Profiles: Cheryl Nelson

GORDON KING Disaster Preparedness

Meet the Pro: Cheryl Nelson,
Mrs. Virginia International



Cheryl Nelson is the reigning Mrs. Virginia International and she is spending 2014 volunteering her time to raise awareness for her platform, Natural Disaster Preparedness.  An official Ambassador for NOAA’s “Weather Ready Nation,” and partner with IAEM and FEMA’s “” campaign, Cheryl is promoting her chosen cause through appearances and speaking engagements all across Virginia and throughout various parts of the U.S.   An experienced Emmy-nominated meteorologist/TV host with a degree in Meteorology from Penn State, Cheryl understands the force of Mother Nature and wants American families and their pets to be prepared to help save lives. Please support Cheryl’s journey as she prepares to raise awareness for her preparedness platform at the Mrs. International Pageant in July!  For more information, please visit,

Cheryl Nelson, Mrs. Virginia International spoke recently with David Treffer of ProPac.

ProPac: How did you become interested in the field of Disaster Preparedness?
Cheryl: At 9 years old, I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist. I went on to receive a degree in meteorology from Penn State University. I spent 10 years working as a broadcast meteorologist for various TV stations, followed by a few years working as a Strategic Communications Media Planner for the Joint Staff. In both roles, I learned a lot about how natural disasters affect society. These career experiences ignited my passion for disaster preparedness. This is the reason I chose “natural disaster preparedness” as my official platform as Mrs. Virginia International 2014.

ProPac: If you were not in the field of Emergency Management what would you be doing?
Cheryl: My pipe dream is to host a TV show…

ProPac: What are some of the work-related hurdles that you face on a day-to-day basis?
Cheryl: As a “Queen,” my hurdles are a bit different. Mrs. Virginia International is an unpaid community-service position. I took a year off “paid work” to use my awarded title to focus on promoting my platform. Hurdle #1: Money.  I may be broke by the end of 2014, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am giving it 110%.  Believe it or not, wearing a crown and sash can open doors, but I have to have thick skin.  Hurdle #2: Many people have preconceived notions about pageant queens.  People stop and look…some judge…but others are interested in what I have to say and then realize that I am an educated professional who is truly passionate about helping people and their pets be better prepared for disasters.

ProPac: What are the 5 important things you would include in your things-to-do list?
Cheryl: Be crowned Mrs. International, land a paid job in the field of disaster preparedness/outreach after my reign, travel to every continent, learn how to dance gracefully and find quality time to relax.

Propac: Is there an incident or response that the lessons learned were passed on to others in the Emergency Management field?
Cheryl: Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina were used in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. This storm was forecast with precision and local and government officials had people in place in advance of the storm.  However, the majority of people as individuals still do not adequately prepare. Sometimes, people cannot get the aid they need for days or even weeks after a disaster. EVERYONE should have a disaster supply kit and be prepared to be self-sufficient if choosing not to evacuate.

ProPac: If you were Ruler for a Day what would you like to change in Disaster Preparedness?
Cheryl: I would mandate that disaster preparedness be incorporated into a school’s curriculum and that every business MUST have a disaster preparedness plan.

ProPac: What is the most satisfying part of working in Disaster Preparedness?
Cheryl: Watching children’s faces light up with interest and excitement when I walk into a school to give a presentation. The crown on my head always sparks the question, “Are you a real princess?” Because many of them believe I’m straight out of a fairy tale, they soak up everything I say like a sponge. It’s the cutest thing.

ProPac: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Cheryl: I sleep! My husband calls me the “Queen of Sleep.” Ha-ha, aside from sleep, I enjoy photography, traveling to new places, trying ethnic foods, working out and spending time with my family, friends and 3 adorable cats.

ProPac: What would be your advice to someone considering entering the field of Disaster Preparedness?
Cheryl: Make yourself stand out. Bring a variety of unique skills to the table. Attend conferences and network with others in the industry.

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Meet the Pro: David Treffer

David Treffer is a Sales Representative with ProPac, primarily serving customers in Florida, Texas and California. Prior to joining ProPac in 2002, David worked as the Senior Contributing Editor for The AutoChannel. In that capacity, David covered Formula 1, Indycar Racing as well as some NASCAR venues. During his stint with The Autochannel he was honored by his colleagues with several writing awards for his racing coverage. David resides in Rockledge, Florida. During his spare time (not nearly enough) he still keeps up with the world of motorsports, is an avid golf fan and enjoys living on the Space Coast. “Going into Space would certainly be the ultimate adventure,” he’s been known to say.