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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Introducing Bryan Koon, Florida's emergency management director via Walmart



koon_188033a.jpgA Walmart executive from Arkansas wouldn't seem the logical choice to lead Florida through a vicious hurricane, wildfire or terrorist attack.

But that's exactly where Gov. Rick Scott found Bryan Koon.

Koon, 39, controlled emergency management operations for Walmart and its Sam's Club stores in the United States and overseas. As ice storms, tornadoes and hurricanes pummeled company stores, it was left to Koon to get afflicted stores back in business.

Now Koon has a bigger stage with even more at stake.

As Hurricane Irene threatened Florida this week, Koon received by-the-minute updates from the National Hurricane Center and briefed Scott. The storm has shifted its course east, for now sparing Florida.

That's good news for the state but leaves questions about Koon, who makes $140,000 annually as the state's emergency management director.

"I know there's a part of all of my counterparts ... that would want to see him battle-tested," said Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County's emergency management director of 24 years.

Story here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 8:58pm]


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