Being involved in the earthquake program for more than 30 years, Cecil was one of CUSEC’s and NEHRP’s biggest champions. As one of several long standing State Earthquake Program Managers, he was recognized by the National Earthquake Program Managers group in 2015 with a national leadership award. This award was just one of many he received over his storied career in emergency management.
CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson stated today that “I’ve had the privilege of knowing Cecil throughout my entire career. He and I first met in the late 1980s while we were attending a CUSEC meeting at TEMA which at the time, was led by TEMA Director and CUSEC Board Chairman Lacy Suiter. Both Lacy and Cecil were tremendous supporters of CUSEC and our earthquake risk reduction programs. He was a true visionary who valued partnerships above all else. His impact on emergency management and NEHRP will extend for many years and he will be dearly missed.”
Outside of the earthquake program, Cecil was a highly respected emergency manager. In fact, he was one of the original architects of what became the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Today, EMAC is the national standard for state-to-state mutual aid during disasters. During his time at TEMA, Cecil was called into action to support emergency response and recovery efforts for numerous catastrophic disasters including Hurricane Andrew, the Northridge Earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina, to name a few. With a true passion for helping others, he was a mentor and friend to countless individuals. In 2017, Cecil provided the National Emergency Management Agency with a glimpse into his career and other aspects of his life.
TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan said “The emergency management community is full of people that were encouraged by Cecil – built up by him, and he forged innovative and long lasting partnerships. (Cecil) leaves us a legacy of kindness, innovation, and collaboration. He was a great storyteller and he lived a life of service and love.”
CUSEC, including our Board of Directors and staff, extend our sincere condolences to Cecil’s family, friends, and numerous colleagues.
An obituary for Cecil Whaley can be viewed here.