Each year, NEMA’s two national conferences provide a forum to discuss national and regional emergency management strategies with other emergency management professionals from around the country and with experts in the field.
The conferences focus on policy development, emergency management concerns, legislative issues, and federal relations. They give attendees the opportunity to hear, first-hand, the latest on issues that impact their agencies' programs. No other source can provide the current, comprehensive, behind-the-scenes information that NEMA conferences offer.
The vast majority of states are represented at NEMA conferences. For that reason, federal agencies, members of Congress and the current administration, and others attend the meetings so that they can discuss policy and program issues and get input from state directors.
Scheduling for the annual and mid-year conferences is very similar. Two days of the conference are devoted to committee meetings, one to two days are provided for professional development workshops, and a day typically exists for a plenary session. A small exhibition, social networking opportunities, and state director executive sessions are also included in the agenda.
Dates for upcoming conferences are posted on the NEMA website calendar.
NEMA Mid-Year Forum
Scheduled in late winter and held in the Washington, D.C., area, the mid-year conference takes place shortly after the president has released the budget request for the next fiscal year and delivered the State of the Union address. NEMA provides an analysis of the budget, and members use the conference to learn more about the budget proposals, including impact on emergency management. During the conference, the NEMA Legislative Committee identifies legislative priorities for the year in accordance with the budget request and proposed legislation.
Given the Washington location, NEMA considers the conference crucial in its ongoing efforts to educate elected officials about emergency management issues. Time is set aside for state directors to meet with their congressional delegation to discuss NEMA’s legislative priorities and state issues.
In addition, NEMA honors members of Congress for their achievements. State directors have the opportunity to nominate members of Congress for a NEMA Congressional Recognition Award about two months prior to the conference, and the Legislative Committee votes on the final selection. Some of the past NEMA Congressional Recognition Award winners include former Rep. Tom Ridge (PA) for his accomplishments in passing the Stafford Act, Senator Susan Collins (ME) for her accomplishments on the Intelligence Reform legislation, and Rep. Jane Harman (CA) for her work in helping emergency responders secure public safety spectrum.
NEMA Annual Forum
The location of the Emergency Management Policy & Leadership Forum changes every year, coinciding with the home state of the current NEMA president.
Leadership positions are voted on at the Emergency Management Policy & Leadership Forum and include the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Ten regional vice presidents are also selected by their respective region memberships prior to the annual meeting. The officers and regional vice presidents constitute NEMA’s board of directors.
Only state directors are allowed to vote for the officers.