As principal founders, the Wagner family has assembled some of the best minds in emergency management and meteorology. With over 100 years of combined emergency management and emergency services experience, the expertise and proficiency necessary are readily available to deliver the highest quality products and services.
Our widely respected staff of emergency managers and meteorologists has decades of experience in dealing with all aspects of disaster planning, response, recovery and mitigation. They include Dr. William "Bill" Gray, an international pioneer in the science of seasonal and long range hurricane forecasting; Jerry Jarrell, former Director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC); Miles Lawrence and Dr. Joe Pelissier, former NHC Hurricane Specialists; Kermit Keeter, former National Weather Service (NWS) Science & Operations Officer and winter storm-severe weather specialist; Rod Gonski, former NWS Warning & Preparedness Meteorologist and fire weather-severe weather specialist; widely respected and nationally renown emergency manager William "Billy" Wagner, Jr.; emergency management and operational specialist, Lisa Watson, and other nationally recognized emergency managers and meteorologists.
In addition, our team has extensive experience in planning for, responding to, and recovering from disaster occurrences. Actual incidents includes: countless tropical cyclones, severe weather events, tornados, floods, oil spill responses, bio and chemical hazardous materials, mass immigration, urban search and rescue, aviation crashes and civil riots and unrest.
Whether it's timely and accurate alerts, risk assessments, emergency planning, or training, our company is ready and eager to meet the needs and objectives of our users. We will provide the highest quality of "user friendly" products to our valued customers. Our pledge to you...
Team Member Biographies
Hans K. Wagner, CPM
Hans is CEO and principal owner of Early Alert, Inc. Mr. Wagner is a nationally distinguished emergency response, planning consultant and instructor with twenty-five years of professional experience. In parallel, he owned, managed and operated his commercial wholesale fishing business for over twenty years. He is a noted authority on Fire Service Command and Control, Strategies and Tactics, and the Incident Command System.
Mr. Wagner recently retired from the fire service where he served as the City of Marathon's Fire Chief and Emergency Manager. His efforts are now directed towards daily operations and business development of Early Alert, Inc.
Mr. Wagner has first-hand experience responding to numerous national disaster situations. During Hurricane Andrew he served as a Strike Team Leader in charge of search and rescue operations at the Florida City command post. He drew upon that experience during other Hurricanes such as George and Irene and recently serving as the emergency manager for hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan, Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma; the two most active hurricane seasons on record. In addition, he has worked in many other emergency operations centers and command posts where he has participated as the Incident Commander, Operations and Logistics Chief.
Mr. Wagner is also nationally recognized for his work as a fire instructor. Courses he has taught include Command and Control, Incident Command System and Strategies and Tactics. He has shared his experience with other fire departments, health systems, county and municipal governing agencies, non-profits and volunteer organizations and including the private sector.
Along with the broad range of experience Mr. Wagner brings to the Early Alert team, he also holds National and State certifications as a Certified Public Manager, Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Service Instructor, ICS-100, ICS-200, ICS-300, ICS-400, ICS-401, ICS-402, IS-700, Emergency Vehicle Operation Course (E.V.O.C.) Instructor, Minimum Standards Firefighter, and Hazardous Materials.
Mr. Wagner serves as a member in federal, state and local associations including the International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Emergency Managers, Florida Fire Chiefs' Association, and served as the Second Vice President of Monroe County Fire Chief's Association.
William is President and principal owner of Early Alert, Inc. Mr. Wagner is a nationally recognized expert with more than thirty years experience in the following: emergency management, incident command, strategies and tactics, emergency medical and mass casualty, fire rescue operations, fire prevention, fire investigation and public administration. He recently retired as a Fire Chief in the Florida Keys.
As a Certified Instructor, Mr. Wagner has developed and delivered training around the United States for emergency management, incident command, disaster response and fire rescue for more than twenty years. His training programs reflect his extensive experience in the field responding to national disasters and incidents. During Hurricane Andrew, he established the command post at Florida City where more than 150 firefighters began search and rescue in the first forty-eight hours following the storm. He managed a Unified Command System which included more than one hundred law enforcement personnel, several relief agencies and members of the Florida National Guard. He served as Incident Commander for numerous large scale incidents and disaster including Hurricanes George, Katrina, and Wilma in the Florida Keys. He served as a recovery technician at the Value Jet disaster in the Florida Everglades. His experience includes such posts as Emergency Manager, Incident Commander, Planning Section Chief, Operations Section Chief and Logistics Section Chief.
Mr. Wagner also develops and administers full-scale emergency response exercises which utilize his expertise in comprehensive planning and training. From wildfires and major structural fires to hurricanes and tornadoes, Mr. Wagner's skills in emergency management, fire rescue and disaster response are highly prized by our clients.
In addition to his appointment to the elite Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hurricane Liaison Team, Mr. Wagner also served on the International Association of Fire Chiefs - Emergency Management Committee - Sub-Committee for Education and Training. Additionally, he has served as an Emergency Management Coordinator for the Florida Keys and the County Coordinator for the Florida Disaster Response Plan. Mr. Wagner current serves as the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association: State Emergency Response Team - FEPA Liaison, South Florida "RED" - State Incident Management Team as the IC or Operations Chief and a Member of the AHIMTA Interstate Incident Management Team Qualifications System (IIMTQS) Committee.
Mr. Wagner serves as an executive officer and member in many federal, state and local associations including the International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Emergency Managers, Florida Emergency Preparedness Association, Florida Fire Chiefs Association, National Fire Protection Association, North America Fire Marshals Association, Miami-Dade Fire Officers Association and the Monroe County Fire Chiefs' Association. Manchester Who's Who Among Executives and Professionals.
Mr. Wagner holds state and national certifications for National Certified Emergency Manager - CEM, All-Hazard Incident Management Team (O305), All-Hazard Operations Section Chief (L-958) and Planning Section Chief (L-962), National Fire Academy - Executive Analysis of Fire Service Operations in Emergency Management (R306) & Command and Control of Fire Department Operations at Natural and Man-made Disasters (R308), Incident Commander, ICS-100, ICS-200, ICS-300, ICS-400, ICS-401, ICS- 402, IS-700, IS-800, L-449 ICS Master/Lead Instructor, Disaster Planner, Emergency Medical Technician, Haz-Mat Incident Commander, Fire Service Instructor, Fire Inspector. His expertise includes courses in Advanced Incident Management and Unified Command, Command and Control of Major Operations, Incident Tactics and Strategies, Disaster and Fire Defense Planning, Advanced Fire Administration, Firefighter Safety and Risk Management, Fire Cause and Origin, Disaster Control - Emergency Readiness, Emergency Response - Haz-Mat and Emergency Planning.
Special awards include Fire Chief of the Year for Monroe County, Phoenix Award for Life Saving, Special Rescue Award, and Firefighter of the Year Monroe County, FL.
Kermit Keeter, BA & BS
Winter & Severe Weather Specialist
Kermit's advanced studies and degrees in both meteorology (B.S., North Carolina State University, 1976) and psychology (B.A., East Carolina University, 1968) provided the foundation for a nearly 30 year NWS career that emphasized winter and severe storms, forecast operations, applied research, professional development, critical decision making, and science outreach.
Kermit began his NWS career in 1977 at Fort Worth, Texas in the tornado prone region of North Texas. In 1983, he was assigned to the forecast office in Raleigh North Carolina as a Lead Forecaster. From 1993 until his retirement in 2006, Kermit served as NWS Raleigh's first Science and Operations Officer, in charge of the infusion of science into forecast operations and the professional development and training of forecasters.
Through several awards, NWS, NOAA, and the AMS have all recognized Kermit for his leadership in shaping, promoting, and guiding productive collaborations between NWS and North Carolina State University - a collaboration that has been funded by NOAA for sixteen consecutive years. During this time, Kermit was the chief architect for pioneering joint winter and severe storm operations with selected faculty and students, developing a university credited NWS internship course, and establishing effective protocols for conducting successful university collaborations.
