Meet the Team: Bob Irland!

January 26, 2023

Meet our newest team addition, Bob, who brings with him a great perspective on supporting our customers at Forerunner and export knowledge about the Detroit Zoo! He joined in December and has already spent some time meeting with our partners in the great state of New Jersey.

Hello Bob! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in the Thumb region of Michigan, about 15 minutes away from Lake Huron. From there I went on to Michigan State University, where I studied public policy. One of the jobs I had during my time in college was focused on fundraising. I really liked building relationships with donors over the phone, which drew me to work in Account Management and Customer Success after graduation. I spent a few years working in Chicago before moving to Metro Detroit to be closer to family.

What brought you to Forerunner? What have you enjoyed about your work?

Ever since watching the movie “Twister” when I was young, I have had an obsession with extreme weather and preparing for the risk that comes with it.

I was drawn to Forerunner because of the potential to help communities adapt to and thrive in increasingly severe weather. I deeply respect people working in public service, dating back to seeing my parents' impact on the community working as public school teachers. I was also very impressed by how the team approaches Customer Success.

During meetings with my customers, we often pull up their Forerunner maps. When I see the homes on their maps, I often think of my family’s home and how much it means to us. I love how our software makes our customers’ workload easier and plays a positive role in the future of families' homes.

What are some of the most interesting things you have learned about our partners in your first few weeks on our team?

Most of the communities that I work with are in New Jersey. It is amazing to see how the communities cooperate in the state. For example, I recently attended the Monmouth County Community Rating System (CRS) Users Group meeting. It was so interesting and inspiring to see how the different floodplain managers and community stakeholders came together to share information and make each other better. They have a fantastic combination of technical knowledge and civic purpose.

What do you look forward to learning about as you spend more time in your role?

There is so much that goes into floodplain management, so I decided to study to become a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM).  I am excited to stay on top of how floodplain management and resilience are evolving across the county.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not in the office?

My wife and I have a two-year-old daughter (with another addition to the Irland family on the way this spring)! We’re lucky to have the Detroit Zoo nearby, which we visited ~40 times in 2022. Our dogs, Waffles and Friday, also help keep us entertained.

When I’m not in dad mode, I enjoy running, volunteering with my city’s environmental sustainability committee, and cheering for Michigan State football and basketball - and the Detroit Lions (Restore the Roar!). I love reading nonfiction, especially historical biographies. I recently started the first book in Robert Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson series, and I am a massive fan of David McCullough and Ron Chernow. I am also learning Mandarin Chinese and brushing up on my Spanish.

What is your current favorite fun fact?

I recently learned what the different colors of spray paint on streets and sidewalks mean. It’s fun being able to track the hidden infrastructure in my city while walking the dogs!

Ready to use Forerunner in your community?

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