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Plans and Solutions Grounded in Reality

"Grounded Truths" is a derivative of "ground truth", meaning "the actual facts of things happening 'on the ground'." Our goal is to cut through the haze of perceptions and biases to get to the "ground truth" of things - and from there guide others toward planning desired changes and outcomes, and making them happen by grounded, realistic, attainable means. While the term and methods have origins in the military, public safety, and land management circles, they're equally applicable to not only those fields but private sector endeavors as well.

What specifically does that mean? Planning, first and foremost. "Failure to plan is planning to fail" is an old adage mostly from the military but it's true in many aspects of life.

With planning comes facilitation and collaboration. You can draw up the best plans in the world, but if you can't obtain buy-in from others, and then facilitate their actions to meet the plan and achieve its goals, you're as dead in the water as if you'd never planned at all.

Analyze problems (current vs desired states). Formulate solutions. Obtain buy-in and then facilitate their achievement. That's what we do.

Image by Nikolas Noonan


Mark Howell

My road has been a long one, 25 years of public safety and emergency management training and experience: Law Enforcement. Fire - both wildland and structural. Emergency Medical Services. Dispatch, Emergency and Incident Management at the Local, State, and Federal levels.

I spent 14 years with the US Forest Service in Fire & Aviation Management, beginning as a Wildland Fire Apprentice on the Giant Sequoia National Monument in Central California, ending as a Fire Captain doing Fuels/Prescribed Fire implementation on the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri.

During my career I was part of the first cohort of, and successfully completed, "Field Command School" - a new "Incident Management Team Academy" program put together and taught by the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO).
I've served as a Fire Apparatus Engineer, Squad Boss, Incident Commander, Planning Section Chief, Forest Protection Officer, Fire and Law Enforcement Dispatcher, Fire Investigator, Firing Boss, Prescribed Fire Burn Boss, and Fire Prevention Specialist.

In 2017, I served as Planning Section Chief and Fire Prevention Specialist for the 2017 Rainbow Family National Gathering Law Enforcement Team on the Malheur NF, followed almost immediately by serving as the interagency liaison for Fire Prevention and All-Risk Response for the Northeast Oregon Province (Malheur, Wallowa-Whitman, and Umatilla NFs) for the 2017 Total Eclipse.

Through professional and personal experience, I've studied and combined human cognitive and performance factors to build successful public-agency as well as interagency partnerships and collaboratives with Federal, State, and Local Government entities. The Capstone of this effort was the Grant-Harney Fire Prevention Co-Op in Eastern Oregon, which I rebuilt during my tenure as a Fire Prevention Officer and Mitigation/Education Specialist on the Malheur National Forest.

My vision at Grounded Truths is to provide reality-based, grounded principles to help you successfully plan and prepare for, mitigate, and respond to all-hazards/all-risk incidents and events; to build Community Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Preparedness (including Community Wildfire Planning); and to aid the public, landowners, and land management agencies with safely reintroducing prescribed fire on the landscape for wildfire mitigation and natural resource restoration and maintenance.

It's not just about the public safety sector either. The principles I've learned and adopted and procedures I use are repeatable and successful and will work just as well in the private and NGO sector.

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