Leesburg Hires First Emergency Management Director

A new position to Leesburg Town Hall has been filled by a former county employee.

Town Manager Kaj Dentler today announced the hiring of the town’s first emergency management director. It’s a position he lobbied for in last year’s budget cycle, pointing to the massive and continuing growth of the town and the need for someone to oversee town-wide emergency preparedness and incident response efforts. The Town Council authorized the funding for the new position, but delayed the hiring of all new full-time positions in the General Fund until Jan. 1.

Joe Dame was tapped for the job. He comes to Leesburg from the Loudoun County Office of Emergency Management, where he most recently served as the assistant coordinator of operations, overseeing the emergency operations center, training, and exercise program and technology systems supporting response. Prior to joining the Office of Emergency Management in 2015, he worked for Loudoun County Fire and Rescue from 2006 to 2015, holding a variety of roles including firefighter, station officer, and department staffing officer. From 2002 to 2006, Dame served with the Susquehanna Township Emergency Management Agency, just outside of Harrisburg, PA.

Dame holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Pennsylvania State University and a master of public administration from George Mason University. He is credentialed as a professional emergency manager by the Virginia Emergency Management Association, and has completed the National Emergency Management Basic Academy through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Dentler said Dame was selected following a nationwide search that yielded a deep pool of highly qualified candidates.

“Mr. Dame demonstrated throughout the interview process that he was not only well qualified for the position, but deeply knowledgeable and integrated into the local, regional, and statewide emergency management programs which will greatly benefit the Town of Leesburg as the first person to serve in this position,” Dentler stated in a press release.

The town manager went on to explain the need for the new position.

“Although the Town Manager serves as the official Emergency Management Director per the Town Code, the day-to-day emergency management program has been handled as an additional duty by the Police Chief,” Dentler stated. “With the tremendous growth of the town over the last 20 years, culminating in Leesburg being the largest town in the commonwealth, this approach is no longer a best management practice. As such, it is important for the public safety of Leesburg to have a dedicated professional position to lead the town’s emergency management program. The position’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, preparation, training, community education, and incident response coordination which is what our Town Council, residents, businesses, and visitors expect and deserve.”

krodriguez@loudounnow.com