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.
|Kevin Starbuck||2017 - Present|
|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|