Meet the 2013 Arizona Emergency Services Executive Board Members
Executive Board Biographies
Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management
Julie Syrmopoulos took her current role as Operations Manager for the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management in 2009. The Department is responsible for disaster mitigation, response, and recovery for Maricopa County.
With more than 24 years of government experience in operations, public information and relations, her background ranges over various departments and disciplines including planning & development, public works, environmental services and emergency management.
Julie Syrmopoulos holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and an MBA in International Business from the Thunderbird Graduate School of Global Management.
Sergeant Richard Guinn
Emergency Management Coordinator
Apache County Sheriff’s Office
Sgt. Richard Guinn currently serves as the Emergency Management Coordinator for Apache County, Arizona.
His responsibilities include drafting, development and implementation of response, mitigation and preparedness plans; coordinating response efforts and resources to incidents within the county and with neighboring jurisdictions; and “other duties as assigned” by the Sheriff or Chief Deputy.
Richard started with the Sheriff’s Office in April of 2001, as a resident Deputy in Chinle, AZ on the Navajo Nation. In January 2005, he was reassigned to St Johns, AZ where he assumed the Emergency Management duties of the agency. In 2010, the Board of Supervisors incorporated the Division of Emergency Management into the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office now coordinates all county emergency management functions.
Director, Emergency Management
Pinal County Office of Emergency Management
Lou serves as the Director for the Office of Emergency Management in Pinal County. In terms of population, Pinal County is the Third Largest County in the state of Arizona and has a land mass larger than the size of Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut. The Office of Emergency Management is responsible for coordinating all facets of emergency management to include mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery programs. In addition, Lou supervises the operations and management of the Environmental Investigations (EI) section, responsible for enforcing specific environmental regulations throughout Pinal County. Lou also serves as the coordinator for the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and is the Chairman of the Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology (CAVIT) Public Safety Board. In 2011, Lou was honored by CAVIT as the “Business Person of the Year” and he continues to enhance his relationships with other community partners.
Lou was selected as Director for the Office of Emergency Management in October 2009. Since that time, he has managed several operations dealing with flooding, hazardous materials, dust storms, electrical outages, wildfires, snow storms, and other emergency incidents all throughout Pinal County. He also co-served as the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Manager during the Wallow Fire-the largest wildfire in Arizona state history.
In In addition to his duties as Director of Emergency Management, Lou serves as an Adjunct Instructor for the Arizona Division of Emergency Management. His certifications and experience include: Incident Command Systems Instructor (ICS 100-400), Hospital Emergency Response to Terrorism Training Instructor, Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools Instructor, Terrorism Awareness Instructor, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Management and Operations Instructor, Bomb Materials Awareness Instructor, First Responder Operations and Awareness Instructor, and Hazardous Materials Instructor; specializing in Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Terrorism Awareness. Lou previously instructed Chemistry at Arizona Western College, as well as instructing College Chemistry and Conceptual Physics for the Marine Corps' Enlisted Education Program. A former firefighter with the Rural/Metro Fire Department, Lou holds certifications as a Firefighter, Paramedic, and Hazardous Materials Instructor through the International Association of Firefighters. Lou has completed the Advanced Professional Series (APS) from FEMA and is a Certified Continuity Practitioner.
Lou holds an Associate’s Degree in Para-medicine (with highest honors), a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and Chemistry, and a Masters Degree in Business. Lou has held membership in the American Chemical Society, American Society of Military Engineers, the National Registry of Environmental Professionals, and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society as well as being named onto the National Dean's List. He is a current member of the American Society of Industrial Security and the National Emergency Management Association. He also is a graduate of the Marine Corps’ School of War fighting, Amphibious Warfare School, and Command and Staff College. Lou also has certifications as Department of the Navy Anti-Terrorism Officer and Training Officer, and has attended the state of Arizona course as a Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO). Lou received formal education and has experience serving in a variety of military capacities to include Anti-Terrorism. Force Protection and Security Operations. Lou continues to expand his educational knowledge by advancing his academic credentials and is active in several civic organizations within his community.
Santa-Cruz County Health Emergency Preparedness
I’m currently the Program Manager for the Santa Cruz County Health Services Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program for the last eight years. The Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response Program promotes and develops comprehensive public health response plans, and is responsible for training and exercise of those plans. Work closely with all local and regional partners during declared emergencies and incidents where Emergency Management is called for assistance.
Santa Cruz County Public Health Services received recognition in February 2012 from the National Association of County & City Health Officials as being Project Public Health Ready. Project Public Health Ready is a criteria-based public health preparedness program that assesses local health department capacity and capability to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies.
A member of the Santa Cruz County LEPC, and participates on the Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization 5310 Transportation Panel. I was the Vice President for the Arizona Local Public Health Emergency Response Association in 2006.
I was the EOC Manager during the Murphy Complex Fire in 2011. I received my Professional Development Series Certificate in January, 2012, and the Advanced Professional Series in May, 2012.
I have over 25 years experience in the Public Health field.
