Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson joined the University of West Georgia (UWG) in November 2017 as the Director of Emergency Management, responsible for coordinating all emergency planning and operations for the University, to include preparedness programs and initiatives and providing education and training in emergency management principles and procedures. Prior to joining UWG, Mr. Nelson was with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) initially as the Deputy Director of Operations and subsequently Director of Operations from January 2007 until October 2017. He was directly responsible for the Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) and divisional programs to include: Alert and Warning; Communications and Interoperability; Information Sharing; Fusion Center; Search and Rescue; Logistics and Resource Management; Private Sector and Voluntary Organization Coordination. He led the Virginia Emergency Response Team (VERT), coordinating state level response, for over 41 Governor declared emergencies and 10 Federal Disaster Declarations. Additionally, he served as Virginia’s Emergency Management Liaison to the National Guard, Department of Defense, United States Coast Guard and other Federal agencies with facilities in Virginia, representing Virginia’s Emergency Management interests to include planning, training, exercises, response and recovery.   

Mr. Nelson served over twenty years in the United States Navy, as a Naval Flight Officer in the E-2C Hawkeye, retiring in 2004.  He concluded his Navy career planning and coordinating Combat Air Operations in the early months of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Mr. Nelson is a graduate of the University of West Florida, with a Bachelor’s in Marine Biology; Auburn University at Montgomery with a Masters in Public Administration; Virginia Executive Institute (VEI); and the Commonwealth Management Institute (CMI). His military education includes Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), Air University: Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) and National Defense University: Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC). 

Mr. Nelson currently serves as a program assessor with the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), providing Emergency Management Program assessment for programs desiring accreditation or reaccreditation.

Mr. Nelson is an adjunct instructor for Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), providing instruction nationwide in the unique aspects of responding to critical incidents on campuses.

  • B.S., Marine Biology, University of West Florida, 1983
  • M.P.A., Public Administration, Auburn University at Montgomery, 1997