Edited news release from Missouri Department of Public Safety:
JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Jerry Lee chose Ryan Nicholls as the new director of the State Emergency Management Agency. Nicholls has served as director of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management for seven years.
“Throughout his career, Ryan has demonstrated strong leadership, a deep commitment to the communities he’s served and a determination to strengthen collaboration among disaster response agencies,” Lee said. “I know he will be a great addition to the team at SEMA, as they stand ready to serve communities in their time of need.”
The Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management in 2012 received full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program. Additionally, Nicholls served in disaster management teams responding to the EF-5 tornado in Joplin in May 2011 and Super Storm Sandy in October 2012.
In addition, in the past two years, Nicholls' office planned and oversaw construction of a new county Emergency Management building that is built to withstand an EF-5 tornado.
Edited news release from Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management:
Ryan Nicholls will begin his new duties on March 25, 2013.
“Ryan Nicholls is the consummate professional and has served the citizens of Greene County with extraordinary leadership and integrity. We will miss him here, but our loss is an incredible gain for the citizens of Missouri,” said Greene County Presiding Commissioner Jim Viebrock.
Nicholls has been at OEM for the past seven years. During that time, he directed response efforts for several major incidents including the crippling ice storm that struck Springfield and Greene County in January 2007. He also served as part of the management team responding to the catastrophic tornado in Joplin in May 2011. Most recently, Nicholls spearheaded the Region D Incident Support Team on a 12-day deployment in response to Hurricane Sandy.
“Ryan and the team at Springfield-Greene County OEM have built a nationally recognized, world-class disaster planning and preparedness program in Springfield and Greene County,” said Mayor Bob Stephens. “Because of this team’s focus and attention to detail, I think we are among the best-prepared communities in the country.”
In August 2012, several federal, state, and local officials joined Nicholls in cutting the ribbon at the new $19.6 million dollar Greene County Public Safety Center. At that event, OEM received full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, achieving 100 percent compliance with all standards on the first field assessment.
“This is truly a bittersweet moment for me and my family. I am very humbled and honored to have been selected for this important position and, at the same time, sad to be leaving behind so many friends and especially my colleagues at OEM. This is a tremendous opportunity for me both personally and professionally – I am eager to begin this new journey,” Nicholls said.
Nicholls has a Masters Degree from Oklahoma State University, a Bachelors Degree from Missouri State University, an Associates Degree from Ozarks Technical Community College, and an Associates Degree from Cox College of Nursing Sciences. He was awarded a Doctor of Humanity Letters from Cox College of Nursing; Doctor of Humanities from the National DefenseForce Support Command, and Ozarks Technical Community College honored him with their Distinguished Alumni award.
He is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers and the Missouri Emergency Preparedness Association. His civic involvement includes several board memberships as well as numerous volunteer efforts in the community. He and his wife, Angie, have six children.