PROFESSIONAL - FEMA 1980 - 2005
Mike Robinson was a leading expert on floodplain management and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). He had an outstanding career as a nationally recognized land use expert on how to avoid flood damages through use of flood risk studies, zoning practices, building codes and watershed evaluations. In 1973 he began his career in floodplain management with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Floodplain and Shoreland Management Programs, working with communities to evaluate flood risk and establish community-based flood damage reduction practices.
In 1980 he joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington DC. He held various management and senior policy positions, principally dealing with the development and implementation of the NFIP floodplain management programs, policies, and regulations. Through his multidisciplinary expertise Mr. Robinson was able to integrate his early practical field experience into building the National Flood Insurance Program into an effective federal program with currently more than 20,000 participating communities.
As a recognized authority in floodplain management and gifted writer, Mr. Robinson authored and contributed to countless technical documents, articles, reports, major national studies and evaluations. Most notably: The National Mitigation Strategy; Sharing the Challenge: Floodplain Management into the 21st Century (Following the 1993 Midwest Floods); and the recently completed National Flood Insurance Program Evaluation.
In addition to these significant accomplishments, Mr. Robinson will be best remembered by his federal family as one who represented the best in public service. Who by example, mentored, taught and encouraged others to bring forth the best qualities in themselves and the federal government.
Mr. Robinson retired from FEMA in 2005 and joined Michael Baker, Jr. Corporation in Alexandria. There he continued his distinguished service, bringing more than 30 years of experience in floodplain management evaluation and policy analysis.
Mike died in his sleep of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema at his hotel in Leh, Ladakh. The three emails he sent home while there are below. He has climbed to Mount Everest Base Camp and been over Throng La Pass, both nearly 18,000'. Most summers or fall, he goes out west and climbs a fourteener and spends a couple of weeks hiking and camping in the Rockies. He has been religious with his daily exercise; riding his bike and building up to 60 miles each fall; or working out on his Nordic Track; and when he could take the whole day off in nice weather, he'd head out to the Appalachia and hike 8-15 miles. I am quite sure he never considered the headache he had when he went to bed and shortness of breath he was experiencing while trekking, could possibly be because of the altitude. Leh is 11,500'.
The day after I got the call from the US Embassy in New Dehli, I received our September 2007 issue of National Geographic 'Adventure' magazine. As I flipped through it, I noticed the Doctors column, "What's the difference between Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) & High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)?" (pg. 44). What I found very surprising is that this doctor used 8,000' as "altitude" and recommended going down to a lower altidude if experiencing any of the HA symptoms. Kathi
From: "Michael Robinson"
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 04:41:17
To: Kathi; Brian; Gayle
Well I made it. I'm typing this on a a creeky old key board with both
english and sanscrit. It was a long trip but it all went smoothly. Came in
over Russia, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan. Talk about a wasteland. I only saw one irrigated valley in 3,000 miles plus a few villages in Russia.
India is the same but different. Still recording your name in a ledger at
immigration and it still pretty much looks the same, but Jet Air was one of the most organized operations I ran across in Asia - they had my eticket processed and my baggage checked in seconds. The trip up to Leh was cloudy, but spectaular. Looked down on some humonguos glaciers through holes in the clouds. Coming into Leh we came over a low spot in the mountains and turned up the Indus River Valley. Really bleak mountains towering over head as the plane snaked its way up the valley and a short runway. Lots of military. I walked around today and am lost in this sprawling town. Its dusty and spread out, but with lots of poplars and willows to provide green. It's sort of like Kathmandu years ago. Lots of Europeons, but no Americans so far. My guest house is the Zar La. I may change if I can't get the plumbing fixed. Still acclimatizing so I haven't searched for a Trekking Company yet. Lots of Internet cafes so I'll be able to keep in tocuh. Leh is very different from India in many ways. Women are mostly in Tibetan dress. I'll make this short and write again when I find out more. Don't send long attachments since they take forever to open.
