SEMA director returns to Greene county post

Saturday, June 15, 2013 | 5:09 p.m. CDT; updated 7:54 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 15, 2013

SPRINGFIELD — The director of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency is returning to his position leading the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management after only a few months on the state job.

Ryan Nicholls left the Greene County position in March to take the job in Jefferson City leading the state's emergency management agency, The Springfield News-Leader reported. He returns to Springfield this month.

Nicholls said while he enjoyed his time with the state agency, family concerns took precedence. He said uprooting his six children became too difficult, considering the strong ties he and the family have in Greene County.

"There were just a lot of challenges," Nicholls said.

In the time that Nicholls has been gone, Larry Woods served as interim director of the Greene County agency. Both City Manager Greg Burris and County Administrator Tim Smith praised Woods' time leading the department, writing in a city news release they owe him "much gratitude."

"We are so happy to have Ryan back as Director of the Office of Emergency Management," Smith said. "After all, it was his leadership that helped the Office of Emergency Management become a world-class, fully accredited agency for the citizens of Springfield-Greene County."

Burris said city staff and leaders also are pleased to welcome Nicholls back.

"We have an incredible team at the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management and will be happy to have Ryan back home in Greene County to continue the important work of emergency preparedness," Burris said. "Despite the great progress we have made as a community, we still have much work to do."

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