James Lee Witt James Lee Witt is a former White House cabinet member and director of FEMA. He currently serves as senior advisor to fortune 500 companies and government leaders around the world. He recently provided strategic counsel to the top European executives of a major multi-national corporation. He is recognized for his leadership and expertise in business continuity as well as crisis and emergency management. He is held in high esteem by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, who often seek his guidance and counsel on major policy issues. He is known for his ability to plow through the haze and tension and bring people together to develop common sense solutions to the most complex issues.
He has advised many government leaders and chief executive officers for companies large and small around the world. When BP was sinking fast in a sea of discontent and distrust, the newly appointed CEO sought advice from James Lee above all other consultants working with the company during the crisis. He remained BP’s senior advisor as the public opinion slide began to turn.
James Lee is perhaps best known for the credit he received for turning FEMA from an unsuccessful bureaucratic agency to an internationally acclaimed all-hazards disaster management agency. His leadership abilities have been praised by such organizations as the Council for Excellence in Government, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the National Association of Broadcasters.
“FEMA has developed a sterling reputation for delivering disaster-relief services, a far cry from its abysmal standing before James Lee Witt took its helm in 1993. How did Witt turn FEMA around so quickly? Well, he is the first director of the agency to have emergencymanagement experience. He stopped the staffing of the agency by political patronage. He removed layers of bureaucracy. Most important, he instilled in the agency a spirit of preparedness, of service to the customer, of willingness to listen to ideas of local and state officials to make the system work better.” -The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
As FEMA Director, Mr. Witt coordinated federal disaster response and recovery on behalf of the White House and oversaw more than 350 disasters, some of which were the most devastating disasters of all time. Following his service in government, James Lee authored a book titled Stronger in the Broken Places: Nine Lessons for Turning Crisis into Triumph.
James Lee previously served as Chairman of the Board of Witt O’Brien’s providing local governments, the international community, corporations, hospitals, universities, and other non-profit organizations with innovative disaster mitigation solutions. James Lee is married with two children and three grandchildren. He divides his time between Little Rock, his hometown of Dardanelle, Arkansas and Washington, DC.
Chief R. David Paulison is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in emergency and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery having completed seven years of federal service culminating in his appointment as Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This appointment followed a 30-year career in fire and emergency management. Chief Paulison is a proven organizational leader who won widespread praise for his restoration of FEMA as a competent, credible agency. He was the first FEMA Administrator to be sworn in as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.
Chief Paulison has also served in other capacities at the federal level, including as Administrator of the United States Fire Administration, Director of Preparedness at FEMA and on the transition team during the design of the Department of Homeland Security.
Chief Paulison retired as the Fire Chief of Miami-Dade County in 2001 after 30 years in firefighting and nine years as Chief. During his tenure, Chief Paulison was responsible for managing the Office of Emergency Management and the internationally experienced Urban Search and Rescue Team.
He currently is the Senior Partner of Global Emergency Solutions and does consulting work for several large corporations. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Underwriters Laboratories and the National Fire Protection Association.
Miami-Dade County recently renamed the Fire Department Headquarter building the R, David Paulison Fire and Rescue Headquarters Building
Chief Paulison holds a Bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University and completed the John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University.
Robert R. Latham Jr. retired as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency on February 1, 2016. He served in that position during the period January 2000 until July 2006 under Governor Ronnie Musgrove and Governor Haley Barbour and again from January 2012 until February 2016 under Governor Phil Bryant. Mr. Latham served as an emergency management and homeland security consultant in the private sector from July 2006 until January 2012 specializing in subject matter expertise to clients in the development of programs to assist local, state, federal and non-government organizations, and the private sector in all-hazards preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities.
After Sept. 11, Mr. Latham was appointed by Governor Musgrove as his Homeland Security Advisor where he served until April 2004 overseeing the state’s homeland security activities including the development of the state’s first homeland security strategy, managing more than $65 million in homeland security funding and developing the state’s regional response capability thru the fielding of nine regional response teams. As MEMA Director, Mr. Latham was responsible for overseeing more than 65 governor’s state of emergency and the preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities for 16 presidential disaster declarations, including Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005.
During his tenure as MEMA Director, Mr. Latham served on the Central US Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board for two terms, Chairman of the Mississippi Wireless Communication Commission for two years, Chairman of the Mississippi Coordinating Council for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems, and a member of NEMA where he served as Chairman of the Legislative Committee and the Response and Recovery Committee.
Joseph F. Myers, CEO of Disasters, Strategies & Ideas Group (DSI) served as the Director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management for nine years, and the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) for over eight years. He has been involved in emergency management in city, county and state government for more than 30 years. As the Director of FDEM, Mr. Myers was responsible for the State’s Emergency Response Plan after Hurricane Andrew and ensuring coordination among cities, counties and the State in preparation for natural disasters and in response to them. He also designed and implemented the Florida Emergency Management System, which is the foundation in use to this day.
Mr. Myers came to his position in Florida from North Carolina after serving in that State’s Division of Emergency Management for approximately twenty years. While serving as Director in North Carolina, Mr. Myers developed the Model Systems Project, which was designed to assist FEMA with the transformation from the cold war to all hazard emergency management.
Mr. Myers was twice elected President of the National Emergency Management Association, and has received numerous awards, including, The Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service Award, The Neil Frank Award, The Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina National Guard and the Florida Fire Chief’s, the Bob Sheet’s Award and The Governor’s Award for the State of Florida, and has served on Governor Jeb Bush’s Florida Terrorism Advisory Board. As a State Director, Mr. Myers served as a State Coordinating Officer for numerous disasters, including Hurricanes Gloria, Hugo, Andrew, Opal, Floyd and in addition managed Gulf War Repatriation, Cuban Mass Migration, and the 1998 Florida Fires. Mr. Myers also served on the NEMA Mitigation Committee for two years and played a key leadership role in the development and implementation of national and state mitigation strategies and programs—including those found in the current Stafford Act.
COL. Feuerborn, a native of Lexington, Oklahoma, graduated from the Oklahoma City Police Cadet School in 1959. He was employed by the Norman Police Department until 1963, when he joined the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, as Director of Communications and Civil Defense Liaison. In 1966, COL Feuerborn relinquished his post with the Public Safety to volunteer for active duty with the U.S. Army. He remained on active duty with the Army until his retirement in 1990. Military accomplishments include a tour of combat in Vietnam. He has commanded a Military Police Company, two Military Police Battalions and a Military Police Brigade. He had several staff assignments, including two as Deputy Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Military Police School and Provost Marshal of U.S Forces Korea. COL Feuerborn is the former Director of the Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency Management. He managed state Response and Recovery Operations in seven Presidentially declared disasters and seven State declared
Military accomplishments include a tour of combat in Vietnam. He has commanded a Military Police Company, two Military Police Battalions and a Military Police Brigade. He had several staff assignments, including two as Deputy Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Military Police School and Provost Marshal of U.S Forces Korea. COL Feuerborn is the former Director of the Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency Management. He managed state Response and Recovery Operations in seven Presidentially declared disasters and seven State declared disasters. This included the Oklahoma City Bombing. He resigned August 31, 1997, to move to Franklin, Tennessee.
COL Feuerborn graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. He also graduated from the Command and General staff College and the U.S. Army War College. COL Feuerborn is currently a member of the American Legion, the V.F.W., the Middle Tennessee Retired Officer’s Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the Williamson County Emergency Communication District, presently serving as the Vice Chairman of the Board. COL Feuerborn served on the Franklin Planning Commission for three years and as an elected Franklin City Alderman for four years.