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Public Official of the Year 2015

Francisco Sanchez

Francisco Sanchez, Jr.

Francisco Sanchez is liaison and public information officer for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM). HCOHSEM is responsible for disaster preparedness and response in the nation’s third largest county.

Sanchez joined Harris County in 2004 and was lead public information officer during the local response to both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. He led the region’s Joint Information Center operations during Hurricane Ike and the highly active 2008 hurricane season. In 2013 he was appointed to the Communications Security Reliability and Interoperability Council, an advisory committee to the Federal Communications Commission offering guidance on key issues such as next generation 9-1-1 technology, alerts and warnings and cyber security.

In November 2013, he was featured as Emergency Management Magazine’s Major Player for his work on emergency public information and proposal for a national dialogue on the topic.

Sanchez is an advocate of integrating emergency public information and Joint Information Center concepts into local emergency response efforts. He has been a featured speaker on these topics at the National Hurricane Conference, National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas Homeland Security Conference, Emergency Management Magazine road show, the National All-Hazard Incident Management Team Training & Education Conference, Texas State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Conference and other forums.

Sanchez is a member of the highly regarded San Jacinto Type-III All Hazards Incident Management Team, one of only 18 such teams sanctioned by the state for deployment as ordered by the Texas governor. He was a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Practitioner Working Group, which set the groundwork for the Wireless Emergency Alerts network that improved the nation’s public warning system. As a member of the Houston Area Urban Area Security Initiative Regional Collaboration Committee, he works to build consensus on a variety of measures critical to local preparedness and response capabilities. Membership organizations include the National Association of Government Communicators, International Association of Emergency Managers, Texas Municipal Information Officers and others.

Sanchez is a graduate of the University of Houston and has served on boards and leadership groups of numerous local and national organizations. Currently is serves on the boards of Houston Achievement Place and the Spay Neuter Assistance Program. Sanchez is a member of the Ponderosa Volunteer Fire Department and serves on the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Ticket Services Committee. He received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2010 and 2011 Emerging Leaders Award from Big City Emergency.