Ellen Gordon, FEMA director?

The Associated Press is reporting Ellen Gordon, the former chief of emergency management operations for the State of Iiowa, is being considered for the job of FEMA director.  FEMA, of course, is the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Gordon was administrator of the Iowa Emergency Management division in the Department of Public Safety for Governors Branstad and Vilsack.  After 9/11, Vilsack changed her title (and duties) to reflect her role as Homeland Security advisor to the State of Iowa as well.

Gordon is the past president of the National Emergency Management Association and well regarded in her field.  She is currently associate director of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California.  She also works as a consultant.  Gordon was one of the members of the so-called "Gilmore Commission" which was officially known as an "Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism." (Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was among the commision members.)

I ran into Gordon last summer in the Denver airport as she was flying back home to Iowa and we reminisced about mutual friends and acquaintences. (She is a delightful person, by the way, and just the person you want to sit next to as you wait for your plane to show up at the airport.) Former Governor Tom Vilsack invited Gordon to speak at Harvard last semester while he taught at the Kennedy School.

Here's some other information I discovered in an on-line biography of Gordon: She is the recipient of the Curtis H. "Butch" Straub Award (2003), for exemplary academic achievement and leadership from the Naval Postgraduate School . She is a recipient of the U.S. Army Commanders Award for Public Service and U.S. Army Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service for her meritorious performance. Ms. Gordon was a recipient of the Iowa National Guard Distinguished Service Medal for her contribution and dedication to the State of Iowa . She also received a National Emergency Management Association Presidential Citation and a National Emergency Management Association Award for recognition of her dedication to and support of homeland security.

Ms. Gordon is a graduate of Truman State University , Kirksville , Missouri with a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement and Corrections (Criminal Justice) and holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies (Homeland Defense and Homeland Security) from the Naval Postgraduate School (2004).


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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.