IEM Leadership

Ellen M. Gordon

Senior Advisor Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Ellen M. Gordon has over 40 years of experience in homeland security and emergency management.  During the 18 years she served as the Administrator of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management organization she oversaw  the interagency response and recovery efforts for 19 presidentially declared disasters and greater than 100 declared states of emergency.  Prior to serving as the agency administer she served as the director of operations and also several years as a county emergency management director.

Currently Ms. Gordon serves as a homeland security and emergency management subject matter expert in the development and implementation of the Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program, the Emergence Program and the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Executive Education as Associate Director Executive Education for the Center of Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Throughout her career she has been involved in national policy development committees and commissions, serving as a member of the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Council, the National Advisory Council for FEMA, and the National Homeland Security Consortium. She previously served as the President of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), as well as the Chairperson of the NEMA Homeland Security Committee. In addition, she served as a member of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving WMD (Gilmore Commission).

She is the recipient of the Curtis H. “Butch” Straub Award for exemplary academic achievement and leadership from the Naval Postgraduate School. She is a recipient of the U.S. Army Commander’s Award for Public Service and the U.S. Army Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service for her meritorious performance. Ms. Gordon was a recipient of the Iowa National Guard Distinguished Service Medal for her contributions and dedication to the State of Iowa. She also received a NEMA Presidential Citation and an award for recognition of her dedication to and support of homeland security.   She was recognized for her homeland security and emergency management leadership by being inducted into the International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame

Ms. Gordon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in law enforcement and corrections from Truman State University and a Master of Arts degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School.

At IEM, Ms. Gordon has provided advising and subject matter expertise working with FEMA, and has assisted in the research and development of guidance documents, and modules. In addition, Gordon has provided expert assistance and facilitation support for regional catastrophic, state and local planning.

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IEM became one of the first companies to focus solely on emergency management and to use quantitative data and science to inform decisions in emergency management. Over the past 35 years, IEM has grown from a company of one to an employer of over 550 employees, and has provided clients and communities with innovative solutions that produce results and save lives.

The Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) is jointly managed by FEMA and the U.S. Army. The program ensures maximum protection for the communities surrounding U.S. chemical weapons stockpile sites. Since 1993, IEM has provided program integration services to FEMA and through FEMA to the states and counties that are part of CSEPP.

In 1999, FEMA selected IEM to be the CSEPP onsite Program Management and Integration Contractor. IEM worked with program managers to develop a flexible protection framework that broke down the “maximum protection” mandate into measurable benchmarks. These benchmarks have been adopted by emergency managers in 10 states, 40 countries, and one Tribal Nation.
IEM was awarded a five-year BPA with FEMA to continue working to further CSEPP initiatives between 2000 and 2004. During this time IEM was contracted to develop a secure website to facilitate communication and information-sharing among CSEPP planners nationwide who work in different jurisdictions. The website IEM created now has over 1,000 active users who use it as their primary source of CSEPP information. IEM also developed a demonstration version of an interactive computer-based “game” designed to illustrate the effects of different protective action decisions in a CSEPP emergency to citizens in the Madison County, KY, CSEPP community.

FEMA awarded IEM a second five-year BPA from 2005-2011. IEM was asked to provide CSEPP technical and analytical studies, risk assessments, support for development of programmatic guidance and preparation of reports to Congress. IEM was required to evaluate the Oregon CSEPP community’s readiness in the event of a depot incident. IEM also assisted in the planning and execution of regular readiness exercises and supported pre-exercise meetings. IEM’s work for CSEPP has been recognized on multiple levels. In 2004, FEMA and IEM received a Profiles in Innovation Award for Emergency Preparedness and Response Excellence from GOVSEC (Government Security Expo and Conference). IEM continues to work with FEMA to increase preparedness and achieve measurable results.


QEM uses the information gathered from conducting different scenarios to calculate the risk and impact of implementing different risk-reducing strategies. It pinpoints the actions that are the most effective at reducing risk across a wide spectrum of potential events. QEM allows clients to know the best way to allocate funds and bridge gaps in preparedness without spending thousands of dollars to implement ideas that cannot work.

QEM’s methodology has been applied to hundreds of IEM projects, such as readiness assessments, chemical plant mitigation studies, protective action analyses, and hurricane evacuation planning. The U.S. Army and FEMA have repeatedly used QEM technology to assess strategies to protect citizens in case of an accidental release of chemical agents. DOD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) also utilized QEM to quantify the effectiveness of various chemical defense systems. The software continues to provide valuable solutions to clients.