ICS press: "Instructor Spotlight: William Miller"

September 21, 2010

Bill Miller has been a team player for Wiland Associates as an instructor for many years and is admired and viewed as one of the best. His loyalty, commitment and selflessness are only a few of his many highly regarded qualities. He is experienced and knowledgable and is an asset to have on any team. Bill’s passion for those working along-side him and those asking for his assistance shows in his everyday work. “Bill has a real love for what he does and wants to teach so the same mistakes don’t happen again. I believe Bill gives a big proportion of himself to helping others learn the IMT training.” as stated by Kathy Andring, partner of Wiland Associates.

Bill first started wildland firefighting while he was a freshman in college. The local forest service ranger came to the school and asked for assistance fighting a large wildland fire near the school. “Of course I volunteered; it got me out of class!” Bill explains. As a result of the experience, he changed his degree to forestry and continued to expand his emergency response experience through local fire department memberships and the North Carolina Forest Service. His career has taken him to many beautiful and exciting places, but some emotionally challenging ones as well. i.e. The World Trade Center, Yellowstone National Park fires, Hurricane Andrew/Hugo/Katrina, 30 Mile, Storm King Mountain and the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. “I have missed ballgames and recitals, and the holidays have been a casualty of my career. My family has been sometimes disappointed in my absence, but overall they have understood that this is my job.” Jori Miller, Bill’s wife of 20 years, his two children and one grandchild are completely supportive, standing with him through the ups and downs.

Bill has been involved with Incident Management Teams (IMT’s) for nearly 40 years, as a result he has seen areas where the industry could do better. Bill explains,

The IMT concept is an avenue for responders to be more efficient and effective for victims, local agencies and most importantly, the good people responding to the incident. Training for and exercising the IMT concept is absolutely imperative in order to be successful for incident response. ICS is the foundation of our skills, but training and exercise is the only way an agency will become proficient at incident response. IMT’s can not be ‘on paper’ only. The team concept must be built by way of support from agency leadership, and then refined by way of team membership training to the specific job responsibilities and team concepts of management and organization. ICS and IMT concepts work well when applied by persons who are trained and reasonably experienced in incident organization and management.

The emergency response industry is built upon people that focus on and support one another. ”The best part of my job and travels has been the opportunity to meet and become friends with fantastic people from all over these United States.” He even credits many friends as being mentors in the industry. ”Because of these people, I can truly say that I learn something every time I have a teaching assignment or incident response assignment with them.” The worst part of the job is when fellow responders are injured or killed within their efforts to protect others. ”I pray that I never again have to make a phone call or a visit to a spouse or parent to report that their loved one has been injured or has been killed in action.”

Bill’s heart for those that are beside him and those needing his assistance is his true motivation. Despite the challenging work environment, his commitment has not wavered. The rewards outweigh the challenges for Bill. ”The satisfaction of knowing that you were able to assist with the successful management and organization of a complex incident is beyond description”. Bill’s humility is that of a true leader and we at Wiland Associates would like to commend him for that.




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