The Team
Luke Hodgson
Director

Luke Hodgson has more than 20 years of experience in fire, rescue, emergency medical services, and emergency management. Luke grew up and has worked his entire career in the National Capital Region, making him familiar with the attributes and challenges of the region. His experience includes field provision, education, management, data analysis, policy development, strategic planning, training and exercises, and executive leadership.

Luke completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he studied English and Criminology/Criminal Justice, respectively. He earned a Master of Science in Emergency Health Services Policy and Administration from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Luke also earned a Master of Arts in Homeland Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (NPS CHDS). He is also a graduate of the NPS CHDS Executive Leaders Program.

Luke understands the complexities of emergency response, specifically within the National Capital Region. He believes a cohesive approach from all disciplines is necessary for optimum response and mitigation, both in everyday emergency responses, as well as large-scale events. Luke knows that Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System has made great strides towards achieving this goal and looks forward to contributing to the growth of this program. Recognizing the talents and dedication of the staff and stakeholders involved in this critical effort, Luke believes that the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System will continue to best prepare the responders to meet the changing needs of the public by building robust capabilities that transcend traditional disciplinary and jurisdictional boundaries.

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Lauren Collins
Finance & Logistics Program Manager

Lauren Collins comes to Maryland ERS with expertise in the field of Emergency Management, with an extensive knowledge in Emergency Planning, Exercise and Training, and Incident Command System (ICS).

Prior to Lauren joining the ERS team, she worked in Local Government, first with the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management. Most recently, Lauren supported a federal client providing consultative expertise in exercise and training as well as emergency preparedness planning. 

Lauren has over 9 years of experience in Emergency Planning, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Operations, conducting and evaluating HSEEP compliant exercises, and operating with an Incident Management Team. She has designed and conducted numerous exercises to include Active Shooter, Point of Distribution, hazardous weather response and much more.

Lauren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Investigations from West Virginia University and a Master’s Degree in Integrated Homeland Security Management and a Post Baccalaureate certificate in Security Assessment from Towson University.

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Nicole Markuski
Training & Exercise Program Manager

Nicole Markuski is an Emergency Management Professional with over 10 years of experience in the areas of homeland security policy, homeland security grants management, emergency management, training and exercise facilitation and evaluation, and all-hazards planning. Nicole completed her undergraduate studies at Towson University, where she studied Sociology/Criminal Justice, respectively. She holds a Master of Science degree in the field of Integrated Homeland Security Management with a focus on Security Policy, as well as, a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Security Assessment and Management. She is also a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security Emergence Program. 

Nicole is truly passionate about her work and is always eager to connect with other emergency management professionals. While she enjoys all aspects of her job, her favorite stage of a project is working with the stakeholder to understand their program priorities and help them to meet their objectives and achieve their goals. As she enters the collaborative process, the ideas start to flow and to her that is always the fun part!

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Sam Ascunce
Planning & Organization Program Manager
Sam joins the team with over seven years of experience in the field of Emergency Management, most recently serving at Hagerty Consulting, where he worked as a project manager on a variety of planning, training, and exercise initiatives for local, state, federal, and private sector organizations. During his time at Hagerty, Sam led the development of active threat response capabilities across the United States, building emergency preparedness capabilities within large, private sector organizations, and helping organizations respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to his consulting role, Sam served as a Public Safety and Health Preparedness Planner with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) where he supported numerous stakeholder committees focused on addressing the National Capital Region’s unique response challenges and priorities. Before joining COG, Sam led the creation of professional development curriculum and training for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Qualification System (FQS). Sam holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Emergency Management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Missouri. As the Planning and Organization Program Manager for MDERS, Sam will be charged with laying the groundwork for all initiatives undertaken by the organization. He will lead a team of planners who will be responsible for crafting Capability Development Plans, which establish the path for achieving the target outcomes and metrics that constitute a new or enhanced emergency response capability in our region. Sam will also organize and lead the various workgroups that, through coalition building and collective subject matter expertise, achieve the complex interdisciplinary and interjurisdictional capabilities that MDERS is charged to develop. Sam will work closely with his fellow program managers, the MDERS staff, and stakeholders to execute the plans, continuing to build the sophisticated response capabilities and capacities that our regional response agencies maintain to best protect and serve the residents and visitors of the Maryland-National Capital Region.
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Joe Coyne
Financial Administrator
Joe Coyne joined the Finance & Logistics Team at Maryland ERS in November 2016. His prior experience includes 20 years of financial and grants management with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service in Maryland. He guided their grant administration efforts from the application stage to project closeout and successfully led the department through detailed audits of grants totaling many millions of dollars. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor concentration in Economics from the University of Maryland. He also completed an Accounting Certificate program at Montgomery College in Maryland.
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Mike Ryman
Planner
Michael Ryman joined the ERS team in 2016 bringing expertise in the field of Emergency Management and specifically Emergency Response. Michael holds a Master’s Degree in Emergency Management as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College. Michael also has a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management with a minor in Fire Service Administration from UMUC and is an International Association of Emergency Managers Certified Emergency Manager (CEM). Additionally Michael is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute.

Michael is a former employee of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and former shift supervisor in the Maryland Joint Operations Center. Michael has extensive experience providing Situational Awareness, Incident Management, and Policy Development, as well as over 15 years of Fire Service experience with substantial training in the Incident Command System, Technical Rescue and Hazardous Materials response.

Michael also holds an Executive Fire Officer (EFO) designation from the National Fire Academy. Michael remains active in the Fire Service as a volunteer Chief Officer in the National Capital Region and is also a member of the National Capital Region Communications Interoperability Group (NCR CIG).

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Hannah Thomas
Training & Exercise Specialist
Hannah Thomas comes to Maryland ERS with experience in the field of Emergency Management and Public Health Emergency Response. Before joining the ERS team she worked in State Government with the Maryland Department of Health in their Office of Preparedness and Response. There she served as the acting State Coordinator for the Web-based Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) where she oversaw 24 local Maryland Responds Units comprising over 4,100 medical and public health Responder profiles. Most recently, Hannah worked for the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management. There she gained experience in Emergency Planning, Exercise and Training, Emergency Response, UAS Operations, and Community Outreach. Hannah has real world experience in Active Shooter Response, Emergency Operations Center Activations, the implementation of the recovery process of a large scale public health emergency, and operating within an Incident Management Team. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor concentration in Leadership and Social Change from Virginia Tech.
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Peter McCullough
Planner