Director of Communications, EMS Field Scheduling and Technical Services
SW Ambulance / Rural Metro
Joe Gibson, a native Arizonan, has committed over three decades of his professional life to public safety and emergency medical services. He began his career with Associated Ambulance in 1979. Joe has worked with both ground and air ambulance companies his entire professional career, including, Rural Metro, Arizona Medical Transport / Survival Flight, Samaritan AirEvac, and Southwest Ambulance. In 1999, Gibson became the Communication Manager for Rural Metro and SW Ambulance. Additionally, Gibson was General Manager for Support Services, Inter-facility Services and Scottsdale Emergency Medical Services. Gibson was also the General Manager for the East Valley’s 9-1-1 including Northeast Valley, Southeast Valley and Pinal County. He currently oversees operations in the Dispatch Center for Southwest Ambulance & Rural/Metro Fire Department, the technical services group, and the Southwest Ambulance field-scheduling department, managing 77 employees in multiple locations and effectively monitors the dispatch center, which dispatches more than 200,000 calls per year.
Gibson is actively involved in several State and Local Boards and Commissions, including;
State of Arizona, Emergency Medical Services Council (Gov Appointed),
Chair, Disaster Preparedness Committee Az Emergency Response Commission Advisory Committee (Gov appointed)
Arizona Ambulance Association (Elected), Treasurer,
Secretary / Treasurer, Central Region Director, Air Region Director
ADHS Central Region Committee on Public Health Preparedness (Appointed)
Arizona Emergency Medical Services, (AEMS) – Elected-Vice Chair of the Board, Board Member
Chair, Planning and Outreach Functional Group
Chair , AEMS Odyssey Conference
Maricopa County Healthcare Disaster Preparedness Council (Appointed), Member, Executive Council
Arizona Fire District Association (Member)
Arizona Fire Chief’s Association (Member)
Arizona Public Safety Communications Committee (Attendee)
Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (Attendee)
Salt River Project
Business Continuity & Emergency Management
Ken Lewis works for the Salt River Project in the Business Continuity & Emergency Management department. He assists this major utility in emergency plan development, EOC utilization, plan exercises, drills and activations. He serves as a liaison with cities in the East Valley area in power and water issues.
Ken holds the Certified Emergency Manager and Certified Business Continuity Professional certifications. He has a Masters of Public Administration degree and teaches part-time at Grand Canyon University in their Emergency Management degree program.
Ken’s previous career was in the fire service. He started as a firefighter/paramedic for the Denton, Texas Fire Department. He worked up the ranks over the years to become the Fire Chief of the Pinewood Fire District here in Arizona. Like many in emergency management, a background in fire and/or medical fields was a good background to transition to the emergency management field.
Ken was elected the Membership Chair in 2010 and strives to provide great service to all AESA members.
Public Relations Chair
Arizona Division of Emergency Management
Whitney Roberts serves as the Human Services Program Specialist and Deputy Voluntary Agency Liaison within the Recovery Section of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management. In this role, and by partnering with agencies and voluntary organizations, Whitney works with those in Arizona who are impacted by disaster.
Over the course of her 16-year career Whitney has served the public in several government and non-profit capacities. A proud civil servant, Whitney’s government experience ranges from serving Arizona Governor Jane Dee Hull in her press office to serving President George W. Bush as a presidential appointee in the General Services Administration (GSA) in Washington D.C. Whitney has also managed fundraising campaigns and special events for various non-profits including but not limited to the American Red Cross and the Arizona State University Foundation.
Along with the AESA, Whitney volunteers her time with the Girls on the Run organization (past Board member). In the past, Whitney was the recipient of the GSA, Administrator’s Excellence in Performance Award (2009) and was elected Precinct Committeeman for AZ’s former 24th Legislative District (2000-2002).
A graduate of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, Whitney holds a BA in political science.
Director, Emergency Management
(Bio Coming Soon)
Arizona Division of Emergency Management
Billy Ross started his public safety career in 1974, as a volunteer firefighter for Rural Metro Fire Department. In 1980, he joined the Arizona Department of Public Safety as a Patrolman and worked the Phoenix freeway.
In 1985, he was transferred to Tucson and worked in the Commercial Vehicle/ Hazardous Materials Unit. After being promoted to Sergeant in 1991, Billy was assigned to the Highway Patrol and then returned to the Commercial Vehicle/ Hazardous Materials Unit in Phoenix.
As the Commander of the DPS Hazardous Materials Unit, Billy was responsible for the agencies responses to transportation hazardous materials incidents, methamphetamine labs, WMD incidents and responded as a State On-Scene Coordinator to several county and local incidents.
Under Billy’s command, the DPS Hazardous Materials Unit was awarded the “Just Works Award” by the U.S. Department of Justice, for the Meth Initiative, and the DPS Director’s Unit Citation. Billy was awarded the Director’s Citation for Professionalism, the Tactical Officer of the Year and the Special Enforcement Bureau, Supervisor of the Year.
In 2004, the DPS Hazardous Materials Unit was assigned to the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC). The Unit became a part of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and Billy was assigned as the DPS WMD Coordinator.
While still responsible for the DPS WMD/ Haz Mat Unit, Billy became the Co-Director of the Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) Program and with the Phoenix Fire Department, assisted in developed the TLO program and directing the procurement of TLO equipment with Homeland Security Grants.
After retirement, Billy became the Private Sector Coordinator at the Arizona Division of Emergency Management in 2010. In 2012 he transferred to the Arizona Department of Homeland Security. He is currently employed as the Emergency Response Manager at the Arizona Division of Emergency Management.
Mohave County Emergency Management
Byron Steward graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and spent 16 years as a drilling engineer and production supervisor in the oil industry. He served 9 years as a volunteer firefighter and fire officer and 4 years as a County Emergency Management Coordinator in Kansas. He has been Mohave County Emergency Management Coordinator since October, 2003.