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After just a few months as head of the state’s Emergency Management Agency, Ryan Nicholls is leaving to resume his former role in southwest Missouri. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has more.
The 36-year-old Nicholls, who has six children, cited a desire to return back home with his family.
“As we started to work through the transition of the family with the home changes, and even the family’s and a lot of the activities the kids were accustomed to, it was just thought that ‘you know, maybe this isn’t quite the right time for us to do this,’” Nicholls said.
When approached for the job in February, Nicholls chose to embrace the challenge, but admits there was a sense of urgency on his part to be in position before the spring severe weather season began.
Thursday will be his final day in Jefferson City, before returning to again lead the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management, a post he previously held for seven years.
In a release, the city of Springfield welcomed Nicholls back, and praised the interim leadership of Larry Woods over the last few months. Greene County Administrator Tim Smith cited Nicholls' guidance in helping the Office of Emergency Management “become a world class, fully accredited agency for the citizens of Springfield-Greene County.”
Nicholls says his short stint as SEMA director allowed him to gain a unique perspective of the state’s ability to coordinate support for local response in disaster situations, and is confident in the department moving forward.
“We’ve had a very strong team here, and that leadership that’s already here – that was here before I came – is still be here and will sustain it without a problem,” Nicholls said.
Nicholls’ first day back as head of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management is Monday.
According to Missouri DPS Communications Director Mike O’Connell, SEMA Deputy Director Tim Diemler will act in the role of director for now.
For KSMU news, I’m Scott Harvey.