Leadership

Homer Bryson: Director

Homer Bryson has served as the GEMA/HS Director since December 1, 2016 and brings 37 years of public safety experience with him to the position. As Director, he led the agency during activations for hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and ice storms.  He is also a member of the Super Bowl LIII Public Safety Executive Steering Committee.  Previously, he served as Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. Before that, he served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources and as Colonel of the DNR Law Enforcement Section. He served as the hurricane coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.  He participated in security planning for the 1996 Olympic Games and the 2004 Group of 8 Economic Summit on Sea Island.  He was a supervisor on a Georgia state law enforcement detail assigned to Hurricane Katrina.  He has taught Critical Incident Management at Columbus State University. He currently serves as a trustee for the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund and is a past president of the Peace Officers’ Association of Georgia. He earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University.

Catherine Howden: Chief of Staff

Catherine Howden joined GEMA/HS in July, 2015 and currently serves as the Chief of Staff. She began her career as a public affairs specialist in the U.S. Air Force. Prior to joining the agency, she worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration where she handled crisis communications for high profile vehicle defect issues, including the Takata air bag recalls that affected more than 37 million vehicles in the U.S., garnered international press coverage and resulted in numerous Senate and House hearings. Howden also worked on communications strategies for national safety awareness campaigns including Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Child Passenger Safety Week, and Distracted Driving Month. Howden earned a Master in Business Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the University of Miami.

James M. Sexton: Deputy Director, Programs & Finance

Mark Sexton joined GEMA/HS in January, 2017 and currently serves as Deputy Director of Programs and Finance. In this position he oversees public assistance and recovery, hazard mitigation and all grants programs for the agency. He graduated from North Georgia College and was commissioned into the United States Army in 1987 as an Aviation Officer.  He served multiple combat tours as an Army Aviator and a Strategic Planner.  After his retirement from the Army, he used his planning and operational skills as a contractor with the United States Army and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.  Mr. Sexton began his employment with the state of Georgia in 2013 and spent 4 years as the Assistant Commissioner for the Department of Juvenile Justice. He has a Master’s in Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.  He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College.

Harlan Proveaux: Deputy Director, Homeland Security

Harlan Proveaux serves as Deputy Director of Homeland Security at GEMA/HS. In this position, he oversees the Homeland Security Division which includes; operations, intelligence, critical infrastructure as well as the training and exercise units of the agency. Prior to joining GEMA/HS, Mr. Proveaux served for ten years at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) as manager of Savannah Regional Police Academy.  Mr. Proveaux was recruited to join the GPSTC staff after a highly successful and diverse law enforcement career. He has also served as a Law Enforcement Game Warden with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Ware County Sheriff’s Office, and as a Magistrate Court Judge of Ware County. Mr. Proveaux earned his Master in Public Safety Administration Degree from Columbus State University where he now serves as adjunct professor teaching Critical Incident Management.

Thomas Moore: Deputy Director, Emergency Management

Thomas Moore serves as the Deputy Director of Emergency Management at GEMA/HS. In this position, he oversees the emergency management, operational response, logistics and planning units of the agency. A retired Major General for the United States Air Force, he previously served five years as Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Georgia National Guard at Dobbins Reserve Base, where he commanded 2,900 Georgia Air Guard members serving in two flying wings, seven geographically separated units and a combat readiness training center. General Moore also twice Commanded the 416th Air Expeditionary Group in Uzbekistan.  He was commissioned through the R.O.T.C. program at the University of South Carolina and obtained a Master of Arts, Management Degree from Webster University. He also attended Air War College, Leadership in Crisis-Harvard University, Joint Task Force Commanders Course, and National Security Management Course Syracuse University.

Joseph Greene: General Counsel and Legislative Director

Joseph Greene serves as General Counsel and Legislative Director for GEMA/HS. He is the principal advisor to the Director of GEMA/HS on all legal and legislative matters impacting emergency management and homeland security in the state of Georgia. During activations, he drafts all relevant executive orders and requests for federal disaster declarations for the Governor, including formal correspondence from the Governor to the President of the United States. Prior to joining GEMA/HS, he practiced law as a litigator and corporate counsel. Prior to law school, he served in the Georgia Air National Guard as an Operations Intelligence Analyst and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. While deployed, he successfully led a contingent of experienced intelligence personnel supporting multiple daily missions. He graduated first in his military intelligence class, qualified as an expert marksman, and held a top secret clearance. He is an honor graduate of both the University of Georgia and University of Georgia School of Law.

Michael Nix: Executive Director, Georgia Emergency Communications Authority

Michael Nix is the Executive Director of the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority and Statewide Interoperability Coordinator at GEMA/HS. He previously served as the Local Government Liaison and Deputy Director of Executive Appointments in the Office of Governor Nathan Deal. He is a member of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, the National Emergency Number Association, the National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators, and the NG9-1-1 Institute. Nix sits on the Youth Activities Commission for the City of Newnan and the Board of Directors of the Coweta Community Foundation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Georgia State University.