Region IV Office of Federal Disaster Coordination

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FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Gracia Szezech speaks with members of other responding agencies during a disaster response.

Assistant Director- Gracia Szczech

Federal Coordinating Officer Biographies 

Vision  

Providing the highest quality leadership for field operations on behalf of the Nation's Preeminent Emergency Management and Preparedness Agency.

Mission  

The mission of the Office of Federal Disaster Coordination is to lead, train, equip, and manage FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officers (FCOs) and Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators (FDRCs) to ensure their availability for rapid deployment in response to any disaster; deliver training to develop and sustain FCO and FDRC professional competencies, and coordinate both FCO and FDRC assignments to meet the on-scene needs of FEMA and its emergency management partners.

Program Goal  

Apply the right FCO or FDRC with the right capabilities to the right contingency, every time – ensuring the success of FEMA field operations.

Assignments   

FCOs and FDRCs are heavily engaged in regional planning.  At the national level, they may expect details to other FEMA directorates, or outside the Agency in support of national policy and/or plan development. 

Federal Coordinating Officer Contact Information   

 

Gracia Szczech

FCO

gracia.szczech@fema.dhs.gov

 

Mike Moore

FCO

mike.moore@fema.dhs.gov

 

Libby Turner

FCO

libby.turner@fema.dhs.gov

 

Terry Quarles

FCO

 terry.quarles@fema.dhs.gov

 

Joe Girot

FCO

joe.girot@fema.dhs.gov

 

 

Federal Coordinating Officer Biographies   

Gracia B. Szczech  

Federal Coordinating Officer Cadre

FEMA Region IV, Atlanta, GA

Gracia B. Szczech is a federal coordinating officer (FCO) with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In her capacity, Szczech is the president's representative in the aftermath of federally declared disasters and emergencies. She serves on the front lines alongside state and local members of the team to ensure the whole community of disaster survivors receives the best possible services and support.

Szczech is a Type I FCO in the FEMA Qualification System, a designation reserved only for the most seasoned experts in emergency management.

She has served as FCO in more than 40 presidentially declared disasters, including Hurricane Isabel in 2003; tornados in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama in 2001, 2002 and 2008; and most recently the devastating floods in Georgia, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

Szczech joined FEMA in 2000 as one of the first members of the newly founded FCO cadre. After four years, she left FEMA briefly for work in the private sector, rejoining FEMA in May 2005 as operations section chief in the Florida Long Term Recovery Office, which administered billions of dollars in long-term recovery assistance after the devastating 2004 hurricane season. She returned to the FCO cadre a year later.

Before joining the agency, Szczech was with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) for four years, where she was assistant director of operations. She was responsible for contingency planning along with radiological emergency and hurricane preparedness.

An article in a Buffalo, N.Y., newspaper about the American Red Cross (ARC) first sparked Szczech's interest in disaster response. She subsequently joined the organization as a volunteer and later as a staff member in Savannah, Ga. During her tenure with ARC, she gained extensive emergency management and leadership experience supporting disasters that included Hurricane Andrew, the 1993 Midwest floods, and the Northridge earthquake.

Szczech has earned the Certified Emergency Manager® designation from the International Association of Emergency Managers. She also completed the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative's Executive Education Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and attended the Federal Executive Institute.

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W. Michael Moore     

Federal Coordinating Officer Cadre

FEMA Region IV, Atlanta, GA

W. Michael Moore is a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV.  As an FCO, Moore serves as the president's representative in the aftermath of federally declared disasters and emergency declarations.  His responsibilities include the coordination of all federal response, recovery, and mitigation activities in support of state and local governments following disasters. 