Kermit has co-authored and published several articles sharing the collaboration's success in developing and implementing improved forecast techniques and protocols for critical weather hazards that included: winter storms, sound side flooding, cloud to ground lightning, tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones, inland effects of land falling tropical cyclones, and cold air damming. In 2002, Kermit was recognized by NWS Eastern Region for his expertise in winter storms and for shaping the Region's best practices for predicting winter storms.
William "Billy" A. Wagner, Jr., BS, CEM
Chief Advisor and Emergency Management Specialist
Billy is Early Alert's Chief Advisor and Emergency Management Specialist. Billy has over 30 years of public administration and management with extensive experience in emergency management disaster response and planning, particularly with tropical cyclone and severe weather events. In his current position with Early Alert he is responsible for public affairs and oversight of the emergency management team, which includes disaster mitigation, planning, response, and recovery.
Billy's actual disaster response experience includes many severe weather events, tornados, tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, oil spill response, mass immigration and urban search and rescue. Billy had the direct responsibility for the coordination of the response to over 50 Tropical Cyclone Events. More significant he was the director of the response and recovery of 1992 Hurricane Andrew, 1996 Hurricane Bertha, 1996 Hurricane Lili, 1998 Hurricane Georges and TS Mitch, and 1999 Hurricane Floyd, 2004 Hurricanes Charlie, Frances and Ivan; and 2005 Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Other related experience and practices include direct coordination with the Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center and World Meteorological Origination and Committee Team Leader for the FEMA /Corps of Engineers Hurricane Georges, Bertha, Opal & Fran Response Assessment. Billy is the only Emergency Management representative on the American Society of Civil Engineers Task Committee, which is developing a set of guidelines on wind damage investigation, for publication as an ASCE Manual of Practice
Billy is among the original founders of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT). This select group of Emergency Management professionals with hurricane experience is specially trained to serve in the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The primary role of the HLT is to provide support to Federal, State and local officials whenever a tropical cyclone threatens the United States and its territories in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico basins to insure that the emergency management community has the information needed to take proper actions in responding to the event.
Billy spearheaded the development of the position of HLT coordinator which is responsible to contact the State and Local emergencies managers assuring that they have received all the NHC products pertaining to the event and briefing them on any changes which may take place regarding the system between advisories. This position also has the responsibility of setting up the conference calls between the NHC and the emergency management community and high-level officials being affected. This also includes Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands. He also handles any calls made to the NHC that are emergency management related.
Billy's awards and special recognition include the Excellence in Emergency Management Award from the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association for outstanding weather warning coordination and collaboration with the National Weather Service (NWS); the Neil Frank Award, the highest award given by the National Hurricane Conference; Emergency Management Director of the Year In recognition of dedicated service to the citizens of Florida for Emergency Management accomplishments; NWSEO Paul Revere Call to Action Award for going above and beyond in alerting the public and the emergency management community of the impending peril from proposed cuts to the NWS budget; the Robert C. Sheets Annual Award for contributions to hurricane preparedness for South Florida; Florida Emergency Preparedness Association Professional of the Year Award for endeavors to save the funding the NWS budget; the TPC/NHC budget, and the NWS Southern Region Office and liaison work at the NHC; and FEMA's highest award, the Director's Award.
John B. Copenhaver, CBCP
Principal Advisor & Senior Emergency Management Specialist
John Copenhaver is a licensed Georgia attorney since 1979 and holds both the Member of the Business Continuity Institute (MBCI) and Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) professional certifications. He was President Clinton’s appointee to the Directorship of FEMA Region IV, its largest regional office, from 1997 to 2001, and has since served in a number of senior executive management roles, including President and CEO of the DRI International. He was elected to the Disaster Recovery Institute International Board of Directors in 2001, and then served as their Chair from 2003-2005. As well as serving on the Editorial Board of “The Journal of Emergency Management” and formerly “The Journal of Business Continuity and Emergency Management,” John has held many distinguished appointed positions, including one to the Advisory Board of the Journal of Emergency Management, which he now holds; to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Security Task Force from 2007 - 2010, and to the FEMA National Advisory Council Private Sector Subcommittee from 2008 - 2010.
With FEMA, John’s emergency management and disaster response and recovery experience is extensive. In his tenure as Director of Region IV, he directed his some 800 staff members in Federal Government response and recovery efforts in the Southeast U.S. for 58 Presidential disaster declarations; authorized Federal fire-suppression grants for over 30 wildfire response efforts in the Southeastern United States; and directed distribution of over $1 billion from the Congressional Disaster Relief Fund to disaster victims. He also directed the revision and restructuring of the Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT), a multi-agency group designed to coordinate information and preparedness activities at the local, state and Federal levels during hurricane threats to the U.S.; the HLT has been recognized by the Office of the White House as one of the most successful Federal initiatives of recent years.
John’s disaster operations experience ranges in scale from small (less than $20 million in assistance and fewer than 100 people involved in recovery operations) to massive (over $1 billion in assistance and over 1,000 people involved in response and recovery operations). He directed implementation of the United States’ largest disaster recovery / housing buyout and relocation program after Hurricane Floyd in eastern North Carolina, involving purchase of over 1,100 homes in flood prone areas and relocation of occupants to safer homes outside known floodplains; Federal dollars spent in this program exceeded $400 million. John directed the hazardous materials programs for the Southeastern U.S., including oversight of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) and the Radiological Emergency Program (REP), both involving multimillion-dollar budgets and considerable Congressional oversight.
John conceived and directed our nation's first "Tornado Preparedness Summit," held in April 1998 as a result of over 100 deaths and massive devastation occurring from tornado disasters in the Southeast region during the first months of 1998. His direction to implement the first Evacuation Liaison Team (ELT), a multi-agency group designed to facilitate large-scale evacuation operations, came after Hurricane Floyd. Another of his planning successes, the ELT was created from lessons learned in overseeing that largest peacetime evacuation in U.S. history; in September 1999, approximately two and a half million people evacuated from Southeastern Atlantic coastal communities.
In his years in the corporate arena, John served as Senior Advisor to the IBM International Crisis Response Team, and as the Director of Business Continuity Services of BellSouth Corporation. He developed a major initiative for BellSouth entitled the "Umbrella Protection Plan," which brought together elements of network redundancy and survivability with key product and service offerings in the field of disaster preparedness and business continuity.
John holds a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences, and a Juris Doctor in International Law.
Lisa Watson, BBA, P-EMT
Senior Emergency Management Specialist
Lisa has been in the emergency management profession for over 25 years in municipal, county and state lead positions. She recently served as the Emergency Management Director for a Florida municipality, responsible for disaster response and recovery management, all plan development, and inter-agency coordination. Lisa’s experience in planning and response and disaster management is broad, consisting of hurricanes, severe weather events, fire/rescue operations, prevention, investigation, mass casualty incidents, oil spills, mass migration and other disasters. Her experience has ranged from private sector emergency management response consulting to coordination of federal recovery efforts for state and local governments.
Lisa began her career in Broward County, Florida, as a paramedic and coordinator of evacuations for a local hospital. Upon relocation to Monroe County, Florida, she became a member of a volunteer fire department and worked her way up through the ranks from a volunteer firefighter to Deputy Fire Chief. She has also served as Deputy Fire Chief for a local municipality in change of emergency management and emergency medical services for the community.
As an Emergency Manager she has worked in local, state and federal government ranging from local municipalities to the Governor’s Authorized Representative for the State of Florida to impacted counties and FEMA’s Disaster Field Office. Primary functions have included the following: Incident Commander during many disasters (hurricanes), Planning Section Chief and Operations Section Chief for the State of Florida’s Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, as well as Forward Command Posts throughout the state. She has also given many preparedness presentations and workshops and taught multiple emergency management courses for local municipalities on a small scale, to hundreds of participants at the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference.
