Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service in Emergency Management Award

Lacy E. Suiter

In recognition of the men and women who have dedicated their careers and lives to make citizens and communities safer from both natural disasters and terrorist events, the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) presents the Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service in Emergency Management Award.

The award is named in honor of Lacy E. Suiter, one of the nation's most experienced and respected emergency management and homeland security leaders.

The prestigious honor is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions throughout his or her career to any or all facets of emergency management. This includes the areas of preparedness, mitigation, response, or recovery at a local, state, regional, or national level. The career accomplishments should be of unusual merit.

Lacy E. Suiter's widow, Norma Jean,
accepts the first Suiter Award.

The field of emergency management has grown and changed significantly since its early days of "civil defense" in the 1940s.  At that time, emergency managers dealt primarily with threats of nuclear attack.  By the 1960s, the focus grew to include natural disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. This was followed by a renewed interest in domestic defense in the 1980s.  The next decade saw a re-focus on natural disasters.  After the events of September 11, 2001, the attention shifted to terrorist attacks.  Now professional emergency managers are hopeful that the tide will turn to what they have been calling on for several years: an all-hazards approach to disasters.

Skill sets for the professional emergency manager have also evolved. Today's emergency manager must be knowledgeable in planning, training, finance, and administration while also having the ability to work with changing political leadership in his or her state, region, or specific jurisdiction.

All emergency management agencies, departments, and organizations are invited to submit nominations for the Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service in Emergency Management Award.

The nomination period for the 2022 Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service Award has closed. Nominations for the 2023 Lacy E. Suiter Award will open in July 2023.

The 2023 Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service Award has been presented to Tim Manning during a special ceremony at the National Emergency Management Association Annual Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. The award is a humble testament to Manning's extraordinary contributions to the field of emergency management and his unwavering commitment to public safety.

With nearly three decades of experience in crisis and emergency management, commanding such diverse roles as FEMA Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness, Governor’s Emergency Management Director and Homeland Security Advisor, rescue mountaineer, firefighter, and geologist, Manning has left an indelible mark on the field. 

Most recently, during his role as the White House COVID-19 Supply Coordinator, Manning played a pivotal role in leading the U.S. Government's response to the pandemic. He collaborated with global manufacturers, NGOs, and partner governments to address critical supply chain challenges, resulting in the creation of, a multibillion-dollar operation offering home test delivery.

While serving as FEMA Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness, Manning developed the National Preparedness Doctrine and the National Preparedness System, all while overseeing the overhaul of grant processes, ensuring their effectiveness for all-hazards preparedness with invaluable state insights.

Extending his influence beyond national borders, Manning championed global disaster preparedness, human security, risk reduction, and strong partnerships through his participation in over 30 multilateral engagements and international commissions.

Trina Sheets, NEMA Executive Director, commended Tim Manning, stating, "Mr. Manning has grown and assumed increasing levels of responsibility, from a first responder to his most recent position in the White House. In each role, he has made an impactful difference during challenging times, resulting in safer and more secure states and communities."

Tim Manning's commitment to public safety, resilience, and global disaster preparedness exemplifies the spirit of the 2023 Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service Award. His career leaves an enduring legacy that will continue to influence the field of emergency management for years to come.

The Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service Award, presented annually by NEMA, honors emergency management professionals who have made outstanding contributions in preparedness, mitigation, response, or recovery. It recognizes individuals who have achieved goals of exceptional merit during their careers in emergency management.