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Spotlight: Andrew Friend recognized for his service to emergency management

Andrew Friend, the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Emergency Manager of the Year, has also been lauded for his outstanding service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was 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 pandemic response work with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

As the Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health in September, 2020, Friend proposed a shift in his strategy from mass vaccination to the “convenience vaccination” strategy to allow primary healthcare providers to administer vaccines, instead of making citizens visit mass vaccination sites.

“People’s confidence will be boosted since they will be able to obtain vaccines from their own trustworthy sources rather than from a mass immunization site,” said Friend at the time.

By the end of May 2021, the system had resulted in more than 11.1 million vaccines being administered and Illinois was ranked in the top among the nation’s ten most populous states in per-capita vaccinations.

Friend was also the driving force behind the accreditation of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center, which employs more than 11,000 people from 54 different countries and treats over one million patients annually. He was also responsible for emergency planning on the hospital side for the late king Abduallah Al Saud and the current king Salman Al Saud.

His support of visits by US presidents Obama and Trump to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia garnered him a certificate for outstanding achievement in support of the White House Medical Unit and the President from the Physician to the President of the USA.

Friend became an adviser to the Saudi Government on Emergency Management, and was one of 40 chosen to attend FEMA’s Executive Leadership Academy at the Emergency Management Institute.

He has worked to make the profession of emergency management more recognized internationally, including the Middle East and West Africa. His professionalism, accomplishments and candor have been consistently lauded throughout his distinguished career.

Friend began his career in emergency medical services in 2005, and has remained active in the field of emergency management ever since. He has a Master of Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from Arizona State University. He recently transitioned from the State of Illinois to a Senior Emergency Management Official Position with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).