Love you all.
----Original Message Follows----
From: "Michael Robinson"
Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2007 08:15:10 -0400
I've signed up for the Markha Valley Trek. I leavr at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning with an outfit called Rigo Adventure. I'll be gone for 8 days. Over some high passes, but a pretty straightforward trek. There are evidently two Swiss girls and me going. I'll see how it works out amd then decide what to do. I may do another trek if this ones OK. I plan to take a jeep trip over to the Nubra Valley and go back to Delhi overland when I eventually leave. I've found my way around finally so i FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE. Don't mind the typos. This keyboard is so faded out I can't see the letters and I still don't touch type that well. Anyway I've been staying at the the Auspicious Hotel in Leh and will go back there when I return. Today turned out to be the first day of the Ladakh Festival they've started to extent their tourist season. Big parade, all the village cultural groups dressed up in Tibetan costumes, float from the Tikse monistary with the Dalu Lams pictures. I warched the parade then followed along through the streets walking alongside. It ended at the Polo Grounds where they seated us foreignors on the ground in the sun, but with a great view as there were speeches by bigwigs and then the groups all performed tibetan dances. All the locals were there. It was quite an event. Lots of pictures that Kelsa may like to see. Yesterday I went to Tikse monastary and climbed to the top. Sort of like the Portola in Lhasa. Anyway, you won't hear from me for 8 days so don't worry. Love you all. Pass this on to the kids.
From : Michael Robinson
Sent : Monday, September 3, 2007 9:49 AM
Subject : Trek
Well I'm back in Leh. I wasn't feeling all that great when I started the trek. Still haven't completely acclimatized. Anyway I gave it a try and had a really hard time. The trip is a lot harder than anyone my age should try. Trail was shadeless accross a barren alluvial fan above the Indus River gorge then up a valley to Jingeen, a place where the valley widens to a few hundred feet and there was a small village and campsite. I was having lots of trouble on any climbs with loss of breath. I told Pema (a sherpa who was our guide) that I thought I needed to drop out and he got me through to Jingeen. Fortunately they were putting a road through and I was able to a ride back to Leh in a taxi on one of the roughest roads I've been on. Had to slouich to avoid being bounced off the roof. I could have probably pushed on but then what? These mountains are much ruggeder than Nepal - no walks up the Kali Gandaki Valley- and once you're in them you're really isolated. I decided the better part of valor was to get out while I could. Everyone else trekking was at least 30 years younger than me-most in their late twenties and without my health problems. I'm getting reconciled to the fact that I'm too old to just tough it out like I used to. Anyway I'm OK. It kind of throws the trip up in the air though. I had expected to spend a good part of my time trekking. Not sure I can fill up 6 weeks being in cites and India may still be too hot to be pleasant. I have a couple of jeep trips I plan to take and some monastaries to visit so I'll be busy for a while. I'm trying to find a way to ship home unneeded gear, but Leh is pretty isolated. I do need to get light though if I go down to India.
Could you check on one thing for me? If a decide to come home early, can I switch my Continnental Flight without too much cost? Not sure if this would be done through Expedia or Continental. My Expedia password is in the black notebook and you can get in my email. I think 4 weeks may end being a good time. Ladakhs are great. Everything is done on trust. No one hastles you and rip-offs are pretty much unknown. When I got back from my trek my landlady was very concerned and invited me into the house for tea. I sat there on cushions on the floor watching TV cartoons with 4 generations of family from 3 to 70. She wants me to go visit monastaries instead of trekking and has tried to mother me.
Anyway the trip has been a real mix of ups and downs. Some disappointments, but some great moiments. It's certainly an adventure and thats what I wanted. I just finished 3 Cups of Tea - great book. That area is only a couple of hundred miles down the Indus from here. The difference is that the Balti's converted to Islam, but the Ladakhis stayed Bhuddist.
My love to everyone.