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The History of EMAT

In the spring of 1987, the Emergency Management Association of Texas (EMAT) was created in San Antonio, Texas. Emergency management contemporaries of the time believed local government offices of emergency preparedness in Texas were not appropriately represented in Austin – or enjoying the same political clout as our other public safety partners.

While some associations existed to promote emergency management efforts at local levels – most notably the Texas Gulf Coast Emergency Management Association (TCGEMA) – a coordinated statewide association did not exist. It was decided that a new effort should be focused to garner support and appropriately recognize an emerging profession.

In the early years, fewer than 50 emergency management coordinators existed statewide. It was difficult to rally support from some of our partners as efforts at the local governmental level were sometimes contrary to the efforts of other agencies. Initial pioneers credited with the formation of EMAT include - Walt Kelly of Amarillo, John Pickett of Dallas, George Grant of Arlington, Joe Candelario of San Antonio, Billy Zwerschke of Calhoun County and Steve Vaughn of Pampa – many who are still active in emergency management within Texas today.

In 2007, the Texas Gulf Coast Emergency Management Agency was formally incorporated into the membership of EMAT. This effort brought the two largest statewide emergency management associations together under one umbrella association. With a combined membership base – and a committee dedicated to meeting the specific needs of coastal jurisdictions – EMAT is now able to leverage even more assistance for furthering our mission statewide.

As intended at inception, EMAT has been actively involved the legislative arena in Austin. Beginning with George Grant through Kevin Starbuck, our current President, each president and board attempted to influence legislation that benefited the emergency management community. We have an active legislative committee that is committed to keeping our members up to date on legislative efforts that affect the emergency management community. Additionally, several EMAT members are routinely requested to testify before legislative hearings in support of emergency management legislation.

EMAT Presidents

Jamie Galloway 2022 to Present
Patrice Reisen 2022 - 2022
Francisco Sanchez 2019 - 2022
Kevin Starbuck 2017 - 2019
Jeb B. Lacey 2013 - 2017
Sharon Nalls- Houston OEM 2008 - 2013
Ed Schaefer- Lower Colorado River Authority 2003 - 2007
Patrick McMacken- Irving OEM 2000 - 2002
Walt Kelly- Amarillo/Potter/Randall OEM 1997 - 1999
Don Lindsay- City of Terrell 1994 - 1996
George Grant- City of Arlington 1991 - 1993
Mel Speed- Fort Bend County 1989 - 1990

About EMAT

The Emergency Management Association of Texas is dedicated to the advancement of the field of emergency management both statewide and nationally. To that end, EMAT engages in an array of efforts to advance a statewide emergency management agenda and to promote the professional growth of the emergency management practitioner.


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Spicewood, TX 78669

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