As 2014 comes to a close, Mission Manager would like to take the opportunity to thank our loyal customers and supporters, and also highlight some of our accomplishments during this exciting, transitional year. Mission Manager has helped first responders save lives and property for more than three years, but the story behind our cloud-based software truly began to unfold last summer. That’s when we re-launched Mission Manager from “freeware” to a subscription-based model, as noted in this 2014 wrap-up report.
Mission Manager has been a popular, cloud-based incident management tool since its initial development in 2011. The software has supported more than 5,000 missions in all 50 states and 20 countries – ranging from single-person rescues to large-scale emergencies and public events. Users include search-and-rescue organizations, fire departments, law enforcement agencies and emergency operation centers.
Nonetheless, after acquiring Mission Manager last spring, we essentially began with a clean sheet of paper. In preparation for the re-launch on July 15, we surveyed our customers to learn what they liked about Mission Manager and what needed to be improved. And, we listened to their recommendations.
Among the enhancements, the company made significant upgrades to the infrastructure that bolstered its security and uptime rate, while strengthening technical and customer support services. We also developed a tiered pricing structure to meet the needs of agencies of all sizes, and developed a grant program to assist qualifying, non-profit, 401(c) organizations.
In addition, Mission Manager established a whole new identity in a relatively short timeframe. It was a comprehensive branding effort that included developing a new website, social media sites, brochures and videos – all with a new logo and professional look & feel. We wrote case studies about our customers, embarked on partnerships and sponsorships, made presentations at conferences throughout California, and kicked off our trade show program at a major emergency management exposition.
Today, we’re developing a comprehensive advertising program that includes a mix of print and digital media, and we’re also preparing to exhibit at several conferences in 2015. Above all, our executives are working with leaders in the nation’s capital to ensure federal grant funds are readily available for qualifying customers.
We are proud to have the opportunity to invest in Mission Manager to help our first responders serve their communities. But all this could not have been possible without the ingenuity and forethought of the developer – a reserve law enforcement officer and firefighter who has a background in programming.
Based on his firsthand experience, he figured there had to be a better way to coordinate missions rather than using disparate communications tools and scraps of paper. So utilizing his computer background, he developed a web-based solution that was uniquely tailored to first responders.
As a free tool, Mission Manager quickly became a big hit – especially with voluntary organizations that had limited funding. It was so popular, in fact, that the developer could not keep up with the growing demands for upgrades, support and better security. That’s when our parent company stepped in and acquired Mission Manager.
It’s never an easy undertaking to ask existing customers to pay for products/services that were previously free. However, the feedback from our supporters has been very positive, as indicated by our case studies and growing customer base, and we are committed to making continuous enhancements in the coming year and beyond.
Our priorities in 2015 include completing the development of the Mission Manager Tracker app as well as auto-filled and editable ICS forms, making further enhancements to security, and incorporating additional mapping layers.
But before we leap into the New Year, let’s recap some of our accomplishments in 2014:
MISSION MANAGER RE-LAUNCHED
July 15, 2014 – Mission Manager is officially re-launched with significant improvements in infrastructure, data security and technical support. The enhancements include moving Mission Manager to new servers at Amazon Web Services, or AWS, which delivers a scalable cloud-computing platform with high availability and dependability in compliance with security best practices and IT standards.
Other improvements include continuous database backups to enable point-in-time recovery of user data. Mission Manager has also enlisted dedicated staff to provide technical support via the phone, face-to-face, email forums and training videos.
PRESENTATIONS / SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
FIRSTNET, AUG. 12 (BAKERSFIELD, CA) – Mission Manager’s President and CEO makes a presentation at the FirstNet Town Hall meeting, organized by the California Office of Emergency Services. The Town Hall is attended by dozens of first responders and public safety professionals at the Kern County Board of Supervisors Chambers.
FirstNet – an acronym for the First Responder Network Authority – was created under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (MCTRJCA) with the vision to “provide emergency responders with the first nationwide, high-speed, wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.” The law includes provisions to fund and govern a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), reallocate the 700 MHz D Block spectrum for public safety, and authorize the FCC to conduct spectrum auctions to raise $7 billion for building and managing the new network.
Expanded broadband access will ensure that first responders have dedicated telecommunications channels, even when all lines are saturated during large-scale disasters. The speakers and panel addressed the FirstNet vision, its cost and potential impact on public safety.
