Billy Parker of the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has won the prestigious Regents Fellows Service Award from The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. The annual Regents Fellows award is the highest honor given by the Regents and recognizes senior-level professionals who have provided exemplary service not only to their university or agency, but also to the community, state, nation and world.
Parker, who is a program director with TEEX’s Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) has been a driving force behind Texas Task Force 1’s growth from a small advisory board in 1996 to a statewide and national US&R team that today includes more than 300 members representing organizations from throughout Texas. The 26-year TEEX veteran has also played a key role in the creation of Disaster City® as one of the top training locations in the world for emergency responders.
Parker’s career is filled with stories of saving lives and training other emergency responders to do likewise. Last fall Parker led Texas Task Force 1’s water strike teams into the heart of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in downtown New Orleans. As the Task Force Leader for a team of 41 emergency responders, Parker directed the rescues of thousands of Katrina victims from nursing homes, rooftops and apartment complexes.
Over the past three years, Parker has supervised a training partnership with the United Kingdom that has brought more than 700 emergency responders to receive technical search and structural collapse training at Disaster City®. Following the events of 9/11, the United Kingdom sought a training provider and world-class facility to re-establish the country’s urban search and rescue capabilities. After visiting training providers and sites worldwide, TEEX was selected because of Disaster City® and the impressive team of instructors Parker has helped to assemble.
Currently, Parker oversees the development and delivery of 14 specialized US&R courses in areas ranging from structural collapse and swift water rescue to canine search to disaster medicine. Under Parker’s leadership, more than 1,000 emergency responders from throughout the United States and across the globe receive specialized training each year at Disaster City®.