MEMA Renews Public Assistance Grant with Atkins
Atkins has helped obligate more than $3.2 billion of FEMA funds to the state of Mississippi since 2005
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has awarded Atkins a yearlong multimillion dollar contract to continue providing statewide program management services in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Program.
Since Hurricane Katrina devastated areas of the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, Atkins has provided technical and programmatic support to manage Mississippi’s PA Program. To date, Atkins has helped obligate more than $3.2 billion of FEMA funds to the state of Mississippi and its applicants.
“Atkins considers our participation in the Hurricane Katrina recovery to be one of the most significant undertakings in our company’s history,” said Atkins senior vice president Scott Lawson. “We are delighted to continue our partnership with the state of Mississippi to deliver recovery support to both government and citizens.”
The FEMA PA Grant Program provides assistance to state, tribal and local governments to help communities respond quickly to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the president. Through the PA Program, FEMA provides funds for debris removal; emergency protective measures; repair, replacement or restoration of publicly owned facilities; and future hazard mitigation.
Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, MEMA needed assistance with managing the FEMA PA Program for the state. After receiving the first of five recovery services contracts with MEMA, Atkins’ team helped, staffing positions for project worksheet development, debris removal oversight, issue resolution, cost tracking and final closeout.
Under previous contracts, Atkins established a project management and tracking system that was used to monitor the status of PA projects and manage the deployment of technical personnel to the field. Nearly 100 Atkins employees have supported the recovery project, serving as project officers, public assistance coordinators, debris specialists, appeals specialists and engineers.
“Our staff working on the Mississippi Gulf Coast has created a unique relationship with both MEMA and FEMA, which has provided for unprecedented cooperation between federal and state governments in support of FEMA PA applicants,” said Atkins Project Manager Alan Whitt. “Through Atkins’ successful training efforts, we have also strategically realigned staff while integrating MEMA employees to fill most PA Program positions. Atkins has worked hard to help make this environment of support and guidance a reality—on the ground and under historic circumstances.”
Reflecting the effort’s success, a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in March 2009 cited Mississippi’s program as an example of model strategies for other state, federal and local officials to follow in administering the PA Program after future disasters.