Grand County Office of Emergency Management names Hornbaker as Emergency Manager
January 5, 2017
Overseeing the response to a tragic event or an emergency situation is a complicated task involving numerous moving parts. Throw in the high stress of such situations and it is easy to understand why large numbers of people are required to operate and manage emergency events.
In Grand County various organizations, from our local fire protection districts to the Sheriff's Office and Grand County EMS (GCEMS), oversee operations depending upon the type of incident and its size. Since mid-December though Grand County EMS and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has had a bit of help from one of their newest members, Christian Hornbaker, new Emergency Manager for the OEM.
Hornbaker began in his new role on Dec. 12, 2016. He is also serving as a Lieutenant with GCEMS and will be assisting Chief Ray Jennings with organizational duties. He will also be taking on much of the Public Information Officer duties for both entities.
Hornbaker came to Grand County in August 2014 along with his wife Katie and their daughter. Hornbaker grew up with a military man for a father and spent significant portions of his early life traveling with his family as they moved for place to place. But despite that he considers Omaha, Neb. his hometown. "I went to high school and junior high in Omaha," Hornbaker said. "Both my brothers live up there with their families. Pretty much my wife's entire family lives up in that area as well."
Hornbaker graduated from Northwestern Missouri State University with a degree in history, though he jokes he should have majored in marketing and communication since most of his professional career has been spent in those fields. His experiences going to school and then working in the small town of Maryville, where the Northwestern Missouri campus is located, made him appreciate his love of small communities.
"After we had our daughter we thought about moving to a small town," Hornbaker said. "The opportunity for us to move out here opened. We were just excited to have a bigger impact on the community on a personal and professional level; and to have our daughter grow up in a smaller community. Plus you can't beat the views."
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Since graduating college Hornbaker has worked in the marketing and communications field, well over 20-years now. After working for a period in Maryville he spent time working for the State of Nebraska. After moving to Grand County he worked for the hospital district for several years before moving into his new roles with GCEMS and the OEM.
"I think Christian is going to bring a whole new addition to our Office of Emergency Management as the Emergency Manager," said GCEMS/OEM Chief Ray Jennings. "He has fantastic people skills that will be essential to him performing his duties. He is very talented and understands the ins and outs of the politics we have to deal with, at both the State and Federal level. He has a great skill set and will be a benefit to the citizens of Grand County."
Moving forward Hornbaker will be helping to develop training scenarios and contingency plans for the OEM to include things like active shooter drills, mass casualty drills, emergency response plans for catastrophic events and other similar activities. He will also be very busy with his own training requirements in 2017 including the Emergency Management Academy and EMT training. All members of GCEMS, from the Chief on down, are required to be EMT certified and as such Hornbaker will be hitting the books.
Hornbaker sees building trust with the community as a major part of his new job. "Building relationships and having people trust what I am doing in my position is going to be beneficial," he said. "In any type of situation out there everybody is going to need to trust what I am doing in my position. You have to earn that trust and maintain it. That is one of the biggest things."