Meet Our Board & Staff


Chief Ernest (Ernie) Mitchell, Jr.
Chairman of the Board

Ernest Mitchell, Jr. was the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s United States Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration. He began his tenure on December 5, 2011 and was responsible for managing the United States Fire Administration, the programs and training activities at the National Emergency Training Center.

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Chief Mitchell retired as the Fire Chief and Assistant Director of Disaster Emergency Services for the City of Pasadena, California Fire Department after 33 years in the fire service. Chief Mitchell is an active member and former officer of the IAFC. During his last year in Pasadena he was also President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), where he continued until the completion of his term. He served in Pasadena from 1998 until 2004. Prior to becoming Fire Chief in Pasadena, Chief Mitchell served as Fire Chief and Deputy City Manager in the City of Monrovia, California for seven years.  He began his career as a fire fighter with the City of Compton, California. He served there for twenty years in various ranks until leaving to become Fire Chief in the City of Monrovia.

His most recent professional affiliations include serving as a member of the International Fire Service Training Association Executive Board, the International Association of Firefighters Hazardous Materials Advisory Board, the IAFC President’s Council, the IAFC Foundation Board, and the IAFC/IAFF Labor/Management Initiative Facilitator Team.

In previous years he has served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Advisory Committee; on numerous committees and task forces of the IAFC; and presided over several fire service organizations, including: the Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Association; the League of California Cities Fire Chiefs and the Foothill Fire Chiefs. He has also been an Advocate for the National Fallen Firefighters’ Everyone Goes Home ® Program, an adjunct instructor for the National Fire Academy and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Fire Chief Magazine.

Chief Mitchell has an Associate of Science Degree in Fire Science from Long Beach City College; a Bachelor Degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco; and a Master of Public Administration Degree from California State University at Northridge.

During his career Chief Mitchell has either chaired or been a member of many working committees that contributed to the progress and development of communities as well as local, state and national fire and emergency services. He is a past recipient of the IAFC President’s Award for Service and has received several community awards for service.

He is a past recipient of numerous community and organizational honors, including: the IAFC President’s Award for Service, designation as a City of Compton Hometown Hero, and selection to the Long Beach City College Alumni Hall of Fame.

John H. Granby
Secretary/Treasurer of the Board

John H. Granby has been involved with the design, manufacture, distribution and sale of protective clothing, and supporting technical services to the Fire Service for over 35 years. Over the last few years he has also been involved at the federal level in developing products and programs for both the private and public sectors in protective clothing and logistical management as well as securing funding streams for the  first responders of the United States. He is presently Vice President of Government Relations and Corporate responsibility for Lion, Inc. In addition he is an active member of the Miami Valley Urban Search and Rescue team (Federal Task Force OHTF-1) as a technical Information Specialist and served as a subject matter expert for the US&R Logistical Working Group from 1999-2003. In the 1980’s he worked with the Washington Township Fire department as a subject matter expert in Personal Protective Equipment and was an honorary member of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association.

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John holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University and has been involved with additional postgraduate work and technical seminaries at various universities.  John is married and has one child who is now an active firefighter.

He was an active member of the National Fire Protective Association and has served on multiple committees within the NFPA including 1971, 1976, 1991 92 and 93 that address protective clothing for firefighters and as an alternate for NFPA 1500. He is a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials and has served on both ASTM F18 and F23 committees. Presently he is a member of E54 committee on Homeland Security. Previously he was Co-chair of the F18 Utility Rainwear task group the chair of F23’s FR Industrial Clothing committee. He was also involved in develop a handbook on use of protective clothing in the industrial/chemical work place.

In addition to his first responder activities he is a member of the Business Council of the US Conference of Mayors, a member of the National Advisory Council for the Congressional Fire Service institute and Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board (now called the NFFF Partner Council) of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Over the last12 years in addition his other activities he has been actively involved in working with the United States legislative and executive branches to promote a higher awareness and additional funding for the US Fire Service.

John has written many articles on protective clothing for both the industrial petro/chemical, utility market place and municipal and industrial fire service markets and Co- authored the first protective clothing design criteria ever written for firefighters. At present he is a board member of The Fire and Emergence Manufacturers and Services Association (FEMSA) and serves as a Co-Chair of the joint FEMS/FAMA Government Affairs Committee.

Barry D. Balliet

Mr. Balliet is the President of Provident in Pittsburgh, PA., a company offering group insurance benefits to emergency personnel and their families since 1928. Commencing employment in 1979, he has played an instrumental role in growing Provident from a regional concern to one with national and international reach. Under Mr. Balliet’s leadership, Provident has garnered national recognition for its innovative insurance coverages, customer care, and sincere dedication by all its staff to emergency service related causes.

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Mr. Balliet received a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned his Chartered Life Underwriter designation (CLU) in 1997. Additionally, he has maintained membership at the Pleasant Valley Fire Company since 1983, having served as a firefighter and in a number of administrative roles.

He currently is the Vice President of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Foundation Board. He feels privileged to serve on various other committees within the fire service community as well as volunteering for several other outside commitments.

Chief Charles Hood
San Antonio Fire Department

Charles Hood was sworn in as the Fire Chief of the City of San Antonio on April 16th 2007 becoming the first outside Fire Chief and the first African American Fire Chief in this historically significant city. Chief Hood leads one of the largest fire departments in the nation, commanding approximately 1800 personnel with a budget of over 292 million dollars. He is ultimately responsible for providing fire, emergency medical, special operations, emergency management and fire prevention to over 1.4 million citizens.

