The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Awards and Recognition Committee awarded Friend for his leadership and outstanding contributions to the nation during the COVID-19 response in two states for the COVID-19 response year of 2020.
The Emergency Manager of the Year Award honors a disaster management practitioner who has made an outstanding contribution to the field.
IAEM is the premiere association for emergency and disaster management worldwide, providing the industry standard for the certifications of Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) and Certified Emergency Manager (CEM).
Friend was recognized in October, 2021 at the President’s Banquet and Awards Ceremony at the IAEM 69th Annual Conference & EMEX in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
He was also recognized with the 2021 William Ryan Honorary Award for Excellence by Juvare LLC, a company which provides software solutions for emergency preparedness, critical incident management and response. This was for his work with the Illinois Department of Public Health.
After a stint as the chief of staff of the State Emergency Operations Center for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, Friend was appointed Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In this role, Friend realigned and conducted quality improvement to the state’s Incident Command System Organizational Chart. He directed and managed the state’s mass vaccination program, which ranked first in the country as of 31 December, 2020, with more than 150,000 vaccinations administered. By the end of May 2021, his system had resulted in more than 11.1 million vaccinations in the state.
Friend also oversaw the state’s strategic command and collaborated with the Illinois National Guard to devise a strategy to deploy more than 1,500 troops to 70 state counties, providing more than 1.7 million vaccinations.
He formed coalitions, gathered local, state, and federal partners, and negotiated and fostered relationships to assist with the state’s response.