The Team
Lauren Collins
Acting Co-Director, MDERS Deputy Director, Finance and Administration

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.

Read more
Email
Nicole Markuski
Acting Co-Director, MDERS Deputy Director, Operational Support

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!

Read more
Email
Joe Coyne
Financial Manager, Finance and Administration
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.
Read more
Email
Hannah Thomas
Senior Emergency Response Specialist, Operational Support
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.
Read more
Email
William Abuelhawa
Senior Project Manager, Finance and Administration
William “Abe” Abuelhawa comes to Maryland ERS with over 28 years of law enforcement and project management experience. He is a retired police officer; his career included over 28 years of law enforcement experience as a Prince George’s County Police Department member at various ranks and assignments. His last assignment held was for leading 30 sworn police officers specially trained in Special Weapons and Tactics. As the Commander of the Tactical Section, he developed, coordinated, and executed multiple Incident Action Plans resulting in successful completion. Additionally, he has worked in coordination with the Conflict Management Team as Tactical Operations Commander, Supervisor, and officer on thousands of operations while serving in the Special Operations Division for 23 of his 28 years with the Prince George’s County Police Department. He is currently working to finish his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Central State University. He is graduating with Honors in the Spring of 2023. He is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Honors Society. He received the Trilogy Award for completing the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association trilogy series of courses for leadership development. He has also obtained a MicroCert through Louisiana State University as a Homeland Security Specialist. He has attended Leadership training sessions with Harvard University National Preparedness Initiative (META Leadership, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution), Command Leadership, Direct Action Resource Center Tactical Supervisors Management Course, Tactical Energetic Entry Systems Command Control and Leadership, and the National Tactical Officers Association (SWAT Command Decision Making and Leadership). He helped develop and instruct the first Leadership School (ICS, Unified Command, and Rescue Taskforce) to front line supervisors and commanders.
Read more
Email
Peter McCullough
Senior Emergency Response Specialist, Operational Support
Peter McCullough comes to Maryland ERS with experience in the field of Emergency Management from a legal perspective. Before joining the ERS team he worked at the Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS). In that position he was assigned to the District of Columbia Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency (DCHSEMA) to aid in the city’s preparation for the 2021 Presidential Inauguration. Additionally, he worked with the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management to support their COVID-19 response efforts. Before working with CHHS he attended and graduated from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law with a concentration in Cybersecurity and Crisis Management Law. During his time at law school, he worked at the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Baltimore City Circuit Court, United States District Court Greenbelt Division, Maryland Law Pretrial Release and Parole Advocacy Clinic, and the Maryland Office of the Attorney General Organized Crime Unit. He holds a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Media Studies.
Read more
Email
Oscar Coripuna
Emergency Response Specialist, Operational Support
Oscar joins us with experience in the field of Emergency Management and Crisis Intervention from a community outreach level. Before joining the MDERS team, Oscar worked at the Housing Initiative Program and Interfaith Works in Montgomery County as a Service Coordinator. There he managed a caseload of 22 at-risk individuals providing social advocacy while maintaining inter-agency cooperation with various community healthcare providers, hospitals, and public service organizations. In this position, Oscar developed Support Service Plans outlining response, recovery, and prevention measures in collaboration with Aging & Disability and Adult Protective Services. Additionally, he served in a Trauma Subcommittee and the Lead for Impact Program through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) gaining experience in Crisis Communication and Resiliency. Oscar participated in an Inter-Professional Scholars Program with DHHS working in interdisciplinary teams providing inferences on the effectiveness of integrated health and human services. Oscar holds a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from the University of Maryland and a Master of Professional Studies degree in Homeland Security with a focus on Emergency Management and Political Violence from George Washington University.
Read more
Email
Melinda Lacek
Administrative Specialist, Finance and Administration
Melinda Lacek joins us at Maryland ERS with experience in the field of Public Safety Emergency Management. Before joining the MDERS team, Melinda worked for Prince George’s County Government, Department of Homeland Security in their Public Safety Communications Center as a Police Dispatcher. There she managed several high-priority tasks in emergency response as well as managing between 15-50 Police Officers with a variety of active emergency 911 calls for service in real-time. In this role, Melinda was responsible for being the lead point of contact between First Responders on the scene of emergency incidents and surrounding agencies, ensuring all information was accurately relayed. While actively processing emergency responses, she helped determine the appropriate course of action, including gathering specialty units such as K9 Officers, aviation units, and detectives ranging from station-level to major crimes. Melinda possesses knowledge from the first responder level point of view and how emergency incidents are coordinated. Melinda also has a background in Business Administration, holding a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Penn Foster in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Read more
Email
Katie Weber
Emergency Response Specialist, Operational Support
Katie Weber comes to Maryland ERS with experience in Emergency Management, Public Health Emergency Response, and Fire & Rescue service. Since 2014, she has volunteered as an EMT with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in Montgomery County, MD. She serves as an EMS Lieutenant overseeing a duty crew and as a Montgomery County Fire Rescue Peer Support Critical Incident Stress Management (PS-CISM) team member. Professionally, Katie has worked for the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as a COVID-19 Testing Program Manager and interned with the preparedness division of Hagerty Consulting. Most recently, she worked as an Emergency Management Specialist for the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management. In this role, she gained experience with planning, operations, training and exercise, and community outreach. She led the rewrite of the Anne Arundel County Evacuation Plan, co-chaired the Baltimore UASI Evacuation Working Group, and overhauled the Anne Arundel Mass Care Shelter Supply cache. Katie holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a graduate certificate in Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness and Response from George Washington University.
Read more
Email
Elizabeth Adams
Emergency Response Specialist, Operational Support
Elizabeth Adams joins MDERS with experience in Emergency Management from an exercise and training level. Before joining the MDERS team, Elizabeth worked for the City of Bowie government Emergency Management Department as an Emergency Management Specialist. There she coordinated, facilitated, and supported training and exercise for City Staff, including Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid Training and drills for City facilities. Elizabeth also created training materials for the Emergency Operations Center in the City, a WebEOC training guide for future staff, and Position Task Books for EOC Representatives. Before that, Elizabeth worked for Prince George’s County Government, Homeland Security in their Public Safety Communications Center as a cross-trained Police and Fire/EMS Dispatcher. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Master’s degree in Emergency Management with a focus on Homeland Security from the University of Maryland Global Campus.
Read more
Email
John Finnerin
Project Manager, Finance and Administration
John Finnerin brings a wealth of law enforcement experience spanning over three decades to his role at Maryland ERS. During his tenure at the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD), John dedicated 22 years to a range of assignments that showcased his versatility and dedication. Fifteen of those years were spent in the esteemed Special Operations Division. Within this division, he held pivotal roles, including being a member of the Tactical Section and the Emergency Services Team. Rising through the ranks to Sergeant, his leadership extended to supervising the Canine Unit and Emergency Services Team. Throughout his time within the Special Operations Division, John played an integral role in managing and leading numerous critical incidents, showcasing his adeptness in handling complex situations. Following his retirement from PGPD, he embarked on fulfilling a nine-year tenure with MNCPPC Park Police. There he was a valued member of the Mounted Unit. His last assignment there was as a member of the Mounted Unit. John graduated from Frostburg State University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. In joining the Maryland ERS team, John brings an unparalleled wealth of experience, leadership, and expertise that undoubtedly enhances the agency's mission and objectives. His extensive background in law enforcement, coupled with his unwavering commitment to public safety, positions him as a pivotal asset within the organization. John's journey is a testament to his unwavering dedication to serving and protecting the community, making him a remarkable and respected figure in the field of law enforcement.
Read more
Email