Moore joined FEMA in 2008 after retiring from a successful 30 year career with the United States Coast Guard. During his career as a senior officer, Moore served as the Commanding Officer of two aviation units including the Coast Guard's Aviation Training Command in Mobile, Alabama where he directed the nation-wide Aviation Training and Standardization program.  He also served as the Chief of Search and Rescue (SAR) in Miami, Florida with oversight of maritime SAR throughout the Southeast United States and Caribbean.  His last assignment was as the Chief of Aviation Forces at Coast Guard Headquarters where he oversaw the Coast Guard's aviation program.

Since joining FEMA, Moore has served as the FCO for several presidentially declared disasters where he worked closely with the State Emergency Management directors in Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Michigan, and Tennessee.  These disasters covered a range of weather related events including hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, severe ice storms, and flooding.  He also served as a Federal Resources Coordinator (FRC) in Alabama following the explosion of a British Petroleum oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Moore earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Point Loma College in San Diego in 1976 and his Naval Aviator wings in 1979.  He was credentialed as a Certified Emergency Manager in 2009.  Memberships include International Association of Emergency Managers and Naval Helicopter Association.

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Elizabeth "Libby" Turner   

Federal Coordinating Officer Cadre

FEMA Region IV, Atlanta, GA

Libby Turner is a member of the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Cadre of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  In this capacity, she serves as the representative of the President and the Department of Homeland Security during major disaster and emergency declarations, coordinating Federal response, recovery, and mitigation activities in support of State and local governments.

While with FEMA, Ms. Turner has served in more than thirty disasters and special assignments.  Most recently, she served as the FCO for the multiple Missouri disasters of 2011 including the EF5 tornado that struck the Joplin, MO area.  She served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of FEMA's Recovery Directorate during 2010 and as the Acting Deputy Director of the Louisiana Recovery office during 2009.  

During Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, Ms. Turner handled special assignments at FEMA Headquarters overseeing Mass Care, Donations Management, International Donations, and Transitional Housing; and was responsible for the development of the Transitional Housing Unit, Shelter Management Unit, and the implementation of the National Donations Management System and Disaster Case Management projects.

Prior to FEMA, Ms. Turner served for fourteen years with the American Red Cross. While working as a Regional Disaster Specialist she worked with State Emergency Management in the southeast on planning and preparedness, and led ESF 6 for FEMA Region IV.  In addition, she was part of a team that developed the Red Cross's first Disaster Readiness Assessment and led the team that developed the Disaster Readiness Exercise and Evaluation program used to standardize and measure disaster response readiness in Red Cross units throughout the Nation. 

Ms. Turner spent nine years as the Emergency Services Director for a Red Cross Chapter, led efforts in both preparedness and response at the State level, and was a National level Disaster Instructor and Disaster Operation Director who led responses to numerous disasters.  Major events included the mid-west floods of 1993 and multiple hurricanes.  Following the September 11 attack in New York, Ms. Turner was one of the initial leadership team on the ground where she implemented several new initiatives, including Respite Centers for response workers at Ground Zero. She was also a Team Leader for the Crisis Response Teams that deployed in the event of aviation, WMD or other mass casualty events. 

Ms. Turner has an education and management background, and holds a Master's degree in Educational Administration.  She is a Certified Emergency Manager, and has completed the Executive Leaders Program at the Center for Homeland Security and Defense, Naval Postgraduate School and the Harvard JFK School of Government Leadership in Crises course.

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Terry Quarles   

Federal Coordinating Officer Cadre

FEMA Region IV, Atlanta, GA

Terry Quarles is a member of the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) cadre for Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV.  As an FCO, Quarles serves as the president's representative in the aftermath of federally declared disasters and emergency declarations.  His responsibilities include the coordination of all federal response, recovery and mitigation activities in support of state and local governments during disasters.

Terry joined the FCO cadre in November 2008 after eight years service at a WMD Federal Training Center, Department of Justice/Homeland Security/FEMA and 15 months as the Chief of Interagency Coordination/Advisor to USARNORTH (Fifth Army) Commanding General in its' mission of Defense Support to Civil Authorities. Terry retired in 2008 as a (Reserve) Army Special Forces Colonel with over 30 years of service, where he commanded at all operational levels and served as a Garrison Commander.

