Darren Woods has been busy this week, setting up his new office. On Wednesday he became the new director of the Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency, a promotion he’s excited about.
“I’ve been working in this field for quite a while,” Woods says, “I already know all the players I’m familiar with the other agencies in the other counties as well as the state and with their requirements.”
He’s taking over for long time director Vern Ouellette, who retired last Friday. Woods has been involved with the emergency management agency since 1998, when he started as the part time mitigation planner. In 2002, he was hired as the public safety coordinator — where he also had the responsibilities of Deputy Director and Fire Chief of North Lakes Fire and Rescue.
County Administrator Doug Beaulieu says, “He’s really ready for this, he’s paid his dues and we have every confidence that he’s going to do a good job.”
Through the years Woods has dealt with some big time emergencies like the flooding of 13 communities in 2008 and the white powder incident at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Woods says, “I’ve always had a high interest in helping people. I enjoy it, it’s something that I live for.”
As director, Woods’ responsibilities include the oversight of programs like the local emergency planning committee, working more directly with response teams, and working closely with local EMA directors – all duties he assisted with before. He says his goals as director are to continue the good work the Aroostook EMA has done over the last 15 years, and to reach out more to the locals.
“We have some new technology now that will help us outreach a little bit more and get us involvement with some of the smaller communities,” he says.
His new position officially begins on Monday.