Zachary Falb did not begin his career in business continuity and disaster recovery. In fact, he was completing contract work as a project manager and took a short-term job as a coordinator for a major airline that was starting a business continuity program. Initially he had no clue what business continuity entailed. He didn’t even know the field existed until he ended up in it by accident.
Now that he’s in the field, Falb feels that professionals can truly make a difference in people’s lives by ensuring they are safe if an incident occurs and they will have a job to come back to. “It’s fulfilling work.”
“I fell in love with the work and switched courses to business continuity,” says Falb. He has now been working in the BC/DR profession for 12 years.
When it comes to his career, Falb gets excited. “Helping ensure that people’s life safety is taken into account and then the fact that I can help ensure they continue to be able to work, and we can provide the services our customers need.”
Falb is currently a senior resilience program analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. As a young professional, he has already become a state-certified emergency manager through Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Falb finished his associate’s degree in emergency management and has since completed nearly 100 FEMA independent study courses and gained his Professional Continuity Practitioner certification. Additionally, he holds a CBCP and is considering pursuing his MBCP.
With his experience in the industry, he would like to see one improvement: more forward thinking. “For all the forward thinking there is in our realm, there is as much mentality to just ‘maintain,’” he explains. “I’d like to see BCDR be seen as a viable career path with growth.”
At this point in his career, Falb has encountered challenges, including credibility. Because so many people have been in the disaster recovery industry for years, he says it is difficult to find and connect with younger professionals. There is also the issue with more experienced professionals having a difficult time with seeing younger professionals as credible and of value in the industry.
As for Falb staying in his current profession, he says it is most likely that he will continue in his current direction.
When connecting with colleagues and other professionals, Falb’s preferred methods of communication are through Skype, email, texts, and phone calls.
Falb offers simple advice to newer professionals in the business continuity industry: use all the resources available. “I was on my own and had a hard time finding resources at first, so I turned to the emergency management field for further training of which there is a plethora that is pertinent or can be used in our work,” he says.
As a young professional, Falb has attended five DRJ conferences and has gained valuable insight from each one. He would like to see a further push for more advanced sessions, specifically around data analytics and metrics-driven results in business continuity. More specifically, how small- and medium-sized companies that do not utilize or cannot afford BC software can capture and utilize meaningful metrics driven results. “I still believe there is appetite for more than is currently offered.” He would also like to see more young professionals attend the conferences. Falb recalls that he was 29 when he first attended a DRJ spring conference, and there were very few people his age or younger than him in attendance.