Jay Harper, Vice President and Business Development Director
Any disaster, whether natural or manmade, is often enough to disrupt our daily routines and bring life to a standstill. In the wake of such dire events, recovering from these disasters and re-establishing the normal way of life is easier said than done. This is where firms like Dewberry are moving the needle by being at the forefront of relief services. “We are recovery-focused and work with our clients to help them be better prepared once an emergency hits,” says Jay Harper, vice president and business development director at Dewberry. Through its holistic suite of services for restoration and recovery, Dewberry guides its clients in handling the complex after-effects of a disaster—from managing hazard mitigation activities to providing immediate assistance for reconstruction of critical care facilities
A nationwide firm of planning, design, and construction professionals, Dewberry has a wealth of experience across disaster response and recovery efforts and helps clients identify necessary funding to advance their programs. The company offers reliable and innovative solutions to a myriad of public and private sector clients who own, operate, and maintain natural and built environments. Unlike its counterparts, Dewberry is more than a response and recovery consulting firm, it rather identifies itself as an eminent player in the engineering and architectural domain of emergency management that applies A&E expertise to ensure smart recovery or recovery with vision. “We have a deep understanding of the various technical aspects as well as the design, build, and construction factors related to infrastructure that could be impactedin the wake of a disaster. This holistic approach to solutions has served Dewberry’s clients well over the years,” remarks Harper.
Since its inception in 1956, Dewberry has evolved into a trusted, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services. Over the years, the company has upgraded its solutions and models to yield faster outcomes and manage diverse equities within the emergency management space. Harper expresses, “Dewberry aims to combine the power of technology and technical expertise to help communities more quickly understand the impacts of and recover from complex disasters.” Moreover, working in close collaboration with one of its major clients—the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—an organization of the United States Department of Homeland Security that coordinates the response to a disaster, Dewberry has added new dimensions to its emergency solutions. How? It has refined its disaster handling systems like situational modeling, contingency planning, and others and integrated them with its existing workflows to produce superior results and amplify response time.
Dewberry aims to combine the power of technology and technical expertise to help communities understand the impacts of complex disasters more quickly and recover from them
The company has even fine-tuned its risk management by embracing premium technologies such as data analytics, machine learning, and AI.
In that regard, the company is currently assessing different machine learning tools directly for FEMA and even identifying elements of emergency management workflows that can be automated using artificial intelligence. Besides, the Virginia-based company also brings into play the flair of machine learning to gain valuable insights about disaster-prone areas and predict the impacts of approaching adversities beforehand. Harper mentions that in the coming days, cellular data will eventually play a significant role in the emergency management process. He adds, “In addition to data analytics informing decisionsin times of crisis, cellular data will help first responders to determine population concentration better, identify deeply affected areas, and distribute resources accordingly.”
In essence, Dewberry’s capabilities aren’t limited to merely navigating federal disaster processes or typical recovery projects. Working across multiple industry verticals, the company seamlessly leverages its know-how in the emergency management paradigm to further enhance its solutions and make better-informed decisions. To further illustrate Dewberry’s proficiency in successfully harnessing the benefits of sophisticated technologies, Harper mentions one instance wherein the firm utilized data analytics and geo-spatial modeling to calculate the number of structures impacted in a flood-hit area in Louisiana. The company provided a record of over 100,000 deeply affected infrastructures and scored a 98 percent accuracy compared to initial damage assessments. “We effectively leverage the advantages of machine learning and data analytics within our solutions to better assess the impacts of disasters and help decision makers take well-informed actions,” says Harper.
Dewberry’s rich experience and technological grip steer it ahead of its competition. Be it FEMA or any local client, at the core, the company’s services revolve around a customer-first approach. Today, Dewberry is widely recognized for combining an unsurpassed commitment to the client’s success with extensive subject matter expertise. Presently, the company is playing a significant role in helping pandemic-stricken clients understand the complex reimbursement requirements and is providing guidance on the best practices that meet their needs.
With its geographically dispersed roots, Dewberry has expanded its reach far beyond the Mid-Atlantic region into Florida, The Carolinas, Louisiana, California, and New England. “We look forward to not only helping clients navigate complex emergency management processes, but also utilize our expertise as an engineering firm to help mitigate future disaster impacts,” concludes Harper.