Speakers

Jerry L. Beckett
Jerry Beckett is the Cabell County Emergency Management Planner. His duties include Training and Exercise coordination, NIMS compliance, Emergency Operations and Continuity planning, public preparedness training, CERT coordination, Chairman of the Cabell/Wayne LEPC, facilitator for the Cabell/Wayne Homeland Security Group, Special Needs Registry, Emergency Operations Center Manager, and other duties as assigned. He is also a RESA III Instructor, and a WV University Adjunct Instructor.

Prior to his appointment as Cabell County Emergency Planner, he served as the Regional Coordinator for Homeland Security Region VI, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. His duties were to facilitate reporting and exchange of information between local and county organizations and the Homeland Security State Administrative Agency, aid county commissions, county emergency management offices, local law enforcement agencies, county health departments, local non-governmental organizations and others in understanding and complying with federal and state mandates including the National Incident Management System, Continuity of Operations and Continuity of Government Planning, information on Critical Infrastructure, and various training requirements.

Jerry served 27 years with the Huntington Fire Department. He worked through the ranks to the position of Deputy Chief where he served as a Shift Commander responsible for the safety and welfare of 32 officers and firefighters. He was the Incident Commander at all fire, rescue, and hazardous materials incidents which occurred during his tour of duty. During his tenure, Jerry was the Incident Commander at one of the largest chemical spills in WV. He was deployed to Mississippi as Team Leader responsible for evaluating damage to the Fire Service caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Jerry was a Crash/Rescue Specialist with the US Army from 1974 until his Honorable Discharge in 1977. He holds an Associate Degree in Fire Science Technology from Marshall University and has attended numerous classes and seminars in West Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Maryland, Ohio, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. These include, but are not limited to; Hazardous Materials Technician Instructor, Rail Car Specialist, Emergency Medical Technician, Educational Methodologies, Confined Space Rescue, Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Instructor, Incident Commander Position Specific Instructor, Public Information Officer, and All Hazards Management.


Dr. Matthew J. Blackwood
Dr. Matthew Blackwood is the Homeland Security Coordinator with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) where he has worked since 1994. He writes emergency plans, conducts specialized training programs, and coordinates state-wide initiatives within his agency.

Dr. Blackwood collaborates with the WV Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety in the development of state-wide homeland security programs. As part of a homeland security task force he recently developed the WV Homeland Security Strategy to guide the allocation funds to address homeland security initiatives. Dr. Blackwood has also served on an evaluation team responsible for completing the annual DHS State Preparedness Report for the last several years. He also works closely with personnel from WV homeland security regions in the development of response plans to comply with the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standard Act in dealing with pets during emergencies. Matt is active in the developing ICS training and serves as the Planning Section Chief of the WVDA Incident Management Team. He also is also one of the official representatives of the WVDA to the State Emergency Operations Center where he serves as the liaison during emergencies.

Dr. Blackwood currently serves on the WV Critical Infrastructure Protection Task Force (CIPTF) as the representative of the Food and Agriculture Sector and as the GIS subject matter expert. Matt also works closely with the WV Intelligence Fusion Center as the agriculture representative. He also serves as a Fusion Liaison Officer with the WV Intelligence Fusion Center.

Dr. Blackwood also serves as the current Past-Chair of the Kanawha-Putnam Emergency Planning Committee (KPEPC). He has volunteered with the KPEPC since 1997 in a variety of roles including developing emergency response plans, evaluating exercises and drills, and coordinating activities between chemical facilities and the CIPTF.

Dr. Blackwood has a BS in communications from Ohio University, an MBA from Virginia Tech, an MS in Environmental Science from Marshall University, and a PhD in policy and planning from Virginia Tech. His doctoral research was entitled Local Emergency Planning Committees: Collaboration, Risk Communication, Information Technology, and Homeland Security. Blackwood recently completed an MA in Homeland Security from the Center of Homeland Defense and Security program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. His research through the Naval Postgraduate School is entitled Homeland Security within State Departments of Agriculture: Success Factors and Barriers to an Effective Security Program.


Craig Crosby
FEMA Region 3, Individual Assistance

Craig Crosby began his career in disaster services with the American Red Cross in 1996. There, he served as the volunteer staff deployment manager for Pennsylvania during Sept. 11th and soon after joined the Southeastern Pennsylvania/Philadelphia Chapter as the Response Manager. In 2009, he moved to the FEMA Region 3 office as the Red Cross liaison for mass care activities and then joined FEMA as an Individual Assistance Program Specialist in 2010. Since joining FEMA, Craig has served as the Individual Assistance Branch Director on 3 disasters in West Virginia, as well as disasters in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Maryland.


Greg Fuller
Greg Fuller has over 30 years of safety and emergency services experience. Greg completed a two-year pilot program as an emergency disaster response planner for the West Virginia Military Authority in 2011. He is presently engaged as an Area Liaison for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.

Fuller honorably completed his tenure with the City of Huntington retiring as Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Services in 2009. He is cross-trained in law enforcement, emergency medical services, and hazardous materials and holds certification as an emergency management specialist.

Fuller completed a master degree in safety management at Marshall University in Huntington. He holds undergraduate degrees in fire science technology and occupational firefighting.


Jenny Gannaway
Jenny is currently the State Chair for WV VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). She became State Chair in June 2012, prior to becoming State Chair she served as coordinator of WV VOAD. Jenny has been instrumental in rebuilding WV VOAD and their membership, VOAD members has increased from five active members to thirty two active members under Jenny’s guidance. Jenny is working with FEMA VAL’s to set up Long Term Recovery Groups throughout WV to help families affected by disasters in 2012 with recovery.

