COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Donald Galloway of Texas A&M Forest Service was awarded the 2017 Regents Fellow Service Award from the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
The award was presented Feb. 8 at the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.
Galloway is the Chief of Staff for Texas A&M Forest Service and in his nearly three decades of work has helped define the expectations for wildland fire response; the responsibility of the state in a tiered incident response system; and what a state agency can truly be.
“Don’s career exemplifies an unsung hero. He is someone among us who serves behind the scenes, selflessly contributing to the work of Texas A&M Forest Service, the State of Texas, the incident response community and ultimately to something larger than himself,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Director Tom Boggus.
Through his leadership, service and life’s work, Galloway has helped elevate incident response capabilities at the local, state and national levels.
Galloway helped develop the Rural VFD Assistance and Insurance Programs, both were passed by the Texas Legislature in 2001 and continue to positively impact local volunteer fire departments across the state. A survey, constructed by Galloway, of the state’s fire departments collected data used as a foundation for both programs. And as a mark of programmatic success, the 80th Texas Legislature increased funding for the Rural VFD Assistance Program from $15 million to $25 million in 2007.
Throughout his career, Galloway has helped elevate the ways that the state collects, processes and disseminates wildfire and incident response information.
During the 1998 wildfire season, Galloway helped design the Texas Interagency Coordination Center website http://ticc.tamu.edu/ to better inform local, state and federal cooperators with timely weather forecasts, fuel conditions, fire danger indices, fire occurrence and fire situation reports.
Galloway also designed the Texas A&M Forest Service Emergency Operations Center which serves as a command hub for statewide incident management. Incident response leaders have managed such expanse incidents as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the 2011 Texas wildfire season from the EOC.
Continuously improving efficiencies and accountability, Galloway led the development of web-based fire reporting systems for Texas A&M Forest Service and the state’s 1,800 fire departments. The reporting program was so successful that FEMA recognized it as the only accurate means of determining the appropriate reimbursement of costs to fire departments during the 2005-2006 Presidential Emergency Declaration. It was through Galloway’s efforts that fire departments were able to acquire millions of dollars in FEMA reimbursements, leading to the National Association of State Foresters seeking Galloway to design a national wildfire reporting system and a fire department survey.
Galloway’s innovation can be seen not only in the way we organize in wildland fire, but also in the way fight it.
The Texas Wildfire Protection Plan is a multi-disciplinary approach to meeting the wildfire threat across the Lone Star State. Galloway was instrumental in developing and implementing the plan. He helped frame fire management in Texas as an approach that incorporates prevention, mitigation, capacity building, planning and preparedness, as well as incident response. TWPP received funding from the Texas Legislature in 1999, 2009 and 2013, enabling the addition of 188 total firefighters.
Galloway’s command of organizational development, administration, bureaucracy and strategic planning has elevated him to one of the highest positions in the agency – that of Chief of Staff.
“Don’s experience, ability to build the capacity of others, create pathways where they did not exist before and pull people and organizations together make him the invisible driving force behind so much of the agency’s success over the past 28 years,” Boggus said. “Serving often behind the scenes, Don’s service and leadership are not unnoticed.”
The Regents Fellow Service Award was established in 1998 to recognize exceptional service by professionals in Texas A&M System agencies. Nominees must be full-time, senior-level research or service delivery professionals with at least five years of service in the A&M System. They also must have demonstrated exceptional leadership in programs or projects that have significant statewide impact.