The Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency (KEMA) has a new leader. Colin Ickes, who has been Operations Officer at KEMA for the past 11 years, has been named Director of the agency by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.


Ickes succeeds his former boss, Alan Lawson, who retired on March 31. KEMA is a joint City-County agency that serves as the central point of contact for local government for all major emergencies and disasters. KEMA works in partnership with local, state and federal agencies as well as industry and volunteer organizations.


“I am honored to assume this role at such a vital agency, with such a great group of partners already in place,” said Ickes, who joined KEMA as Operations Officer in 2005. “We will continue and build on the collaborative effort between all of our public safety agencies to ensure that we are prepared as a community to respond to any emergency.”


Ickes has two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Tennessee, and a Master’s degree in Fire and Emergency Management Administration from Oklahoma State University. As Operations Officer at KEMA, he has been responsible for managing the Emergency Operations Center and producing Incident Action Plans during major emergencies; collaborating with local, state and federal emergency responders for all phases of disaster response and recovery; and responding on-scene to natural and man-made emergencies and disasters including hazardous materials incidents, fires, floods and tornadoes.


“Colin has hands-on experience with emergency response and has established great collaborative relationships with all of KEMA’s local stakeholders, as well as state and federal agencies,” Mayor Rogero said. “I feel confident that our emergency planning and management is in good hands.”


“Colin’s background makes him uniquely qualified for this position,” Mayor Burchett said. “I’m confident that, under Colin’s leadership, KEMA will be prepared to respond and help coordinate in the event of a large-scale emergency situation in Knox County.”


For more information about KEMA’s responsibilities and activities, see the website at