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Monday, August 29, 2016
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Panelist Bio


Mike Womack
Director, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Mississippi

Governor Haley Barbour appointed Mike Womack Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency in December 2006. Womack previously served as MEMA's Deputy Director and as the agency's Response & Recovery Director.

During Hurricane Katrina, Womack was designated as the State Coordinating Officer and coordinated the state's resources as well as the massive amount of resources provided by other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. He continues to serve as the Governor's Authorized Representative for the continuing Hurricane Katrina recovery.

He has also served as the State Coordinating Officer for Hurricane Ivan and as Deputy State Coordinating Officer for two additional major disaster declarations.

Womack has an extensive operations and management background and brings this knowledge to the emergency management setting. He retired in 2001 after serving 29 years in active and reserve military service as a full time Lieutenant Colonel for the Mississippi Army National Guard. During his time in the National Guard Womack developed plans and exercises in support of states mission for Emergency Response. These exercises fully incorporated the National Guard's support to civilian authorities.

Womack began his career with the Mississippi Military Department in 1985 as the senior active duty officer supervising a 1,000 man armored cavalry squadron. In 1994 he was promoted to the senior full time officer position in the 4,000 solider, 155th Armored Brigade.

Womack has received numerous awards for his military service. Among those awards is the Mississippi Magnolia Cross, which is the highest peacetime award presented by the state . He is also the recipient of multiple Army Commendation Medal awards and Meritorious Service Medal awards.

A native of Hernando, he has a Bachelor's Degree in music from the University of Mississippi and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga.

Womack is a member of the Mississippi Civil Defense/Emergency Management Association, Regional Vice President for the National Emergency Management Agency and serves on their Legislative Committee, member of the Board of Directors for the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, the National Guard Associations of Mississippi and the United States, and the United States Army Armor Association where he holds the Order of St. George, signifying significant contributions to the advancement of the Cavalry and Armor Units.

Womack is married to the former Jonie Eatwell of Hernando. The couple has a daughter, two sons and four grandchildren.

Current Topic


08/16 - Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference (encore)

What difference has a decade made?

Due to severe flooding in Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities, the recording of “Black & The Blue,” which was to be the August episode of Louisiana Public Square, was cancelled. Instead we will be broadcasting an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference.” More information, including broadcast dates and times, is below.

“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference”
Eleven years ago, Hurricane Katrina swept through Southeast Louisiana, triggering what would become the nation’s costliest disaster. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita inundated Southwest Louisiana forever altering the landscape. The storms uprooted residents, while the rest of Louisiana and its neighboring states welcomed them with open arms.
What affect did the storms have on economic development along the I-10 corridor? Just over a decade later, how have public services changed? How prepared is Louisiana to handle hurricane evacuees? And how did the hurricanes change the demographics of the state?
This month Louisiana Public Square takes a look at where the state is now on an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” airing Wednesday, August 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 21 at 11 a.m. on LPB HD.

The panelists are:
· Andy Kopplin, Office of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
· Paul Rainwater, Rainwater Consulting, LLC
· Stephanie Riegel, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
· Nihal Shrinath, The Data Center

The program includes interviews with Jason El Koubi, One Acadiana; Chris Guilbeaux, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP); Kathy Kliebert, Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals; Allison Plyer, Executive Director of the Data Center; John White, State Superintendent of Education; and Christopher Bohnstengel and “Byrdie” Lane, owners of Byrdie’s Gallery and Café in New Orleans.

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney, and Kim Hunter Reed,Ph.D., who served in the Blanco administration during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, moderate the discussion.
“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” will also air in New Orleans, on WLAE. It can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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