Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol - Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sept. 22, 2006
Ashwood Named President of National Emergency Management Association
OEM Director Albert Ashwood, right, receives the National Emergency Management Association presidential gavel from outgoing NEMA president Bruce Baughman, Alabama Emergency Management Agency director. Ashwood became NEMA president on Sept. 22.
Oklahoma City -- Oklahoma's top emergency manager, Albert Ashwood, was elected president of the National Emergency Management Association today during the group's annual meeting in Alabama. NEMA is an association of professionals dedicated to enhancing public safety by improving the nation's ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from all emergencies, disasters and threats to the country's security.
Gov. Henry congratulated Ashwood on the honor.
"Albert Ashwood is a dedicated and tireless public servant, and his election as president of NEMA reflects on the professionalism of Oklahoma's Department of Emergency Management," he said.
Ashwood has served as director of the state Department of Emergency Management since August 1997. Prior to his appointment, he served as the agency's deputy director from June 1995 through August of 1997.
He joined the agency in 1988, and has overseen the distribution and administration of more than $500 million in federal and state aid in various positions during his tenure. As director, he spearheaded many of the state's response/recovery efforts, including the May 3, 1999, tornadoes; Interstate-40 bridge collapse; the May 8-9, 2003 tornado outbreak; and Oklahoma's response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Ashwood also helped lead the state's recovery from wildfires in 2005 and 2006.
Ashwood also held the position of state coordinating officer for seven Presidential Disaster Declarations, including the terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Because of his experience with the bombing, New York Gov. George Pataki asked Ashwood to assist with recovery work following the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack.
Established in 1974, NEMA brought together state emergency management directors to exchange information on common issues. Today, NEMA's membership also includes state emergency management staff, homeland security advisors, federal agencies, national non-profit organizations, local government entities, private sector companies and concerned individuals. NEMA is an affiliate organization of the Council of States Governments, headquartered in Lexington, KY. For more information, go to www.nemaweb.org.