FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2022
Billy Whitworth named Regents Fellow Service Award winner
Like many, Billy Whitworth noticed his profession path take form whereas he was in school. But it wasn’t a category or a professor that almost all influenced Whitworth; it was a job with Texas A&M Forest Service.
Whitworth joined Texas A&M Forest Service as a seasonal worker in 2001 whereas a pupil at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. He credit what he realized and the relationships he fashioned in that first function with the company with main him to develop into a workers forester in 2005 and finally district forester.
Today, Whitworth is Assistant Chief Regional Fire Coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service. This month, he was named one in every of 11 winners of the Regents Fellow Service Award. The award acknowledges Texas A&M University System workers who’ve made extraordinary contributions to their companies and the folks of Texas.
Whitworth has supplied management for the company’s response to hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, wildfire and different regional and statewide incidents, whereas additionally supporting hearth division capacity-building applications and pure useful resource administration efforts.
Whitworth helps coordinate the state’s wildfire response wants, organizes interagency firefighters and responds to state and nationwide wildfires. He is certified to function an incident commander, state of affairs unit chief, activity power chief and division supervisor.
It was the seasonal job he had in school that received it began.
“It really occurred when I started meeting people and learning more about what all the different jobs within the Forest Service entailed,” he stated. “That really just lured me in.”
The historic 2010-2011 hearth season opened the door to an even bigger function in emergency administration for him. Whitworth served as an incident commander on 5 massive wildfires that 12 months, organizing state and out-of-state assets, volunteer hearth departments and different native authorities.
“That was pretty much 18 months of nothing but fighting fires,” he stated. “It was hard work and long hours, but really rewarding to protect lives and property.”
Al Davis, Texas A&M Forest Service Interim Director, stated in a nomination letter for the award that Whitworth’s spectacular command of any state of affairs “has earned him my unquestionable respect and admiration.”
“Some of the most notable Texas A&M Forest Service incidents, partnerships and capacity building efforts have occurred under Whitworth’s watch,” Davis wrote. “He has been an undeniable leader in each, exhibiting expert decision-making and people skills.”
Davis stated Whitworth serves as a mentor and pushes others to develop of their career and attain their full potential.
“His character and dedication are the reason why he is recognized nationally as a dependable, respected and beloved leader in the emergency response arena,” Davis wrote.
Whitworth performs a key function in Texas A&M Forest Service’s efforts to bolster the state’s volunteer hearth departments. Since 2013, Whitworth and his workers have delivered greater than $69 million in funding to assist volunteer hearth departments by way of numerous applications, together with organizing the most important public sale of surplus gear in company historical past, which raised greater than $1 million.
Whitworth additionally spearheaded a motion to enhance efficiencies and accountability by way of a monitoring utility for commodity distribution throughout large-scale disasters. The utility, developed in partnership with the Texas Department of Emergency Management, tracks the distribution course of at useful resource staging areas and factors of distribution websites.
Joshua Bardwell, West Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief, stated in a letter supporting Whitworth’s nomination for the award that Whitworth “is a humble leader who puts his people first.”
Whitworth “epitomizes service above self to his coworkers, department, agency, the system, state and nationally with his commitment to providing exceptional leadership in natural resource management, emergency response and personnel development,” Bardwell wrote.
Bardwell stated Whitworth took a lead function in not solely coordinating the 2020 response to Hurricane Laura in Southeast Texas, however in setting the tone for responders.
Whitworth serves on numerous statewide committees, is an authorized forester with the Society of American Foresters, a Texas Accredited Forester with the Texas Forestry Association and a former Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. He earned a bachelor’s diploma in forest administration from Stephen F. Austin University in 2004.
He credit his household, supervisors and supportive coworkers, in addition to his religion in God, with serving to him excel at his job.
“I’ve been blessed with having a strong support network,” he stated. “I’ve always had employees who were dedicated to conserve, protect and lead. I think that’s been a huge blessing.”
Texas A&M Forest Service contacts:
Billy Whitworth, Assistant Chief Regional Fire Coordinator, Texas A&M Forest Service, firstname.lastname@example.org; (936) 564-9276
Darren Benson, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M Forest Service, email@example.com, (979) 458-6649