As an independent insurance agent, Riley has studied natural disasters and the federal, local and individual response in their aftermath. More than that, he has studied how to respond, taken several government-sponsored natural disaster response classes, and became certified to teach emergency preparedness.
He is so passionate about educating others about how to be prepared for natural disasters and other emergencies that he decided to he would establish his own company, called Continuity Man. He offers emergency preparedness training to schools and businesses, and offers free advice through his radio show on 550 KTSA Radio, which broadcasts throughout South Texas.
“There is a huge disconnect between government programs out there and the average citizen,” Riley said. “Homeland Security through FEMA, they have a wide-reaching public awareness campaign, but still the connection between emergency responders, police, fire, EMS and FEMA in the more serious disasters, what first responders do and what they are able to produce and what the average citizen understands is their responsibility.”
Riley said most people don’t understand that the scope of assistance that the federal government can offer is limited.
“There were many lessons from Hurricane Katrina that weren’t learned that should have been common knowledge,” Riley said. “And while Homeland Security through FEMA has a wide-reaching public awareness campaign, there is still a disconnect in people’s understanding. I have found a gap in education that I am trying to help fill.”
In establishing his business model for emergency preparedness education, Riley learned about Accion Texas Inc. through the City of San Antonio's small business liaison.
Riley is using his $5,450 loan to fund advertising, to hire professionals to help him produce a high quality radio program, and to pay for air time.
He said he is having success in acquiring clients and in building his show.
“It’s been going really well,” Riley said. “Without Accion Texas, I would not have been able to get the money I needed for the programming.”
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.