Congratulations to our new Board Members

Representatives of the full-member agencies of PA VOAD met on March 1, 2024 to elect persons to fill two vacant At Large Board Member positions. The persons below were elected to fill these positions until the terms expire December 31, 2024.

Ed Robertson, Episcopal Diocese of Central PA

“Ed Robertson has been responding to disasters for over 6 decades and practiced the 4 C’s of VOAD, coordination, communication, cooperation and collaboration, even before the term “VOAD” came into being. Ed began his career at the American Red Cross where he traveled across the US to respond to disasters of all kinds, including in response to 9/11. In Pennsylvania Ed served as a FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaison for Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 and went on to become President of PAVOAD from 2018 – 2021. Ed serves as Episcopal Diocesan Disaster Coordinator 2015 to date.”

Michelle Ufner, Team Rubicon

Michelle Ufner is a nationally certified paramedic and licensed psychologist who has been involved in volunteer work throughout her life – most recently with Team Rubicon since 2013. She desires to use the life experience she brings to the table to help lead the PAVOAD’s effort at collaboration among other agencies, as she has personally experienced how effective that core principle can be. As one example, Michelle was Program Manager for a Department of Homeland Security Program, and led a joint effort of 50 professionals from various companies in a national online network of lessons learned and best practices for emergency responders and homeland security professionals. Despite the potential challenges of running a program with diverse agencies at separate locations, the program was deemed a success and the contract was renewed. Michelle attributes that achievement to the high level of collaboration and communication – as well as shared respect – with and among the diverse members of her team.

At Team Rubicon, Michelle initially built a Wellness Program in 6 states to ensure there were licensed mental health professionals to support members’ needs. Subsequently, she moved on to becoming an instructor for the organization and currently facilitates Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Instructor 1, Recon/Advon, and Site Survey. She has deployed domestically and internationally both as a hands-on “get dirty“ volunteer as well as a member of the command and general staff. She has been the volunteer Western Pennsylvania (W PA) Metro Administrator since 2017 and leads a team of outstanding area leaders where the focus is on offering service projects and training to area members. Additionally, Michelle and her Team work to connect with like-minded organizations, emergency managers, and VOADs to ensure they are aware of Team Rubicon’s capabilities and willingness to support communities in W PA in the event of a disaster or extenuating need. Michelle believes that the success of Team Rubicon in W PA has primarily been due to collaboration and cooperation with various agencies with the mutual goal of helping communities in their time of need.