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Grundy EMA hires new deputy director

MORRIS – After a three-month search, Grundy County has a new deputy director for its Emergency Management Agency.

The county hired Tom Kulasik earlier this week to fill the role, which was left vacant when current EMA Director and former Deputy Director Joe Schroeder took over the department.

Longtime EMA Director Jim Lutz retired from the EMA in April after more than 30 years with the county, leading to Schroeder’s promotion to the director role.

Aside from volunteering with the Grundy EMA for the last two years, Kulasik brings 22 years of fire service experience to the position.

“Within that two years [as a volunteer], I attended quite a few sponsored classes as well as some other seminars all geared toward the emergency management,” Kulasik said.

As the new deputy, Kulasik will oversee operations for the entire agency, which includes managing the EMA’s many volunteer workers and organizing EMA programs.

Schroeder said Kulasik’s experience working alongside the volunteers will prove useful.

“I think he’ll be able to adapt into the volunteer program really well because he used to be a volunteer, so he’s familiar with that,” Schroeder said.

An interview committee consisting of county officials Heidi Miller, Debra Johnson, Ken Iverson and Schroeder interviewed three candidates. Kulasik impressed the committee with his extensive emergency service background and volunteer experience, Schroeder said.

“The candidates were all pretty comparable. From the paper point of view, as far as the resume, Tom stood out a little more than the others. In the interview process, Tom shined a little bit brighter than all the others,” Schroeder said.

After three months with no deputy, Schroeder said it’s nice to return to normal staffing levels. Kulasik started working this week and is still becoming acquainted with the agency’s day-to-day work.

“Right now, we’re going to start Tom off slow and refresh on some policies and programs,” Schroeder said. “It’s just a matter of getting Tom acquainted with the program and getting him in a position to start fulfilling some of his duties.”

Kulasik said he looks forward to working alongside Schoreder, who held the position previously and can show him the ropes.

“I know the volunteer aspect of it – I know what they do. But I’ve got to get a handle on what Joe’s old job was,” Kulasik said.

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