Though he spends night and day thinking about the devastation from hurricanes, wildfires and pandemics, Chief Nim Kidd somehow remains calm and deliberative.
Chief Kidd, the head of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, shared his unique perspectives in a soon-to-be-televised interview about the successes and challenges facing the state as it tries to recover from the effects of the coronavirus.
Chief Nim Kidd answered questions from Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System for the latest episode of "COVID-19: The Texas A&M System Responds." They touched on Kidd’s background, which includes a deployment to New York after 9/11 and responses to several hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires.
Chief Kidd also offered his straightforward thoughts on issues including the reopening of Texas, struggles in assisted living facilities and the need for personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses.
Chancellor Sharp spoke on the show, which was taped at the headquarters of Texas A&M Task Force 1, about the trust Gov. Greg Abbott and top officials put in Chief Kidd in these days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When you talk to members of the Legislature, every single one of the 181 members will say, ‘If you have a disaster and you don’t have this guy, it’s a really big disaster,’" Chancellor Sharp said.
As chief of emergency management in the state that has more federal disaster declarations than any other, Chief Kidd stays busy leading the daily operations of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which last year became the eighth state agency under the umbrella of the Texas A&M System. But in times of disaster, his responsibilities expand. On March 23, when Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the White House requesting a disaster declaration in Texas, he designated Chief Kidd as the "Governor’s Authorized Representative and State Coordinating Officer," which requires him coordinate with FEMA on all matters related to COVID-19.
Chief Kidd has overseen the increased production of PPE, the expansion of testing sites for COVID-19 and other coronavirus-related responsibilities, but there is still a looming threat that cannot escape his mind.
"We're roughly 30 days away from the start of the next hurricane season," he said. "We need to be ready for that."
Chancellor Sharp’s conversation with Chief Kidd is the sixth in a special series of television shows. Chancellor Sharp is interviewing leaders, scientists, researchers and other experts who help fight the pandemic in a variety of ways.
The interview will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, Austin, Waco and Amarillo.) It also will be available on the System’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/7DkwgGVLbtY