Mr. Russell serves as the Superintendent of the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). In this position, he is responsible for the implementation of vast training curriculum for state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers; development of emergency management higher education portfolio; and executing training for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster workforce. During his tenure at EMI, beginning in May 2012, he has also been deployed and detailed in support of critical agency priorities. First to New York in 2012, Mr. Russell assisted the Superstorm Sandy response and recovery activities. Then, for 10 months in 2014, he served as the Acting Region VIII Administrator, directing as the Senior Executive, all FEMA priorities and requirements in the States of Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah.
Prior to this assignment, Mr. Russell was appointed by President Obama and served as the FEMA Region VI Regional Administrator from 2009 until 2012. In this role, he was responsible for all FEMA operational decisions and policy implementation within the States of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
Mr. Russell previously served as a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for Region VIII between 2003 and 2009. In addition to his FCO duties, in 2009, he assumed the role of Acting Director of the FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike, with offices throughout the State, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
As an FCO, Mr. Russell managed FEMA operations in many complex disaster response and recovery operations across the country. He led disaster operations nationwide to include: Alabama, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico, just to name a few. He also assumed executive leadership roles for potential hurricanes in Texas, the Pandemic Influenza Regional Team, and the 2008 National Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado.
Mr. Russell holds an undergraduate degree in political science and management from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He earned two Master’s degrees from National University in San Diego, California, in the areas of business and management. He also received a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.
Mr. Russell is an active member of the emergency management community, including the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and he holds the designation of Certified Emergency Manager (CEM).