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Richard Hooks has over 30 years of experience in emergency management and fire and rescue services.
Richard Hooks served as the Chief of Staff for Texas Department of Emergency Management from 2011 to 2013. Dedicated to community service and improving the area in which he lives he has remained consistent throughout his career. Building on over 30 years of experience in the field, he was responsible for senior leadership, team building, and overall administration including establishing and refining programs, setting departmental goals and objectives, strategizing on policy and budget development, and ultimately, implementing programs. Richard sees these tasks as an essential component of an effective emergency management system. As he puts it, “Firefighters deal with emergencies on a daily basis. A major component of firefighting is planning, and emergency management is planning on a large scale.” Careful strategizing and analysis on the administrative level is vital in supporting firefighters on the ground, as Richard Hooks will readily attest. His leadership of the emergency management time is a crucial component in overall incident response success.
In his spare time, Richard enjoys fishing, boating, and exploring the coast of Texas. He particularly revels in the ability to fish in the Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico, in pursuit of a variety of prey: Redfish, trout, drum, Kingfish, snapper, sailfish, Mahi, Ling, and other interesting targets. He occasionally participates in fishing tournaments. Richard also loves music, especially rock and jazz, and enjoys exploring the music of the world. He’s also a baseball fan who casually follows the minor league teams in his area. An avid reader, Hooks actively enjoys a wide variety of books about business, management, leadership, religion, and literature.
Richard Hooks attended Del Mar College and Texas A & M University in Corpus Christi. He served his military career in the United States Coast Guard from 1973 until 1976. After completing his time in the Coast Guard, Richard developed an interest in firefighting and first response. To that end, he joined the Terrill Hills Fire Department in Terrill Hills, Texas, where he served from 197 until 1978. He then moved to the Corpus Christi Fire Department, where he engaged as a firefighter and paramedic. Working in the thriving port city, he developed an interest in offshore and maritime operations and pursued firefighting and emergency management certifications in those fields. Working with the Corpus Christi Fire Department, he was able to put those skills into practice and further refine them. Working with firefighting vessels, he was certified as a Master, United States Coast Guard, for supply vessels of up to 100 tons. This allowed him to manage seaborne operations directly by taking command of various firefighting vessels.
Following a brief stint in the Alamo Heights Fire Department, Richard Hooks returned to Corpus Christi to resume his work. He climbed quickly through the ranks, and it was largely because of his dedication and natural leadership skills. Serving as a firefighter and a FFII Paramedic from 1986 until 1989, he became a Captain in the department in 1989. Serving in that position for seven years, he further developed his leadership and management skills, focusing on firefighting and incident response. His professional successes caught the attention of his chain of command, and he was promoted to Battalion Chief for Special Services in 1996. After four years in that capacity, he was selected for Deputy Chief of the Department in 2000, and was promoted again to Fire Chief in 2006. Having completed his time in the department in 2011, Hooks decided to move to the next level, taking a position with the Texas Department of Emergency Management as the Chief of Staff. He oversaw the development of the first Urban Search and Rescue Team in Texas, drawing on firefighters from a number of urban agencies in composing and training the team. The success of this new agency development was and is a part of his lasting contribution to emergency management in that state.
One of the more dramatic moments in Richard Hooks’ professional career came after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. As part of Texas Task Force One, Richard was called out as a responder to the crash site. He participated in a critical component of the mission: the location, identification and recovery of hazardous materials.
Over the course of his career to date, Hooks has developed a number of professional qualifications. These have included all of the following:
• Certified Public Manager, William P. Hobby Center for Public Service, Texas State University
• Master Firefighter, Texas Commission on Fire Protection
• Intermediate Instructor, Texas Commission on Fire Protection
• Paramedic (certified, inactive), Texas Department of State Health Services
• Head of Department, Texas Commission on Fire Protection (as Fire Chief)
• Master, United States Coast Guard, vessels up to 100 tons.
This diverse resume reflects the depth and breadth of Richard Hooks’ professional development, borne of his desire for professional excellence and the highest quality of service. Noting the importance of professional networking and engagement, he has also pursued affiliations with a number of organizations within his field. These include:
• National Fire Protection Association
• International Association of Fire Fighters
• International Association of Fire Chiefs
• Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association
• Texas Fire Chiefs Association
• International Association of Emergency Managers
• Emergency Management Association of Texas
• Texas State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals Association
These organizations have allowed Richard Hooks to interact closely with other professionals in his field, sharing information, professional education, and camaraderie. By engaging with the industry on all levels—regional, national and worldwide—Richard Hooks actively developed and promoted his own knowledge and skills, and shared them with others working toward the same goal internationally.
With a career focused on the state of Texas, Hooks has served on a number of committees which address his professional focus. He leveraged his experience in offshore firefighting and emergency management while sitting on the Coastal Bend Oil Spill Control Association, where he served as the secretary. He took a broader approach with his involvement in the Coastal Bend Council of Governments as the representative from Corpus Christi. His vast experience in emergency and incident management was especially useful to the City of Corpus Christi/Nueces County Local Emergency Planning Committee, on which he successful served as the chair. As with his professional affiliations, serving on these committees was a way to develop his professional skills while interacting with others. With the focus of these committees on the community, Richard Hooks was also able to give back to the area in which he lived and worked. This approach is typical of his lifetime of service, in which he has consistently put the well-being of others first.
His professional career influenced his personal life. Having developed professional experience with boats and boating during his time in the United States Coast Guard and in the Corpus Christi Fire Department, he began sailing and offshore fishing in his own time. While living in Corpus Christi, Richard Hooks was the proud owner and operator of a 30 foot Catalina sailboat, upon which he spent many hours sailing Corpus Christi Bay.
With his wide-ranging professional history and numerous qualifications and certifications, Richard Hooks is still growing in his chosen career path. In his former capacity as Chief of Staff for the Texas Division of Emergency Management he worked with senior officials to develop division goals and strategy. He plans on utilizing his vast experience in planning for future events. With an increasingly diversified global economy, the changing economic landscape is continually presenting new challenges for emergency responders and incident commanders. In particular, Texas’s growing involvement with the energy industry is a concern for firefighters and emergency incident commanders. Volatile petrochemicals are a hazard in shipping, processing, and distribution. While the highest safety standards exist by law for handling these products, accidents do occur. When the unthinkable happens, the training and organization of first responders from all agencies and on all levels is vital in limiting the damage that may be done. Richard would like to continue to pursue career paths that allow him to develop innovative approaches to emergency management and administration. His skills in the administration and coordination on the agency level are of particular interest when considering the future.
In his personal life, Richard intends to continue pursuing his many passions. He still frequents the waters of his beloved Texas coast, fishing and boating as time allows. Currently located in San Antonio, he no longer owns a boat, but he has not lost his love of sailing. Richard Hooks is constantly developing himself, his interests, and his career.
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