Freese and Nichols Celebrates Annie Vest’s New Role as Director of Oklahoma Emergency Management

Annie Vest

Freese and Nichols congratulates Annie Vest, our Mitigation and Disaster Planning Lead for nearly two years, on her appointment as Director of Oklahoma Emergency Management. She becomes one of the youngest individuals ever to lead an Oklahoma state agency.

“Annie is an impressive industry leader for disaster mitigation and community preparedness,” Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a statement. “With over a decade of experience at the state and federal levels, Annie brings the right temperament and skill set to lead Oklahoma in emergency preparedness and response. I’m grateful for her willingness to serve, and I look forward to working alongside her to protect Oklahomans.”

In her new role, which she is serving on an interim basis until Senate confirmation, Annie oversees the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Through the State Emergency Operations Center and a statewide network of 300 local managers, the Department coordinates the four phases of emergency management: community preparedness, emergency response, disaster recovery and hazard mitigation.

In June 2023, Annie volunteered with the Muscogee Nation to deliver generators to various facilities in Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma after wind damage knocked out electricity.

This appointment is a testament to Annie’s outstanding abilities as well as Freese and Nichols’ commitment to developing industry leaders and serving our communities. During her tenure here, her dedication and expertise were instrumental in shaping our vision for effective and innovative hazard mitigation strategies. Her work across Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana included:

  • Connecting a wide range of projects to grant funding sources and broader resilience goals
  • Leading multiple hazard mitigation action plan efforts, including alignment to support increased ratings under FEMA’s community rating system
  • Applying hazard mitigation and FEMA funding knowledge to support tribal nations (Read more: The Muscogee (Creek) Nation: Connecting Through Service)
  • Developing best practices and processes for FEMA, FMA, BRIC and FEMA-MIT grant applications (Read her insights: Which FEMA Funding Program Should I Apply For?)

She is also serving as President of the National Hazard Mitigation Association and Chair of the Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association. (Read more: Annie Vest Leads Two National and State Resilience Organizations)

“Annie’s passion for hazard mitigation has been evident from my very first conversation with her,” said Chance Sparks, Freese and Nichols’ Urban Planning + Design Group Manager. “While I’m sad that she’s leaving our team, I really couldn’t be more proud that Oklahoma recognized her expertise. I’m confident that she will bring about transformative and rewarding changes there.”

To maintain continuity and quality of our services, our team of planners and engineers is committed to delivering hazard mitigation, emergency management projects and funding assistance. To learn more about how we can help your organization, please contact Kevin Enoch or your Freese and Nichols client rep.