Takeaways Today to Leverage Risk Reduction Funding Tomorrow

This session will provide an overview of disaster risk reduction with emphasis on funding programs that are available now and in the future for resilience projects. Participants will hear from the emergency management leaders in the field of risk reduction as well as risk reduction “champions” who have successfully planned for and executed projects in this area. This will be an interactive session during which participants will be provided a virtual worksheet and can identify projects and opportunities for your organization.


Chas Eby

Deputy Executive Director

Maryland Emergency Management Agency

Chas Eby is the Deputy Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), where he oversees all programs, operations, and administration at the Agency. Previously, he held the positions of Director of Disaster Risk Reduction and External Outreach Branch Manager at MEMA. Prior to joining MEMA, he was the Chief Planner for Emergency Preparedness at the Maryland Department of Health and served as the Pandemic Influenza Program Coordinator during the 2009-10 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

Chas received a Master of Arts degree in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School. He previously graduated from Boston College.

Chas has completed the National Emergency Management Executive Academy and is an adjunct professor teaching both public health preparedness and homeland security planning and policy at Towson University. He is a 2019 Henry Toll Fellow at the Council of State Governments.



Kyle Overly

Disaster Risk Reduction Directorate

Maryland Emergency Management Agency


Kyle Overly is an experienced practitioner & educator who is currently the Director of Disaster Risk Reduction at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). In this capacity he is responsible for leading five agency branches and programs including Hazard Mitigation, Risk Analysis & Recovery, Public Assistance, Communications & Outreach, and Non-Governmental Services. As a member of MEMA’s senior leadership he assists with shaping the direction of emergency management policy in Maryland and directing the agency towards realizing it’s overarching vision to shape a Resilient Maryland where communities thrive.

Previously Kyle was the Planning Branch Manager for MEMA where he was responsible for leading MEMA’s team of preparedness planners, setting state planning priorities, and coordinating planning efforts with local, state, and Federal agencies. Kyle also served as a Preparedness Planner and the Prevention/Protection program manager where he developed Maryland’s Prevention/Protection Mission Area, the State’s Special Events Program, and supported a number of other statewide efforts. Kyle led efforts to prepare for numerous large events in the State including the 2014 Star-Spangled Spectacular and the 2015 Gubernatorial Inauguration.

Prior to joining MEMA Kyle worked in the private sector. In this capacity he led planning projects for clients across the United State ranging from hazard mitigation plans, evacuation plans, emergency operations plans, and medical needs related efforts.  He also supported clients in their emergency operations centers during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Aside from his practical experience Kyle also teaches undergraduate emergency management and homeland security courses for the University of Maryland Global Campus. Kyle holds a Master of Science in Fire & Emergency Management Administration from Oklahoma State University, is a Doctor of Public Administration Student at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and is a Certified Emergency Manager.


Russell J. Strickland

Executive Director

Maryland Emergency Management Agency


Russell J. Strickland was appointed as the Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency by Governor Larry Hogan in July 2015. In this role, Mr. Strickland leads an agency that has the primary responsibility and authority for disaster risk reduction and consequence management for the State of Maryland. This includes serving as a direct advisor to the Governor during disasters and coordinating support for local governments as requested. The agency focuses on solving complex problems, resource management and situational analysis.

Directly prior to his appointment, Mr. Strickland worked as a Senior Law & Policy Analyst at the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS), where he led CHHS’ work with the United States Department of State Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program and developed strategy for the Montgomery County (Md.) Fire Department to meet compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).


JaLeesa Tate

Hazard Mitigation Branch Manager/State Hazard Mitigation Officer

Maryland Emergency Management Agency


JaLeesa Tate is the State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO) and Branch Manager for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). In this role, her primary focus is to identify and implement mitigation strategies on a statewide basis. JaLeesa accomplishes this through fostering relationships with stakeholders and administering FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs for the state.

Prior to joining MEMA, JaLeesa served as the Coastal Resources Planner for Baltimore City and Environmental Planner for Wicomico County – City of Salisbury. In these roles JaLeesa focused on water quality improvement and environmental land use at the local level in urban and rural communities.

JaLeesa studied Geography and Geosciences and is a Certified Floodplain Manager by the Association of State Floodplain Managers.