Prior to becoming involved with WV VOAD Jenny was a Crisis Counselor for PRO WV. PRO WV Crisis Counselors links survivors with information needed to recover from disasters. Jenny worked for PRO WV after the flooding in Mingo County in 2009 and in Logan and Mingo Counties in 2011.

Currently Jenny is the President of the Mingo County Disaster Center. The Mingo County Disaster Center serves as a distribution for the entire county during disasters. The Center also hosts an annual Christmas Party for under privileged children and the homeless.

Jenny attended Southern WV Community and Technical College for two years and is a graduate of Morehead state University where she received a degree in Communications and Radio/TV (Technical).


Chaplain Mike Jarrett
Mike Jarrett is the current Chaplain, Public Information Officer, Firefighter / EMT for Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, in Charleston, WV. He the current co-chair of West Virginia Council of Churches Disaster Response Committee and Salvation Army Board Advisor and Board of Directors with Kanawha Putnam Emergency Planning Committee. Jarrett has 30 years experience with emergency services with Hazmat, Fire Service, EMS and Pastoral Care and 15 years experience as Emergency Services Chaplain and CISM Director for KCEAA. He is a former West Virginia Regional Response Team Public Information Officer and Chaplain. Jarrett was deployed as field chaplain for several Line of Duty Death accidents as well as at Ghent Explosion, and Charleston, South Carolina firefighter fatalities. He also has had 6 DHHR/OBHS deployments as field chaplain including UBB disaster. Chaplain Jarrett has a Pastoral Ministry Diploma from WV Baptist Convention.
Certifications:

  • ICISF certified CISM Basic approved Instructor
  • ICISF certified CISM Peer approved Instructor
  • ICISF certified CISM Group Advanced approved Instructor
  • ICISF certified CISM Pastoral Crisis Intervention approved Instructor
  • ICISF certified CISM Response to Terrorism
  • ICISF certified CISM Psychology of Terrorism
  • ICISF certified CISM Grief following Trauma
  • ICISF approved CISM Instructor
  • FEMA certified Crisis Counseling

Jennifer Posten
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD)

As Director for Member Services for NVOAD, Jennifer Posten is responsible for strategic relationship development, quality program implementation, and maintaining productive relations with National Members and State VOADs. She serves as the main point of contact between members and the National VOAD headquarters, provides primary project management for the National VOAD Conference, and supervises support for the work of member committees, task forces or councils.

Ms. Posten worked for 7 years as Director of the Office of Preparedness & Response at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston. She recently served as President/Chair for the Texas Gulf Coast Regional VOAD, a position she also held for two years during the Katrina response period. She previously served as chair for the multi-county Hurricane Ike Long-term Recovery Committee and for many years was the designated community liaison to Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management and the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management, with incident activations including Katrina, Rita, Dolly, Gustov and Ike.

In 2005, Ms. Posten was actively involved in the recruiting of over 42,000 faith-based volunteers for Operation Compassion in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, she spoke at the White House at the request of then DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff about Houston’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Jennifer has chaired, organized and managed many preparedness conferences and developed and managed many volunteer and disaster preparedness and response programs.


Joseph Thornton
Cabinet Secretary
West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety

Born in Princeton, West Virginia, Joe is a 1983 graduate of Athens High School. After graduation, he entered the United States Air Force where he served 10 years, receiving an honorable discharge. During his Air Force career, Joe was stationed in San Antonio, Texas; Minot, North Dakota and Pirinclik Air Station, Turkey: where he served in direct support of the nation’s first Gulf War efforts.

Upon separation from the Air Force in August 1994, Joe enrolled in the Journalism and Mass Communications program at Marshall University where he completed his bachelor’s degree – with honors – in May 1998. Joe continued his studies and enrolled in the Marshall University graduate program to begin his master’s level studies in Public Relations; at which time he was also hired by WSAZ News Channel 3 in Charleston. Joe received his master’s degree in May 2000 and was named an Outstanding Master’s Program student.

In October 2001, Joe began his career path in State Government when he was hired as a public information specialist with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. He served in that capacity until January 2005 when he took over as Director of the Division of Rural Health, Bureau for Public Health, WV DHHR.

In September 2005, Joe was hired as Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Operations and Media Relations for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. In December, 2009, Joe was appointed Acting Cabinet Secretary of the department and on June 2, 2010, was officially appointed as Cabinet Secretary of DMAPS. Upon Governor Earl Ray Tomblin taking office in November, 2010, he asked Joe to remain in his role as Cabinet Secretary.


Eric Tissenbaum
Eric Tissenbaum is an Independent Living Advocacy Specialist for the Appalachian Center for Independent Living, Inc. where he primarily serves Calhoun, Jackson and Roane Counties. He has over twenty five years’ experience with developmental disabilities, mental health, and physical rehabilitation as a recreation therapist, and clinician. He is Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP), Qualified Mental Retardation Professional II (QMRPII) and has completed the SAMSHA Foundations of Prevention Certification. He has a background in EMS, serves on the Kanawha Putnam Emergency Planning Committee Board of Directors. Eric enjoys working with the Boy Scouts where he is merit badge counselor for first aid, fire safety, emergency preparedness, disability awareness, and search and rescue.

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