Retiring from the U.S. Forest Service in 2006, Tom brings over 35 years of experience in fire service, including working within the Incident Command System (ICS) for over 25 years. A seasoned responder and instructor, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the EMSI cadre.
A career veteran of incident management in the structural and wildland fire services, he most recently served as Assistant Director (AD) of Fire and Aviation for the Pacific Southwest Region. In this position, he was the administrator for the federal programs for Northern California Geographic Area (North Ops) and had the responsibility for inter-agency coordination of emergency resources. In addition, he provided oversight for the Forests Fire programs and the North Ops federal Incident Management Teams (IMT). Serving as the federal representative for the North Ops Multi-agency Coordination Group and as a member of the Firescope Operations Team, Tom additionally served as an elected deputy chairperson for Firescope in 2005. Indicative of his knowledge and expertise, Tom held several suppression positions, Battalion Chief, Division Chief, Assistant Forest Fire Management Officer, and Forest Fire Management Officer during his career.
Throughout his career, Tom has responded to many disaster incidents. While a majority of these were wildfires throughout the United States, the experience gained through his service cannot be understated. Responding to incidents such as the Northridge earthquake, floods, hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill response, Tom shares his collective knowledge with everyone he encounters. During the 2003 fire siege, Tom was deployed as a Federal representative for Area Coordination for San Diego County and afterwards, he performed as an operations expert in the development of the safety review for the San Diego County fires. This keen insight enabled responders to develop lessons learned and be better prepared for the likelihood of another incident. During Deepwater Horizon, Tom worked as an ICS Advisor for the IMTs in Mobile, Houma, and New Orleans, working side-by-side with command, as well as command staff and general staff positions. As part of these commands, he was critical to helping set overall strategy and priorities, allocate limited resources according to established priorities, and ensure that objectives were met and strategies followed.
Tom has instructed numerous Incident Command and related courses throughout his career. Since January 2006, he has instructed in over 40 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. These courses have been for government agencies including local, county, state, and federal agencies, as well as private companies and branches of the military.
Tom holds a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Administration from California State University Hayward, Associate degree in Natural Resources, and a Technical Fire Management Certificate from Washington Institute/ Colorado State University. Additionally, he has served on several Type 1 and 2 IMTs and holds a Type 1 Operations Section Chief certification.