Governor names new MEMA director - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Governor names new MEMA director

Col. Lee Smithson has been appointed to serve as MEMA's executive director beginning in February. (Photo Source: Gov. Bryant's office) Col. Lee Smithson has been appointed to serve as MEMA's executive director beginning in February. (Photo Source: Gov. Bryant's office)
JACKSON, MS (WLOX) -

The Mississippi Emergency Management Association will have a new leader in February.

Col. Lee Smithson will take over as executive director when current MEMA executive director Robert Latham's retirement is effective. Latham was appointed by Governor Bryant to fill the position in January 2012. He previously held the same position February 2000 through June 2006.

Col. Smithson is now the Director of Military Support for the Mississippi National Guard. He has been in that position during Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, the Mississippi River Flood of 2011, multiple tornado outbreaks, and the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.

"I am pleased to appoint Col. Smithson to MEMA Executive Director and know his extensive, direct experience in disaster related events suits him well to take over and lead," Gov. Bryant said. "He has a wealth of operations knowledge from his time at the Mississippi National Guard where he has worked closely with MEMA during many disasters and this will allow him to seamlessly transition into the role."

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tulane University, a Master of Strategic Studies Degree from the U.S. Army War College and a Master of Homeland Security Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Col. Smithson will officially take over on February 1.

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