- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 8, 2007

Though he was taught never to play with fire, Garry Briese enjoys putting them out.

“It’s a calling,” said Mr. Briese, who has spent a lifetime advocating for the nation’s first responders. “Those who have the privilege to work there understand how important it is to touch people’s lives.”

Mr. Briese recently joined ICF International as vice president for emergency management and homeland security.

The Fairfax firm provides technology solutions and consulting services to government and commercial clients.

After 36 years of working in fire and rescue services, Mr. Briese thinks the most effective way to increase public support for safety services is to stand up for them.

“We can reduce fatalities if we have the political will to change things,” he said.

Mr. Briese plans to bring what he calls “blue ocean” management to ICF — concepts based on the business best-seller “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. He wants to emphasize the “blue ocean” or “free sailing” leadership style over “red ocean” management that is “bloody with competition.”

Before joining ICF, Mr. Briese served as executive director of the International Association of Fire Chiefs starting in 1985. Before that, he spent 15 years as executive director of the Florida College of Emergency Physicians.

Mr. Briese has served as an adjunct associate professor at the University of Maryland and George Washington University. He also is national chairman of the Fire and Emergency Services Exploring Program.

“As one of the earliest national leaders in public safety, Garry is an innovator whose expertise in emergency management and homeland security will further expand the firm’s capabilities in supporting our clients’ critical emergency management and domestic preparedness needs,” said Michael Byrne, senior vice president of emergency management and homeland security at ICF.

Mr. Briese received an undergraduate degree in international relations from the University of South Florida at Tampa in 1971 and a master’s degree in public administration from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1983.

Mr. Briese is an avid traveler who has worked around the globe, including in Japan, Brazil, Israel, Britain, Sweden and Germany. The opportunity to travel is one of the best aspects of his new job, he said.

“I have had the opportunity to interact with local and international leaders,” he said. “There is so much we can learn from each other when we discuss the issues,” he said.

When he is not at the office or on a business trip, Mr. Briese enjoys backpacking in Colorado and Alberta.

He lives in Burke with his wife, Roni.

Rachel Buller

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