Ann Patton is a writer, consultant, and volunteer specializing in social justice and urban affairs. She has 50 years’ experience in journalism, program management, and consulting. She heads APLcorps Books, a small publisher, and Ann Patton Company, a professional writing and consulting firm.
Author Ann Patton in 2015 published a true crime political history named UNMASKED! The Rise & Fall of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan. She has also published two other recent books: The Tulsa River, a coffee-table-style community book about the Arkansas River at Tulsa; and Dan’s War on Poverty, A Grassroots Crusade for Social Justice, focused on local poverty and social justice issues. In 2019 she completed Warriors for Democracy, a political and social history of the League of Women Voters of Orange County, Florida.
She was principal investigator and writer for a groundbreaking 2014 FEMA report on tornado safe rooms, “Hide from the Wind.” In 1989, she wrote Fifty Years Remembered, a coffee-table history of water resources in the Tulsa region (a 50-year history for the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).
Mrs. Patton has also published many articles, technical reports, and presentations; special reports on flood mitigation and tornado safety; and materials about building disaster-resistant communities. She contributed a chapter on collaborative emergency management for the International City-County Management Association handbook and another chapter for a textbook on climate change and hazard management. In 2003, she conducted research and wrote a national case study about tornado safe rooms in Moore, Oklahoma, published by Colorado University.
She began her career as a grassroots activist. Her work experience includes 1 year as Oklahoma Eagle reporter, 7 years as a Tulsa World newspaper reporter, 5 years as a technical editor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 8 years as aide to local and state elected officials, 8 years as community affairs and mitigation manager for Tulsa’s Public Works Department, 6 years as Tulsa Project Impact/Citizen Corps/Tulsa Partners director, 5 years as a FEMA reservist, and the past 13 years as a self-employed writer and professional consultant.
She helped the Federal Emergency Management Agency develop long-term recovery plans and best-practice documents in Florida after the 2004 hurricanes; in Mississippi and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and 2006; and in Texas after Hurricanes Dolly and Ike, 2008-2010. She researched and wrote mitigation best-practice articles including two case studies: Galveston historic preservation and hazard mitigation, and a 1000-structure buyout and long-term recovery planning (ESF-14) for Bolivar Peninsula, Texas.
As a consultant, she worked with national clients including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Domestic Preparedness; Project TAHS (Technical Assistance for Homeland Security) for the U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service; the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for the Medical Reserve Corps; and the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association for the National Wildlife Federation. In 2012-2014, she developed the concept plan and multi-year development plans for NHMA’s Resilient Neighbors Network and supported the network’s fledgling years.
She was a national marketing and partnership consultant to the Institute for Business & Home Safety, focused on small-business disaster survival planning (2005-7). She has worked on local hazard mitigation planning with Tulsa Partners Inc., on children’s disaster safety issues with Save the Children, and on many issues relating to building disaster-resilient communities.
Mrs. Patton was a charter member and convener of the team that created Tulsa’s award-winning flood-hazard mitigation program. (Tulsa has not suffered a major flood in 30 years, in contrast to its long history of frequent flood disasters. Program advances include clearance of more than 1,000 floodplain buildings, establishment of a stormwater utility fee, master drainage planning, and an aggressive public education program. Tulsa served as a national model for FEMA’s Project Impact and the Community Rating System and has a CRS rating of 2.)
Expanding into multi-hazard management, she was founding director (1997-2001) of Tulsa’s Project Impact, Citizen Corps, and Medical Reserve Corps programs, as well as Tulsa Partners Inc., a 501-C-3 nonprofit corporation (2001-2004) currently named Disaster Resilience Network. This family of programs mobilizes public-private partners and volunteers to create safer, sustainable, more livable communities and to curb disaster losses.
Mrs. Patton retired from the City of Tulsa in 2004 and, after years of national and local volunteer service, continues to volunteer in her new community of Orlando. She is an active member of the Orange County (Florida) League of Women Voters and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Orlando’s First Unitarian Church. She serves on advisory committees to the Orange County Regional History Center and the Holocaust Center of Florida.
She was a member of the National Storm Shelter Association’s Foundation Education and Outreach Board and the Advisory Committee of Smart Growth Tulsa. She was an organizer and former board member of the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice and a volunteer for Tulsa Partners, Inc. Mrs. Patton was vice chair of the City of Tulsa Stormwater Drainage and Hazard-Mitigation Advisory Board.
She was a charter board member (2008) of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association and served as 2nd vice chairman. She was secretary for the Board of Direction of the national Multihazard Mitigation Council, representing U.S. communities; and served on MMC committees on FEMA’s landmark Mitigation Saves report (2005) that found mitigation has at least 4-1 benefit-to-cost ratio. Among many other volunteer posts, she served on the national Working Group on Citizen Engagement in Health Emergency Planning; the Hazard Mitigation Working Group of the Department of Homeland Security; the Association of State Floodplain Managers’ committee on building public support for local floodplain managers; a Community Rating System committee on public involvement, and the foundation board of the National Storm Shelter Association.
She has made numerous presentations to national and local committees on community and water resources issues and provided expert reviews of materials including training courses at the Emergency Management Institute. As an invited expert, she has participated in mitigation and recovery policy development with the Disaster Round Table and special committees of the National Academies; University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center plan for pandemic flu and biosecurity; and various committees and endeavors of FEMA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
She has served as mentor to many communities in the U.S. and beyond, including in Argentina and Mexico.
While she was a newspaper reporter, Mrs. Patton won the first-place national award from the American Society of Planning Officials (1977) for her reporting on Tulsa’s flood problems, as well as two journalism awards from Tulsa’s National Council of Christians and Jews (1969 and 1977) for civil rights reporting.
FEMA gave Mrs. Patton its top national public services award in 1998. While she was directing the programs, FEMA gave top national honors to Tulsa Project Impact in 1998, named Tulsa national mentoring community in 2000, and cited Tulsa Citizen Corps as a national model in 2003.
She won Oklahoma’s Ben Frizzell Award for writing and leadership in 2003. In 2004 the Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association gave her its lifetime achievement award; Tulsa Partners gave her its J.D. Metcalfe Building Bridges Award for community service; and the City of Tulsa named an open-space floodplain park “Ann Patton Commons” in her honor, calling her “humanitarian, author, disaster-prevention legend.” In 2007, she received a Goodwill Appreciation Award from the Islamic Society of Tulsa and the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
In 2010, she received the Suzanne and Michael Wallis scholarship to Oklahoma State University and was inducted into the Golden Key scholastic honor society. In 2011 she was inducted into the Honor Scholastic Society of Phi Kappa Phi. In February 2012, she received the first “Fostering Social Justice through Education” from the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice. On July 17, 2012, she was named a “National Treasure” by the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association. She is recipient of the 2016 President’s Award for the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice.
In 2017, just before her 80th birthday, she graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s in professional studies (liberal arts).
In 2015, she and her husband Bob moved from their Tulsa home to Orlando, Florida. The couple has 4 children, 8 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. Follow Ann on Facebook: