State EMA Director Dossett retiring after 44 years

Dossett has worked under four governors,

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday the pending retirement of Michael Dossett, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM), after a career of over 44 years in public service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Louisville Metro Government.

“Director Dossett is an MVP on Team Kentucky. We are so fortunate to have had his leadership during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, as well as the many natural disasters our state has faced over the same time period,” said Beshear. “That’s in addition to his 42 years of service to Kentuckians before COVID-19 struck, which prepared him to be the leader we needed in this moment. Director, thank you.”

Director Dossett has worked under four consecutive governors and held senior advisor positions for the last 16 years in state government. His leadership positions included deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) (2004-2008) and KYEM director (2014-2021). Previously, Director Dossett served with the Louisville Metro Police Department for 28 years, retiring as an assistant chief of police.

During his tenure at DJJ, Director Dossett led an agency reorganization marked by technology upgrades and the adoption of a statewide substance abuse prevention program for adolescents.

Director Dossett began his career with Kentucky Emergency Management in 2009 as a regional response manager, and continued service as the division logistics chief in 2011. Director Dossett also served as the private-sector program coordinator, and in this position, he developed a nationally recognized best practice model for the integration of public-private partnerships and alliances in disaster response. In 2015, Director Dossett received the first National InfraGard Award for Public-Private Sector Innovation in Washington, D.C.

After his appointment as KYEM director in 2014, Director Dossett oversaw a reorganization that placed the agency at the forefront of technology innovation, developing applications and initiatives cited as best practices by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), the DHS Science & Technology Directorate and private sector organizations.

Director Dossett has served in numerous capacities with NEMA, including co-chair of the Resilience Committee and as a past chair of the Technology Subcommittee. He also serves as a member of the NEMA Homeland Security Committee, Legislative Committee and as a member of the DHS State and Local Intelligence Council.

“Director Dossett is a veteran of 16 presidential disaster declarations, successfully guiding the state response and recovery efforts for severe flooding, tornadoes, snow and ice storms, forest fires and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maj. Gen. Hal Lamberton, Adjutant General of Kentucky. “During the COVID-19 outbreak, Director Dossett pivoted the agency to become the statewide procurement and logistics branch for acquisition of all PPE, where the state was able to acquire a 120-day surge supply to ensure a strategic stockpile of medical supplies for Gov. Beshear’s COVID recovery efforts.”

He continued: “Director Dossett served as the incident commander for the pandemic response in support of public health, ensuring a unified response across state cabinets, local, federal and allied agencies. He also directed the planning and logistics oversight for the state’s regional COVID-19 testing sites and vaccine distribution. With his cumulative years of service, we are fortunate to have been beneficiaries of his experience, especially during this pandemic.”

“Working over these many years with our dedicated KYEM team has been the opportunity of a lifetime and my privilege in leading these professionals,” said Director Dossett. “I’m grateful and honored to have served with so many: Gov. Beshear, for his leadership in the face of a global pandemic; our Team Kentucky partners, local emergency management (EM) directors and elected officials; colleagues in our sister states, federal agencies and associations. Thank you to all those that have helped us in our continuing efforts, in finding a way to say yes to our communities and citizens during times of crisis and need. Together our EM community is building a more resilient commonwealth for the future.”

Director Dossett will retire at the end of the year and transition to a position as the Director of the Consortium for Emergency Services Technology group, a division within the eight-state Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC). Dossett has served as chair of the CUSEC Board of Directors for the past three terms and is the lead for the architecture development of the newly founded public-private partnership technology group. He also plans affiliation with other non-governmental organizations with a focus on emergency services.

“I’ll miss the challenges and rewards of helping others, but look forward to the next chapter working to assist an expanded EM audience,” said Director Dossett.

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