JCDEM Director to Begin July 9

Willie Bence Director

The County Administrator, along with a large interview panel made up of county, city, and community members, have selected a new Director for the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management. We are excited to announce that Willie Bence will be your new Director of Emergency Management. Bence will begin on July 9.

Bence is from Humboldt County, California, where he most recently worked at Humboldt State University (HSU) as their Emergency Management Coordinator. At HSU, he was responsible for the development and update of the campus-wide emergency operations and business continuity plans, the overall readiness of the campus Emergency Operations Center and its team, the management of the Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT), and providing overall subject matter expertise as it relates to emergency management to campus leadership and to the campus community at large.

Prior the working at HSU, Willie held multiple positions with the American Red Cross, both in Humboldt County and in Portland, Oregon. There, he focused extensively on community preparedness education and volunteer training and engagement. He also was able to serve on numerous national disaster relief operations as an EOC liaison and disaster assessment supervisor, including Hurricane Sandy, flooding events in Colorado, Illinois, and Florida, among others. Finally, he has a Master's degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from American Military University, and a Bachelor's in Black Studies with a minor in History, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Outside of work, Willie is married to his wife of two years, Liz, and has two dogs, Penny Lane and Bocephus. He enjoys playing hockey, mountain biking, and camping.