SSARCC MEETING, OCT. 21 (SACRAMENTO, CA) – Mission Manager representatives are invited to speak at the quarterly California State SAR Coordinators Council Meeting (SSARCC) in Sacramento, sponsored by Cal OES Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The SSARCC meetings are held quarterly to keep state’s Sheriff’s Search and Rescue coordinators abreast of current issues and SAR operations throughout the state.
Approximately 40 of the 58 California counties are represented at the meeting, held at Cal OES’ headquarters at Mather, Calif. Representing Mission Manager were Olaf Walter, Chief Operating Officer, and Eric Hanigan, Technical Support Lead, who has over 20 years’ experience as a first responder.
AHA HERO DOG, SEPT. 27 – Mission Manager sponsors the Search and Rescue K9 nominee, Bretagne, of Cypress, Texas, during the 2014 American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards™ gala that aired Oct. 30 on the Hallmark Channel. The Hero Dog Awards were created to celebrate the powerful relationship between dogs and people, and recognize extraordinary acts of heroism performed by ordinary dogs.
As one of eight Hero Dog nominees, Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”), is a 15-year-old golden retriever who is one of two surviving search dogs from Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She now works with the Cy Fair Volunteer Fire Department helping school kids learn to read – just by listening.
Based on one million votes by the American public, the American Humane Association is honored to recognize Susie – a Pit Bull/Shepherd mix in the therapy dog category – as the 2014 American Hero Dog. Susie was nearly burned to death, but lived to help her owner and inspire tougher laws to punish animal abuse in North Carolina.
NASAR eNEWS, SEPT. 19 – Mission Manager sponsors the National Association for Search and Rescue’s NASAR eNews publication and also offers a 10% discount to NASAR referrals who purchase Mission Manager.
NASAR is an education association comprised of thousands of dedicated paid and nonpaid personnel — all active or interested in search and rescue, disaster aid, emergency medicine and awareness education. NASAR works closely with other organizations such as the Mountain Rescue Association, and the National Park Service (NPS) to help further the advancement of professional, literary and scientific knowledge and training in these fields.
EMEX / IAEM, NOV. 18-19 (SAN ANTONIO, TX) – Mission Manager exhibits at the Emergency Management & Homeland Security Expo (EMEX), which is the annual expo of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). At the expo, Mission Manager joins forces with Houston-based HELP Disaster Management, Inc. – a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports the emergency management community in the areas of incident management, event management, planning support, and training and exercise.
Mission Manager’s robust software is demonstrated at Mission Manager’s booth as well as the HELP Disaster Management’s exhibit during its VIP Tours. HELP Management’s exhibit is held in a large, deployable shelter provided by Western Shelter Systems. On hand are nearly a dozen Incident Management Team (IMT) members, who are part of a multi-disciplinary 50-member team available to support local, regional state and national responses.
AHA RED STAR TEAM, SEPT. 24 – Mission Manager collaborates with the American Humane Association (AHA) to enhance the association’s Red Star® team’s nationwide animal rescue efforts. Under the arrangement, Mission Manager donates its software to the Red Star team and a portion of its revenues to the American Humane Association.
AHA’s Red Star volunteer responders are trained to help animals during or after a disaster, or as a result of animal cruelty – bringing vital skills in animal handling as well as necessary supplies and resources to setup and operate temporary shelters and/or conduct field rescue missions.
The organization’s Red Star rescue work began in 1916 when they were asked by the War Department to help save hundreds of thousands of horses that were wounded on the European battlefields of World War I. Since then, Red Star has been involved in virtually every major relief effort, from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. During the past 10 years, Red Star has rescued, helped and sheltered more than 10,000 animals hurt in catastrophes and cruelty cases.
ENHANCED TECHNICAL SUPPORT
HELP WIKI, OCT. 8 – Mission Manager completes development of its “Help Wiki” page – an updated version of its “Help” tab – which can be found at www.missionmanager.info or accessed directly from any of the Mission Manager tabs by clicking on the “Help” button at the bottom right corner of the screen. Here, users can find detailed instructions for nearly three dozen topics as well as additional resources, including our Technical Support department and Support Community with a searchable database for guidance as well as our FAQ section and Videos/Tutorials.