Latham returning as MEMA executive director

PEARL — Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed Robert R. Latham Jr. as the new Mississippi Emergency Management Agency executive director following the retirement of former director Mike Womack.

This is Latham’s second time as MEMA executive director. He led from February 2000 through July 2006, including during Hurricane Katrina.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to rejoin and lead the staff at MEMA after several years in the private sector,” said Latham. “This agency has some of the brightest minds in the emergency management community and we will work hard to continue the great progress in response and recovery they have made over the past several years.”

Prior to joining MEMA in 2000 Latham was the local director of the Tate County Emergency Management Agency. He also brings more than 20 years of fire service and Mississippi Army National Guard experience to the position.

“My top priorities for MEMA are based on building strong relationships and promoting individual and family preparedness,” said Latham. “I want to strengthen the relationship with our local emergency management agencies and local governments, while working to motivate more of our residents to be prepared for the next disaster. At the end of the day the role of government should be to help those who are not able to help themselves.  We all share some responsibility when it comes to being prepared.”

Another priority for Latham is to look to the private sector and faith-based organizations to improve the state’s capabilities to respond to and prepare for disasters.

Latham has spent the past five years working as an emergency management and homeland security consultant working with local, state and federal government entities as well as private companies.

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