20M per annum, with over 400 permanent and reserve staff located in 8 CONUS and OCONUS (Pacific and Caribbean) sites. She developed a disaster transportation capability, including movement coordination processes and a fleet of tractor-trailers/mobile homes at FEMA's 7 warehouses. Ms. Vásconez also introduced transportation technologies to FEMA, (e.g., GPS, GIS connectivity with GPS devices, and RFIDs) to improve rapid delivery and accountability of items sent to disaster victims.

Ms. Vásconez served as a senior manager on almost every major incident of national significance from Oct. 1991 through Dec. 2002 at either the National, Regional or field levels. As the Agency's Senior Disaster Logistics Official, she orchestrated FEMA's second largest logistics mobilization, strategically managing the concurrent Pentagon and World Trade Center responses, and served as the Logistics Section Chief in Oklahoma City in 1995 managing support efforts to the bombing response. Throughout her 7 years in logistics, she oversaw all disaster transportation operations and planning, including movements by FEMA of supplies to CONUS and OCONUS operations, and introduced multi-modal transportation into operations that had relied solely on military airlift. This included the concept of pipelining commodities to time phase shipments based on need, capacity to receive and distribute, and time taken to ship items based on modes and departure points. She received the 2003 Director's Award for Individual Accomplishments and Contributions to FEMA and served as one of three FEMA senior leaders to the newly established Homeland Security Operations Center, (now known as the National Operations Center) performing as a FEMA liaison and technical expert to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the White House during the 2004 Hurricane season.

Prior to this, she worked for 4 years as a contractor to the USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. There, she served as a Latin American specialist and participated in the development of the International US&R capability and the Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs). She traveled to Ecuador, Chad, and the Dominican Republic to provide technical assistance to the USAID mission, U.S. Embassy or host country. She served on a DART sent to Panamá 1991, where she worked with the USACE and the Panamanian Red Cross to establish and run a displaced persons camp. She began her Federal career with the Department of the Navy, Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters, Ship Design and Engineering Department.

She holds a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the OPM's Management Development Seminar and Women's Executive Leadership programs and FEMA's Leadership Excellence and Disaster Field Office Management programs.