Sep 042017

#HurricaneHarvey #HurricaneIrma: Can private business and philanthropy play a role in disaster recovery?

#BREAKING on #ABCNews (Sunday, September 10, 2017): Center of Hurricane #Irma made landfall in Marco Island at 3:35pm ET as a Category 3 hurricane. Monday 8pm ET #Irma has been downgraded to a dangerous tropical storm packing 45 mph winds.

“In Miami (shown below), winds whipped around high-rise buildings at speeds approaching 100 mph, the National Weather Service said. A 94 mph wind gust was recorded at Miami International Airport,” ABC News reports.

“#Irma is expected to bring heavy rainfall and flooding to much of Florida and portions of the southeast U.S. over the next few days @NWSWPC”

#BREAKING on #ABCNews: Florida governor Rick Scott to residents ahead of #HurricaneIrma: ‘You’ve got to get out’

“If Florida residents are unsure how to evacuate ahead of Irma, Florida Governor Rick Scott said to call the state emergency hotline or go online to”

“With more than a million Florida residents ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott (shown in the photo below on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” Friday, September 9, 2017) urged people to leave without delay,” ABC News reports.

“If you’re in an evacuation zone, you’ve got to get out; you can’t wait,” Scott said in an interview today with ABC News’ “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts.

“This thing’s coming,” he warned. “It looks like it’s going to go right through the middle of our state.”

It’s all about “Your dreams are my dreams.”

The biggest story of Hurricane Harvey is President Trump’s and First Lady Melania Trump’s phenomenal empathy, humility, and caring moments with the families still suffering in the Texas Gulf Coast region. 

Hurricane Harvey has killed 44 people and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and businesses in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster event hitting Texas Gulf Coast since 1961. And, Hurricane Harvey is one of the most expensive natural disaster reconstructions in U.S. History, potentially reaching as high as $150-200 billion dollars when this recovery is all over!

We are all Federalists. We are all Republicans” – U.S. President Thomas Jefferson’s Inauguration Address, 1801, in unifying the nation after a most contentious Election 1800 campaign.

This natural disaster is a test of the ‪.@WhiteHouse Combined Geopolitics of #HurricaneHarvey and now #HurricaneIrma, emergent and growing as #HurricaneIrma rapidly approaches the Florida coast in a state of emergency, as a Category 5 storm on this Labor Day 2017. 

“Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in the state as rapidly growing Hurricane Irma, now a Category 5 storm, is expected to make landfall later this week,” reports Fox News.

“The state of emergency has been issued for all of Florida’s 67 counties. Scott said that the state would “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” as Irma (shown below) is expected to hit the state around Friday.”

The governor tweeted on Labor Day that he urges “all Floridians to remain vigilant and stay alert to local weather and news and visit today to get prepared.”

So, we aren’t out of the woods yet in America’s long road to natural disaster recovery and relief!

Texans are in a fishbowl now, yet they’re staying dry with The President and Mrs. Trump recently hitting-on-the-ground-running by their side! 

What we are once again witnessing is an emerging “Humble Trump,” as his son Eric Trump fondly described his father, now President Trump, during his 2016 election campaign.

“Your dreams are my dreams. Your hopes are my hopes. Your future is what I’m fighting for EACH and EVERY day.” – .@POTUS .@realDonaldTrump

Here’s how you can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The Geopolitics of Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery.

President Trump, his Cabinet, and his FEMA has been overwhelmingly successful in its business-like management discipline during its first White House test of “The Geopolitics of Natural Disaster Management, Relief and Recovery.” (cf, Natural Disaster Management,  Aniket Pingale, via LinkedIn SlideShare)

The heart of the heavy assets of the U.S. energy and oil industry has been hit by this storm. U.S. refineries have a huge amount of assets invested along the Texas Gulf Coast region, which has received a significant shock. 

In 2014, America became “the largest exporter and the largest net exporter of refined petroleum. As of January 2015, there were 137 operating refineries in the US, distributed among 30 states, according to Wikipedia.

However, oil prices currently seem to be weathering this storm and its associated recovery ongoing this Labor Day 2017!

Fortunately, President Trump is “a builder and a rebuilder of things!” So, he’s a natural fit for leadership in extreme-events and disaster management, recovery and reconstruction engineering.

Nonetheless, a public service notice is when you’re not in a specific flood zone (with or without a severe storm), folks always need flood insurance, who’s overall cost is extremely cheap. However, many Houston-metropolitan homeowners don’t have flood insurance, due to widespread public misconceptions that you have to be inside a flood zone to receive or even carry flood insurance. This has left many folks financially strapped and stranded by the flood disaster of Hurricane Harvey.

The most immediate need in the Texas Gulf Coast region is a million ounces of “bug spray” – as the huge swarms of “health-hazard” mosquitoes, as big as most State birds, are attacking human relief and recovery efforts in the Texas Gulf Coast flood zones. Also, toxic waste is seeping from sewers, causing a severe environmental impact on neighborhoods. More importantly, animals are roaming everywhere, not only trying to gain relief from the flood zones, but also adding to the growing bacteria contamination and contagious diseases potentially harmful and spreading rampantly that could possibly cause a public health concern, stressing local healthcare capacity.

Fortunately at this point, a million liters of clean bottled water has been placed on-hand in the Texas Gulf Coast region, a million meals has been provided to folks, and a half-million families have requested FEMA relief assistance online and on-the-ground. 

