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We sat down and talked to some of our most successful inspectors to see what it takes to become one of the best. Here’s what they had to say!

Dahiana Rosario Quinones

Inspector 91501

Dahiana Rosario Quinones

What did you do before you became an inspector?
I was working in the service industry for 12 years.

When did you become an inspector?
In 2015 I attended training with [WSP field staff members] Jon Richards and Neil Swenson.

What or who introduced you to this business?
I had a co-worker who was an inspector with WSP who encouraged me to apply.

How would you describe the inspector position?
As an inspector, you will be among the first group of people that will provide hope to an applicant after a disaster. You have the satisfaction that while performing your job, you are helping in the journey of an applicant to get their life back to normal. You aim to help as many applicants as you can daily.

Although you are alone on the road all day, the support you receive from WSP staff makes you feel confident about your inspections. I always got back home after a deployment with the satisfaction that I contributed to a better future for the applicants.

What is your current role?
My current role is Task Order Coordinator which means I support inspectors in the field throughout their deployment. When we are not deployed to a disaster, I develop the tools and training to help inspectors thrive. I am also the office’s Inclusion and Diversity representative.

"As an inspector, you will be among the first group of people that will provide hope to an applicant after a disaster."

What disaster event was your first deployment?
My first disaster was flooding in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016.

What were the greatest challenges on your first deployment and how did you overcome these challenges?
Because it was my first deployment and the water had already receded when we began our inspections, the greatest challenge was to learn what evidence to look for to determine if a home had been damaged by flood. Once I learned what to look for from the training materials and other experienced inspectors, I was able to identify damages more accurately and efficiently.

Was there a memorable event on this deployment?
I remember arriving at an inspection where the driveway was completely covered in puddles. When I walked around the puddles into a wooded area, I found banana spiders and snakes! Luckily, I haven’t seen any more snakes or banana spiders since then.

Did you have a mentor?
Yes, my co-worker who recruited me helped me so much in the beginning.

What advice would you give to encourage a new inspector?
When you are first starting out, don’t get discouraged! Being an inspector seems difficult in the beginning, but it quickly gets much easier! WSP will support you to make sure you succeed.

Tim Cross

Inspector 64336

Tim Cross

What did you do before you became an inspector?
Born and raised in the Midwest. Fate would find me in South Mississippi, working as a mortgage broker, when Hurricane Katrina struck and changed my professional landscape.

When did you become an inspector?
Thanks to a friend approaching me about the Disaster Housing Inspector job, I started performing inspections in 2008.

How would you describe the inspector position?
The inspector position to me means—as a Katrina survivor and someone who has been on the applicant side, I know what an important role an inspector has during deployment. You are a first responder, assisting your government in a time of crisis, serving your fellow citizens in a time of despair, as some applicants may have just lost everything. You are the face of FEMA and may be the only person they will see in a disaster, which makes your empathy and thoroughness, a key to recovery.

What is your current role?
I’m currently on staff as a Task Order Coordinator. In its broadest form, my role is to assist and guide inspectors through disaster deployments, while acting as a liaison between field operations, WSP corporate, and our client, FEMA.

What disaster event was your first deployment?
My first deployment was a flooding event in Gary, Indiana.

What were the greatest challenges on your first deployment and how did you overcome these challenges?
As with any new job, there were many challenges to overcome. From a crash course about FEMA’s guidelines to navigating the streets of an unfamiliar city. I was fortunate to have experienced Supervisors and WSP Field Staff available to lean on and to make things manageable.

"You are the face of FEMA and may be the only person they will see in a disaster, which makes your empathy and thoroughness, a key to recovery."

What was your most memorable experience as an inspector?
In the end, when you get that first call from a disaster survivor, thanking you for your time and service, you then realize why you are there.

Two of my most memorable moments are: I was whistling while walking up to an inspection after Hurricane Sandy, when suddenly the door flew open, and a retired New York City police detective came out and stated that he hadn’t heard any happy sounds in three days and how grateful he was that I was there.

Then, during a flood disaster in Florida, an applicant called me and said, “Mr. Tim, imagine a six foot six, 300-pound man reaching through this phone line and giving you a hug.” (That vision briefly went in and out of my head) as he had just found out FEMA was going to help him with his destroyed vehicle.

Did you have a mentor?
The second Quality Control inspector who checked my work took an interest in me and offered to let me ride along with him for a few days which was tremendously helpful.   His name was [current WSP Field Staff manager] Mark Parr.

What advice would you give to encourage a new inspector?
WSP will train you to use an inspection routine that has been shown to be successful for over 25 years, follow that routine and structure your daily activities to make yourself efficient and you will succeed. Utilize your greatest asset- another experienced WSP inspector.

Joseph Piel

Inspector 60746

Joe Piel

What did you do before you became an inspector?
Before becoming an inspector, I lived many places, trying to find my way in life. I worked in construction, sold cell phones, did tax preparation, and worked as a bartender.

When did you become an inspector?
In 2008. I was 23 and fresh out of college when I got trained in Metairie, Louisiana by [current WSP Field Staff member] Dave Jackson.

What or who introduced you to this business?
My stepfather who has been an inspector since 1992.

How would you describe the inspector position?
Being an inspector is amazing. While WSP provides plenty of support in the form of inspection guidance, field managers, and dedicated office staff, they allow you to work independently and make your own schedule, which I find very appealing. The disaster survivors you meet are so incredibly grateful, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by emotion at times. I’ve been called an angel, hugged, and cried upon more times than I can count. I am honored to serve my fellow citizens in their time of need.

"The disaster survivors you meet are so incredibly grateful, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by emotion at times."

What is your current role?
My current role is Task Order Manager. I manage all aspects of disasters assigned to WSP from start to finish. When disaster activity is minimal, I develop, promote, and conducts preparedness and readiness training for inspectors.

What disaster event was your first deployment?
My first disaster was Hurricane Isaac in New Orleans.

What were the greatest challenges on your first deployment and how did you overcome these challenges?
My greatest challenge was figuring out how to do my first inspection! I had mastered the training but when it came time to do an inspection I froze up. Luckily, my stepdad was available to help me.

Did you have a mentor?
Yes, my stepdad, Ozzie Szunko. Without his guidance and mentorship, I would never be where I am today.

What advice would you give to encourage a new inspector?
Most importantly, develop relationships with other inspectors and take advantage of the resources available to you. WSP provides an extensive Inspector Library, Job Aids, and a broad array of tools to help you succeed. 

Become An Inspector

As you can see, WSP inspectors come from all different backgrounds. A consistent theme in the inspectors' responses is the importance of mentorship and relationships with experienced inspectors.

To ensure that every inspector is given the best chance to succeed, WSP now provides Field Inspection Supervisors (FIS) to all new and novice inspectors! Our FIS team is composed of veteran inspectors who have succeeded throughout their careers and will share their knowledge and experience with you. In fact, an FIS will accompany you on your first inspection to demonstrate the inspection routine!

We hope that you will sign up to become an inspector today!

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