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Collier County Gets New Emergency Manager

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  • Collier County Gets New Emergency Manager

    New emergency management director comes to county with hefty resume


    By ROGER LALONDE, Staff Writer

    Dan Summers, Collier County's new Emergency Management director, promises he did his very best to leave the hurricane bull's-eye in eastern North Carolina.

    While he gives no guarantees, county residents should be hoping he did because his experience lists nine named hurricanes in his 19 years as New Hanover County Emergency Management director in Wilmington, N.C.

    Summers, 45, started on May 31, but is sitting at a temporary desk until Ken Pineau, well known in state hurricane preparedness circles, effectively retires on June 30 after 18 years. Summers met Pineau while teaching for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    "Ken was in some of my classes, but I had no direct communication about the job until I saw the position on the Internet," Summers said. "I knew a little bit about Collier County and knew Emergency Management here took hurricane preparedness seriously."

    Pineau said other emergency management directors he spoke to had respect for Summers.

    "I have heard nothing but favorable comments over the past few months," he said.

    Summers is setting roots quickly, having already bought a home. "My wife Dorothy is getting us settled in," he said. Dorothy Summers has 19 years of experience in home health. The couple has two sons, Michael, 24, and Kevin, 17, and daughter, Ellen, 13.

    Summers brings a lot of hurricane knowledge, as he coordinated response in his 19 years in North Carolina for hurricanes Diana, Gloria, Hugo, Bertha, Fran, Bonnie, Dennis, Floyd and Irene.

    Not that he's a jinx, but before Summers became director of the New Hanover County Emergency Management Department, the county had gone 22 years without a land-falling hurricane.

    He had only been on the job since April when Diana ravaged the county in September 1985. At the time Summers oversaw Emergency Management, Emergency Services and county fire services. Diana caused $72 million in damage to homes and businesses in the county, he said.

    "Fortunately there was no one killed as a direct, storm-related death," he said. "We had a good evacuation plan."

    While upbeat about his new job, Summers spoke of some downsides.

    "There is a larger transient population that makes it more difficult to get people to react to inclement weather," he said. "I am concerned about facing storm amnesia. Folks can really forget how serious a hurricane can be."

    That has been the cry of Pineau and his department staff every hurricane season.Summers said a hurricane is an incredible thing to experience. "You can feel the pressure, the sights and sounds of power lines snapping, transformers exploding, roofs breaking away."

    He received North Carolina's highest award for emergency management programming in 1990 and the state Musser Award for disaster preparedness programming for senior adults. He managed the on-scene response of the North Carolina Strike Team 4 in support of the Florida wildfires in 1998 and served on North Carolina's incident management team in support of the eastern North Carolina wildfire outbreak in 1992.

    Summers graduated from Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, N.J., with a bachelor's degree in human services and a concentration in disaster management.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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