External Affairs Specialist, FEMA Region VII
Barb Sturner is an external affairs specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII office in Kansas City, Missouri. She has more than 22 years’ experience in emergency management, with special emphasis on public information, crisis communications and external affairs. During this tenure, Sturner has worked more than 100 disasters and special assignments ranging from small to catastrophic events in a variety of capacities, including agency spokesperson, visual imaging manager and external affairs officer. She has vast experience as a strategic communications and principal advisor to agency senior leadership, state/federal disaster command staff, other federal agencies and mayors, commissioners and other local officials involved in disaster response and recovery operations.
When not working active disasters, Sturner’s FEMA work includes studying and photographing post-disaster community recoveries and documenting examples of innovative recovery projects with a special emphasis on local leadership challenges and opportunities. Sturner has authored two books and a significant share of third publication for FEMA on mitigation and helped develop and write the agency’s mitigation best practices initiative. She has worked a number of other special projects, including disaster anniversaries for the 1997 North Dakota floods and fire, several tornado events and Hurricane Katrina. Her areas of expertise include public affairs support to local governments, wildfires, debris and demolition operations, mitigation and urban search & rescue.
Prior to joining FEMA, Sturner worked as a fire department public information officer, fire investigator, reporter for a daily newspaper, and a legislative lobbyist. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas with majors in news-editorial, public relations and magazine and more than 1,500 hours of training in fire and emergency management topics.