As we enter the 2010 Hurricane Season, there has been concern about the need for the State to appoint a new head of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). For many years, the Division was headed by the late Jack Colley. However, earlier this year on May 16th, Colley died as a result of a heart attack. With prospects for a busy hurricane season in 2010, and with the unknown threats to Texas from the BP oil spill, it is critical that there remains continuity in leadership at TDEM. I am pleased to report that an interim appointment has now been made.
As reported in a News Release from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) on June 11th, San Antonio District Fire Chief W. Nim Kidd has been named as the interim chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management starting July 1, 2010. This appointment was made by Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, with concurrence of Governor Rick Perry and Allan Polunsky, chairman of the Texas Public Safety Commission.
“Jack Colley was a national icon in emergency management, a man whose invaluable service saved countless lives in Texas and established a legacy of competence that will be felt for years to come,” Director McCraw said. “As we enter the 2010 Hurricane Season, we are fortunate to welcome Chief Kidd, an experienced leader in handling disasters in our state, whose skills and dedication will keep Texas a national leader in emergency preparedness and management.”
The News Release from DPS notes that Kidd “is currently San Antonio’s Homeland Security Director, managing the Homeland Security Grant Program, and is chair of the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Working Group. Kidd has also served as the city’s Emergency Manager since 2004, managing the city’s preparedness, response and recovery efforts for all local disasters, including more than a dozen substantial disasters impacting the community.”
I have known Chief Kidd for a number of years and look forward to his leadership. He understands the “big picture” related to emergency management in Texas—- from the need to react to events based on the risk not on occurrence to the mundane issues related to grants management. Grants management is important— it will be through Chief Kidd’s knowledge of homeland security grant processes that he will be able to continue the important initiatives started and maintained by Chief Colley.
Chief Kidd “has worked with the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD) since 1993, holding the rank of firefighter, fire apparatus operator, lieutenant, captain, and District Fire Chief. He has led the SAFD Technical Rescue Team and the Hazardous Material Response Team. Additionally, Kidd has served as a member of Texas Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team since 1997, responding to state and national disasters including the World Trade Center attack in September 2001. Chief Kidd holds the Certified Emergency Manager designation from the International Association of Emergency Managers and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Emergency Management Association of Texas. Chief Kidd currently serves on the Governor’s Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Advisory Council-Disaster Committee, and the Governor’s Texas Preparedness Advisory Council for the Texas Division of Emergency Management.”
As you can tell from his background, Chief Kidd is well suited to perform in the interim role for which he has been selected. It is my hope that he will not have to face disasters and catastrophes during the term of his appointment; however, I am confident that he will perform in a fine manner when faced with events that threaten the citizens of the State of Texas. Congratulations Nim!