(ATLANTA) -- Today, Governor Brian P. Kemp announced Chris Stallings as the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director, and Mike Smith as the GEMA/HS Chief of Staff during a press conference in the State Operations Center, following the retirement of Director Homer Bryson.

“I am honored to assume the role of Director of GEMA/HS,” said Stallings. “It’s humbling to be entrusted with this responsibility by the Governor, and I am looking forward to continuing the Agency’s legacy of protecting the lives and property of the citizens of Georgia.”

Stallings comes to the agency from the Georgia State Patrol, where he began his career in 2008 as a State Trooper, and most recently served as the head of the Dignitary Protection Unit. Smith previously served as the Deputy Director of the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority.

“There are many challenges we continue to face with COVID-19, all while dealing with hurricane season and other threats,” said Stallings. “It’s a privilege to lead an experienced team that’s dedicated to ensuring Georgia has the resources needed to be prepared for any disaster, and win the fight against COVID-19.”

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As part of the Office of the Governor, GEMA/HS works with local, state and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to protect life and property against man-made and natural emergencies. In addition, GEMA/HS employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes. GEMA/HS’s “Ready Georgia” campaign helps Georgians prepare for disasters. Visit www.gema.ga.gov  for more information.