Sergio Madrid

Hazard Mitigation Coordinator
Washington State Emergency Management Division

Q: What brought you to the Washington Military Department?
A: I have always been motivated by public service. After serving as a member of the Peace Corps, I was immediately drawn to the  mission and values of the agency as they closely aligned with my motivation to serve the community.

Q: How long have you worked here?
A: I have been here four years. I first started in Limited English Proficiency where I strove to improve emergency communications, ensuring that community members who spoke an array of languages all received vital safety information that they could understand. In my current position as a Hazard Mitigation Grant Coordinator, I manage projects that aim to reduce the damage caused by the many natural disasters threatening communities throughout our state.

Q: What's the most inspiring part of your job?
A: The work I do makes a difference in our communities by making them more resilient to natural disasters. For instance, we manage FEMA funds that are geared towards wildfire public education – a threat that has become more and more prevalent in our state. We also manage projects that mitigate the spread of wildfires into our local neighborhoods by creating defensible space around homes, which in turn helps avoid loss of property within some of our most vulnerable rural communities. It is encouraging knowing that the projects we support as a state agency are helping our communities become more resilient to natural disasters.

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Honduras, Central America. I first arrived in Washington state when I was 15 years old. I have been here since.

Q: Who was the most influential person in your life? What made them so impactful?
A: The most influential person for me is my grandmother. I consider her the pioneer of my family because she was the first of us to immigrate to the United States. She left our country with a big dream, but little to her name, all she had was the clothes on herself and enough money to pay for her bus ticket to get her to US and Mexico border. Fast forward over 40 years later, through her sacrifice and bravery, she was able to achieve her big dream of providing her family with a legal path to have a more prosperous future.

Q: How do you recharge from a busy or stressful day?
A: A way of recharging for me is watching a great action movie. It helps me disconnect by entering a different world even for a couple of hours. Another way I like to recharge is by going on a nice walk at a nearby park.

Q: What do you want to make sure you do before you die?
A: Before I die, I want to make sure I take advantage of all the opportunities my grandmother made possible for me. One of those is one day attending law school and becoming a legal advocate for our underrepresented communities.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?
A: Whenever I’m in a position where I must make a difficult decision, but for some reason it is not clear, my go-to thought is “do what feels right” because, even though I may not know with certainty, I know I can trust my instincts.

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