About Kelly

Kelly Huston photoHi, I’m Kelly and this is my personal website dedicated to sharing stuff I think is interesting, helpful, thought provoking or just plain geeky.  I’m part emerging-technology geek, part media junkie and have developed the knack for knowing how to tell a story in really simple terms. I guess that’s probably why I’ve been blessed with success in my career as an experienced risk and crisis communicator, frequent instructor and presenter and part-time documentary producer. Oh, and throw in a super cool spouse who’s an educator, recently adopted 7-year-old son, and three very cute Dachshunds and you’re well on your way to getting to know me.

So Why this Website?

Because where else are you going to hear from me?! (As I say in jest).

In my journey to becoming a Public Information Officer (PIO), I learned virtually everything through OJT (On the Job Training). For the most part, I just winged it.  And, it’s a tough lesson to watch yourself blow it on live television or read the newspaper and see yourself misquoted (which is usually the result of being misunderstood) and catch the fallout of everyone around you criticizing your “work.”  I’ve experienced some major media events and learned from every one of them.  As I’m teaching classes and sharing my experiences, I’m almost always asked, “Where can we go to learn more about what you teach?”  Especially when I share the tools and  techniques for crisis communication. My colleagues are hungry for tools that work.  So, to answer the question, this is the place I created to keep you engaged and learning.  I pay for the domain name and site hosting out of my own pocket and the content is purely my own – it doesn’t represent anyone or any organization other than myself.

I Think I Know that Guy?

I can usually tell when someone is trying to place me in their mind. I’ll be standing in line at the grocery store and there’s a funny little look and second glance my way. The wheels are turning. kelly_today_Despite my spectacular career beginnings as a part-time Parking Enforcement Officer at the Modesto Police Department back in the late 1980’s, most people are familiar with me as the face and voice of some of the most notorious criminal cases in the past decade – the Yosemite Sightseer Disappearance, the Chandra Levy disappearance and murder, the murder trial of Scott Peterson and most recently the Deputy Director of California’s Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

Throw in a few natural disasters like the devastating 1997 flooding in northern California and statewide wildfire sieges in 2008, 2010 and somewhere my name, face or voice became a part of history. Without a doubt, it’s an honor, and very humbling, to know that I have helped people in the midst of the worst times of their lives.

What Do You Like to Do the Most?

  • Risk and Crisis Communication Work — Managing the swarms of national and local press covering high-profile cases has given me a chance to learn by doing, and gain a sense of confidence . When crisis strikes, I now look forward to putting my knowledge to work, developing targeted strategies and getting the facts to the public as quickly as possible.
  • Team Building  — I also enjoy the opportunities I’ve had to build effective crisis communication teams and expand the effectiveness of public information at large scale incidents by implementing the principles of Joint Information Systems (JIS).
  • Teaching and Learning — This is something I really love.  Using the wide range of experiences and unique challenges throughout my career, I’ve enjoyed sharing what worked and what didn’t – and synthesizing it into actionable tools for my colleagues. One of the best learning experiences was completing my Masters of Arts Degree at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security.  My thesis focused on crisis communication and strategy in two high profile incidents – the Boston Marathon bombings and the murder spree of former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner in the greater Los Angeles area.
  • Technology – I’m fascinated with everything you can do using today’s PC’s and the never-ending free web technology. If I’m not working on my MacBook playing with web 2.0 tools, you might find me scrolling through my iPhone or trying to shoot pictures in RAW format using my Canon 1Dx. I’m an equal opportunity geek. I have both Mac and PC’s at work and home. I must admit that I enjoy the Mac much more than I do the PC, but they both have their place.
  • Documentary Filmmaking – Among other videos, I produced a 30-minute documentary, “On the Front Line: Gangs, Guns & Violence” that aired on KVIE in Sacramento and was later nominated for an Emmy by the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences. I wrote the script, videotaped the interviews, edited it at my home on a PC using Adobe Premiere Pro and mastered it to DVcam tape. It’s crazy that the days of tape machines and million dollar equipment are all but gone. You can view several of my productions by clicking on video.