Iowa’s losing its state Emergency Management and Homeland Security director. Ellen Gordon has been invited to teach at the Center for Homeland Security and Defense in the Naval Postgraduate School. Matt Paul, a spokesman in the governor’s office, says Gordon’s departure will be a big loss. Paul says she’s risen to a national level, and remembers how she was off teaching at a national conference when the terrorist attacks happened in 2001, as she’s been recognized for years as a leader in emergency preparedness and homeland security. Most people will recognize Ellen, he says, from her work in events like floods, tornadoes, the Terra Chemical explosion in Sergeant Bluff and the 1989 airliner crash in Sioux City. Long before the phrase “homeland security” became commonplace, Paul says Gordon was a master at managing recovery from the more familiar kinds of disaster that occur in Iowa…floods, fires, tornadoes and other natural destructive events. Paul remembers being with Gordon as she toured flood damage last year in the Quad Cities, saying “she knows exactly who she needs to talk to, exactly what’s needed,” and adds that after a tornado last summer in Cedar Rapids she helped relief to homeowners fast. And to fill Gordon’s shoes as state emergency-preparedness head as well as Homeland Security director, Paul says the governor will take a different approach, reaching out to the commander of the Iowa National Guard. He’s asked General Dardis to lead as commissioner of public safety, and requested that state public-safety director Kevin Techau be the part of the team that works on homeland security and emergency preparedness. Gordon will leave those positions in Iowa on July second when she joins the faculty at the naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
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