Edgar Rodriguez is finishing up his Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Management at Western Illinois University. He will now get a chance to put to use what he has learned because the McDonough County Board unanimously voted in favor hiring him to be the county's Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) director.
“Emergency management is a great area that you can actually make an impact in a community. Being a small community, it’s also manageable for somebody that is just entering the workforce in emergency management,” Rodriguez said.
“Macomb has been a great experience for me and my family. This (the job) is a great way to pay back the community for such a great experience here.”
Even though he graduates in May, Rodriguez won’t be ending his education because he will pursue his Master’s degree in Public Health and Emergency Management at WIU.
Rodriguez said he is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. He said he later lived in the Washington D.C. area for almost 15 years while he was in the U.S. Army, which is where he gained experience in emergency services by helping deal with disasters such as Hurricane Sandy. He said he also volunteered with a local fire department’s emergency response program while living out east.
“So I actually have a lot of experience in the response portion of emergency management,” Rodriguez said.
He said he came to Macomb because WIU is one of the few universities in the nation with an emergency management program.
Rodriguez said he plans to hold community involvement programs to teach people how to be prepared before an emergency or disaster happens.
Rodriguez replaced Dan Kreps, who stepped down after around a dozen years as McDonough County’s ESDA director.
County Board Chair Scott Schwerer said the position is a part-time job that pays $14,000 per year.