Northam appoints Curtis Brown to lead Virginia Department of Emergency Management

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Gov. Ralph Northam today named Curtis Brown as state coordinator of emergency management at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Brown has served as chief deputy state coordinator for more than four years and takes the helm of VDEM as the agency continues to coordinate the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response.

He is the first African American to serve as state coordinator of emergency management.

“Curtis has done a tremendous job as chief deputy, and I am proud to appoint him to this new role,” Northam said. “I look forward to his continued leadership as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, advance emergency preparedness and public safety in our communities, and respond to severe weather and other emergencies.”

Prior to his role as chief deputy at VDEM, Brown served as deputy secretary of public safety and homeland security in Terry McAuliffe’s administration, regional emergency management administrator for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and professional staff on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.

He also is co-founder of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in the field of emergency management and promoting the application of equitable practices to improve disaster outcomes for vulnerable communities.

“I am grateful to Gov. Northam for this appointment,” Brown said. “The work of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management is now more critical than ever, and I am proud to lead the agency and work with a dedicated team of professionals through these challenging times.”

Brown has played a critical role in Virginia’s response to COVID-19, including with the Commonwealth’s Equity Leadership Task Force. As part of that work, he has helped to ensure adequate resources, outreach, and support for Virginia’s vulnerable and high-risk communities.

“I have worked closely with Curtis Brown for many years, and I am confident he will successfully lead the agency through these turbulent and difficult times,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “His professional experience has equipped him well for this role and I know he will continue to make the Commonwealth a safe place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Brown received a bachelor of science degree in political science from Radford University, a master of public administration from Virginia Tech, and a master of arts in homeland security and emergency preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University.

He is a graduate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Emergency Management Executive Academy and the Executive Leaders Program through the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. He is a certified emergency manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers.

He succeeds Dr. Jeff Stern, who served six years as state coordinator of emergency management at VDEM and recently joined FEMA as superintendent of the Emergency Management Institute.


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