Dr. James O'Brien
Advisory Board Member
Dr. O’Brien has a distinguished forty years’ record providing leadership, program management, planning, training and exercises in the field of emergency management. He served three years as an emergency management training officer; ten years as a disaster operations planner; and eight years as the Director of Clark County, Nevada, Emergency Management developing and implementing the Las Vegas Urban Area Strategy, Concept of Operations and Operations Plans (CONOPS and OPLANS) for emergency mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery and performing disaster operations planning with continuity of government (COG) and continuity of operations planning (COOP) elements. Dr. O’Brien has obtained extensive knowledge of and expertise in emergency management planning, training and exercises throughout his career. In his spare time, Dr. O’Brien teaches Emergency Management for Schools through Southern Utah University face-to-face and online courses; and also a series of online classes as part of a Master's Degree in Criminology for Regis University in Denver, Colorado. In addition, he designed the curriculum and taught in the Executive Master’s Degree in Crisis and Emergency Management for the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
In addition to higher education capabilities, Dr. O’Brien is an accomplished training developer, instructor, and evaluator. He has over twenty years’ experience training senior management, front-line supervisors, and tactical personnel in law enforcement, fire, emergency medical, public works, public health, and administration encompassing well over 20, 000 students. Topics included incident command system, planning, hazard mitigation, response, recovery, leadership, followership, and decision-making. He has FEMA Train-the Trainer certificates for I-300, I-400, and L-499, the comprehensive ICS curriculum. Specific courses delivered: I-100, I-200, I-300, I-400, 700, 800, ICS for Executives, and Multi-agency Coordination. He assessed over 180 Emergency Management Institute courses for alignment of course objectives with emergency management competency standards established by the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Dr. O’Brien has many years of EOC experience. He established the documentation, format, processes, and validation methods for a multi-agency coordination center, or EOC, to serve a population of 2.5 million residents and 42 million annual visitors in Clark County. He established training requirements for EOC staff, conducted tabletop, functional, and full-scale exercises to validate the EOC functions. He designed the information management processes that could switch back and forth from paper-based to Internet-based as a contingency if system failures occurred. He designed the transition from a dual-use conference room to a dedicated facility for EOC functions, including space planning, staffing, equipping, security, and was a member of the FEMA working group that developed CPG-601, Design and Management of Emergency Operations Centers.