After a two-month search Fulton County has appointed a North Carolina native as the new director of the Emergency Management Agency.
Kelvin Freeman assumed the office May 17, replacing Heather Kost, who resigned to accept an EMA position within the health system at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and retired Archbold Fire Chief Andy Brodbeck, who served briefly as interim director.
“I would like to accomplish a safer future for Fulton County built on collaborative partnerships committed to emergency preparedness; to protect and preserve life, property, and the environment,” Freeman said.
He was one of approximately 20 candidates. Freeman earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health Studies and a Master of Public Health, Cognate in Analysis and Management degree from East Carolina University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Education from the University of Toledo.
His extensive background includes: U.S. Department of Commerce, manager of technology; Vidant Medical Health System, program coordinator; North Carolina Division of Public Health – Public Health Preparedness and Response branch, state regional research consultant; The University of Toledo, teaching graduate assistantship; and for the past two years, Henry County Health Department, emergency response coordinator.
Freeman said his interest in emergency management comes from his professional and personal experiences with natural and man-made disasters. Calling Fulton County’s EMS system “well-respected,” he said he wants to continue to maintain well-established relationships within the system, and build new professional relationships to enhance it.
His motto is “research, plan, and act,” Freeman said, adding, “If my motto can be incorporated into supporting our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a county we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, and recover from, and mitigate all hazards, then I would be an asset to Fulton County.”
Relationships and networking are key to emergency management, he said. “As an EMA director, I can rest easier knowing that the county has relationships with various entities if resources of any type are needed for citizens of Fulton County to assist in mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery efforts.”
Commissioner Bill Rufenacht said Freeman was selected, in part, for his impressive educational background in the field.
“He came with a lot of forward-thinking ideas, and he has a personality that I think will work very well in the position,” Rufenacht said. “I’m confident that he will do a very good job for the county.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.