Before joining Homeland Center, Jonathan Bogush performed emergency-preparedness consultations with government agencies. But he rarely got to see the result of his work.
He found the closure he craved as Homeland’s new Director of Purchasing and Emergency Preparedness. At his interview for the job, Jonathan talked with President and CEO Barry Ramper II about Homeland’s culture, location and some longer-term strategic vision ideas.
“That’s really what sold me,” he says.
Meticulous planning and strict safety procedures have long been essential at Homeland, but today’s environment demands multifaceted, sophisticated scrutiny of risk prevention and management, says Ramper.
“Resident safety has never wavered as our number-one priority,” he says. “Security today requires a hyperawareness never known by previous generations. Jonathan offers a keen eye for detail and a strong background in preparedness – traits that assure the protection of residents, staff, and visitors.”
Jonathan joined Homeland in March 2019. At his previous post with a Mechanicsburg-based consultant, he concentrated on emergency management in collaboration with state and local governments and such federal agencies as the FBI, CDC, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition, he worked weekends as an emergency department technician. From his high school years until 2018, he also volunteered as an EMT with local companies, starting in his hometown of Duncannon.
Jonathan used his time as an EMT, including his college years at Slippery Rock University, to test whether he wanted to attend medical school. Eventually, he realized that he “could do more good” in public health, the field in which he earned his graduate degree from the University of New England’s Biddeford campus.
“You can change behaviors but changing the culture at a higher level is what I fell in love with,” he says.
As an EMT in rural areas, Jonathan appreciated the ambulance time he got to spend with elderly patients, hearing their stories.
“If you encounter an individual who’s 80, 90, or 100 years old, they have a lot of life experience,” he says. That made Homeland a natural fit, where “you never know what comes up” in conversations with residents.
He calls himself a lifelong learner and the opportunity to tackle a role with three components intrigued him. He is now responsible for emergency preparedness but also for purchasing and workers’ compensation. The issues intersect at the points of ensuring consistent procedures across departments and protecting the safety of staff as they provide care and train for emergencies.
For emergency preparedness, Jonathan works with department leaders on an Incident Management Team. He proposes scenarios, and the team “plays the what-if game,” making sure Homeland would be adequately staffed and supplied, has communications procedures in place, and can recover as quickly as possible.
Jonathan is leveraging Homeland’s strong relationships with Harrisburg police and emergency responders to plan trainings and drills in a way that won’t disrupt residents’ lives.
He also is reevaluating access to Homeland, reviewing entryways and surveillance schemes to assure that residents, staff, family, and visitors can come and go – without compromising security.
“This is the residents’ home,” he says. “We can’t go to the extreme, but we can look at multiple levels of security and surveillance. Our goal is to maintain regulatory compliance, but at the same time maintain that safe environment for all our residents.”
Outside of work, Jonathan works non-stop on many interests – fly fishing and making his own ties, hunting, butchering meat and tanning the hides, renovating his parents’ home or helping his girlfriend build hers. He and his family farm a quarter acre in Perry County and are buying a meat market.
Jonathan learned his work ethic from summers at his grandparents’ farms.
“We were at market three days a week, and we would get up at 3 a.m. to load the truck,” he recalls. “The other days, we got to sleep in and were in the fields by 6:30 or 7 o’clock. That was a lot of my childhood. I certainly do not shy away from work and long hours.”
At Homeland, Jonathan appreciates strong leadership support, backed by staff ready to streamline procedures for the sake of the residents.
“We have a great team here,” he says. “When you get folks up to speed on what’s expected of them and what’s expected of their teammates, there is no ambiguity. In my experience, people do best when they know what to expect. That’s where training comes into play. It really, truly is to maintain resident safety.”