Joplin Citizens Advisory Recovery Team
Jane Cage is the volunteer chairman of the Joplin Citizens Advisory Recovery Team (CART). The organization was formed with the help of the FEMA Region VII Long-Term Community Recovery division after the devastating tornado of May 22, 2011. The CART brought together government, private-sector, non-profits and individuals to engage them in the future of the community. Cage led the group of over 150 volunteers through a listening process designed to gather citizen input about the vision of a rebuilt Joplin. After analyzing and verifying the input with citizens, the CART presented a report to the City Council that ultimately became Joplin’s long-term recovery guidance. Cage also led the Implementation Task Force that prioritized and assigned responsibilities related the CART plan as well as led the committee that chose a master developer to help accelerate recovery. She continues today to be a community liaison among groups throughout the city in support of the recovery plan. Cage has also held many other civic positions in Joplin including Chairman of the Board at St. John’s Regional Medical Center and President of the Chamber of Commerce. In her professional life, she worked for 27 years as CFO/COO of Heartland Technology Solutions, a regional technology networking firm. In December of 2012, Cage, along with the citizens of Joplin, was recognized by Department of Homeland Security as the inaugural winner of the Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience.
Cage graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Economics and Spanish. She is currently enrolled in the Harvard National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Executive Education Program.
General Session: The Long and Winding Road of Recovery from the Joplin Tornado
Joplin, Missouri was struck by an EF5 tornado on Sunday, May 22, 2011. In less than 30 minutes 161 lives were taken in a path of destruction over eight miles long and nearly one mile wide. 7,500 structures were damaged with over 4,000 of those destroyed. The city lost its only high school, two elementary schools, a middle school, a technical high school, two fire stations and one of its two hospitals.
Under the direction of FEMA’s Long-Term Community Recovery Director, Steve Castaner, Joplin City Officials appointed a group of citizens to lead the long-term recovery efforts. Jane Cage, a local business woman and community leader, chaired the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team (CART). This case study recounts the long and arduous road toward recovery from two very different perspectives – the federal and the citizen. The two discuss the same events viewed through their respective lenses. The CART led a comprehensive listening effort in Joplin to gain the perspectives of every sector in the community to understand their vision for Joplin’s recovery. There was tug-of-war between progress and process over the six months before the first report was presented to the City Council and the two additional months before an implementation plan was adopted by the City Council, the School Board, the Chamber of Commerce and the CART board.
Over that time, Cage’s view of Castaner as an “outsider” and his view of her as a “local” evolved into a joint effort founded on trust and mutual respect, dismantling the stereotypical relationship between government and citizens. In this speech, you’ll hear the lessons that both learned about communications, compromise and crisis. Their story is also a testament to community unity and resiliency? that can be forged through adversity.
*Jane Cage and Steve Castaner will be co-presenting this session.