Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced she is appointing emergency management veteran and West Point alumnus Jeff Smitherman as Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) acting director. Current AEMA Director Brian Hastings is taking a new opportunity and will lead the agency through Friday, May 20. Smitherman will take the helm immediately following his appointment becoming effective Saturday, May 21.
“Alabama knows better than most the need to be prepared always and to be ready to respond efficiently in emergency situations, and our Emergency Management Agency plays a major role in that. I thank Director Hastings for his service to the state the last nearly five years and am now proud to appoint Jeff Smitherman to lead the agency,” said Governor Ivey. “Jeff is no stranger to emergency management, from his time serving our country and state in the Army to his several years at the Alabama EMA, he is more than qualified. I am confident Jeff will bring a steady hand, vast knowledge and a servant’s attitude to this role.”
Smitherman currently serves as the executive operations officer at AEMA, where his primary responsibility is for the preparedness, response and recovery from all hazards impacting Alabama. Prior to that, he was director of operations. Before beginning his tenure at AEMA, Smitherman held leadership positions with the Alabama National Guard, where he gained significant experience with emergency responses in situations like the April 2011 tornadoes and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
“I am both honored and humbled to be asked by Governor Ivey to lead this agency as the acting director. This agency has a critical mission in the state, and I will strive to continue the great work that this staff performs every day for the citizens of Alabama,” said Smitherman. “The state’s emergency management system, with all its stakeholders, is recognized nationally as one of the best. I will work with the governor, her staff and the outstanding staff at the agency to continue to uphold the highest standards for the citizens of this great state.”
He also earned a Master’s Degree of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College following his graduation from West Point.
“Jeff has already served our state and nation so well, and I am certain he will continue bringing his expertise to our emergency management operations,” added Governor Ivey.
Smitherman’s appointment is effective Saturday, May 21, 2022.