Lisa also assisted and evaluated in writing, delivering and evaluating multiple training tabletop and functional exercises for government facilities and schools. The two most noted were the terrorism exercise for the State of Florida and the "Columbine" type exercise for Suwanee County, FL. After relocation to the Florida Keys in the year 2000, Lisa has successfully written multiple comprehensive emergency management plans all of which have been ruled into State compliance. She has also been successful in writing and managing over $2 million in grant awards/money for a local municipality. She currently is responsible for the recovery of over $6 million from FEMA for Hurricane’s Dennis, Katrina and Rita. Her understanding for the state and federal disaster system has won her praise from FEMA’s Public Assistance Officer in Orlando and the Director of Emergency Management from the State of Florida.
Lisa has a detailed understanding of state and federal emergency management programs and response/recovery operations. Lisa’s actual disaster response experience includes severe weather events, floods, tornados, tropical storms, hurricanes, fuel tanker rollovers, major structure fires, wildfires, and urban search and rescue. Watson has multiple certifications as an instructor for courses ranging from medical rescue to Emergency Management, as well as table-top and full scale exercises.
Formal higher education from colleges and universities include: Advanced Incident Management & Unified Command, Company Officer, Fire Service Instructor, Command & Control of Major Operations, Disaster Control/Emergency Readiness, Emergency Response/Haz-Mat, Emergency Planning, and Emergency Program Manager to name a few. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with strong emphasis in planning and management, and holds an Associate of Science in Emergency Services.
Daryl Spiewak, TEM, CEM
Senior Emergency Management & Homeland Security Specialist
Daryl Spiewak, CEM/TEM, has both civilian and military experience, and has joined Early Alert, Inc. as a Senior Emergency Management & Homeland Security Subject Matter Expert on our Emergency Management Consulting team. Since 1992, he has been the Emergency, Safety and Compliance Programs Manager and Security Officer for the Brazos River Authority in Waco, Texas. In this capacity, he has created programs for the emergency management, risk management, security, and safety of the Authority’s three dams, three water treatment plants, and 13 wastewater treatment plants. His program implementations have saved the Authority more than $1,000,000 annually in extra costs, in reduction of injuries, and in workman’s compensation premiums over his tenure there. He also led the flood operations training and emergency response classes for internal and external customers, and actual flood operations involving the Authority’s sites.
In addition to these achievements, Daryl has published numerous articles over the years in the IAEM Bulletin (formerly, the NCCEM Bulletin), the EMAT Quarterly Newsletter, and co-authored Emergency Management in Higher Education: Current Practices and Conversations for Educating Emergency Managers: Accreditation of Collegiate Emergency Management Programs.
Daryl served in the U.S. Army from 1980 to 1992, first in White Sands Missile Range, NM leading explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams supporting research and development projects, followed by an assignment in Bremerhaven, Germany, where he commanded an EOD detachment of 20 soldiers and officers supporting 54 nuclear-capable units in Germany and the Netherlands with an annual operating budget exceeding $500,000; and then in Mannheim, Germany and Texas as Executive / Operations Officer, training and evaluating six remote EOD detachments covering Germany and the Netherlands, and eight remote EOD detachments covering 15 Central United States. In that capacity, he organized and managed the EOC headquarters for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive (CBRNE), and incendiary incident response and recovery operations, managing an annual operating and training budget exceeding $2 million.
In addition, Daryl has trained and led military bomb squads supporting various responses: presidential inauguration, criminal and terrorist incidents in the U.S. and overseas and local law enforcement and security agency-specific actions. From 1971 to 1980, he served as senior military instructor teaching complex receiving systems and advanced electronic systems troubleshooting for the US Army Security Agency in Alaska, Massachusetts and Europe. He also served as a special electronic systems troubleshooter for complex intelligence collection systems in Europe.
Professionally, Daryl is active in the International Association of Emergency Managers, currently serving as Special Liaison to the CEM Commission and as the Global Professional Standards Director. He has also served as President, Secretary, and Chairman of the Communications/Editorial Committee of that organization in the years since 1995. His other activities include serving as Board Member in the Emergency Management Association of Texas, as well as Chair of their TEM Certification Development Committee. Additionally, he has served in various capacities in the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners since 1996 (President, Vice President, Journal Editor) and in the Texas Gulf Coast Emergency Management Association since 1998 (Board Member and Chairman for the Special Committee for Merger Project). Daryl holds a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies, concentrating in Engineering Technology and Sociology. He is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College.
Thomas A. Ball, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), MEP
Senior Emergency Management Specialist & Master Exercise Practitioner
Tom has over 30 of years of experience in emergency management which developed into his passion for preparedness and planning. He started out as a bomb disposal technician and emergency medical technician and most recently led operations centers that covered areas ranging from multiple cities to an area spanning multiple states. His areas of expertise include all-hazards emergency mitigation and response planning, exercise design, exercise evaluation and training instruction. He is also experienced in emergency management, risk management, safety, and security programs.
His training as a U.S. Army bomb disposal technician, team leader and operations officer gave him the knowledge and experience to respond to emergencies and the planning skills to safeguard populations from explosive, chemical and radiological hazards. As an EOD Detachment Commander and EOD Operations Officer in the United States and overseas, he led EOD teams providing security for two U.S. Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, numerous Foreign Heads of State and selected dignitaries. Mr. Ball led EOD teams that supported law enforcement agencies responding to numerous criminal incidents. He also trained emergency response teams, and conducted large full-scale field exercises involving weapons of mass destruction with U.S. and foreign country stakeholders. He served in the Army Reserve from 2006 to 2009 as the Commander of two Army rear area operations centers. While with these units, he led their planning and operations to respond to military and civilian natural and man-made disasters encompassing several states / provinces in Iraq. His thirty year career in the Army gave him a breadth of experience in risk management, threat vulnerability assessments and threat analysis. He implemented mitigation measures to reduce risks for the people and facilities he oversaw.
As a U.S. Army civilian employee, Mr. Ball was the Emergency Management Program Manager for the U.S. Army Garrison in Heidelberg Germany from 2000 to 2007. He also was the chief of the Garrison emergency operations center from 2007 to 2008. In these jobs, he developed and oversaw the preparation of plans to safeguard American citizens in four major cities in Germany. Here he specialized in hazard vulnerability analysis, gap analysis, continuity of operations and managing program resources to mitigate vulnerabilities and shortfalls through robust and timely planning. These plans required coordination with, and incorporation into, plans from German city and state emergency response agencies. He ran the Garrison emergency operations center that oversaw responses in four cities and covered an area of approximately 44,000 square miles. Since 2011, he served as the lead evaluator for eight full-scale Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program exercises at Army installations throughout out the United States. He received his certification from FEMA as a Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) in May of 2013.
Mr. Ball is a certified small group instructor and he a certified instructor for the Army Command and General Staff College from 2001 to 2004. He loves teaching and he designed training programs and taught classes and programs in many capacities over the past thirty years. He retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserve in April 2010. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Troy State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Mount Saint Mary’s College.
Joseph E. Jones, BS, MS, CEM
Senior Emergency Management Specialist
Joseph Jones, with 38 years of emergency response experience, joined Early Alert / AHT in 2011 as a Senior Emergency Management Specialist on our Emergency Management Team. He serves as a Field Instructor at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute, and has taught Command and General Staff, all position specific classes for the Command and General Staff positions, Wild land Fire Fighting and Hazardous Materials for the institute. He is also part of the Illinois Incident Management Team, assigned as a Safety Officer and Public Information Officer supporting the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. Response assignments have included the Mississippi River floods of 2008 working in planning. In May 2011 he responded to the flooding in Southern Illinois and served in the planning section of the Unified Area Command for a 6 day period. He also has been appointed as the State of Illinois Incident Qualifications Coordinator.
Joe’s project work for Early Alert includes situational awareness assignments for Hurricanes; Irene, Sandy, Tropical Storms Arlene and Meari. During Hurricane Isaac Joe was deployed to the Home Depot headquarters in Atlanta to assist in their Emergency Operations Center with situational awareness and decision making. Additional project work has included being part of the planning team performing Hazard Vulnerability assessments for all Home Depot Stores in the United States, assisting in the writing of a Multi-Agency Coordination plan for United State APHIS and part of the planning team writing the State of New York’s 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan update.
