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Atlanta Biographies

NIMO Boise Biographies

Aaron Gelobter - Incident Commander
Aaron GelobterAaron’s career with the U.S. Forest Service began in 1971. From 1971 through 1980 Aaron served on fire crews on the San Bernardino NF in California and as an Engine Crew Captain, Tonto NF, and Helitack Superintendent, Coronado NF in Arizona. In 1980 he returned to California as a Fuels Management and District Fire Management Officer on the Tahoe NF. For the next 15 years starting in 1989 he served as the Deputy and Forest Fire Management Officer on the Sequoia NF. In 2005, he transferred to the Los Padres NF as the Forest Fire Management Officer, until he accepted his current position with National Incident Management Organization as the Incident Commander for the Boise IMT.

Aaron has served as an Incident Commander, Operation and Planning Section Chief on Type I Incident Management Teams since 1990. He is also, qualified as a Fire Use Manager, Fire Behavior Analyst and Area Commander (trainee).

Aaron attended University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ where he obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources, 1980.

Brent Spenser - Logistics Section Chief
Brent SpenserBrent is the Logistics Section Chief for the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) and is based out of Boise, Idaho. Spencer, a 30-year Forest Service employee, has held a number of positions that have included: Recreation Group Leader for Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area; Recreation and Lands Staff Officer for the Bighorn National Forest in Sheridan, Wyo.; Recreation Program Manager for the Heber Ranger District in Heber, Utah; District Silviculturist and Fire Management Officer for the Heber Ranger District in Heber Utah; and Timber Forester on the Beaver Ranger District in Beaver, Utah. Brent has participated on incident management teams since 1981, and is an instructor in fire and incident management courses for the last 25 years including a foreign training assignment to India. Brent lives in Vernal, Utah and works remotely from Boise, Idaho. He enjoys fly fishing on the Green River and searching for large lake trout on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Married and father of six children, he likes to spend his free time with his wife and grandchildren whenever possible.

Dan Kleinman - Operations Section Chief
Dan KleinmanDan started his wildland fire career with the California Division of Forestry. He has 34 years with the Forest Service. The majority of his career has been on the Sequoia National Forest. His experience includes Engine Captain, Fire Prevention, Fuels Management, and Hotshots. He was a member of the Fulton Hotshots for 13 years with 8 years as Superintendent. He was promoted to Battalion Chief (AFMO) in 1995 and to Division Chief (DFMO) in 2000. Dan was promoted to the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) Operations Section Chief position in August 2006. He has been actively involved with Incident Management Teams in the positions of Division/Group Supervisor, Operations Branch Director, Operations Section Chief, and Incident Commander since 1990. He is actively engaged in the training environment and instructs a multitude of wildland fire courses. Some additional IQCS qualifications include Incident Commander Type 1 and Complexity Level 1 Prescribed Fire Burn Boss.

Elizabeth Cavasso - Planning Section Chief
Elizabeth CavassoElizabeth’s career with the U.S. Forest Service began in 1975. From 1975 through 1991 Cavasso gained wildland fire, prescribed fire and resource management experience while working in fire planning, dispatch, wildlife, timber, handcrew, helitack, and engine positions. For 15 years prior to accepting her National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) position, she provided leadership to the Fire, Aviation and Fuels Management programs of the Modoc National Forest as the Forest Fire Management Officer. For most of her career Cavasso has engaged in regional and national committees dealing with budget, organization, qualifications, and other strategic Fire and Aviation Management issues. Examples include Chair or a member on the Region 5 Fire and Aviation Management Budget and Allocation, Region 5 Interagency Fire Program Management Implementation, and Region 5 Fire and Aviation Management Strategic Plan, California Fuels, and National Fire Program Analysis Cost Analysis Committees.

Cavasso has served in the planning section for Type I and II Incident Management Teams since mid 1990. She has been with California Incident Management Team 3 for the past eight seasons. Non-traditional assignments include Engine-57 Support, FEMA COOP Exercise, Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, Exotic Newcastle Disease, Emergency Support Function 4 at Regional and National levels, and food distribution in Micronesia. Cavasso attended University of California at Santa Cruz, Cal Poly State University, and Humboldt State University.

Liz Kinney - Finance Section Chief
Liz KinneyLiz has worked for the Forest Service for 28 years. She recently accepted a new position as the Finance Section Chief for the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) and is based out of Boise, Idaho. Prior to that, she spent 4 ˝ years in the Southern Region as the Regional Incident Business Management Specialist. Other positions include an assignment in the Washington Office as a Budget Analyst for Fire and Aviation Management. Prior to the Washington Office, she worked in the Pacific Northwest Region as a Financial Manager and Administrative Officer. Liz has been involved with fire suppression since the start of her career working on a fire crew. She also spent nine years on a Type 1 Incident Management Team working in the planning section. Currently Liz holds red card qualifications as a Finance Section Chief Type1 and Incident Business Advisor Type 1.

Mike Ferris - Information Officer
Mike FerrisMike is currently the Public Information Officer for the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) based out of NIFC in Boise, Idaho, but stationed in Portland, Oregon. Prior to that, he was the Public Affairs/Fire Staff Officer at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area located in Hood River, Ore. for over 16 years. Mike has served in various public affairs positions and assignment in the Pacific Northwest Regional Office and on the Siskiyou National Forest. He was a long-standing, 15-year member on the Pacific Northwest National Incident Management Team 2 as the Public Information Officer. He has seen 37 national fire assignments, and four FEMA all-risk assignments including: World Trade Center logistical support; FEMA mission to assist NASA with the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery; FEMA mission to assist Hurricane Ivan recovery in Baldwin County, Alabama; and most recently FEMA mission to assist Hurricane Rita recovery in Beaumont, Texas. Mike began his Public Information Officer interest in 1985, and is presently an instructor on the Pacific Northwest Region training cadre for the Public Information Officer’s S-203 and S-403 classes, and the S-420 and S-520 Command and General Staff training.

Tom Johnston - Safety Officer
Tom JohnstonTom is the Safety Officer for the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) and is based out of NIFC in Boise, Idaho. He has 29 years of experience in fire management, including 19 years as a Safety Officer Type 1 and Operations Section Chief Type 2 on Fire Use and Incident Management Teams. He also maintains red card qualifications as an Incident Commander Type 3, a Training Specialist, and a Human Resource Specialist. He has served in a variety of Forest Service positions working in two regions and five National Forests as a Forest TES Biologist; District Biologist; Forest Resource Staff Officer; Zone Fire Management Officer; Forest Fuels Specialist; and Forest Fire Staff Officer. His incident management team work, however, has been focused primarily in Operations and Safety. Tom holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences; an M.S. in Wildlife Biology; and a Minor in Fire Ecology. He is currently helping to raise a nine year old daughter (Carrie), a twelve year old daughter (Nicki), two yellow Labs, and is always looking for someone to operate the oars on the drift boat and/or go on hunting expeditions.