Cheryl Seigal

Photo: Cheryl Seigal

Trainer, Former
Public Information Officer,
Umatilla County, Oregon

...has 17 years of experience in public affairs, strategic planning, training and organizational management. Since 1999, she has specialized in emergency public information as a public information responder, developer and maintainer of a JIC/JIS, exercise evaluator and instructor.

Seigal began her professional career as a banker working in operations and developing internal training programs. Membership in a local Toastmaster's club led to her being recruited as the director of public relations for Good Shepherd Community Hospital.  She graduated from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management while serving as the executive director of the Pendleton and Hermiston Chambers of Commerce.

From October 1999 through June of 2007, she was the PIO and spokesperson for Umatilla County Emergency Management / Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) and the Umatilla County Public Health Department. The UCEM emergency operations center and JIC (the only dedicated JIC facility in the State of Oregon) are state-of-the-art facilities in which ICS and JIC principles are regularly taught, exercised and utilized. Seigal played a key role in developing the Umatilla JIC and its accompanying Virtual JIC capabilities that serve as a model for numerous emergency response organizations throughout the nation. She has been in the national spotlight a number of times and worked on stories with the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, 60 Minutes II and NPR.

As a crisis communications PIO, Seigal has worked a variety of emergencies including bomb threats; West Nile Virus; the Juniper Canyon, Burnt Cabin, Sharps Ridge, and Hanford wildfires; Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and the crash of a Navy EA-6B jet.  All responses necessitated an effective JIS with several requiring JIC operations.

Since 2005, Seigal has been a source of information for agencies who are trying to develop a JIS/JIC. She has shared ideas, procedures and Best Practices, i.e., "what worked and what didn't". She is an instructor for Media Survival Group and Argonne National Laboratory conducting JIC/JIS workshops.