Thomas S. Hughes

Title:  State Hazard Mitigation Officer

Chief, Hazard Mitigation Division
Organization: PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)

Bio:  Has been with PEMA 21 years in several key agency positions.  As PA SHMO, currently responsible for over 180 Disaster and Non-Disaster Hazard Mitigation projects (Acquisition/Demolition, Elevation, Ice-Boom, Notification & Early Warning, Floodproofing, HM Planning (67Counties, 14DRU, State HMP) in the area of $100 million in HM dollars. Currently working DR-1898 (Snow Disaster), DR-4003 (NE PA Flooding), DR-4025 (Hurricane Irene), DR-4030 (Tropical Storm Lee), DR-4099 (Superstorm Sandy) and DR-4149 (11 County Continuous Flood Events); 30 Non-Disaster HM Grants (FMA, PDM, LPDM, RFC and SRL).   Pennsylvania Silver Jacket Co-Chair (2013 Team of the Year).  Has completed the FEMA Advanced Floodplain Management Concept Courses (3).

PEMA State Hazard Mitigation Officer Position:

  • Serves as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO), Function as principal staff assistant to the Bureau Director and PEMA Director in hazard mitigation matters; Supervises Hazard Mitigation personnel (HM Project Officers) assigned to the Bureau; oversight on all plans and projects, Serves as Chairman of the State All-Hazard Mitigation Planning Team and member of Pennsylvania’s Land-Use Committee and Co-Chair of the chartered Pennsylvania Silver Jackets Program (Replace the State Flood Task Force) which involves federal, state, local and professional association stakeholders.  (Currently have a 14 Full-Time, Limited-Term, Annuitants & Clerical HM Staff assigned)

Description of Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Assists state, county and municipal governments in natural hazard risk identification and the identification and implementation of cost effective measures that will reduce future losses resulting from natural disasters.
  • Recommends, develops and implements procedures for efficient, effective administration of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Assistance (HMA) Programs: Disaster Grants – Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and Non-Disaster Grants- Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA).
  • Assists in the administration of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program by:
    • Reviewing, recommending and submitting county and municipal government requests for hazard mitigation grant monies to FEMA; Providing technical advice and assistance to community leaders and other applicants concerning documentation requirements and disaster funding procedures; Acting as the applicant’s advocate in all matters related to project approval and administration;
    • Assisting in the preparation of internal directives associated with the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program;
  • Develops and provides training to PEMA staff and augmenters, Joint Field Office (JFO) staff, Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) staff, and other interested parties on hazard mitigation.

Emergency Assignment:

  • Assists in the establishment of the Joint Field Office located in the designated disaster area.
  • Serves as the hazard mitigation expert on the JFO management team.
  • Serves as team leader of the Hazard Mitigation Field Team in preliminary damage assessment (PDA) activities.
  • Ensures notification of potential hazard mitigation applicants and conduct Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Applicants’ Briefing.


BA, Lycoming College, Business Administration, 1985, Williamsport, PA

AA Financial Management Specialist, Community College of the Air Force, 1987, Maxwell Air Force Base

Professional Credentials:  3x Certified Emergency Manager, NCCEM & International Assoc. of Emergency Managers 1995-2010 Employed by PEMA since 1993.  Previous positions:  State Emergency Operations Duty Officer, State Radiological Officer, State Training Officer.  State EOC – Operations Section Chief; Infrastructure, Human Services, Recovery Branch Division Chief; US Air Force and USAF Reserves Retired (CMSgt): Emergency Management/Mission Support Group duties 1985-2013; deployed for Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.