SIDNEY – The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency will welcome a new face, Monday, Sept. 27.
Kristy Fryman, of Celina, will join the organization then and take the reins as director when current director Cheri Drinkwine retires in December. Fryman won the position over five other candidates, according to EMA Executive Board Chairman Bruce Metz, village administrator of Jackson Center.
“We interviewed five (of the six applicants). All five were good candidates. We struggled a little bit, but got it down to two. Interviewed those two again. It was no cakewalk,” he told the Sidney Daily News recently.
Fryman leaves a position as Mercer County Health District emergency response coordinator and public information office and medical reserve corps coordinator.
A native of St. Marys and a 2005 graduate of St. Marys Memorial High School, she earned a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from Ball State University in 2009. Soon thereafter, she was hired as a watch desk officer by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. One of her duties was forecasting severe weather events.
“That’s how I fell into the emergency management world,” she said.
In 2013, Fryman moved to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, where she served as an exercise project coordinator, helping to lead training exercises throughout the state.
“I also deployed to the field in 2013 to assist county personnel and FEMA with tornado response,” she said. “In 2016, we moved back to Ohio to be close to family.”
She joined Cincinnati-based Tetra Tech as a consultant, supporting emergency management efforts by state and local clients focused on planning, preparedness and response efforts, but the work required extensive travel, and that took its toll on her family life. She and her husband, Allen, have two children, Kate, 5, and Anna, 3.
In October 2019, she accepted the Mercer Health job.
Fryman applied for the Shelby County position because, “I want to be back in the whole realm of emergency management, not just the public health sector side,” she said.
It was that public health experience that counted as “another plus” in her selection, however, Metz said.
“She really excelled at being able to show us that she could think on her feet with her prior EMA experience. Even now, coming from Mercer Health, with what’s coming on with the pandemic, that’s another plus,” he said.
The search process began June 1.
“We were blessed that all the candidates we got were good. I thank everybody for applying,” Metz said.
For her part, Fryman looks forward to joining a strong organization and developing it further.
“Cheri has built a solid program. I want to keep that. I’d like to educate people about what emergency management is. I want to promote education of emergency management. I’m really excited to work with Cheri and build upon her program. I feel honored that I was selected for the position,” she said.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.