Program Analyst Felicia Archer says you cannot protect folks 100% of the time from a natural disaster. “It is impossible,” said Archer and she should know. Prior to joining TSA, she worked in disaster relief in support of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Florence, and even assisted with debris removal after tornados ripped through the southern states.
Her disaster relief response and recovery experiences prompted her to supplement her criminology and sociology degrees with a Master of Science in Emergency Management. “The knowledge of mitigation, preparedness, and recovery techniques . . . are vital topics that impact every career field,” said Archer.
Archer started with TSA in 2018 as a Transportation Security Officer at Richmond International Airport in Virginia. There she began contributing to numerous collateral duties, that included deploying to help other airports, and a detail. Later, there was an opportunity and she jumped into her current position as a permanent Program Analyst.
“In her detail supporting the Surface Transportation Security Advisory Committee, she blew us away with her work ethic and professionalism,” remembers Policy, Plans and Engagement Assistant Administrator (AA) Eddie Mayenschein.
Archer works as the Surface Transportation Security Advisory Committee (STSAC) Homeland Security Information Network-Critical Infrastructure Site Administrative Liaison.
After the Anniston, Alabama, tornado disaster in 2018, Archer volunteered with a local food bank and was on site within 48 hours, rolling up her sleeves and doing anything she could — shuttling food and clothes back and forth and cleaning up debris left in the wake of the tornado.
After Hurricane Michael in 2018, Archer spent 3 1/2 weeks with search and rescue teams and other local agencies, volunteering and helping distribute goods and supplies to the victims.
“Volunteering turned out to be a girl’s outing—I am a humanitarian at heart,” said Archer.” We worked all over the Southeast while I was in college. My mom was my biggest supporter.”
“I was living at the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2018, when Hurricane Florence (projected as a Category 5) was coming,” remembered Archer. During the eye of the storm, she walked outside in chest waders, rallying neighbors to come out and help clear clogged storm drains. Archer recalls, “You could hear the rest of the storm coming; something only people who have been in the eye of a hurricane could relate to. It was very eerie as we heard the noise from the storm coming from the other side of the eye.”
After co-founding a 501(c)(3) disaster relief non-profit with two other like-minded volunteers, Archer said, “I was able to kick my humanitarian efforts into high gear.”
“I love physical labor,” said Archer. “But it is one of those things where I like to work with people who need help and I could tell them what to do to help themselves. I like the mitigation phase and the planning prior to a disaster. I’m a planner. I have made my own MREs.”
“Since joining us as a full-time PPE employee, she has continued to impress,” said Mayenschein, adding “We are lucky to have her on our team.”
By Wayne Carey, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs