Who We Are
Senior Advisor for Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Gary McConnell has more than 40 years of emergency management experience, including pioneering leadership in domestic preparedness and terrorism following 9/11. As Director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), he oversaw interagency response and recovery efforts for 17 presidentially declared disasters and 195 declared states of emergency. He was Chief of Staff of the State Law Enforcement Command for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, directing and coordinating 29 state agencies, nearly 5,000 sworn law enforcement officers, and 25,000 civilian employees.
McConnell expanded GEMA’s role as the state’s lead emergency preparedness agency, addressing domestic terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), school violence, and training and equipment standards for 9-1-1 service. He led the implementation of improvements to the state’s emergency management and public systems and created the nation’s first statewide public school safety program. McConnell is past Chair of the Governor of Georgia’s 9/11 Advisory Committee and a member of the Research and Development Committee for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Domestic Preparedness (now part of the Department of Homeland Security).
At IEM, McConnell provides expert assistance and facilitation support for regional catastrophic planning as well as state and local planning, training, and exercises.