After 27 years as a lineman at Verizon, John Sanchez '14 received a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management.

by Erin Donohue

“Emergency management starts at home, from the smallest situation to a large-scale boots-on-the-ground disaster.”—John Sanchez ’14

John Sanchez ’14 has spent the last 27 years working as a lineman for Verizon. His position forces him to work in difficult climates and often in dangerous working conditions, which he called a “real-life complement” to the courses he took while he was a student in University College’s Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management program.

Treacherous situations were a constant during the recovery from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, where numerous infrastructure issues forced a plant emergency, resulting in Mr. Sanchez working seven days a week and 12- to 16-hour shifts.

“I believe emergency management starts at home, from the smallest situation to a large-scale boots-on-the-ground disaster,” said Mr. Sanchez, who received the certificate in May 2014. “The lessons I learned at Adelphi will forever keep emergency management in my day-to-day life.”

When deciding to attend a graduate degree program, Mr. Sanchez found the course of study in the certificate program intriguing—but it was Adelphi’s reputation and its close proximity to his home and work that sold him on it. He found the program was designed with a straightforward approach to the subject; every class had its purpose in application to emergency management and resonated in regard to his current and future career goals.

Now Mr. Sanchez can reflect on what qualities make a good emergency management student.

“I believe any student taking part in the emergency management program must be flexible, energetic and an individual willing to devote themselves to the subject,” he said. “Emergency management is a day-to-day challenge involving concepts, policies and structures applicable to the simplest of tasks and to the largest business. It involves having an inner passion to prepare, mitigate, respond [to] and recover from an incident in a comprehensive, collaborative approach without an ego, selfishness or a silo mentality.”    

These are qualities and concepts Mr. Sanchez learned from his professors, beginning with Meghan McPherson, program coordinator for the graduate program in emergency management, who, from day one, “was clear about the necessary achievements to succeed in this program; [as a student adviser] she illustrated procedures and expectations in a calm and inviting manner. I was fortunate to have her as a professor for a couple of semesters,” he said.

Mr. Sanchez described K.C. Rondello, M.D., assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Public Health and academic director of the Department of Emergency Management, as an intelligent, focused and energetic instructor with endless information and personal knowledge as a leader in the field of epidemiology.

“Dr. Rondello shared his national and international experiences with the class, applying curriculum to outside work,” Mr. Sanchez said.

John Johrden, a knowledgeable and established leader in private sector security, made an impact as a thorough instructor with an emphasis on assisting every student to succeed and understand the importance of business continuity planning.

“[Mr.] Johrden’s class brought so many components of the overall emergency management program together in a way that you could see how each subject factored into the career path.”

So what is Mr. Sanchez’s career goal now that he’s completed this degree? He hopes his post-Verizon career will involve emergency management in any facet and take him to other locations around the world.

For now, though, he is applying the skills he learned at Adelphi to his current job, allocating more time to his volunteer work with the local fire department and organizing walk events with charitable groups such as the Revlon Run/Walk for Women and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Want to read more about University College and our alumni, students and faculty? Visit the profiles page to learn more about our successful alumni.

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