North Central Texas Recovery Summit



January 15, 2020
8:30 AM - 4:15 PM


Ruthe Jackson Center
3113 S Carrier Pkwy
Grand Prairie, TX 75052


This day-long event presented by the North Central Texas Council of Governments aims to build awareness of the challenges of disaster recovery and help local jurisdictions better understand how to coordinate government, private-sector, and nonprofit partners to address disaster impacts in the weeks, months, and years following a large-scale disaster.
Disaster recovery experts from throughout the country will share their experiences and lead participants in a recovery-focused tabletop exercise. We encourage emergency managers to invite city and county department representatives who will play a key role in disaster recovery, such as public works, city planning, inspections and permitting, finance, and elected officials.



Registration - 8:30 am
Summit - 9 am - 11:30 am
Lunch - 11:30 am - 12:15 pm
Tabletop Exercise Start - 12:15 pm
Tabletop Exercise Hotwash - 4:00 pm
Adjorn - 4:15 pm
Keynote Speaker: Beth Zimmerman, Former FEMA Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery and Director of Disaster Operations. As FEMA Associate Administrator, Ms. Zimmerman administered all aspects of FEMA’s response and recovery efforts. During her tenure, she oversaw more than 930 disasters, emergencies, and fire declarations, delivering over $6.5 billion in aid to 1.7 million individuals and families and more than $27 billion in federal disaster assistance to state, local, tribal, and non-profit groups. Ms. Zimmerman was appointed as the Department of Homeland Security’s representative to the American Red Cross Cabinet Council and to committee leadership positions within the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA). She directed one of the most significant changes to FEMA’s statutory authorities in the agency’s history through the development, coordination, and implementation of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) which re-engineered FEMA’s Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA) programs to streamline the delivery of IA and PA support and improve payment processes. Prior to her work at FEMA, Ms. Zimmerman held positions as the Assistant Director of Recovery and as the Disaster Recovery Manager at the State of Arizona’s Division of Emergency Management and served for 10 years with the Utah Division of Emergency Management.
Tabletop Facilitator: Preston Cook, Retired Director of Emergency Management for Hillsborough County, Florida. Preston Cook has over 30 years of experience in emergency management and public safety. He recently retired as Director of the Hillsborough County, Florida Office of Emergency Management, where he served since 2011. He has led emergency operations during many large-scale events and disasters, including various tropical systems such as Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the 2016 Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando. He served previously as Executive Director of the Orange County, Florida, Office of Emergency Management and supported numerous disasters including the deadly tornadoes and devastating wildfires of 1998 as well as Hurricanes Charlie, Frances, and Gene. He also served as the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) Chief managing the Florida Emergency Operations Center during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. 

Other Speakers: 
Stephen Costello, Chief Recovery Officer, City of Houston - Mr. Costello is an engineer with a background in flood control and drainage. His first job in Texas was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Galveston.  He co-founded Costello, Inc. in 1991, a Houston civil engineering and surveying firm and served as president of the local and state chapters of the American Council of Engineering Companies. In 2014, he was named “Engineer of the Year” by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. Mr. Costello served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council from 2010 to 2015. In May of 2016, he was appointed by the Mayor as the city’s Chief Resilience Officer. His primary task was to focus on the flooding and drainage issues facing the city, thus his title of “Flood Czar”. He now serves as Chief Recovery Officer, coordinating the city’s recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey.  Mr. Costello is currently an active board member of Family Houston, a 114-year old nonprofit providing case management and counseling services to families in need.  He also has served on the boards of the Memorial Park Conservancy, SER Jobs for Progress, and Marathon Kids.

Christa Lopez, Director of Recovery, Community Development, and Revitalization, Texas General Land Office - Ms. López has extensive professional experience as a state and federal planner working in the realm of crisis and emergency response.  As the Deputy Director for Operations and Chief of Staff for Community Development and Revitalization with the Texas General Land Office, she leads the first state-led and FEMA funded Direct Housing Mission and coordinates staffing and operational programs for the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR).  Prior to joining the Texas General Land Office, Ms. López was the Section Administrator for Human Services at the Texas Division of Emergency Management.  In that role, Ms. López served as Human Services Branch Director in the State Operations Center and as the Individual Assistance Branch Director for federally declared disasters. For 19 years, Ms. López worked as a university administrator at the University of Texas at Austin, Colorado State University, and at Shippensburg University. Ms. López has responded to disasters related to hurricanes, explosions, tornadoes, floods, and the Space Shuttle Columbia crash.

Andrea Lowe, Unit Chief, Texas Division of Emergency Management​ - As the Unit Chief for Disaster Finance, Recovery and Mitigation with the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), Ms. Lowe’s area of responsibility is TDEM Region One which spans 42 counties and includes 397 cities.  Over the course of the last five years, Ms. Lowe has held positions as a Program Support Technician and Public Assistance Grant Coordinator with TDEM.