Prior to re-joining FEMA, he served in a variety of positions at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) with the last (2004-2007) as the Director of the Chemical, Ordnance Biological Radiological Training Facility (COBRATF). While at the CDP he served as a member for the Joint Terrorism Task Force for North and Central Alabama (2001-2004) as well as a member of the Anti-terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC). Mr. Quarles interned with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) while a student in the Graduate Assistance Program (Shippensburg University) at the U.S. Army War College. During his internship Mr. Quarles developed/wrote the Counter-terrorism Operations Plan for PEMA; this plan was formally adopted in 2000.

As designated FCO, Terry led recovery operations in Georgia and four disasters in Tennessee in 2009. He served as the IMAT Team Lead to USSOUTHCOM for the Haiti earthquake, served as the FCO for a disaster in West Virginia, and two disasters in Kentucky,  and completed an exchange program with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2010.  Terry underwent an FCO certification/evaluation during a DOD National Level Exercise (NLE-11) "Vibrant Response", a Weapon of Mass Destruction scenario exercise, and led response and recovery operations for Tornadoes and Flooding in Mississippi in 2011. Terry recently was awarded designation as a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) from the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Mr. Quarles has participated at many national level conferences/workgroups on Preparedness and homeland security to include the Commandant's Strategy Conference for Homeland Security (U.S. Army War College), 5th U.S. Army Commanders Conference, U.S. Northern Command and for two years served as a stakeholder member on the Automated Exercise and Assessment System development (NGB-DOJ). Mr. Quarles is a graduate of the Army War College and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Shippensburg University.   His military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), National Defense Service medal, and the Army Commendation medal among others.  His badges include Special Forces Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge and the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge (HALO). Mr. Quarles also holds foreign parachutist badges/wings from Spain, Italy, Australia, and Honduras. Mr. Quarles is a United States Parachutist Association "D" License Holder as well as a Jumpmaster and Instructor.

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Joe M. Girot  

Federal Coordinating Officer Cadre

FEMA Region IV, Atlanta, GA

Joe M. Girot was appointed as a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IV, Atlanta, GA, in January 2010.  Since joining FEMA, he has served as Special Assistant and Chief of Staff for snow storms in Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Delaware and West Virginia.  He served as the Deputy FCO for tornadoes and flooding in Mississippi.  He served as the FCO for severe storms, flooding and tornadoes in Missouri in 2010 and Deputy FCO in Puerto Rico.

Just prior to joining FEMA, Mr. Girot served as the Construction Project Manager, for the Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.  In that capacity he was responsible for all road and facilities construction for the eight southeastern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  He has also worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, Antilles Office, San Juan, Puerto Rico.  In that capacity he worked as an Engineering Project Manager for military construction projects.  Mr. Girot has also worked for the following agencies:  Environmental Protection Agency as an Environmental Specialist; the Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, as a Construction Representative; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a General Federal Investigator; and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as an Equal Employment Specialist.

Mr. Girot served in the U.S. Army as an Engineer Officer for 10 years and is currently in the U.S. Army Reserve for a combined total of 29 years of service.  He currently holds the rank of Colonel.  For the last five years of his career he was the Chief Regional Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (REPLO) for FEMA Region IV, Atlanta, GA.  Mr. Girot has served in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom and Saudi Arabia, Operation Desert Storm.

His education credentials include a Bachelor of Science, Land Surveying from the University of Turabo and Associate Degree in Civil Engineering from the Technological University of Ponce.  He has an Executive Master's degree in Business Administration from Colorado Technical University.  He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army War College with a Master's degree in Strategic Studies. 

Girot was a member of the Henry County, Georgia, Police Department as a Reserve Police Officer for eight years and a member of the Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Henry County Sheriff's office.  He is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers.

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Last Updated: 
12/27/2013 - 11:22
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