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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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
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.
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Aaron Magness
Training & Exercise Specialist
Aaron Magness comes to the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System with extensive experience in Emergency Management, specifically in the field of training and exercise at various levels of government, public and private sectors. Prior to joining MDERS, Aaron was an Incident Commander for the State of Florida response to COVID-19, where he led multiple task force operations consisting of 150 nurses and 13 Command Staff. He also worked as an Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Walt Disney World Organization before becoming the Director of Operations at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. While working for the Walt Disney Company, he expanded his knowledge and experience with planning and conducting training and exercises, emergency planning, emergency response, and emergency operation center activations. Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts in Administration Leadership from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security and Counterterrorism from Southern New Hampshire University.
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Oscar Coripuna
Emergency Response Planner
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.
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