Joe’s career began serving in the United States Air Force as a Security and Law Enforcement Officer, where he provided security for high value fighter aircraft and base assets. He was awarded an early promotion to Senior Airman for his outstanding performance in his duties. He was selected to receive training by the FBI for Anti-Sniper and Survival training. Joe completed his time of service attaining the rank of Sergeant.
Joe also worked as a fire fighter for the Victorville Fire Department in Southern California for four years. During that time he responded to several large wild land fires. The most notable was the Panorama Fire that consumed 200 thousand acres and burned 300 homes.
Joe joined the DeKalb Fire Department in DeKalb, Illinois in 1984, and was promoted through the ranks to Battalion Chief / Shift Commander. While Chief, he managed three stations for a community that included a major university and a run volume of 5,000 calls per year, and served as the Hazardous Materials Team Leader for the city and also the M.A.B.A.S Division 6 Team. During his tenure he responded to and served as Shift Commander for the night operations period for the Northern Illinois Shooting. In 2005 he responded to the Utica Tornado as part of a Task Force and received the Humanitarian Service Medal from the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. In 2008 he was assigned to the planning section for the flood response on the Mississippi River. Joe also served as an Operations Section Chief and Safety Officer for the local Incident Management Team. He retired as Battalion Fire Chief in 2009. Joe continues to serve as a Committee Member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee for the County, where he serves on the training committee and is a representative for fire and hazardous materials.
Mr. Jones’ certifications include Fire Officer III, Fire Instructor II; Incident Safety Officer;; Fire Arson Investigation; Fire Service Training Program Manager; and Hazmat Technician A & B. He holds Emergency Management Institute credentials as Incident Commander Trainer; Liaison Officer Trainer; Logistics Section Chief Trainer; PIO Trainer; Operations Section Chief Trainer; ICS 300 and 400 Trainer; Safety Officer Trainer; and Planning Section Trainer. He also has certifications and has completed programs of study with the Department of Homeland Security, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and the National Fire Academy.
Joe earned his Master’s Degree in Industrial Management–Safety from the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology from Northern Illinois University in 2011 and has a Bachelor’s Degree is in Fire Science Management, and Safety Technology. Throughout his career, Joe has developed and presented multiple training programs for fire training, hazardous materials, and public education. In addition, he has been a mentor to many students and firefighters, and has expanded his expertise to include response to and training for high-rise and industrial fires, hazardous materials, severe weather, flooding and mass casualty incidents.
Memberships include: The American Society of Safety Engineers, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, and the International Association Fire Fighters, All-Hazards Incident Management Team Association and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association.
Amanda Burnett, BS
Emergency Management Specialist | Lead Mitigation Planner
Amanda Burnett specializes in Hazard Mitigation Grants and Planning, Urban Area Security Initiative Funding, Homeland Security Grant Program, and Public Health and Emergency Management.
She graduated from the University of North Texas with a B.S. in Emergency Administration and Planning and a Certificate in Volunteer Coordination and Management. She has managed the annual request for Critical Infrastructure in the North Texas Region from the Department of Homeland Security, and developed refined threat evaluation criteria and information gathering standard operating guidelines to further assist local jurisdictions in their program efforts, resulting in adoption as the federal planning model tool. Her work expanded Critical Infrastructure efforts into a year-round program by initiating and facilitating the first annual Regional Critical Infrastructure Workshop, as well as developing a Critical Infrastructure Regional Working Group to enhance collaborative processes and develop program strategies. She continues to act as support staff to County Emergency Operation Centers during disaster events. She also oversaw and contributed to such projects as the Cities Readiness Initiative including responsibility for volunteer training, program education, financial management, and contract deliverables.
During her time at the North Central Texas Council of Governments she served on several committees including as Chair of the previous chair for the Texas Association of Regional Councils Homeland Security Association Team, Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee
Ms. Burnett has overseen various programs including the development of a virtual joint information center, regional public education campaign and a regional hazard vulnerability web-based assessment tool. Currently, Ms. Burnett remains actively involved in the assisting jurisdictions to secure funding and providing staff to meet jurisdictional needs.
Ancora Secure, 2011-Present
• Secure opportunities to provide support to local communities for the Urban Area Security Initiative, Homeland Security Grant Program, Hazard Mitigation Planning and Grants, and Public Health and Emergency Preparedness
• Focused process development and organization of Hazard Mitigation Planning and support staff
• Provide “On Demand” staff support to local communities in mitigation grant applications, audits, and Emergency Operation Center activation
• Provide project management and marketing tools to enhance and expand company operations
North Central Texas Council of Government, 2006-2011
Emergency Preparedness Supervisor
• Managed the coordination and completion of the Multi-Jurisdictional Local Mitigation Strategies for the four counties comprising the Dallas / Ft. Worth area, resulting in improved hazard vulnerability assessments and developed mitigation best practices research to further effectiveness within the Hazard Mitigation Program
• Managed the annual request for Critical Infrastructure in the North Texas Region from the Department of Homeland Security, and developed refined threat evaluation criteria and information gathering standard operating guidelines to further assist local jurisdictions in their program efforts, resulting in adoption as the federal planning model tool
• Expanded Critical Infrastructure efforts into a year-round program by initiating and facilitating the first annual Regional Critical Infrastructure Workshop, as well as developing a Critical Infrastructure Regional Working Group to enhance collaborative processes and develop program strategies
• Organized the development of a regional hazard vulnerability web-based assessment tool.
• Assisted in management of the Cities Readiness Initiative Bio-Terrorism Preparedness, including responsibility for volunteer training, program education, financial management, and contract deliverables
• Provided staff support to Emergency Operation Centers during disasters
• Colorado City, Colorado Metro District Architectural Control Committee
• Director (2012)
• North Texas of Regional Councils Homeland Security Association Team, Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee
• Chair (2010-2011)
• Texas Department of Emergency Management
• Hazard Mitigation
- Coordinated with State Hazard Mitigation Planner for the implementation of changes in FEMA Mitigation procedures and guidelines and provided local input to State efforts (2007-2010)
• North Central Texas Council of Governments
• SharePoint Committee (2010-2011)
• Hazard Mitigation Planning Committees
- Four Multi-Jurisdictional (2007-2011)
- 27 Local Mitigation Committees (2007-2011)
- Regional Hazard Vulnerability Web-based Assessment Tool Planning Committee (2010)
• Critical Infrastructure
- Regional Planning Organization (2009-2011)
- NCTCOG Committee (2008-2011)
- CIKR Conference (2009)
• Regional Hazard Vulnerability Web-based Assessment Tool Planning Committee (2010)
Kurt N. Amundson, CEM
Emergency Management Specialist | Senior Planner
Mr. Amundson has been in the emergency management profession for over 30 years. He has provided leadership in planning for, managing and responding to natural and human induced disasters, primarily for the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the private sector. His emergency management expertise includes pre-disaster planning, interagency coordination, and response and recovery operations. While with USACE, Mr. Amundson responded to over 20 presidential declared disasters ranging from small events such as tornados to catastrophic events such as Katrina and the 911- WTC.
Mr. Amundson began his career as an Active Duty Combat Engineer Officer in the U.S. Army. Mr. Amundson served in many key leadership positions during his Active Duty time from 1982 to 1992. His most noteworthy assignment was when he served as the Engineer in Charge for the demolition of General Manuel Noriega’s fortress called the “Commandancia” during Operation Just Cause in Panama.
Following his separation from the U.S. Army, Mr. Amundson became an Emergency Manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Mr. Amundson served as one of the hand-picked Emergency Support Function (ESF) #3 Team Leaders who worked at FEMA’s Disaster Field Office (DFO) now known as the Joint Field Office (JFO) in Manhattan, NY, at Ground Zero for the 911- WTC event. While at the DFO, Mr. Amundson also conducted an extremely complex multifaceted interagency coordination to allow dredging along the pier 9 area (NY City Heliport area) that would allow the Ground Zero debris to be hauled by barges directly to the Staten Island landfill vs. having to be hauled through the surface streets to Staten Island Landfill. Mr. Amundson also served as the Interagency Task Force Leader responsible for assessing the Housing conditions on Governor’s Island (U. S. Coast Guard Base) for the New York National Guard.
During Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Amundson served as the principal advisor to the USACE Louisiana Recovery Office (LARFO) Commander for the FEMA assigned public works and engineering missions assigned to USACE. Mr. Amundson also served as the USACE Commanders Aid De Camp during the meetings with local parish officials following Hurricane Katrina.
As a USACE District Emergency Manger, Mr. Amundson served as the District Emergency Manager for USACE Savannah District providing emergency management expertise and leadership prior to and during emergency response operations resulting from natural and manmade disasters. Mr. Amundson also served as the Jacksonville’s District’s Emergency Operations Officer and successfully ran the USACE Jacksonville District Emergency Operations Center (EOC) prior to and during emergency response operations for Hurricanes Charley, Dennis, Frances, Ivan, and Georges.
In 2008, Mr. Amundson was recruited by a large firm in the Private Sector to use his vast expertise in Emergency Management to help their clients with their Emergency Management needs. While with this firm, Mr. Amundson developed the plan format, the Concept of Operations and identified the required resources for the New Jersey Garden State Parkway Reverse Lane Evacuation Plan. He also determined potential terrorist targets as well as the types of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive agents that might be used in a terrorist attack for the Orlando UASI evacuation plan. The UASI evacuation plan required the developed of and plotting the corresponding downwind hazard maps for each identified hazards.
As an Emergency Planner, Mr. Amundson conducted detailed gap analyses on client’s emergency response plans. Mr. Amundson also developed an Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) for state and county agencies
As a Response and Recovery expert, Mr. Amundson conducted a gap analysis of the existing Project Worksheet (PW) for the damages sustained from Hurricane Ike to Chambers County McCollum Park. Mr. Amundson determined that the repair cost on the original PW would not meet the actual cost to replace the damage to the park. Mr. Amundson prepared and coordinated two amendments to the original PW with the State PA and FEMA to ensure the damaged park could be repaired using FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant.
As a long-term recovery specialist, Mr. Amundson worked at the Louisiana Recovery Office (LRO) as the lead Public Works/Infrastructure Specialist. Mr. Amundson coordinated directly with the Local sponsors on several key long-term Public Works/Infrastructure recovery projects regarding the project’s schedule for design, construction and any outstanding project issues/concerns. Mr. Amundson monitored the key projects to ensure that they would be fully operational prior to the next hurricane season. Mr. Amundson also worked on developing the sustainable goals, objectives and timelines for future infrastructure long-term recovery projects.
Additionally, Mr. Amundson has taken established mitigation strategies and turned them into viable Hazard Mitigation projects. Mr. Amundson assisted the South East Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East (SLFPA-E) with the development of sustainable hazard mitigation goals, objectives that served as the basis for the preparation, approval and construction of SLFPA-E Safe Room long-term recovery project.
Certifications and Formal higher education from colleges and universities include: Certified Emergency Manager, Certified FEMA ICS instructor and DHS HSEEP certified. Mr. Amundson has a Bachelor’s Degree in General Engineering.
Kyrie S. Wagner, CMC
Emergency Management Associate | Planner & Client Manger
Ms. Wagner has been in the emergency management profession for over 10 years in municipal lead and department head positions. Most recently, she served as the Municipal City Clerk for Islamorada, Florida, responsible for project management, public outreach, and records retention. Additionally, Kyrie has participated in emergency management planning (COOP & Mitigation), numerous Emergency Operation Center exercises, and municipal Emergency Operation Center activations during disasters.
As an EA team member, Ms. Wagner is responsible for client management, social network marketing, planning, and onsite liaison and coordination. Her experience in emergency management deployments consists of hurricanes, severe weather events, oil spills and other disasters, in both private to public sector emergency management coordination. She is proficient with a number of software programs, and leads our social network marketing efforts. Kyrie is an extremely self-motivated and collaborative team member. Her project management, planning and communication skills are broad; moreover, her organizational skills and her ability to work well with people are an asset to projects in which she assists and leads. Kyrie possesses the necessary skills to effectively and efficiently plan projects from concept to completion.
• FEMA Professional Development Series
• International Association of City Clerks
• DHS Emergency Management Institute
• Florida State University Certified Municipal Clerk
• Records Management, Disaster Preparedness, Vital Records & Electronic Records Management
• Florida International University Administrative Professional Program
• Florida State University Records Management
• Medical First Responder
ICS-100 Introduction to the Incident Command System
ICS-200 ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents
ICS-400 Advanced ICS for Command and General Staff
IS-700 National Incident Management System
IS-701 NIMS Multiagency Coordination System (MACS) Course
IS-800 National Response Framework
FEMA Independent Study:
IS-1 Emergency Program Manager an Orientation to the Position
IS-2 NIMS Public Information Systems
IS-3 Radiological Emergency Management
IS-7 A Citizen’s Guide to Disaster Assistance
IS-10 Animals in Disaster, Awareness and Preparedness
IS-15 Special Event Contingency Planning for Public Safety Agencies
IS-18 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for Employees
IS-55 Household Hazardous Materials a Guide for Citizens
IS-100.HC Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS100) Health Care
IS-102 Deployment Basics for FEMA Response Partners
IS-120 Introduction to Exercises
IS-130 Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning
IS-139 Exercise Design
IS-197 Special Needs Planning Considerations for Emergency Management
IS-200.HCa Applying ICS to Healthcare Organizations
IS-230 Fundamentals of Emergency Management
IS-235 Emergency Planning
IS-240 Leadership & Influence
IS-241 Decision Making and Problem Solving
IS-242 Effective Communication
IS-244 Developing and Managing Volunteers
IS-271 Anticipating Hazardous Weather & Community Risk
IS-293 Mission Assignment Overview
IS-393 Introduction to Hazard Mitigation
IS-520 Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenzas
IS-547 Introduction to Continuity of Operations
IS-546 Continuity of Operations (COOP) Awareness
IS-548 Continuity of Operations (COOP) Manager
IS-630 Introduction to the Public Assistance Process
IS-775 EOC Management and Operations
IS-801 Emergency Support Function (ESF) #1 Transportation
IS-802 ESF #2 Communications
IS-803 ESF #3 Public Works and Engineering
IS-804 ESF #4 Firefighting
IS-805 ESF #5 Emergency Management
IS-806 ESF #6 Mass Care, Emerg. Assistance, Housing, Human Services
IS-809 ESF #9 Search and Rescue
IS-810 ESF #10 Oil and Hazardous Materials Response
Jerry Jarrell, BS & MS
Chief Meteorology Advisor
Jerry is Early Alert's Chief Tropical Cyclone Meteorologist and a previous National Hurricane Center Director. Jerry has over 40 years experience in various fields of meteorology, from forecasting to training, management and research. In his current position with Early Alert he coordinates our meteorologists in evaluating developing weather situations and recommending response options to our customers.
His broad experience includes virtually every possible weather event, but his specialty is marine meteorology and in particular, the hurricane.
Prior to joining Early Alert, Mr. Jarrell served as the Director of the National Hurricane Center for the active 1998 and 1999 Hurricane Seasons, and was de facto Director beginning in 1995 during the illness of his predecessor. In addition to leadership and administrative responsibilities, he was the senior hurricane forecaster and directed the Center's small research effort. In 1993 he chaired a World Meteorological Organization committee on Tropical Cyclones in Mexico which examined the effect of Global Climate Change on hurricane frequency and intensity. He also served as Chairman of a committee to coordinate Federal requirements for hurricane research, leading to the National Plan for Hurricane Related Research.
Prior to his tenure at the National Hurricane Center, Mr. Jarrell was a Senior Research Scientist with Science Applications International Corporation, in Monterey, California. Mr. Jarrell's research work covered a wide variety of meteorological events, but his specialty was in the area of risk assessment and risk containment relative to hurricanes and typhoons.
