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Patrick Brown, St. Louis’ chief resilience officer, shares plans for the role

Patrick Brown was recently named St. Louis' new chief resilience officer.
File photo | Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
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Patrick Brown was recently named St. Louis' new chief resilience officer.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay recently announced that his deputy chief of staff, Patrick Brown, would become the city’s first chief resilience officer.

In this role, Brown will lead city-wide “resilience-building” efforts to help St. Louis deal with catastrophic natural events, like tornados and floods, and stressors like, infrastructure issues, unemployment and civil unrest. Brown will lead the development of a resiliency strategy as part of the city’s membership in 100 Resilient Cities, which is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Brown explained exactly what he will be responsible for in the new role and what challenges he thinks he will face.

The 31-year-old said that the role has two main stages. First, he will be responsible for a year of “stakeholder conversations” to learn what people in the area want and need of a more resilient St. Louis inside the government and outside of it. The second year of the position, will be about implementation.

The Rockefeller Foundation will pay for Brown’s position for two years and make connections between St. Louis programs and funders willing to support those programs. Brown estimates about $1 million will come to the city indirectly in this manner.

“The most difficult job for us is to build the trust of the community I’ll be working with,” Brown said, admitting that St. Louis has many layers of government to navigate “We already have lots of plans and I think there is an acute sense of being tired of planning. People want to see action. Proving this is different will be more difficult than you might expect.”

Brown drew this conclusion during a recent meeting with representatives from the other cities around the globe participating in the project. The cities will continue to exchange ideas and things they are learning throughout the duration of the project.

"Until everyone feels included, we're not going to be a resilient city."

Much of Brown’s role will be seeing what processes are already in place and working similar projects together. He wants to make sure the St. Louis community feels like they have more  of a stake in saying what goes on in their government.

"There are many people in the St. Louis community who do not feel included,” Brown said. “Until everyone feels included, we’re not going to be a resilient city.”

Listen as Brown, who has only been in this role for two weeks, describes what he intends to do:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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