One of the primary goals of the Business Engagement Collaborative is to connect folks in the business engagement, Rapid Response, and sector strategies communities to the voices and ideas of your peers across the country.  One way we can do this is to feature guest authors on our blogs. If you are interested in being profiled and guest blogging on our site, please email Jeff Ryan

Today we are featuring a handful of posts by Curtis Wray, who serves as the Rapid Response Coordinator for the Southeast Region of Virginia. Curtis has a long history in Rapid Response, having held this position since 2006. Curtis’ passion and innovative spirit exemplify what makes Rapid Response such an exciting and valuable program, and Curtis’ eagerness to provide high-quality solutions to businesses, job seekers and communities is evident.


Below we include a Q+A with Curtis; following that, links to 5 blogs that Curtis has published over the past few months that you may find interesting and thought-provoking.  We thank Curtis for both his ongoing efforts to deliver solutions to the businesses and workers of Southeast Virginia, and for his willingness to share his story and his ideas with us through the Business Engagement Collaborative.

Q & A image 

Q+A with our guest blogger Curtis D. Wray


Business Engagement CollaborativeWhat is your favorite thing about being a Rapid Responder?


Curtis D. Wray—My favorite thing is individually working with each impacted business/employer and with the Rapid Response Team of Regional Partners based on their needs. Second, is working with the impacted employees in being their quality knowledge gateway and connection point to the public workforce system. Each layoff is different, presents new challenges, and directions, so that the Rapid Response event process is not a cookie-cutter approach or one size fits all.


BECWhat do you consider your biggest success in the field of Rapid Response?


Wray—The impact of how a single idea can impact regions, states, and the nation. And, how my peers and cohorts see the passion in my work, concepts, ideas, presentations, and writings.  To me it is not just a job, but something that I really enjoy doing. And, there is so much room for betterment and innovative improvement until the Rapid Response process works like a true operational system. For this innovation to occur, however, there is a need for field operators who are willing to be different, divergent, visionary, creative, and operate with the highest integrity to engender trust in engagement and partnerships.


BECDo you have any advice to share on how to excel on Rapid Response and Business Engagement?  


Wray—New ideas keep us relevant and moving forward, so we must embrace and not fear change to stay relevant. Do not ever give up on what you know and think will work. Keep looking for opportunities to share and implement best practices. Keep moving not give up when you have hit roadblocks or no one is listening. Find another way.  To me Rapid Response is business engagement (frontend and backend); the two are inextricably linked. Rapid Responders are in a unique situation when it comes to engagement, because they are the first responders to transition events.


BECWhat are some important things that you have learned from being a Rapid Responder?  


Wray—(1) Rapid Responders are in a unique and important position. Based on their passion and motivation, they have the power to impact, affect, and change lives at tactical, operational, and strategic levels.


(2) Rapid Response is more art than science; and, it is more nuance than quantifiable measurable numbers, because of variation. 


(3) Quality, content, and intent cannot always be measured. It is not causal, in that A & B may not be the reason for or causes C; nor, is it expressly conditional…if A & B then it has to be C.


(4) Quality is strategic. Engagement is for life. Trust takes years to build and seconds to destroy. Trust is an essential component in engaging the impacted worker, the involved partner, and businesses to have a positive and sustaining impact on communities.


Below are links to 5 blogs written by Curtis. Please enjoy, and share any thoughts you may have in the Comments section below or by contacting Curtis directly; you can find him the WorkforceGPS member directory or email him at: