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December 14, 2006




(Jackson, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour today named Mike Womack of Jackson as Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Womack, 53, has served as interim director of the agency since July and was deputy director prior to that appointment.


“When I appointed Mike as interim director, he knew I wanted to get through the 2006 hurricane season before making a decision on who the permanent director should be,” Governor Barbour said. “He has done an outstanding job and earned the position on a permanent basis.”


Womack takes over the agency following the July 1 retirement of Robert Latham Jr., who served as the agency’s director for six years. Womack joined MEMA in 2002 as a Response and Recovery Bureau Director following his 2001 retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Mississippi Army National Guard after 29 years in active and reserve service.


“During my entire career, I have never enjoyed work so much as I have my time at MEMA and helping our citizens recover from disasters,” said Womack. “This is a tremendous honor for me and I plan on working to keep improving both this agency and the close relationship we have with county emergency management directors throughout the state. I think Robert Latham set an excellent example in the last six years about how this state can be seen as a leader nationally in emergency management.”


During the last 15 months Womack has served as the State’s Coordinating Officer for the recovery efforts of Hurricane Katrina. As the coordinating officer he is the primary state official designated by the Governor to ensure coordination of state agencies and local governments with their federal partners. He has also served in that role, or as the deputy-coordinating officer, for four other Presidential Declared Disasters, including Hurricane Ivan in 2004.


During his tenure with the National Guard, he served first as the senior administrative officer, where he was responsible for management of armories in North Mississippi. Womack also was responsible for coordination and management of all National Guard resources for a 10-county area during an ice storm in 1994. Following that he was promoted to the senior manager of the 155th Separate Armored Brigade, now known as the 155th Separate Armored Brigade Combat Team.


Womack graduated from Hernando High School and the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in music education. He served seven years in the U.S. Army and was commissioned a second lieutenant from Officer Candidate School, is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses and the Command and General Staff College.