With more than twenty years of experience in incident and event management, Virginia has extensive response experience at the local, regional, and national levels and vast experience teaching and using the Incident Command System (ICS). Prior to joining EMSI’s cadre, she served over 25 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, with three tours as a member of the Coast Guard’s prestigious National Strike Force. Most recently, she served as the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard’s Gulf Strike Team, leading specialized forces on oil spill, hazmat, and natural disasters, with a responsibility for all or portions of the 5th, 7th, and 8th Coast Guard Districts and Environmental Protection Agency Regions 4 and 6. In addition to those areas, she also had international responsibilities for South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Beginning during her time with the Coast Guard, Virginia has been a strong advocate for incident management. Since the mid-1990s when she began teaching ICS, Virginia has taught and served as a coach for countless ICS-300 and 400-level team and position-specific courses. This expertise was noted as she was selected to serve on the project team that introduced and instituted ICS into the entire U.S. Coast Guard. Complementing her response experience, Virginia also has extensive experience designing, controlling, evaluating, and participating in regional and national-level preparedness exercises for “all hazards” response under the National Response Framework. She has worked extensively with the private sector, the interagency community, and Department of Defense agencies for the past twenty years.
Leading and serving in key positions for several national-level incidents, Virginia was critical to the success of numerous response efforts, including the Mississippi River Tanker-Barge Collision & Oil Spill (DM932) in 2008, Hurricane IKE (Emergency Support Function #10), and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, as well as dozens of other natural disasters, hazardous substance, and oil spill incidents. She holds Type 1 Certifications for Planning Section Chief, Operations Section Chief, and Incident Commander.
Virginia has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, and two Master’s Degrees in National Security and Strategic Studies – one from the Naval War College and one from the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies.
Virginia lives in Weatherby Lake, Missouri, where she manages the local water patrol in the summer. In winter, she volunteers as an Alpine Patroller with the National Ski Patrol. She also volunteers with her dog, Hunter, as a Pet Therapy team, visiting patients at local hospitals and nursing homes.