2/8/2012 12:41:00 PM New County Emergency Management Coordinator steps into role with gusto
Denny Foulk is an An Arizona native born and raised in the Valley, he joined the U.S. Army at 17. He started volunteering as an emergency-response diver and became a swift-water rescue technician and worked search-and-rescue. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master's degrees in Emergency Management. Foulk was working for the University of Central Arkansas as an Emergency Management Coordinator when he decided to "come back home," as he put it.
BY SCOTT ORR Contributing Reporter
PRESCOTT - Denny Foulk knows he's stepping into some pretty big shoes.
His predecessor, Nick Angiolillo, was Yavapai County Emergency Management Coordinator for 14 years, and by all accounts, was wildly successful at organizing the diverse groups that must work together during times of crisis.
Foulk, 48, said he doesn't want to make any big changes now that's he's taken charge. "No massive changes - everything will be small, incremental steps."
"It's the maintaining and keeping up" that organization and communication he expects will take most of his time and energy.
He does have some early improvements in mind. "We've started an initiative here to coordinate our training and exercise programs more closely with the state and federal government," which, he said, has a lot of benefits, not the least of which is the fact that the cost of training can be shared.
He clearly loves this stuff, and has for some time. An Arizona native born and raised in the Valley, he joined the U.S. Army at 17. He started volunteering as an emergency-response diver and became a swift-water rescue technician and worked search-and-rescue.
He holds Bachelor of Science and Master's degrees in Emergency Management.
Foulk was working for the University of Central Arkansas as an Emergency Management Coordinator when he decided to "come back home," as he put it.
"I missed Arizona," he said. His wife agreed, and when he saw Angiolillo's job had come open, he jumped at the chance.
"I feel very fortunate that he chose me," Foulk said.
He worked with Angiolillo for four months, a time during which "Nick put me in the hot seat," requiring him to learn a lot about many topics in a short time. "He had a checklist of things for me to go through, to learn the county," Foulk said.
The major concerns Foulk looks at now are wildland fires, flooding, and hazardous material spills.
"We have to prepare for virtually anything," he said, but those are the most likely to happen in Yavapai County.
Wildland fires and monsoon-season flooding may be obvious, but hazmat?
"We have a lot of corridors that hazardous material travels on - I-40, I-17, and the BNSF Railway line that goes down to Skull Valley," Foulk said. "We have response teams, both in the Verde (Valley) and the Prescott basin, that are capable of responding to a major hazmat incident. So we're prepared for that."
Also a factor in these post-9/11 times are terrorist threats.
"Although that's rather small, the possibility exists," he said.
Foulk knows his major asset in dealing with these potential emergencies is the people who staff the agencies with which he works.
"Emergency management is all about the people," he said. "The most important part of my job is pulling together folks to collaborate and share information and knowledge. When you get that type of action going, you make a lot of good things happen for a county."
"Nick established that," he added. "He developed a wonderful program."
"It's been a wonderful opportunity here. There's a lot to do."