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Chief Hood joined the City of Phoenix Fire Department in 1984 where he rose through the ranks. Chief Hood was a member of the Phoenix Fire Department’s Urban Search & Rescue team and FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue’s National Incident Support Team. National responses include the 2004 Winter Olympics, Democratic National Convention, The Rodeo Fire and Challenger Space Shuttle incident and most recently served as the Liaison Officer with the City of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Chief Hood’s progressive leadership style and vision has resulted in many achievements. The SAFD is responsible for over 310,000 Unit Responses per year. Since joining the SAFD, Chief Hood has doubled the size of both the HAZMAT and Technical Rescue Teams. In 2010, Chief Hood established a Health & Wellness Program and recently added a Certified Athletic Trainer. In addition, Chief Hood has collaborated to establish a Fusion Center; created a Safety Division, and Fitness Program which includes becoming an official CrossFit Affiliate. In 2015 Chief Hood launched a Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program which represents one of the most progressive evolutions in the delivery of community based care. In an effort to improve department communication, he implemented an annual State of the Department Address presented to all uniform and civilian employees.

Chief Hood holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Service Management from the University of Ottawa and has attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education. He is an Adjunct Faculty at Texas A&M University National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center.

In 2010, Chief Hood was the recipient of the Metro Fire Chief of the Year presented by the members of the Black Chief Officer’s Committee, IABPFF. In 2014, Chief Hood was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for a six year term by the Fire Administrator of the United States Fire Administration. In 2016, Hood was appointed to the Editorial Board of Firehouse Magazine.

An Arizona native, Hood is the proud father of four sons, Tevin, Jaxon, Langston and Sheridan.

Fire Chief Elizabeth Snow
Wichita Fire Department

Elizabeth C. “Tammy” Snow has served the Wichita Fire Department as the Deputy Fire Chief of Operations since 2012.  She manages the day-to-day Emergency Operations of the largest fire department in the State of Kansas.  The department includes 419 commissioned personnel operating from 22 fire stations.

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Deputy Chief Snow began her fire service career in 1988 as a firefighter, working through the ranks to lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, division chief, and deputy chief.  She is directly responsible for the organization of an annual regional fire school, Wichita HOT (, which continues to grow each year since its inception in 2006 and is recognized as the premier fire school in the Midwest.  Additionally, she is the coordinator of the department’s Fire Explorer and Honor Guard programs.  She is very active in the community and holds numerous positions on a variety of community service executive boards.  She is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Kansas Fire Chiefs Association, Sedgwick County Fire Chiefs Association, Ks-FORCe and plays a key role in the organization of the yearly Kansas Fallen Firefighter Memorial that is hosted each October in Wichita, Kansas.

She has been recognized for her commitment to the community by receiving the Excellence in Public Service Award (2007) by the Devore Foundation.  Snow has a Bachelors and Masters degree in education from Wichita State University.  Prior to joining the fire service, she taught and coached at the secondary level for eight years where she was awarded several teaching and coaching accolades.  Deputy Chief Snow is also a graduate of the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs.


Ed Klima
Managing Director

Ed Klima joined the FRCE as its first Managing Director in 2017 where he manages the daily activities of the FRCE.  Ed is a certified emergency manager with over 27 years of public safety experience as a fire fighter, hazardous material technician, EMT, fire inspector and fire officer. He began his career as a volunteer fire fighter in Delaware and served as a career fire fighter and hazardous materials technician with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. In 2005, he became the Senior Director of Public Safety and Track Operations for Dover Motorsports and Dover Downs Hotel and Casino where he oversaw emergency preparedness planning and operations at several motorsports facilities across the U.S. as well as a comprehensive safety and security program for a multi-faceted sporting and entertainment complex in Delaware.

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As an emergency preparedness consultant specializing in special events he has worked on numerous major sporting and entertainment events, including the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, NFL Pro Bowl and Super Bowl where he has been a lead coordinator in the emergency planning process for the past thirteen years.  He has extensive experience working with law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical services and public health entities on comprehensive emergency response plans.

Mr. Klima has served as the External Affairs Director for the Congressional Fire Services Institute. He is an original member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 610 Committee, Safety at Motorsports Venues and the NASCAR Security Council. He also serves as Vice Chair for the IAVM Academy for Safety and Security.  A member of various state and local committees, Mr. Klima currently serves on the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Council for Delaware.

Mr. Klima holds two Bachelor degrees from the University of Delaware as well as a Master’s degree in Public Safety Management from Saint Joseph’s University.

He currently resides in Newark, DE with his wife and two sons.

Lori Jacobs
Programs Specialist

Lori Jacobs joined the First Responder Center for Excellence for Reducing Occupational Illness, Injuries and Deaths (FRCE) in 2019 as a Programs Specialist. Prior to joining the FRCE Lori worked at Dover Motorsports in the Public Safety Department. Lori’s father was an active member of the Gumboro Volunteer Fire Company for 32 years from 1968 to 2000. Her husband is a member of the Dover Fire Department. She resides in Camden, DE with her husband and children.

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Lori Jacobs joined the First Responder Center for Excellence for Reducing Occupational Illness, Injuries and Deaths (FRCE) in 2019 as a Programs Specialist. Prior to joining the FRCE Lori worked at Dover Motorsports in the Public Safety Department. Lori’s father was an active member of the Gumboro Volunteer Fire Company for 32 years from 1968 to 2000. Her husband is a member of the Dover Fire Department. She resides in Camden, DE with her husband and children.