I'm a 20 year retired USAF veteran who was in Bosnia, Iraq (v2.0), and U.A.E. (keeping Iran in check). I did IT for 18 years, everything from running cabling, working T1 help desk, managing servers, network security, infrastructure (CCNA at 23), IT project management, training, standards and evaluation, and even three-star general direct support. The last few years were more managing of multiple offices, I ran T1 to T3 support, I ran the base post office, and then I worked with emergency managers developing plans for the base and running exercises. Several exercises were large-scale evacuations of personnel in Asia. I enlisted in Alaska, traveled the world through 10 duty stations, and then ended up retiring in Alaska.
I became a ham because of the emergency communications aspect. I currently hold a general but will test for extra this year. There are times it may seem as if I have no idea what I'm doing. And that's because I truly have no idea what I'm doing. I am currently only an active member of ARES, my boys and wife's schedule prevent me from being a regular member in any of the clubs. As time passes that will change, and with luck I'll bring more hams from the family into the fray.
As far as equipment goes I work primarily with Icom radios. I only purchased the IC-7300 brand new, all of my other radios are used. I have two IC-208H, one ID-5100A (the hum machine), one IC-706 MkIIG, and (now) one ID-51a plus. All of my other HTs are Baofengs and I have a large assortment. I'm fairly fast at programming all of the radios with either the Icom software or chirp. I'm not an Icom expert but I do have experience with the radios.
I'm the webmaster and training officer for the Fresno County ARES group. As the training officer I try to come up with clever (as clever as I can) ways to keep training engaging and interesting. I'm throwing a lot at the group and participation is welcome, but not required. For instance the winlink check-in, it's hit and miss. The message copy practice is generally well received. We will start doing PSK31 nets in May. I also do capability exercises once a quarter. Last quarter, in February, was a repeater failure exercise where we held the net on simplex. Next month I will have a Fresno-wide power outage simulation. This will not affect the repeater so we will continue the net as normal. This is on your honor, I'm not going to everyone's house to make sure they're on battery power.
I look forward to as many people possible participating in ARES events and training. Stretch your skills a bit, try new things. Everything that I present is another tool that can be used for emergency communications. I'm learning right along with a lot of you. The training I do is as much for me as it is for everyone that participates. If I'm doing something wrong please tell me. I'm not the be all end all when it comes to this. As you can see from my background I'm a jack of all trades, but certainly haven't mastered any of them.
There is a ton of information on our web site, please check it out. Everything from daily FEMA reports, training that we've done, Santa Clara training slides, relevant news and information, event calendar, and a San Joaquin Valley wide net schedule. If you have questions regarding Fresno County ARES, the web site, ARES training, or Icom radios please don't hesitate to ask.
I hope this is helpful and might get more people actively involved. Maybe open a dialogue as to what ARES means to you. Please don't be intimidated, if I can pull this off I promise you anyone can.