He is the original author of the Hurricane Strike Probability model, which has been in use at the National Hurricane Center since the middle 1980s, and the Cyclone/Hurricane Acceptable Risk model used for several years by the Defense Department worldwide and some industrial concerns in the Gulf of Mexico. Jerry also led an effort by USAID to improve the response of the Government of the Philippines to typhoons.
Before his civilian career as a research scientist, Mr. Jarrell was a Commander in the United States Navy, having served chiefly within the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command including tours in Vietnam. His duties evolved from forecasting to research to management and finally to faculty and administration within the Nav'ys Graduate Education Program. Several of his students went on to distinguish themselves as Senior Naval Officers.
Jerry is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and was awarded the Nav'ys Distinguished Public Service Award and the Coast Guard's Meritorious Public Service Award for his civilian service at the National Hurricane Center. He is also a recipient of the National Hurricane Conference's Neil Frank Award, and the Florida Governor's award for contributions towards improving the hurricane preparedness of the state.
Major publications include "Hurricane Experience Levels of Coastal County Populations - Texas to Maine", A Global View of Tropical Cyclones (University of Chicago), "Tropical Cyclone Wind Probability Forecasting for the Southern Hemisphere", "Tropical Cyclone Strike and Wind Probability Applications", "Cyclone Wind Threat Estimates for the Bay of Bengal", "An Analysis of Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Forecast Errors", and "Forecasting Tropical Cyclones over the Northeastern Pacific Ocean by an Analog Scheme".
Jerry holds a BS in Education from Concord College, an MS in Meteorology and an MS in Management, both from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
Joseph M. Pelissier, Ph.D.
Senior Hurricane and Severe Weather Specialist
Dr. Pelissier was a Hurricane Specialist at the National Hurricane Center for sixteen years, 1966-1982. He issued advisories and warnings on more than one hundred tropical storms and hurricanes. He helped develop the nation's first comprehensive hurricane evacuation plan, for Lee County, Florida.
He received the Distinguished Service Award at the National Hurricane Conference in 1989 for his work in developing hurricane evacuation plans in Florida and North Carolina, for which he also received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian award presented by the Governor of North Carolina.
He served as a representative of the National Weather Service (NWS) and as a consultant to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Agency for International Development (AID) on tropical cyclone projects in more than twenty countries around the world, including India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and several nations in Central America and the Caribbean.
Dr. Pelissier served as Deputy Meteorologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Raleigh, NC from 1982 until 1994. He established a new NWS Forecast Office in Greenville, SC in 1994 and served as its Meteorologist-in-Charge until his retirement in 2005. He was also an Adjunct Professor of Atmospheric Science at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Pelissier holds B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Meteorology, an M.S. degree in Mathematics, and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Miami. He has written more than ten published articles on tropical cyclones and was editor of Weather and Forecasting, published by the American Meteorological Society. He also edited WMO Publication No. 528: Forecasting Tropical Cyclone Intensity and Movement. He was selected as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 1990.
Miles Lawrence, BS
Senior Hurricane Specialist
Miles' meteorology career started in 1960 with three years in the U.S. Air Force as a weather officer. He then worked in the private sector as a meteorological systems analyst for IBM Corporation for two years. Miles joined the National Weather Service at the National Hurricane Center in 1966 and worked there for 39 years until his retirement in 2005.
He served as a Hurricane Specialist for the National Hurricane Center for the last 31 years and issued advisories and warnings on hundreds of tropical storms and hurricanes. During his tenure, Miles authored numerous publications, reports and studies on tropical cyclones. Miles has numerous awards and is the recipient on the prestigious Silver Medal from the U.S. Department of Commerce and is a Fellow or the American Meteorological Society. He has also received the Florida Governor's Hurricane conference 2005 Distinguished Service Award and the South Florida Hurricane Conference Dr. Robert Sheets Lifetime Commitment Award.
Miles holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Miami and a Master of Science degree in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Rodney F. Gonski, BS
Rod’s career as a meteorologist has included 34 years with the National Weather Service with most of those years in weather forecasting and analysis at the office in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to his position as Senior Forecaster, he has served as Warnings and Preparedness Meteorologist and Fire Weather Forecaster. His specialties in the science for which he has authored several technical articles included severe and tornadic storms forecasting in the Southeast, applications of meteorology to the prediction of forest fire behavior and smoke dispersion, and satellite meteorology.
Rod’s efforts have also included the infusion of weather knowledge at the secondary and grade school levels having conducted numerous teacher workshops and conference presentations. The American Meteorological Society recognized Rod’s efforts in the schools with the Francis W. Reichelderfer Award.
Rod graduated with a BS Degree in Meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University in 1975.
Director of All Hazard Training & Incident Management Specialist
Bob Koenig retired in July, 2013 from the Texas A&M Forest Service where he served as the State of Texas Incident Management Team Coordinator and Chief of Incident Response Training.
Bob was responsible for the development, oversight, training, qualification, activation and mobilization of eighteen Type 3 Type 3 Incident Management Teams strategically located throughout the State of Texas. Bob served as the Emergency Services Branch Director, State Operations Center, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) as well as serving on numerous working groups with TDEM. Bob served as the Chair of the National Incident Management Support Team (IMST), National Integration Center (NIC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Bob is presently a member of the Southern Area Type 1 Red Team, a Planning Team Manager and Logistics Section Chief with Texas Task Force 1, Urban Search and Rescue. Bob is an Adjunct Instructor with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
Prior to joining the Texas Forest Service, Bob served for a period of three years as the Program Manager, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), Urban Search and Rescue Division and 19 years as an Internal Affairs Division Lieutenant, Management Auditor and as the Agency Risk Manager for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Bob also served as the agency’s representative to the State Emergency Management Council, TDEM.
Bob’s emergency response deployments include numerous natural and man- made incidents including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and law enforcement related incidents. Additionally, Bob has responded in incident management positions to NFL Super Bowls and major league baseball World Series and other incidents of national significance.
Sergio J. Garcia
Senior Incident Management Specialist & All Hazard Training Division Manager
Sergio J. Garcia is a twenty-eight year veteran of the Key Largo Fire Department in the Florida Keys and is currently in his thirteenth year as the Fire Chief. He is also a Lifetime Member of the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department.
Chief Garcia’s training programs reflect experience gained and lessons learned as a result of responding to many real world regional, state and national disasters and incidents. During Hurricane Andrew, he led the first task force deployed into the hardest hit area of Dade County. In the month to follow, he also spent numerous hours at the command post at Florida City working under a Unified Command System that included hundreds of personnel from local, state and federal agencies. During other major incidents he has served as Operations, Logistics and Planning Chief; some of those incidents include: Hurricanes George, Irene and Charley, and the Value Jet crash in the Florida Everglades. Chief Garcia also served as the Incident Commander during the Florida Region-7 Domestic Security Task Force Drill for Monroe County Florida.
Chief Garcia’s commitment to firefighter safety and through his involvement in the Monroe County Fire Chief’s Association was instrumental in adopting Incident Command, accountability, RIT and May-Day Procedures County wide. He continues this endeavor to eliminate firefighter death through continuous education and training of firefighting personnel. In 1996 he was named Monroe County Firefighter of the Year by the Monroe County Fire Chief’s Association. He also received the “Honorary Conch Award” (which is the equivalent to receiving the Key of the City) from the Mayor of Monroe County Florida for his many contributions to the fire service in the area of safety, education and training.
Chief Garcia is certified by NFA and has been delivering the NIMS courses throughout the Nation. Chief Garcia is recognized for his work as a fire instructor and has taught courses in Command and Control, Incident Command System and Strategies and Tactics. He is a certified fire instructor and is certified to teach Emergency Response to Terrorism. He holds certifications form local and state learning centers as well as from the National Fire Academy.
In addition to teaching fire and command courses, Chief Garcia is well known for his classes in technical rope rescue, and vehicle extrication. His department’s vehicle extrication team was one of only ten teams selected to represent the USA in the World Extrication Competition in 2005. Chief Garcia also helped in the development of an underwater extrication class for his Water Emergency Team which was one of the first of its kind and attracted dive rescue technicians from all over the Country.