Kevin Jaynes, Regional Environmental Officer, FEMA Region 6​ - Mr. Jaynes has 29 years of experience conducting environmental site assessments, remedial oversight, health and safety training, hazardous materials, and federally-supported emergency responses. Since June 2010, he has served as FEMA’s Regional Environmental Officer responsible for managing and ensuring that all FEMA program activities in the region and at disasters receive the appropriate level of environmental and historic preservation (EHP) review as required by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), associated regulations, and Executive Orders.  He supervises the region’s EHP program teams in the Denton Regional Office, the Louisiana Integration and Recovery Offices, and the Texas Recovery Offices for Hurricane Harvey, which are responsible for review and comments on environmental assessments; the development of disaster and non-disaster program environmental compliance guidance; and negotiating, developing and implementing federal, tribal, state, and local interagency agreements and protocols for effective EHP compliance. From 1990 to 2008, Mr. Jaynes was employed under multiple federal contracts supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 emergency response and hazardous waste site investigations, where he participated in over 100 hazmat emergency responses and coordinated over 200 other responses and evaluations at superfund and chemical release incidents.

Damian Morales, Manager of Disaster Services for OneStar Foundation, Secretary of Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), and Vice-Chair of the National Association of State Emergency Donations and Volunteer Coordinators (NASEDoVoC) -  Damian has served as an Emergency Management Council Representative in the State Operations Center on behalf of Texas VOAD for numerous state & federally declared disasters, and nonprofit liaison in the State/Federal Joint Field Office for Hurricane Harvey.   Damian firmly believes it is possible to make progress on the intractable resilience issues that our communities face through building innovative public-private partnerships and networks.  As Albert Einstein once said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”.  Damian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Vassar College and Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management with a concentration in Emergency Preparedness from the New York Medical College School of Public Health.

Francisco Sanchez, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator, Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management​- Francisco Sánchez is the Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM). Mr. Sánchez joined HCOHSEMA in 2004 as the lead public information officer (PIO) during the local responses to both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. He led the region’s Joint Information Center (JIC) operations during Hurricane Ike and the highly active 2008 hurricane season. Mr. Sánchez helped lead the region’s response to Hurricane Harvey, the second most destructive natural disaster in our nation’s history. Mr. Sánchez is an advocate of integrating emergency public information and JIC concepts into local emergency response efforts. He is a member of the highly regarded San Jacinto Type-III All Hazards Incident Management Team, one of only 18 such teams sanctioned by the state for deployment as ordered by the Texas governor. As a member of the Houston Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Regional Collaboration Committee, he works to build consensus on a variety of measures critical to local preparedness and response capabilities.  In 2019, Sánchez was elected as President of the Emergency Management Association of Texas.

Misti Townsend, Regional Recovery Program Manager – Emergency Disaster Services, The Salvation Army Texas Division - Ms. Townsend has served the public for 15 years of continuous social service work and volunteering through counseling, teaching, training, research and nonprofit work.  She discovered the area where passion and purpose intersect during her participation as  a spontaneous volunteer for the December 2015 North Texas tornadoes. Working for the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM), she was able to garner valuable experience acting as an advisor to cities and counties around the state in their creation and formation of Long-term Recovery Groups (LTRGs), coordination of resources, collaboration with large voluntary agencies, navigation of hardships, and efforts to meet the needs of affected populations.  In 2017, her TDEM hat was traded for a Salvation Army shield when she became the Regional Recovery Program Manager for The Salvation Army Texas Division. In this role, Ms. Townsend leads the charge from the opposite side of the community-level recovery landscape by plugging in resources and financial assistance to survivors through LTRG networks across the state.  She additionally serves as the Recovery Chair for the Texas Voluntary Agency Active in Disaster (TXVOAD).   

Rocky Vaz, Director, City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management​ - Rocky Vaz is the Director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) for the City of Dallas. Under his leadership, the City of Dallas has achieved full accreditation through the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), the second largest city in the nation to receive this accreditation. Mr. Vaz oversaw the expansion of Dallas Alert, the city’s emergency notification system, and a city-wide community preparedness initiative to educate Dallas residents about the hazards they may face and empower them to be prepared. During his tenure, Mr. Vaz has successfully coordinated the city’s response to several large-scale events and disasters including the 2014 Ebola event, 2015 flooding, 2016 police shooting in Downtown Dallas, 2016 mega shelter operations for Hurricane Harvey evacuees, 2016 natural gas explosion and evacuations, and the 2019 EF3 tornado. Mr. Vaz serves on various local, regional, state, and federal committees on emergency preparedness, disaster recovery, and homeland security. Mr. Vaz also chairs the Dallas / Fort Worth / Arlington (DFWA) UASI Executive Committee. Mr. Vaz is a founding member of the National Homeland Security Association (NHSA) for which he served in various capacities including as President of the NHSA Board for three years. He continues to serve on the Executive Board as the Past President.