Tad Agoglia – Catalyst 2010

Tad Agoglia founded First Response Team of America, an organization that responds to natural disasters with heavy equipment needed to make a difference.

What’s it like during the first moments of a disaster?

These storms are deadly, and they’ll blow your mind first hand. Homes destroyed, people emerging from the rubble not knowing what happens. We’ve put together this amazing fleet of equipment that can do whatever is needed. If debris needs to be removed, we can do that. WE can power hospitals, extract people from homes, provide satellite communication. We bring order to the chaos when it’s needed.

You’re many times equipping and aiding first responders. I want you to tell the story you told me backstage.

A few days ago NC got hit by terrible floods and we needed up in a community where the emergency manager got stuck on a bridge. We show up unannounced and help out where needed. We had to go out in 70 mph currents to go rescue the guy in charge of responding to the disaster.

When you make a decision to do this kind of work, it’s not like deciding to get your real estate license…

I went to school to be a pastor, got a masters degree in theology, but didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so I started a crane company. I became a millionaire at a young age but was miserable, wanted something more for my life.

After 9/11 and Katrina, I realized there needed to be more than food and water: specialized equipment and skills. So I put together this gear about 3.5 years ago. So We’ve been to about 25 of the US’s most major disasters and Haiti in that time.

We instill hope by opening roads, restoring power, etc.

A lot of people in this room have a big passion and vision, but there is fear and skepticism. You stepped into that and went ahead. What would you say to them?

I see a lot of young people around here. You are the future of this country and world. Don’t think you don’t have a purpose and destiny. Don’t be afraid to think you can make this world a better place. You have something to give. I gave my finances and the equipment from my company. Even if it’s as simple as kindness, you have something to give. I see life disappear in the snap of a finger every month. Make today count. Make it worth something.

I want to hone in on fear because you risk your life with the lives of your team when you go out. How do you balance that with passion and purpose?

It’s important to address your fears, but don’t let them hold you back because it can keep you from your destiny year after year.

How can people help you out with what you do?

Right now we’re looking for people to partner with us because it’s expensive. There are two ways to get involved, join our fan page on Facebook. Like it, spread it among your friends. Donate $20. If I can find 200 partners in this room for $5000, we will be able to respond to every major disaster in 2011.

Posted at 9:09 AM on October 8th, 2010
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