• Ribbon cutting ceremony opens new Minnesota Emergency Management Training Center at Camp Ripley

AMEM Annual Training Conference Elects Officers, Presents Annual Awards, Announces 2015 Goals & Objectives

AMEM celebrated its’ 54th annual Fall Training Conference, September 14-17, 2014, at Breezy Point, MN. Approximately 325 members and emergency management partners from around the state participated in this year’s event, which included several state certification courses and a wide variety of general and concurrent training session. Special Guests included Commissioner Mona Dohman, Mn Dept. of Public Safety; Mn HSEM Director Kris Eide; Mn HSEM Deputy Director Joe Kelly; and COL(P) Jon Jensen, Director of the Joint Staff, Minnesota National Guard.

AMEM Officers and Region Reps for 2014 – 2015

The following officers were elected to lead our association during the coming year: President Eric Waage, Hennepin County; First Vice President Patrick Waletzko, Otter Tail County; Second Vice President Rick Larkin, City of St. Paul; and Judge Advocate Laine Sletta, Brown County.  Also serving on the Board next year will be Secretary Breanna Koval, Wilkin County, and Treasurer Kyle Breffle, Sherburne County. Region Representatives elected or reelected to the Board of Directors for the coming year are: Diane Richter-Biwer, Goodhue County (Region I – Southeast); Kerry Swenson, Cass County (Region II – Northeast); Chris Muller, Beltrami County (Region III – Northwest); Kim Lindahl, Kandiyohi County (Region IV – West Central); Kim Hall, Cottonwood County (Region V – Southwest); and Mari DeLage Bostrom, Isanti County (Region VI, Metro).

Annual AMEM Awards

Chris Muller, Beltrami County, was named State Director of the Year at this year’s AMEM Awards Banquet. Mary Hilbrand Gisch, retired Regional Program Coordinator for Region III, was named State Non-Director of the Year. This year’s President’s Award (for outstanding contributions to the Association and to Emergency Management in Minnesota) was awarded to Judd Freed, Ramsey County, and to Kris Eide, Director MnHSEM, for all their efforts in obtaining passage by the state legislature of a Disaster Aid Fund for the state of Minnesota. And the Elected Official of the Year award was presented to state Representative Gene Powlaski and state Senator Richard Cohen for their efforts in leading the passage of the Disaster Aid Fund in their respective chambers of the state legislature.

Other awards included the presentation of the Joe Strub Award (given by the National Weather Service) to Steele County SKYWARN; the Volunteer of the Year Award to Tom Karnauskas, President, Steele County CAER; The Media Partner of the Year award to KEYC-TV, Mankato, MN; the Integrated Emergency Management System (IEMS) award for Response to the city of Warren Volunteer Fire Dept.; and the IEMS Award for Preparedness to Tammy VanOverbeke and Ted Stamp, Lyon County.

AMEM Meritorious Achievement Awards were presented to Don Ericson (Kandiyohi County), Mike Johnson (Steele County), and Julie Peterson (Watonwan County) for their long term service to the AMEM Board of Directors and the Association. And out-going AMEM President Brenda Wodele was presented with the Past President’s Award for her leadership of AMEM this past year.

Special recognition was given to State Director Kris Eide for all her efforts, initiatives and achievements in support of the Association and its’ members and emergency management in Minnesota. Kris will be retiring in January after 28 years in emergency management related positions, the last ten year of which serving as Director of Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

AMEM Platform for 2015

The AMEM Board of Directors established the following goals and objectives for 2015. The association will be pursuing these goals and objectives as we continue to plan, prepare, and advocate for emergency management in Minnesota.

Goal #1: Provide leadership in emergency preparedness and the profession of Emergency Management. Objectives:     Establish and maintain partnerships and relationships with federal, tribal, state, and non-governmental agencies, institutions of higher learning, and the private sector; Enhance professionalism of Emergency Management in Minnesota through training programs, IAEM standards and programs, promotion of the Emergency Management Training Center; development of an AMEM website resource library; and creation of a structure for emergency management internship recruitment/placement.

Goal #2: Implement the legislative platform and pathway for 2014-2015. Objectives: Full funding of the Local Disater Aid Fund bill; new State EOC; NOAA weather radio transmitter funding gaps; National EMPG and other grant sustainment efforts; and orientation of legislators and tribal governments.

Goal #3: Develop and enhance Association-unique resources. Objectives: Promote the AMEM Elected Officials Handbook; and execute AMEM website enhancements.


AMEM thanks its Conference Planning Committee and Conference Coordinators Karen Beaulieu and Maureen Smith, Government Training Service, for another great conference, and our conference faculty for their valuable contributions to the conference’s training curriculum. And a very large thanks to HSEM Director Kris Eide and the HSEM staff for their outstanding support of this year’s conference.

Looking Forward

Planning will begin soon for next year’s annual AMEM Training Conference which is scheduled for September 20-23, 2015, at Breezy Point.