President Trump has ordered nearly $8B dollars of FEMA relief assistance – running through Congress this week (and approved by the U.S. House on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, as President Trump also worked behind the scenes today with Congressional deomcrats to raise the nation’s debt ceiling well into December) with an additional $7B getting Congressional approvals through continuing resolution of supplemental funding directed to FEMA for Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery. The federal legislation now goes to the Senate and “is expected to be sent to the White House by the end of the week” — just as the more powerful Category 5 Hurricane Irma, which has already left “a trail of chaos, wreckage and flooding from Barbuda to Puerto Rico,” is now expected to slam the Florida coast. “The Senate bill, introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late Wednesday night, extends Congressional aid to $15.25 billion, in anticipation of more federal funds needed to address disaster relief from Category 5 Hurricane Irma,” according to LinkedIn’s Daily Rundown reports.

President Trump legislatively and administratively achieved and did not want Hurricane Harvey disaster relief funds tied to the U.S. debt ceiling, since such Harvey relief funds are tied to a national emergency. On the ground already in the disaster zone are 30,000 Federal workers along with tens of thousands of veterans and volunteers, assisting recovery efforts in the Texas Gulf Coast region.

“If approved, the legislation is expected to set the stage for a bruising year-end fiscal battle,” The Washington Post opines.

Photo Credit: From #Washington to .@realDonaldTrump: “So Help Me God” .@POTUS signs proclamation .@WhiteHouse declaring September 3, 2017 #NationalDayofPrayer!

Texas Resilience as “Cowboys and Christians.”

A second big story of Hurricane Harvey is the resilience of Texans, who are “Cowboys and Christians,” and neighbors helping neighborhoods recover out of massive floods in the Texas Gulf Coast region. The Lone Star State of Texas is a Second Amendment protector of “Life, Liberty, and Property” in the philosophical spirit of John Locke in the growing wake of looting of homeowners and businesses rocked by huge piles of damaged property and goods lined along neighborhood street curbs.

Following in the tradition of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan, President Trump and The White House Proclaims Sunday, September 3, 2017, a #NationalDayOfPrayer for #HurricaneHarvey National Relief and Recovery. This is also in the historical tradition of the presidency, as all presidential inaugurations – from Washington to Lincoln to FDR to Reagan to Trump – have promised Texas and all states across America to the best of their abilities, to keep us safe and protect us, under the Constitution, “So Help Me God!”

America is a generous nation.

Looking forward, billions of additional dollars will be required to completely rebuild the Texas Gulf Coast region, as was needed in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

Photo Credit: Former Bush U.S. FEMA Director for Hurricane Katrina and I discussed the title question: Can private business and philanthropy play a role in disaster recovery? In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy 2012. 

What we learned from Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and now Harvey, is charitable individuals, and private business can play a significant role in disaster relief and recovery. Six American institutions of philanthropy and corporations have joined hands in partnership with government to provide Texas Gulf Coast disaster relief for our local institutions of families, churches and schools.

From Walmart supplying clothes, to Pizza Hut and McDonald’s providing meals, to Bush Beer shipping in clean bottle water, to NFL’s J.J. Watt raising $18M in Hurricane Harvey relief, and finally, to President Trump – as an individual citizen – donating a million dollars of his own wealth, private business and government have played a huge role in partnership to assist Texans in shelters fleeing their flooded homes.

Remarkably, Americans are an extraordinarily generous people. Most of all, our generosity is not necessarily just tied to tax planning benefits of giving forward.

Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America records the American citizenry gives forward “without reference to any bureaucracy, or any official agency.”

Inside the most recent Giving USA, Americans are indeed extremely generous in giving forward to charities and philanthropic organizations well over $300 billion dollars as of 2016-17. This is equivalent to the net income of about 20% of all corporations of the Fortune 500 today.

To achieve this exceptional $300 billion-dollar amount of charitable generosity experienced by our citizenry (including baby-boomer retirees, and the largest emerging millennial generation — which is about an 8% larger cohort than the baby-boomers), America invested an equivalency of nearly $4 trillion dollars in assets, sold about $6 trillion dollars in goods and services, and drew upon the combined productivity of more than 40 million employed workers.

That’s a lot of goodwill for all charitable Americans to feel good about giving forward, for sure!



Oliver G. McGee III is a teacher, a researcher, an administrator, and an advisor to government, corporations and philanthropy. He is professor and chair of the department of mechanical engineering at Texas Tech University. He is formerly professor of mechanical engineering and former Vice President for Research and Compliance at Howard University. Dr. McGee is former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Inc. He was Professor and former Chair (2001-2005) of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Geodetic Science at Ohio State University. He is the first African-American to hold a professorship and a departmental chair leadership in the century-and-a-quarter history of Ohio State University’s engineering college. Dr. McGee has also held several professorships and research positions at Georgia Tech and MIT.

McGee is the former United States (U.S.) Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Technology Policy (1999-2001) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and former Senior Policy Advisor (1997-1999) in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a NASDAQ certified graduate of UCLA John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management’s 2013 Director Education and Certification Program, and NYSE Governance Services Guide to Corporate Board Education’s 2003 Directors’ Consortium (on corporate board governance).

McGee is a 2012-13 American Council on Education Fellow at UCLA Office of the Chancellor Gene Block. He is a 2013 University of California Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education (BIHE) graduate. He is also an Executive Leadership Academy Fellow of the University of California, Berkeley Center of Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), Inc. McGee is an American Association of State Colleges & Universities’ (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Fellow – educational leadership and management development programs for prospective university chancellors and presidents.

Education Background: Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Masters of Science (M.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering Mechanics, Aerospace Engineering (Minor), The University of Chicago, Booth School, Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Certificate of Professional Development (C.P.D.), Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy – Certificate of Fund Raising Management (C.F.R.M.).

Partnership Possibilities for America – Invested in STEEP Giving Forward, founded by McGee in 2010, is based in Washington, DC.

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