An Interview with Pam Wilson

 In Community Protection, Fire Adapted Colorado, Fire Adapted Communities, Success Stories

Pam Wilson has been the Chair of Fire Adapted Colorado (FACO) for the past three years and has played an integral role in forming this organization.

She is retiring from her position at FireWise Southwest Colorado, and passing the torch of FACO’s Chair position to Jonathan Bruno in 2018. We are thankful for her many years contributing to fire resiliency in Colorado, and happy to report that Pam will continue to participate on FACO’s board and support our efforts with her wealth of knowledge and experience. As we’re wrapping up the year, Nicole asked Pam to share a few pearls of wisdom.

Nicole: Can you share an experience you have enjoyed during your time as FACO’s Chair?

Pam: One of the most rewarding as FACO’s Chair has been learning about other wildfire-centric organizations in Colorado and the programs they offer. The FACO Board (who are all mitigation practitioners) have been so open and willing to share their best practices and lessons learned in hopes of increasing the capacity of each other’s organizations. One of our goals over the next couple years is to take that knowledge and enthusiasm to other organizations within the state to help them grow and thrive.

Nicole: Can you share a tidbit of wisdom from your nine years of coordinating FireWise Southwest Colorado?

Pam: I have absolutely loved my job as Executive Director for FireWise of Southwest Colorado. Building and growing an organization has been challenging, exciting, and at times, nerve wracking, but I wouldn’t trade the last nine years for anything. It has definitely been the most rewarding of all the jobs I’ve held.  Three key things I have learned over the years include:
1) Create a strategic plan for your growth. Don’t try and do everything at once. Try out a program and see whether it works in your community(s) and then expand it’s reach or add a new program the next year. Creating programs that you have the capacity — both financially and with personnel — to sustain over time is critical
2) Find a way to support homeowner efforts (with knowledge, programs, or financially) and most will take responsibility for where they live. Most residents want to “do the right thing” but often don’t know where to begin.
3) Celebrate Success! Large or small, everyone likes to be recognized for their efforts.

Pam was also interviewed by the national Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network – check out their blog here!

In this interview Pam shared:
  • stories from her work in community wildfire resilience
  • how Fire Adapted Colorado got its start
  • and the connections she’s built through FAC’s Learning Network

“Many people may tell you that success it is all about “acres treated,” and while I believe that is a piece of the puzzle, my definition of success is about creating a community that understands its wildfire risk and takes action (and responsibility) for mitigating that risk.” – Pam Wilson

Click here to read Pam’s full interview with FAC NET!