New VDEM chief named by governor

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Curtis Brown was chief deputy state coordinator of emergency management

Curtis Brown, for four years the chief deputy state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, was promoted Tuesday to state coordinator of emergency management, Gov. Ralph Northam announced. He is the first African American person to hold the post.

“Curtis has done a tremendous job as chief deputy, and I am proud to appoint him to this new role,” Northam said in a statement. “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.”

Brown previously served as deputy secretary of public safety and homeland security in Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration, as well as regional emergency management administrator for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and served on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security. Brown co-founded the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management and received his degrees from Radford University, Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University.

He replaces Jeff Stern, who served as VDEM’s chief for six years and recently joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency as superintendent of the Emergency Management Institute.