Julie Durst, a lecturer in the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Department of Industrial Studies, is playing a significant role in Grant County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Called on for her expertise and nearly two decades of experience in the area of safety and risk management, Durst is serving as public information officer for the Southwest Wisconsin county during this crisis. In this role, she works in the Grant County Emergency Operations Center to conduct media interviews, creates webpages, social media posts and news releases to share critical information. Additionally, she assists with the collection and distribution of personal protective equipment.
Durst, who teaches Principles of Safety and Risk Management, as well as OSHA for General Industry and Industrial Hygiene at UW-Platteville, said her work in the Grant County Emergency Operations Center has helped her bring real-life scenarios into her classroom to assist in teaching. For example, her students have worked on creating pandemic plans for companies.
“It has been a challenge doing both jobs, but this has benefited my students by giving them real-life insight into handling an actual disaster situation as well as thinking about their own personal safety,” said Durst.
Durst has previously served as deputy director of Grant County Emergency Management, a firefighter, and hazmat and technical rescue technician. She received a bachelor’s degree from UW-Platteville in speech communications, with an emphasis in public relations, and a master’s degree from UW-Whitewater in occupational safety.