Home    AECOM    Insight

What does an AECOM Disaster Recovery Division Manager do?

What does an AECOM Disaster Recovery Division Manager do?

 May 02, 2024

 Read time

AECOM's People Spotlight series provides an inside look at its technical experts around the world.

Meet AECOM Disaster Recovery Division Manager, Joanna Redmond, from the company's Water business in the United States West region.

Joanna is based in Louisiana and has 16 years of experience in disaster recovery. Since joining AECOM in 2018, Joanna has been involved in multiple federal-funded projects through which she’s supported communities impacted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and wildfires. Joanna is working with the Texas state government to locate, contact and provide relocation assistance to former tenants of flood-prone areas.

Learn more about Joanna's inspirations and her role in supporting and relocating communities impacted by natural disasters through her work with AECOM.

AECOM Disaster Recovery Division Manager career

Serving communities impacted by natural disasters

Hurricane Katrina brought major devastation to South Louisiana in 2005. It was the costliest hurricane to ever hit the United States. Joanna explains that in response, the State started a housing program to help residents recover from the storm.

"This program was the first of its kind in terms of size and complexity — and it was also my introduction to the industry," says Joanna.

"In 2007, I was finishing graduate school and wasn’t sure of the next step in my career path. Through a friend in graduate school, I was hired by the consultant responsible for the Hurricane Katrina housing program. It was meant to be a temporary job until I could find something more permanent, however, I ended up staying on the housing program for seven years. I enjoyed the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of the project. There was no precedent for this type of program, so the processes, policies and systems were designed and built from scratch. It was a fulfilling challenge."

"While my initial step into disaster recovery wasn’t intentional, the decision to continue this career path certainly was. It is rewarding to serve communities that have been impacted by disasters — to be a part of their recovery and help them to be better prepared for the next storm event," explains Joanna.

Proud of her role in relocating tenants of flood-prone properties

AECOM favorite project

Joanna shares that her favorite AECOM project that she has worked on is the relocation assistance project that she is managing in Houston, Texas. It involves locating and contacting approximately 600 former tenants of flood-prone properties purchased by the City of Houston using federal funds.

"The State is obligated to make sure the displaced tenants find new, affordable accommodation and compensate them for any moving costs incurred. Our role is to ensure that this program complies with federal regulations by locating the former tenants and informing them of their rights and eligible benefits under the relocation assistance program," says Joanna.

"Some people are easy to locate and engage as they have remained locally and have heard about the program. Others are harder, especially if they’ve moved out of state. In this case, we get creative using social media, newspaper adverts and encouraging the community to spread the word. I am very proud of the team supporting this project, we have banded together to support the State and have represented AECOM well to our client."

AECOM relocation assistance project

Positively impacting and supporting the community

AECOM positively impacting community

The inherent nature of disaster recovery is to support communities. After Hurricane Harvey, Joanna was involved in a large housing project in Texas that supported more than 1,600 families whose homes were damaged or destroyed during the storm.

"Most of the homes were in low-income communities where the cost of repairing or rebuilding the properties would have been unaffordable and impractical for most residents. In conjunction with the State and federal government, we implemented a program to help families repair and return to their homes and communities. We were responsible for designing the program policies and processes and provided program applicants with outreach, case management and construction management oversight," says Joanna.

AECOM disaster recovery supporting communities

A salient piece of career advice

A quote that Joanna heard some time ago that truly resonates with her is 'Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.'

Joanna says that prior to working with AECOM, she experienced line managers who didn’t value her input and  this had a negative impact on her morale. "It’s important to keep your integrity and always do your best, even if your work is not appreciated or is undervalued. I carry this quote with me because it’s helped me appreciate the importance AECOM places in acknowledging the value of their people," concludes Joanna.

Looking for an impactful role at AECOM?

AECOM is a place for the intellectually curious, those with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to get things done.

Its colleagues are life-long learners, continuously building knowledge and skills.

Looking to join them?

Search the latest job vacancies with AECOM.


Search jobs

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, X, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.


Join our women's careers community