The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) has announced that Governor Glenn Youngkin has selected Shawn Talmadge to serve as VDEM’s new state coordinator. Talmadge comes to VDEM from the previous administration where he served as Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security and the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor. In those roles, he also supervised the Secretariat’s Homeland Security Division and the Departments of Emergency Management, Fire Programs, and State Police.
His work included leading the effort to expand COMLINC, provided to the localities as the commonwealth’s emergency communications interoperability solution; expanding the use of emerging technologies, including unmanned systems in the aerial and maritime domains; and strengthening cyber resiliency statewide through response and recovery programs, policies, and plans. He has served within the emergency response and homeland security field for over 25 years at the state and local level as an incident commander, critical care paramedic, firefighter, and hazardous materials technician, ultimately achieving the rank of battalion chief in the Hanover County Fire-EMS Department.
Throughout his career in the Virginia National Guard, Talmadge held a number of leadership roles including Battalion Commander, Executive Officer, Chief of Joint Operations, and Deputy Commander of the CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP). He led a number of initiatives including the development of CERFP training standards and doctrine, established standardized response task forces to speed response to domestic emergencies, the development of less than lethal technologies, and managed counter UAS and detection operations. After two deployments to the Middle East, Shawn continues his service in the Virginia National Guard as the Red Team Chief at the 29th Infantry Division.
In 2015, Mr. Talmadge was appointed as Virginia’s first Director of the Homeland Security and Resilience Staff Group where he re-established the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, led the state’s FirstNet evaluation process resulting in Virginia being the first to opt-in to the nationwide wireless network dedicated to public safety users, and established a variety of new critical infrastructure and cyber security initiatives designed to bolster the resilience of Virginia.
Shawn has coauthored national level, interagency response protocols to large-scale incidents, responded to numerous regional and state level disasters, and presented at conferences on various homeland security topics. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Virginia Tech in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise and a Master’s Degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. He also holds the Certified Emergency Manager designation from the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Talmadge is no stranger to VDEM as he also previously served as the agency’s Director of the Response Programs Division. In this capacity, he directed the agency’s disaster logistics and special operations branches including the following statewide response programs: hazardous materials, incident management, radio cache, technical rescue, and search and rescue.