Shortly after being born, I served in the U.S. Army as a tank commander where I learned how to blow junk up, eliminate bad guys with economy, and lead good men through chemical, biological, and radioactive environments. Life was weird.
Whereas these skills prepared me for civilian life in metropolitan arcadias such as Chicago, L.A., and Philadelphia, I instead decided to go to a university of higher learning. After arming myself with a BS degree from the University of Colorado's School of Journalism in Boulder, I ventured out into the world as a reporter where I proceeded to hone my skills at pissing people off with the written word. Life was better.
But as fate would have it, I finally grew up and took a real job working for state government as a public information officer, at first for the governor and later with public health. Despite not being a metrosexual bureaucrat and developing a reputation for telling overly self-important, political appointees they were full of beans, I did pretty good. Regrets? A few, but I never punched anybody. Not once.
Along the way, I actually did accomplish stuff. I earned degrees in public relations and advertising. I became one of the first five people in the country to become a Certified Communicator in Public Health. I had my own column in the Jacksonville Daily News. I was a director of public relations for private industry and the director of communication for several government agencies. I established two public affairs offices where none previously existed; one for the State Health Director's Office and the other in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response – the state agency created in 2001 to oversee preparedness efforts associated with biological attacks and pandemic outbreaks. (Truly weird that I actually did end up using some of my military training.)
As a public health communication expert I coordinated or participated in the media/public information responses to health crises involving AIDS, anthrax, SARS, E-coli, Pfiesteria, Brucelosis, Legionnaires' disease, SIDS, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Small Pox, West Nile Virus and numerous hurricanes. I also collaborated with the CDC Office of Communication on several health issues and was a certified trainer of their Emergency Risk Communication Program. I was a member and president of the National Public Health Information Coalition – twice. (Woot!)
I also once yelled "Arnold! Over here!" to make sure Arnold Schwarzenegger got in the right car on his national fitness campaign tour and I once saw Pink at the airport. I think. It was a woman with pink hair, for sure.
Thanks for visiting Books by Bill. I hope you will follow me and let me know how you like my story about the infamous pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read. As they say, "Well-behaved women seldom make history."