As an international instructor, Chief Garcia has worked with SOUTHCOM, USAID/OFDA, and the US Embassy to assess the needs of emergency services of foreign countries then deliver the needed training to help improve their emergency response capabilities.
Chief Garcia is a “life time learner” and is passionate about firefighter safety, health, and education and is committed to helping prepare the firefighters and emergency responders of today and the future.
Victoria Koenig, CPM
Senior Incident Management Specialist & Lead Instructor
Victoria Koenig is a member of the Texas Type 3 All-Hazard Incident Management Team and has over 20 years emergency response experience. Victoria is qualified as a Type 3 Liaison Officer, Public Information Officer and Plans Section Chief as well as being qualified as a National Wildfire Coordinating Group Liaison Officer and Type 2 Public Information Officer. Currently, she serves as an adjunct instructor for both the Texas Forest Service Response Department and Texas A&M’s Texas Engineering Extension Service, Disaster Preparedness and Response (DPR) Division. As an adjunct instructor she assists in the delivery of various All-Hazards Incident Management Courses to include command / general staff, position specific courses and the delivery of the Enhanced Incident Management Unified Command course.
In December 2010 Victoria was selected to serve on the inaugural Executive Board of Directors for the National All-Hazards Incident Management Teams Association (AHIMTA). This organization (with over 600 members from across the nation) represents incident management professionals from various emergency response disciplines. She has been instrumental in establishing and coordinating efforts of a national Marketing /Public Relations committee for AHIMTA.
For over eight years Victoria served as Deputy City Manager at the City of Nacogdoches, Texas – and, most notably, was Interim City Manager when the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded over East Texas. During this event, she headed the City of Nacogdoches’ response to this international incident. She was Nacogdoches’ Emergency Management Coordinator for several years – which included a major response effort to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Victoria worked for over 10 years with the City of Longview as its Public Information Officer and Community Relations Manager. She is a nationally credentialed Certified Public Manager.
For several years, Victoria worked as a professional journalist and was news director at a CBS-affiliate television station in Texas.
Victoria has deployed numerous times with the Texas Type 3 AHIMTs – including responses to Hurricanes Ike, Gustav and Alex. Most recently, she served on the Texas Type 2 Lone Star Incident Management Team initial response to the 2011 wildfires. During the devastating Bastrop Complex Urban Interface Firestorm (considered to be the worst in Texas history), Victoria served as the Lead PIO for the Texas Forest Service. In addition, she serves on the State of Texas AHIMT Type 3 Incident Management Steering Committee as a subject matter expert in Government / Administration.
Thomas P. Cullen, Jr., J.D.
Emergency Management Specialist | Lead Instructor
Tom has spent over forty years in the Fire Service as a Volunteer Fire Fighter and Chief Officer. Over thirty of those years were as a Fire Fighter and Officer in the Point Breeze Fire Department (PBFD) in Rockaway, NY. After attending the Nassau County Fire Academy, Tom served in all capacities in the PBFD, including Training Officer and Chief of Department.
Tom was the Captain of the Truck Company and the Heavy Rescue Unit of the Department. He holds certifications in Heavy Rescue, Advanced Vehicle Extrication, Confined Space Rescue and Trench Rescue. During his service with the PBFD he was involved in many Hurricane and North Easter responses. The PBFD was located on the South Shore of Queens County, NY, on the Rockaway Peninsula. Tom was also involved as a rescuer at the crash of a major airliner just outside of JFK Airport, and served as a sector officer at the grounding of the Golden Venture, a cargo ship loaded with illegal Chinese aliens that ran aground on Rockaway Beach. Many of the aliens jumped overboard into heavy surf conditions and required rescue.
After graduation from Brooklyn Law School, Tom was appointed an Assistant District Attorney by Mario Merola, Bronx District Attorney. He served in the Arson Investigations Bureau where in addition to prosecuting Arson cases he also served as Supervisor of the newly formed Bronx Coordinated Arson Project (BCAP) and served as a member of the NYC Mayor's Arson Task Force. From 1978 thru 1982 Tom was designated the Arson DA, and his authorization was required for any Arson arrest made in Bronx County. He was on call 24/7 for consultation and authorization to make an arrest. Tom was also a lecturer at the NYC Police Academy and NYC Fire Academy, as well as many public forums.
After moving to Florida in 1997 Tom immediately joined the Tavernier Fire Department in the Upper Florida Keys. He also worked for Monroe County in the Public Safety Division. Shortly after he began working for the County, he moved to the Office of Emergency Management as the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Administrator. In this position Tom was responsible for planning the County’s response to any radiological emergency. Such an emergency may arise as a result of an accident involving the transport of radiological material or an emergency at the nearby Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. Tom was also responsible for training responders for such an emergency, and he served as the Monroe County Haz Mat Instructor.
He formed the Radiological Response Team, a team made up of Fire Fighters, EMTs and Law Enforcement officers trained to handle radiological incidents. It should be noted that in the early aftermath of 09/11 this Team was the County’s only Haz-Mat capable response team, and they responded Keys-wide to numerous suspected Anthrax incidents. Tom is a certified instructor in Radiological Response Courses by both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Department of Energy (DOE).
As a member of the County’s Office of Emergency Management, Tom served as the County’s Incident Commander for all countywide disasters. These disasters have included tornadoes, activation of the EOC for 9/11, haz-mat incidents, and numerous hurricanes, notably Charley, Ivan, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Tom's involvement in the County’s 09/11 activation was cut short on 09/12 when he returned to NYC. His oldest son, Fire Fighter Thomas P. Cullen, III, assigned to FDNY Squad 41 was killed in the collapse of the South Tower.
In June of 2008 Tom retired from Monroe County Fire Rescue and Emergency Management and moved to Maryville, TN, located a few miles southwest of Knoxville. When he arrived he joined the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad as a member of their Heavy Rescue Team. This team provides all technical rescue services for Knox County as well as most of East TN. In September 2010, Tom accepted the position of Chief when it was offered to him by the Board of Directors of the Squad. The squad has over 150 members and provides rescue services 24/7 for Knox County utilizing on-duty crews manning light rescue trucks. These are supplemented by six special teams, including the Heavy Team, Dive and Swift Water, Cave and Vertical, Disaster Medical, Search and Support Teams. Additionally the Squad is the Host agency for Tennessee Task Force 3, a state USAR team. The squad has seven boats for rescue work and was heavily involved in the recent Nashville floods, having performed over 90 rescues and searching over 300 flood-damaged buildings. They are also responsible for use and maintenance of over $1 million in collapse rescue, trench rescue and confined space rescue equipment.
Tom remains a Florida Certified Fire Service Instructor. Additionally he is a State of Florida and FEMA certified ICS Instructor (L449) and has conducted numerous ICS Courses for the Fire service and Law Enforcement Agencies. He is certified as an instructor in WMD and Terrorism courses by ODP and DHS, and Tom is also an IAFF Haz-Mat trainer.
He has taken numerous Fire and Emergency Management courses at Fire Academies in New York, New Jersey and Florida as well as through the National Fire Academy (NFA) and the Emergency Management Institute. His "hands on" Radiological Training took place at Mt. Weather in Virginia and at the National Test Site in Nevada. He is also trained as a FEMA USAR Task Force Team Planning Manager and Technical Information Specialist.
During his long career Tom has served as Incident Commander at thousands of incidents ranging in complexity from simple emergency calls to County and State wide disasters. He has also conducted hundreds of classes, exercises and training forums on ICS and other emergency response related topics.
Keith C. Cortner, CSM
Emergency Management Specialist | Lead Instructor
Mr. Cortner serves as project manager and lead instructor for Early Alert, Inc. After 16 years in retail management, he transitioned to a career in the fire service. Cortner is currently employed by the City of Ft. Myers Fire Department, and is the Logistics Coordinator for the Ft. Myers Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue Team. He is an approved Continuing Education Instructor for the State of Florida USAR program.
