Let’s just say that “we are in good hands” because Joe Asbery is watching! Meet the Senior Watch Officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region II, Professional Photographer, U.S. Army Veteran Officer, MCNY Professor and 2012 MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management alumnus, Dr. Joseph Asbery.

No stranger to danger, Dr. Joseph Asbery had multiple combat tours of duty as a U.S. Army Officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now, Dr. Asbery is responsible for reporting significant incidents to FEMA Region II high-level officials. He serves as the primary point of contact for the Department of Homeland Security FEMA personnel concerning local, city, state, regional and government agencies.

When asked, “Why MCNY?” Asbery said, “I pursued a Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management (EDM) at MCNY for several reasons. First, as a Professional Emergency Manager working for FEMA in New York City, a Masters in EDM aligned with my profession. I appreciated the flexible schedule. Classes were smaller and I received more individual attention from instructors during class sessions. MCNY is a place for networking. I have met some phenomenal people who have helped open new doors for me.”

One of Dr. Asbery’s life goals was to become a college professor. While serving in the military, he discovered he had a knack for teaching, training, and instruction. As an expert in his field and a professor at MCNY, he brings current information, vetted research and personal experiences to the classroom. “The EDM programs at MCNY continues to evolve as strategies for planning, safety, emergency preparedness, and rescue tactics change with each emergency across the globe,” said Asbery, “And now, as a professor in the program, I feel that I am a key part of bringing those changes to the program and its students.” Dr. Asbery connects with students on a variety levels and is a role model as a leader in his field. “Students walk away with more than a degree. They become critical thinkers – better informed and prepared for life,” says Asbery of his students, “Having a network of connections is very important in the world of emergency management. Once the class is over, they are my students for life.” 

While transitioning to civilian life, an advisor explained that a hobby would be helpful in the lifestyle adjustment experienced by many service members when leaving the military. In Joe’s case, after combat in Iraq, he was diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He turned to photography as a hobby to cope with his past experiences and keep PTSD in check. “Photography helped me see the beauty of life again. It allowed me to be creative and, be Joe Asbery again,” says Joe, who has now turned his hobby into a business. Studio 1 Production/Sharp Lens Photography, LLC is certified by the US Department of Veterans Administration as a Veteran Owned Business and awaits certification by the NY State program which will allow Studio 1 to bid for state government media contracts.

Dr. Joseph Asbery holds a Bachelor’s from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Police Science, Master’s of Public Administration in Emergency and Disaster Management from Metropolitan College of New York and Doctorate of Education in Executive Leadership from Saint John Fisher College. He resides in Long Island City.