George Rice

George Rice ’85 is a sentinel of safety

George Rice, Jr. ’85 is a one-man worldwide web of public safety. He’s battled an international heroin ring, persuaded doctors to promote gun control, and even headed an agency that trained search-and-rescue dogs.

It’s a background that has well prepared him for his current role as Executive Director of the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCert). As iCert’s top executive, a post he assumed in 2011, Rice has taken his one-man mission to improve public safety to the next level by working to enact government policies to help the cause. In February, diligence paid off when Congress legislated the inaugural interoperable wireless broadband network for first responders.

Now police officers can download photos of crime suspects before they arrive on the crime scene and ER surgeons can receive EMT information before they operate on accident victims, thanks to technology access made possible by the legislation. “First responders can have up-to-date, in-the-moment knowledge about important information, even the location of wiring in burning buildings,” says Rice. “The amount of time saved and justice delivered will be just amazing.”

Relieving systematic stress is part of Rice’s position as an information broker for iCert, a seven-year-old intermediary for public-safety companies, government emergency communicators and public policymakers. One of his quests is reducing the overload of national 911 calls, which have increased 37 percent since 1999.

Protecting people is in Rice’s blood. He was introduced to law enforcement by his father, who patrolled post-World War II Europe as a member of the U.S. Air Force Police. His natural curiosity about crime was nurtured by Alvernia instructor Tom Morakovicz, a Pennsylvania state trooper who impressed Rice with his “slow and steady” manner.

Careful caution served Rice well as a licensed private investigator and as a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency battling the trafficking of heroin from Nigerian tribes.

Later, Rice worked to educate families about the risks of storing guns at home for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

In 1999, Rice became director of community safety for The Enterprise Foundation, where he helped to change East Palo Alto in California from the country’s per-capita murder capital to “quite a nice place to live.”

A natural networker, Rice wants to align his employer with his alma mater. He’s currently working with Alvernia teachers and administrators to produce public-safety research for iCert that could benefit municipalities and businesses. He is also looking for a few good men and women to widen his worldwide web — as his first Alvernia criminal justice interns.

Did you know?

A National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America's Promise study found that participating employers and recent college graduates agreed on the necessity of out of the classroom experiences. The study emphasizes the importance of providing students with important knowledge and skills but also experience putting that knowledge and skills to practical use in "real-world" settings.

Did you know?

Seventy-six percent of participating employers put "teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others in diverse group settings" at the top of their list of desired capabilities in new employees, according to a National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America's Promise study. These are among the skills fostered by real-world learning experiences.

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Service learning is a method of providing personal and academic development through work with established nonprofit organizations in the community. It is an avenue to introduce students to a professional environment without the extensive commitments of an internship.

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Service learning provides ideal real world learning opportunities. According to SmartBlog on Leadership, doing volunteer and service work for a non-profit organization that is connected to your major or academic program of study helps develop leadership skills, expands your perspective of the world, allows you to discover new skills in a safe environment, and develops a larger network of real world contacts to draw upon once you graduate.

Did you know?

Service learning can take you outside of your comfort zone, giving you an opportunity to work with new challenges, people, politics and interpersonal dynamics. It also offers new perspective on priorities. Hanging out with people who have had different life experiences encourages you to tackle challenges from different angles. Julie Zolfo, founder of Make Success Matter said that she volunteered for six weeks at the schools in New Delhi, India.

Did you know?

"Alvernia's Career Development Center works with students to find avenues for employment, internships, co-ops, career exploration, resume development, and graduate school options. Center staff help students assess their options and identify their own "brand" to complement their life after Alvernia.

Did you know?

A recent career fair at Alvernia attracted more than 55 employers who were seeking to hire employees, co-ops and interns for their organizations. Career fairs like this one are fertile ground for students seeking real world learning opportunities and to reap the benefits of such as employers look to to hire staff members who have honed their skills and abilities via practical experiences in real situations.

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Since its inception, Alvernia has offered real world opportunities with an emphasis on service and careers that help those in need. Field experiences in areas like criminal justice, social work, nursing, occupational therapy, health care science and teacher training among others provide our students with rich learning opportunities to test drive what it's like to work in that profession.

Did you know?

In a recent American Association of Colleges and Universities survey of 302 employers, 79 percent said institutions of higher learning should emphasize helping students apply what they learn in real-world settings, and 66 percent said that completing an internship or community field project would help prepare students for success.