Prior to relocating to Lee County, Florida, Cortner was Chief of the Tavernier Fire Department in Monroe County, Florida, for two years. He previously worked as the Training / Logistics Battalion Chief for Monroe County Fire Rescue for four years, a position which included the directorship of the state certified fire academy in Monroe County. While with Monroe County, he served as Training Co-Chairperson on the Region Seven Domestic Security Task Force to determine training criteria for the regions First Responders. Cortner has extensive experience in emergency operations after hurricanes in south Florida, including local incident command in his fire department operating area, post-storm search and rescue operations, and pre- and post-storm EOC operations.
Cortner has a diverse and extensive portfolio as a fire services instructor. He holds instructor-level certifications in Live Fire Training, Technical Rescue Operations, Confined Space Rescue, Rope Rescue, Trench Rescue, Structural Collapse Rescue, Vehicle and Machinery Rescue, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Highway Safety and OAIRE. He currently teaches at the Lee County Fire Academy and numerous Lee County fire departments. Keith has completed and now instructs several Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Incident Command System courses including ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800. He has also completed the ICS 300 and 400 direct delivery courses and the L-449 train-the-trainer program, and is currently working on the FEMA/EMI Professional Development Series. In addition, he has completed several of the courses related to Disaster response and emergency management.
Cortner is a Certified Supervisory Manager (CSM) and Emergency Medical Technician. He holds a SARTECH II Certification from the National Association of Search and Rescue, L-449 ICS Master/Lead Instructor, and National Fire Academy Planning Section Chief (L-962). Cortner was also was a member of FEMA Task Force II and Florida Special Response Team-A as a K-9 Search Handler. Cortner and his K-9 partner had numerous search activations in Monroe and Broward counties and, most notably, a 10-day international deployment to Papua, New Guinea, following a tsunami in 1998.
His memberships include Firefighter Union Local 1826, International Association of Firefighters, Florida Fire Chiefs Association and the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR).
Richard P. Fernandez, EMT-P, AS EMS
Lead Instructor All Hazard Training Division
Richard is currently employed by the City of Coral Gables Fire Department located in Miami Dade County. An 18 year veteran of the fire service, Richard has worked in many capacities during his career. With the city he has held the rank of Lieutenant assigned to The Fire Prevention Division responsible for first line supervision of the fire and life safety inspection program, Public Information and Education officer responsible for all media relations and school resource education.
Richard later transferred to the Training Division as a Lieutenant in charge of fire and EMS training. Richard also served as the department coordinator for all special response team training and operations. Richard was then promoted to Captain of EMS operations and Training. Richard also serves as the Deputy Fire Chief of the Key Largo Volunteer Fire rescue Department. Responsibilities include Operations, Training, Budget, and Strategic Planning.
Richard also works for Miami Dade College where he is a part time faculty member teaching courses in Fire minimum Standards, Leadership, Prevention and Environmental Sciences. Richard also teaches First Responder, EMT, and Paramedic courses for the college.
Richard has been teaching a wide range of Fire Service Disciplines since 1996 traveling all over the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and Central and South America. Richard has provided numerous firefighting and rescue extrication training courses to several S.A. countries. He routinely travels to Ecuador providing basic firefighting, rescue and incident management courses in the cities Guayquil, Salinas and Cuencas.
Richards's certifications include: Paramedic, Fire Service Instructor, Fire Service Inspector, Technical Rescue Instructor, National certified Flight Medic, and AIDS Counselor.
Richard also holds an Associate in Science degree in Emergency Medical Services, as well as attending the United States National Fire Academy and completing all their Incident Command courses: Fire Command, Command of Multiple Alarm Incidents, Command and Control of target Hazards, and Command and Control of Natural and man made Hazards. Richard has also completed course work in the National Fire Academies Executive Officer Program.
Richard has responded to numerous disasters during his career, in which he has participated in the front line, Forward Command Post, Staging Officer, Emergency Operations Center, Incident Command, Operations, Planning, and Logistics. Disasters include Hurricanes Andrew, George, Mitch, Katrina, Wilma, Rita. The 1996 Wildfires of Florida, Stand by for 911 World Trade Center USAR, and assist in PIO related duties for the Florida Value Jet Crash.
Memberships include: Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee USA (TERC) where Richard is the Region 3 District Chair, International Fire Chiefs Association, Miami Dade Chief Officers Association serve on the EMS Committee, Monroe County Fire Chiefs Association.
Professor Gray is renowned for his seasonal forecasts of Atlantic hurricane activity and United States landfall strike probabilities. His annual prediction of the number, location and intensity of tropical cyclones during the approaching hurricane season is carried by every major media outlet in the country, and is used for planning by emergency officials in the United States and other countries in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico area.
He joined the Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science in 1961 after spending four years as a research assistant in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Chicago. He also spent four years as a U.S. Air Force Weather Officer. He has specialized in the global aspects of tropical cyclones for his entire professional career. Dr Gray received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Dept. of Geophysical Sciences in 1964. He has been with Colorado State Universit'ys Dept. of Atmospheric Science since 1961, and has been a professor since 1974.
Dr. Gray has been recognized for his many scientific achievements by the American Meteorological Society and the World Meteorological Organization. Professor Gra'ys research involves studies of tropical cyclones genesis, structure intensity change and motion. He also studies seasonal weather prediction and the physical processes associated with ENSO and monsoon variability.
AWARDS/HONORS: Fellow, American Meteorological Society; CSU "Jack E. Cermak" Graduate School Award for Outstanding Adviser (1992); Co-recipient of AMS Banner I. Miller Award (1993); AMS Jule L. Charney Award (1993); Neil Frank Award of the National Hurricane Conference (April 14, 1995), "for pioneering research into long-range hurricane forecasting and for developing a better understanding of how global climatological conditions shape the creation and intensity of tropical cyclones"; Invited lecture for Eighth IMO Lecture to the 12th WMO Congress, Geneva, June, 1995. (This is an honorary award given to senior scientists in recognition of lifetime research achievements; ABC Television "Person of the Week", September, 1995; Man of Science Award by the Colorado Chapter of Achievement Reward College (ARC) Scientist (1995).
Meteorologists & Watch Team
Daily Operations – Early Alert’s Meteorological & Watch Team
Early Alert’s Meteorological & Watch Team issues an array of customized products that keep our clients well informed of potential “All Hazard” threats to associates, public safety, property holdings and service disruptions that pose any threat to continuity of operations. Monitoring, assessing, and evaluating potential hazards and their potential impacts are performed multiple times daily.
Tod LeMoine, Lead Meteorologist with degrees in Meteorology and Marine Science, directs the MET TEAM’s day to day operations. Early Alert’s Chief Meteorologist and former National Weather Service Science and Operations Officer, Kermit Keeter, is in charge of our MET TEAM and oversees the development of Early Alert’s meteorological products and services.
Our Met Team includes Jeremy Gilchrist, Chris Misenis, Todd Ferebee, Scott Cravens, and Jillian Gilmartin, all of whom hold undergraduate or graduate degrees in meteorology. In addition to their interests in all types of hazardous threats, they are also involved in all-hazard situational awareness, emergency communications, atmospheric modeling, computer programming, research, storm verification, and videography of meteorological phenomena.
www.earlyalert.com - Emergency Management & Business Continuity. Providing disaster and continuity of operations and consulting for governmental agencies and corporations. We offer unparalleled, hands-on experience in the field of public safety, contingency development, emergency management, disaster operations, business continuity, all hazard training and loss mitigation. www.earlyalert.com covers USA, Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, Caribbean and South Korea : - Situational Awareness Disaster Planning - Hurricane Tracking.
- Early Alert Technologies, a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Early Alert, Inc., launched their new "tornadoAlert" device.
12/01/2013 in Early Alert
- 2013/2014 U.S. Winter Outlook
12/05/2013 in NOAA/NWS
- U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for December
11/30/2013 in NWS/NOAA
- Hurricane evacuation maps updated on East, Gulf coasts
07/13/2013 in USA Today