Awards Program

Established by the Executive Committee of the Iowa Emergency Management Association, the IEMA Awards Program was created to highlight the tireless work that Emergency Managers do every day throughout Iowa. During the annual University of Okoboji Emergency Management Conference, IEMA will honor one Emergency Manager of the Year award winner and one Emergency Management Program of the Year award winner. A third award, the Mitch Nordmeyer Pillar of Community Leadership Award, is also available. Details on each award are listed below.

The nomination period begins in January and ends on March 15 of each year. The Awards Committee will then review the nominations and determine the recipients of each award. The presentations will be made by association leadership during the Coordinator’s Dinner on Wednesday evening during the annual University of Okoboji Conference.


Emergency Manager of the Year

This award recognizes the accomplishments of an EM professional and leader whose actions have made the greatest impact in advancing the Emergency Management Profession in Iowa during the previous calendar year.  The individual’s selfless devotion to emergency management made lasting improvements to preparedness, response, or recovery capabilities both within their community and across Iowa.  Their leadership positively influenced the integration of emergency management with other disciplines and across all levels of government. The endeavors of this individual will have a long-lasting positive impact on emergency management for years to come.


Emergency Management Program of the Year

This award recognizes the accomplishments of an Emergency Management Commission in Iowa that has made the greatest advancements in protecting their communities from disasters during the previous calendar year.  It recognizes how the collaborative effort of a Commission can develop an integrated culture of preparedness involving individuals, business, and government. Through the efforts of this Commission, the cost of emergency management has been minimized and risk reduction has been maximized.  Their actions stand as an exemplary example for other Commissions to follow.


The Mitch Nordmeyer Pillar of Community Leadership Award

Granted on an as-warranted basis following nomination by an IEMA member and subsequent approval by the IEMA Executive and Awards Committees, nominees for this award stand out because of their continual and exceptional professional and/or volunteer achievements in the emergency management community, which are above and beyond their role in a paid position. Their hallmark integrity, dedication, ingenuity, and leadership are undeniable throughout their notable contributions to emergency management at the state and local levels. This nominee embodies the spirit of the community and, through their actions and accomplishments, are an inspiration to others.

Mitch Nordmeyer


Year Emergency Manager
of the Year
Emergency Management
Program of the Year
Mitch Nordmeyer Pillar of
Community Leadership Award
2022 Diogenes Ayala, Madison County Poweshiek County Emergency Management Steve O’Neil, Cerro Gordo County
2021 Chris Showalter, Butler County Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Kip Ladage, Bremer County
2020 Darrell Knecht, Howard County Polk County Emergency Management Gina Hardin, Des Moines County
2019 Steve O’Neil, Cerro Gordo County No nominations for 2020 Scott Hansen, Benton County

Awards Committee

      • Scott E. Hansen, Benton County (District 6) – Chair
      • Brian Paul, Poweshiek County (District 1)
      • Darrell Knecht, Howard County (District 2)
      • Michael Ehret, Dickinson County (District 3)
      • Alex Londo, Shelby County (District 4)
      • Walt Jackson, Henry County (District 5)
      • Mindy Benson, Black Hawk County (District 6)