Vermont Emergency Management Organizational Chart
Erica Bornemann, Director
Erica Bornemann is the Director of Vermont Emergency Management. She has worked for VEM since 2007. Erica previously served as Chief of Staff, and as Planning Chief for the Division, during which time she oversaw the Radiological Emergency Response Program as well as the State Emergency Operations Plan. Erica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Western New England College and a Master of Public Administration from Norwich University. She lives in Morrisville, Vermont with her husband and two sons.
Eric Forand, Deputy Director
Eric joined VEM in September of 2017 and was named Deputy Director in July of 2022. He manages day to day operations at VEM and works with communities and partners on VEM issues and initiatives. Before joining VEM, he worked for the Town of Bristol on planning, zoning, and economic development. Eric has been a firefighter for the last 14 years, currently serving as Assistant Chief in Bristol. He is also a former EMT-B and past instructor at the Vermont Fire Academy. Eric received a B.S. in Business Administration from Northeastern University.
Mark Bosma, Public Information Officer
Mark manages all external communications for VEM before, during, and after an emergency event. Mark is the Joint Information Center lead during EOC activations and is responsible for crisis communications during all events. He is the editor and content creator for all VEM social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) and produces all preparedness materials like the Family Workbook and monthly newsletter. He also fields information requests from the public and municipal officials, and manages all media relations. Mark came to VEM in 2006 after serving as PIO for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. He previously worked as a reporter at WCAX-TV for more than 10 years and is a University of Vermont graduate.
Susan Plant, Administrative Assistant
Susan Plant (Sharbino) joined VEM in May 2017. She provides administrative support to the Director, Deputy Director, and the division. With 17 years’ experience in administration in an elementary school and actively involved in the school’s crisis team, she brings a fresh perspective to emergency management.
Emily Harris, Engagement Section Chief
Emily joined Vermont Emergency Management in July 2011. As the Engagement Section Chief, Emily provides oversight and guidance to the State Training Program, School Safety Program, and Local Planning, Training & Exercise Program. Emily received a B.A. in Political Science from Johnson State College, a M.A. in Public Administration from Syracuse University, and is a FEMA Professional Continuity Practitioner.
Taiga Christie, Regional Coordinator - South
Taiga joined VEM in 2022 after a decade in public health, health education, EMS, harm reduction and theater as health worker training. She holds a public health masters from the Yale School of Public Health where she studied EMS provider sustainability, emergency preparedness and theater as community health promotion. Since receiving her EMT in Southern Vermont in 2012, she has worked in healthcare and the arts in New England and the Pacific Northwest.
Sunni Eriksen, School Safety Grants Program Manager
Sunni Eriksen joined VEM in September 2018, as the School Safety Grants Program Manager. Sunni provides programmatic support and management to enhance the level of emergency preparedness in Vermont schools, utilizing state, regional and federal school safety partners to identify and share best practices and emerging trends. Prior to coming to VEM, Sunni spent ten years at the Vermont Public Service Department, working in the Telecom and Consumer Affairs & Public Information Divisions. Sunni holds a B.A. in Sociology & Education from the University of Southern Maine, graduate certificates in Mediation and Public Management, and a M.A. in Humanities from Tiffin University.
Max Kennedy, Regional Coordinator - Northwest
Max joined VEM in May of 2017 and is the Northwestern Vermont Regional Emergency Management Program Coordinator; providing emergency preparedness support to municipalities served by Addison County, Chittenden County, and Northwest Regional Planning Commissions through training, exercising, and plan development. Prior to coming to VEM, Max worked for seven years in emergency preparedness for the Vermont Department of Health. Max received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont and is currently an executive officer in the Vermont National Guard.
Harry Schoppmann, Regional Coordinator - Northeast
Harry joined VEM in October of 2020. As the Northeastern Regional Emergency Program Coordinator, he works with towns, agencies, and organizations throughout the counties of Caledonia, Essex, Lamoille, Orleans and Washington to provide emergency preparedness through training, plan development and exercises. Prior to joining VEM, Harry worked as a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) for 5 years and then as Deputy Chief for the Underhill Jericho Fire Department for 11 ½ years. Harry has 25+ years’ experience in fire and emergency medical services and is currently a firefighter and AEMT on the Huntington Fire Department. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Hofstra University.
