Buzz spent 34 years with the State of Georgia, the last 16 years as public affairs officer and spokesman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), where he was responsible for media relations, legislative liaison, and radio/tv/video projects. He was also a regular contributor to GEMA’s Emergency Manager magazine and a frequent instructor in media relations at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center at Forsyth.
During his years with GEMA, he served as the agency’s spokesman for a wide range of disasters and incidents across the state, including the 1994 Tropical Storm Alberto floods, the 1996 Olympics, the 1998 tornado outbreaks across metro Atlanta and northeast Georgia, the 1999 Heritage High School shooting, the 2002 Tri-State Crematory incident, the record-breaking tornado outbreak in west and southwest Georgia and the southeast Georgia wildfires of 2007, the Atlanta tornado of 2008, and the epic floods of 2009 that inundated the Atlanta area and parts of north Georgia.
He drafted and successfully worked for passage of Georgia’s school safety law, the K-9/handler certification law, and the law that requires the use of unified incident command in disaster response. He collaborated with public health officials, funeral directors and coroners to pass legislation to expedite the issuance of death certificates during states of emergency.
He also worked to establish strong, productive partnerships between GEMA and the news media; state, local and federal agencies; the private sector; and the volunteer community.
Prior to joining GEMA, he was public information officer for the Georgia State Senate for nearly 20 years. He is also a former radio news director, and newspaper reporter and editor. His background and expertise made him a sought after interview subject for local, regional and national media outlets.
Since his retirement, he has been actively involved in a number of public safety projects, as well as service with the Georgia Radio Reading Service for the Blind.