The APCO Young Professionals Committee is proud to recognize Jorian Jewell as the quarter’s young professional spotlight. Jorian was born in Oklahoma, grew up in England and finished high school in Nebraska before returning to Oklahoma. He was working two retail jobs and planning on going back to school when he landed his job as a telecommunicator which quickly turned into a career for him. When asked what drew him to this profession, Jorian said, “After I figured out what I was doing, the ability to be a support to both responders and the callers really struck a chord within me, which is why I have kept at it and why I look forward to continuing this work.”
Jorian is an introverted extrovert. He first made his debut with the Oklahoma Chapter of APCO as a scholarship winner in 2021 where he was able to attend his first APCO International Conference. Although he was previously an APCO member, this conference allowed him to flourish and find more passion. He made the most of the opportunity and began to network and engage with others on personal and career levels.
Jorian has been involved with both our APCO and NENA Chapters and serves as a liaison for a local first responder mental health group. He makes an effort to check on his colleagues and takes time to visit centers after they have experienced a traumatic or significant event. Jorian’s nominator stated “I have been fortunate to watch Jorian grow and evolve into himself over the last couple of years and his dedication to the profession is unmatched. Through the struggles he has faced personally, he puts a smile on his face and is willing to volunteer with whatever we need as an organization.” Jorian started teaching a new class at the regional training and state conference titled “Breaking Through the Rainbow.” This class focuses on LGBTQ+ within the 9-1-1 center, whether you are assisting someone within this community as a telecommunicator or co-worker. He discusses the struggles he has personally faced in his career, how he has overcome obstacles in his path and how he will continue to fight for changes to assist when it comes to LGBTQ+.
Jorian states he is helping new professionals into the 9-1-1 profession by being a mentor, team leader, and a person they do not have to be strong around but can talk their feelings out. Speaking about the constant change within 9-1-1 industry, he mentioned, “Technology has been the biggest change, giving us new ways to help callers and responders stay safe. I have also seen a bigger push for peer support and getting dispatchers closure for calls; there is more humanizing the voice on the other side of the radio. I think as we continue the push for reclassification, it will help with getting more dispatchers that same level of respect and aid when they need it.”
Jorian describes one of his typical days as, “There is little typical about our workdays. Our hours fluctuate and overtime is plentiful. The call types vary from reports to emergencies. You never know what you are going to be dealing with. Currently, I am on the afternoon shift so I know I am coming in to a lot of report-style calls, kids getting on the wrong bus, and then the calls will shift into more disturbances and medical-style calls in the evenings. Randomness is part of what keeps the job fresh.” Jorian states in the next five years he plans to be a supervisor and continue to teach and team build, both within his department and with his partners. He hopes to keep the passion this career has created in him and share it with others who enter the field.
During Jorian’s time in this profession, he has found that poor leadership and inadaptability, long hours, lack of recognition, and little to no support that could pile up to burnout is the reason why people leave this industry. When asked about our generation being less strong than previous generations, Jorian advised, “Older generations have a hardness about them that lets them work through things. It is a strength for them but shaped by traumas they had to ‘suck it up’ and get through. Resilience is admirable and there are times when my younger people need that resilience. It is a hard lesson to learn that you can make it through to the other side.” Jorian loves the team building side of this job along with working on the floor with other dispatchers. He stated, “When the flow hits just right and we all seem to synchronize, especially in an emergency, it just leaves me with a sense of accomplishment.”
When asking Jorian what he would say if he knew his voice would be heard throughout the industry, he said, “Take a good hard look at what new dispatchers are asking for and fighting for, the same things that keep a 40+-year-old is not going to keep someone in their 20’s. If your only reasoning is “because it’s the rule,” then it is time for a discussion on why it is a rule and if it should continue to be the rule. The future is not coming, it is here, and we need to change/grow now if we want to keep moving forward with it.”