Hillarie Scott, State Training Administrator
Hillarie joined VEM in May of 2021. Hillarie is responsible for coordinating emergency management training statewide and serving as the Department of Public Safety Learning Management System Administrator. Prior to Hillarie joining VEM she worked in the healthcare industry as an implementation consultant building practice management systems for local and hospital owned doctors offices where she trained the staff how to use the system. In 2017 she became the Director of Speedway Children’s Charities New Hampshire Chapter planning many fundraising events to raise funds for non-profit children organization and programs across New England. Hillarie received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Nichols College.
Homeland Security Section
Christian Pedoty, Homeland Security Unit Program Chief
Christian Pedoty is the Vermont Homeland Security Unit Program Chief; joining in December of 2019. He oversees the daily activities of the Homeland Security Unit. Previously, Christian served in law enforcement for 25 years; retiring as a Lieutenant in New York, and later becoming a Chief of Police in Massachusetts. Christian also served in the US Army Military Police Corps. After retiring from law enforcement, Christian held a position as an Assistant Program Manager with a DHS security contracting firm. Christian holds a Bachelor of Science from Empire State College-State University of New York in Police Science and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Aspen University.
Chance Payette, Homeland Security Program Manager
Chance joined the Homeland Security Unit as a Program Manager in January of 2022. After service in the U.S. Marine Corps, he moved around the country and eventually found himself back in Vermont. He has worked for the State of Vermont since 2011 with the Department of Labor and was an Emergency Preparedness Specialist at the Department of Buildings and General Services for the last 2 1/2 years. Chance is also the Assistant Chief of the Woodbury Fire Department and an E.M.T.
Matt Pritchard, Homeland Security Program Manager
Matt Pritchard joined the Homeland Security Unit in September of 2019. He oversees the Vermont Critical Infrastructure program and manages outreach initiatives on behalf of the Unit. Previously, Matt worked in the private sector for a professional services agency. Matt has a B.S. in Communications Studies with a concentration in Film Making and a M.S. in Homeland Security Studies from Endicott College.
Operations and Logistics Section
Brett LaRose, Operations and Logistics Section Chief
Brett started with the Department of Public Safety in January 2016 and was named Operations and Logistics Section Chief in 2019. Previous to VEM, Brett worked for the Vermont Department of Health, Division of Emergency Preparedness, Response and Injury Prevention for 10+ years. Brett provides daily logistical and support services for Vermont Emergency Management and when the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is activated. This involves coordinating the use and acquisition of technology to support ongoing and disaster operations for VEM as well as ensuring the continual operational readiness of the facility. Brett has extensive experience and training in emergency response from both his time working at the health department and his 20+ years experience in the fire service, where he currently serves as Chief of the Bristol Fire Department.
Brett Pierce, Emergency Management Support Specialist
Brett has been with VEM since 2013. Brett is a human that enjoys eating food, breathing oxygen, and sleeping. He is the division's WebEOC, GIS, and IT administrator.
Josh Cox, Emergency Management Support Specialist
Josh joined VEM in April of 2014. His previous experience includes serving as an EMT for Santa Clara County California, Fire Marshal and Health Officer for the City of St. Albans, and Planning Commissioner for the Town of St. Albans.
Julie Benedict, State Exercise Administrator
Julie joined Vermont Emergency Management in 2023 as State Exercise Administrator. Prior VEM, she worked for thirteen years at the Vermont Department of Health as the Exercise and Training Administrator. Julie was also a medic in the US Air Force, and an EMT-B. She has a Bachelor of Science from Saint Michael’s College and a Master Exercise Practitioner certification from FEMA. In her free time, Julie is a Girl Scout Troop Leader and on the board of the Maine Bead Society.
Glenn Herrin, Emergency Management Specialist
Glenn has been with VEM since 2014. He supports various programs and projects, including VT-Alert and the Learning Management System (LMS), as needed. He previously worked on the Radiological Emergency Response Program (RERP) and as the Marlboro town Emergency Management Director (EMD). He is a lifelong Vermont resident and retired Army officer with extensive operational and computer network experience. Glenn has a BS in Computer Science and the Humanities from Clarkson University and an MS in Computer Science from the University of New Hampshire.
