Bob McKee, Director of TEEX’s Urban Search and Rescue Division and Chief of Texas Task Force 1, was named recipient of the prestigious Regents Fellow Award, presented by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
The award recognizes employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency within the system.
“I am extremely honored to be named a Texas A&M System Regents Fellow,” McKee said. “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in making Texas Task Force 1 the best urban search and rescue team in the country.”
McKee has continually demonstrated dedicated service to the State of Texas, The Texas A&M University System and the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). He serves as the director of the State Emergency Support Function-9 (ESF-9), is the director of the agency’s Urban Search and Rescue division (US&R) and is the Chief of Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1).
“McKee performs all of these functions while keeping the safety of his employees, task force members and the public paramount,” said Gary Sera, TEEX Director. “I cannot think of a person who better represents the Texas A&M System’s commitment to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
Recognized for his skill in coordinating massive response efforts, Mr. McKee is the director of the state’s ESF-9. In this role, he is in charge of managing all deployed search and rescue assets within the State of Texas when they leave their home jurisdictions. These assets include those of Texas Parks and Wildlife, the General Land Office, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Military Forces and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In this role, Mr. McKee is also responsible for coordinating federal search and rescue assets inside the state to include: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. military, and the Department of the Interior.
As chief of TX-TF1, the state’s elite urban search and rescue team, Mr. McKee is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to serve the people of Texas. His commitment is unwavering, and he has spent several nights with little sleep in leading his task force through a deployment.
The task force is comprised of 400 personnel representing 68 fire departments and organizations from throughout the state. Last year the task force deployed a record 16 times to floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, to name a few. As one of the nation’s 28 elite teams certified by FEMA, the task force has deployed to disasters such as the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the recovery of Space Shuttle Columbia debris.
As the director of US&R, Mr. McKee is responsible for the day-to-day functions found in most organizations. In addition, he coordinates all search and rescue training for the State of Texas and oversees the training efforts at the 52-acre Disaster City® for local, state, national and international customers. Each year, approximately 1,500 emergency responders from all over the globe utilize Disaster City’s® collapsed buildings and rubble piles to learn search and rescue techniques.