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UMGC Alumni AssociationCool Under Pressure: Andrew Owlett ‘15 goes from EMT to Crisis Management Consultant

Andrew Owlett ‘15 has always been calm in a crisis. While his friends were spending their free time hanging out, playing video games or kicking a ball around during high school, at age 16 Maryland native Owlett was already certified as a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT).

An early start

He was inspired to follow this path at age 12 after he watched EMTs revive his baby sister during a medical emergency.

“Witnessing that at a young age gave me an inclination that, wow, first responders are out there helping people and directly seeing the impact they are making,” Owlett said. “I got that itch around that time and thought that maybe there was a path for me to be able to give back something down the line.”

So instead of spending lazy afternoons on the couch in high school, he attended EMT training after class, riding in the ambulance with seasoned medics to gain hands-on experience on the scene of accidents and life-or-death medical emergencies. In his first year, he received awards and commendations for his dedication and service, and he gained an even deeper appreciation for helping the community. By the time he was 17, Owlett was mentoring others who were just beginning their EMT training.

At a crossroads

When Owlett turned 18, he had to make a decision about his future. He could continue on the path he’d begun as a first responder, or he could pursue something broader.

“I wanted to be more than an EMT, but I needed to go to college to do that,” he explains.

Although he wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to pursue, he knew he wanted to gain experience while he was in school. Owlett became a paid EMT while earning a bachelor’s degree in political science and training to become a firefighter.

“My friends and roommates thought I was the most absurd person for balancing all of that,” he laughs. “I would go from the fire department to class to an internship, and I did that on repeat for four years.”

Leading through a crisis

After several years with the fire department, Owlett took on an officer role and continued to add to his skillset. In this lieutenant position, he was responsible for incident management, emergency operational response, process improvement, crisis management plan development, training and exercise development, and budget management.

“I have always been hungry. I have always been a sponge and wanted to soak up as much as I can,” he notes.

Through his professional experience and education, Owlett had discovered that he was passionate about managing in a crisis. With a bachelor’s degree in hand, he enrolled at UMGC to pursue a Master of Science in Homeland Security, an accomplishment that would help him learn about emerging trends and how proactive actions can help prevent mass disruption, whether it’s on the local level or on a national scale.

He accepted a job as a management consultant for a defense contractor and got a taste of what it was like working for the Federal Government. He also learned more about the power of harnessing data to help make strategic business decisions.

Forging his own path

Earlier this year, Owlett founded his own company, Data Bulb by Imagineering Labs.

“This part of my life is dedicated to the industries I am most passionate about: public safety, education and health,” he says. “These three areas have always been a big part of me and are a foundational component of how I developed into who I am today.”

Owlett provides private sector healthcare crisis management to his clients, which includes crisis management data strategy and innovation, immersive training and education, and advanced geospatial data analytics and visualization.

“The most satisfying part of my career is being able to think strategically and shift the outcomes of an organization,” he explains.

Owlett has taken great pleasure in continuous learning, and now he’s thrilled to be on the other side of the classroom as an adjunct professor and lecturer teaching students about emergency management, data analytics and geographic information systems.

“The things we learn, the experience we gain, the relationships we form shape a lot about who we are,” he says. In this new role, he’s gratified to be helping students as they begin their own journeys.

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