Augustus Norris, Emergency Management Planner
Augustus joined Vermont Emergency Management as an Emergency Management Planner I in September 2022. Before moving to Vermont he served as an Infantryman in the U.S. military for five years. Augustus was born and raised in Texas.
Liz Rowell, Emergency Management Planner
Liz Rowell joined VEM in September of 2021 as an Emergency Management Planner II and has been VEM's Emergency Management Planner III since June of 2022. Prior to VEM, Liz comes from the Vermont Department of Health as an Emergency Preparedness Specialist in the Burlington District Office. Liz also has clinical experience as a Paramedic serving both rural and urban counties in South Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina and is currently finishing her Masters of Public Health from the University of Vermont.
Recovery and Mitigation Section
Ben Rose, Recovery and Mitigation Section Chief
Ben Rose joined the Irene Recovery Office in February 2012, and moved to VEM in May of that year. His previous experience includes twelve years as Executive Director of The Green Mountain Club, four years as a state legislator and clerk of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, and six years as Executive Director of the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District. He received a B.A. from Yale University and a M.S. from the University of Vermont in Natural Resource Planning. A former Chair of the Vermont Trails and Greenways Council, Rose co-founded the Catamount Trail Association in 1984.
Stephanie Smith, State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Stephanie joined the Recovery and Mitigation Section of VEM as the Hazard Mitigation Planner in June 2016 and became the State Hazard Mitigation Officer in February 2020. Stephanie manages the Hazard Mitigation Team, including management of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs and the Flood Resilient Communities Fund (FRCF), as well as coordination of State Hazard Mitigation Plan development and implementation. She holds a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Kimberly Canarecci, Public Assistance Officer
Kimberly joined the Recovery and Mitigation division of VEM in the fall of 2013 after moving to Vermont from Colorado. She is the primary state liaison between FEMA and Vermont municipalities and other eligible sub-grantees. She also oversees all appeals, time extensions, and project scope change requests. Kimberly’s background includes over 8 years of experience in Public Assistance with FEMA, 5 years as a newspaper reporter, and 6 years as a firefighter. She holds a B.S. in Communications and Journalism from the University of Wyoming, and also has a graduate certificate in Fire Science, Emergency Medical Technician from Red Rocks Community College.
Lisa Kolb, State Hazard Mitigation Planner
Lisa joined VEM in November of 2020, serving as a Public Assistance Coordinator. She joined the Recovery and Mitigation Section of VEM as a Hazard Mitigation Planner in October of 2021. Her work focuses primarily on assisting in grant application development and project implementation under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs and the Flood Resilient Communities Fund (FRCF). She holds a B.A. in Political Science, Sociology and Justice Studies from Rhode Island College and a J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law.
Brian McWalters, State Hazard Mitigation Planner
Brian joined VEM in September 2022. He previously worked at a nonprofit advocating for environmental and social safeguards in international development finance. He holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and Sport Studies from Rutgers University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Caroline Paske, State Hazard Mitigation Planner
Caroline joined VEM in December of 2020. She provides technical assistance for hazard mitigation planning and projects, and reviews Local Hazard Mitigation Plans for FEMA-approval. Caroline previously worked for a Regional Planning Commission in Western Massachusetts developing hazard mitigation and climate change adaptation plans. She was with FEMA Region II for six years working in New York and Puerto Rico within Community Planning and Capacity Building, the Natural and Cultural Resources Recovery Support Function, and Environmental and Historic Preservation. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University.
Ron Pentkowski, Public Assistance Administrator
Ron joined VEM in 2013. He currently administers FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program for the State and municipal applicants for response to, and recovery from, major federally declared disasters. He works closely with the Applicants and State/local engineers on the construction phases of the recovery process for roads, bridges, and culverts. Before joining VEM, he worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a project specialist, and as a project manager for premier analytical laboratories. Ron holds an Associates Degree in Applied Science from Paul Smith's College.