Our Faculty

Faculty members in the fire and safety degree programs are nationally and internationally known for their teaching, research and dedication to the fire and safety fields. They are involved in every aspect of the profession. More importantly, they are dedicated to student success.

They are active in a number of professional organizations including:

  • National Association of Fire Investigators
  • International Association of Fire Chiefs
  • National Fire Protection Association
  • International Society of Fire Service Instructors
  • International Association of Arson Investigators

Primary Investigation Professors


Anthony Cole

Assistant Professor Tony Cole, P.E, CFPS, CFEI, FSE has 26 years of experience in fire protection ranging from firefighting to engineering and design. Prior to that, he was a Senior Fire Protection Engineer with the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. His responsibilities included project plan review, technical standards and specifications development, plant fire risk analysis, special studies and projects, and large-scale emergency response.

Cole also served as a Fire Protection Engineer with Rolf Jensen and Associates in the Denver office. His responsibilities included project management, plan and code reviews, plant surveys, and consulting. A former Fire Chief/Senior Fire Engineer for the Saudi Iron and Steel Company in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, he is also a former Loss Prevention Engineer with FM Global. Cole started his fire career as both a paid and volunteer firefighter in Ohio, he continued on several volunteer fire departments in Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri.

He earned a B.S. in Fire Protection Engineering Technology from Eastern Kentucky University and a M.S. in Fire Protection Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He also served on three NFPA technical committees (NFPA 12, NFPA 15, NFPA 59A), two SFPE committees and is on the Board of Directors for the NFPA/CFPS certification. Tony is a license Professional Engineer (P.E.), a Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS) and a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator/Instructor (CFEI/CFII), and is a member of SFPE, NFPA, NAFI, IAAI, and IFE.


Ron Dotson

Ron is the Program Coordinator for the online bachelor of science in Occupational Safety program at EKU. He began his career in the US Marine Corps Reserve as a heavy equipment operator and Diesel Mechanic with the 4th CEB in Charleston, WVa. He coordinated various size construction projects for Marine projects as well as project planning for Marine and local municipality joint projects. Later he jointly served with the 4th CEB and as lead operator and project planner for Bear Creek Construction, an excavation contract company.

In 1995 he began a successful career in law enforcement. He was a highly decorated officer serving in Ashland, Kentucky earning several awards to include a Medal of Honor. After performing patrol and investigation duties he became an Instructor at the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond, Kentucky. He performed duties as an instructor in Defensive Tactics and Physical Fitness for basic recruits as well as veteran officers. He co-developed courses for tactical baton, defensive spray, and authored “Anaerobic Warrior” a fitness program for law enforcement officers. He wrote two articles for Law Enforcement Magazine centering on fitness and healthy eating for law enforcement. Shortly before leaving DOCJT, he developed training for the Homeland Security Department of DOCJT for chemical awareness and readiness, personal protective equipment, and suspicious packages handling procedures.

In 2005 he accepted a position with KI USA Corporation as its Safety Coordinator. During his stay injuries fell 46%, KI became an inaugural member of Kentucky EXCEL, and KI saw its lowest worker’s compensation expenditure in its history. Company savings during this period totaled approximately $350k.

From 2004 to 2005 he was a construction safety instructor for The OSHA Training Institute at Eastern Kentucky University, teaching concrete safety, crane and rigging safety, and fall protection. He is currently a professor in the Safety, Security, and Emergency Management Department. He has developed several courses to include Principles of Safety, Hazardous Materials Training, Construction Safety, and Safety Systems Analysis.

Ronald Dotson Career Highlights:

  • MS, Safety/Loss Prevention
  • Former Chief Operating Member, D & R Excavation, LLC; Brodhead, Kentucky
  • Former Safety Coordinator, KI USA Corporation; Berea, Kentucky
  • Former Training Instructor – Construction Safety, OSHA Training Institute; Richmond, Kentucky
  • Former Law Enforcement Instructor II, Department of Criminal Justice Training; Richmond, Kentucky
  • Former Police Officer, City of Ashland Police Department; Ashland, Kentucky
  • Received the “Medal of Honor” from the Ashland Police Department; Ashland, Kentucky
  • Received the “State of Kentucky Recognition Award” from the Kentucky House of Representatives
  • Received the “Distinguished Educational Leader Award” from the EKU Student Government Association
  • Certified Instructor, OSHA Training Institute. Construction Safety
  • Member of American Society of Safety Engineers, Fraternal Order of Police

Scotty Dunlap

Scotty Dunlap, EdD, Program Coordinator for the online master’s in Safety, Security and Emergency Management program, holds a Doctorate of Education in Higher and Adult Education from the University of Memphis and an MS in Loss Prevention and Safety from Eastern Kentucky University. He is a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and is a board Certified Safety Professional (CSP).

Scotty began his career as a Safety Specialist at a state psychiatric hospital in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. He then moved to Zanesville, Ohio where he served as the Safety Manager at an AutoZone distribution center. After three years with AutoZone, Scotty went on to spend six years in the grain industry working for Cargill in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in Decatur, Illinois. He served as corporate health and safety director for both organizations in their respective grain divisions.

In his most recent role, Scotty led Environmental Safety and Health initiatives for Nike in Memphis where the majority of equipment, footwear and apparel are distributed in the U.S. and Nike’s dot-com business is operated. He led a team of nurses and health and safety professionals to ensure Nike’s 1,600 Memphis employees were provided with a safe and healthy work environment.

In addition to his work responsibilities, Scotty served in a number of leadership roles in two grain industry trade organizations, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA). He was a featured speaker at numerous national and regional conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada. Scotty has also been a speaker at ASSE national professional development conferences.

Scotty is a published writer on such topics as OSHA compliance, DOT compliance, behavior-based safety, and organizational safety culture. His work has appeared in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, Grain Journal, World Grain Magazine, and Professional Safety. He has published textbooks on motor carrier safety and loss control auditing as well as being the editor and contributing author of a textbook on school safety. His current research is in the area of industry leader development and involvement in workplace safety leadership.

Scotty Dunlap Career Highlights:

  • Doctorate of Education in Higher and Adult Education from the University of Memphis
  • MS, Loss Prevention and Safety, Eastern Kentucky University
  • Former Memphis Environmental Safety and Health Manager, Nike
  • Former U.S. Health and Safety Manager – Grain Division, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)
  • Former U.S. Safety and Loss Control Coordinator, Cargill, Incorporated
  • Former Safety Manager – Distribution, AutoZone, Incorporated
  • Former Agency Health and Safety Specialist, State of Maryland
  • Board-Certified Safety Professional, Board of Certified Safety Professionals
  • Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS), National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA)

Paul English

Paul English has worked for Fortune 100 companies including Nestle and Ford Motor Company in different facets of occupational safety, security and emergency response operations. While at Ford Motor Company, he was the recipient of the President’s Health & Safety Award for Innovation representing The Americas for reducing injuries and illnesses while launching 3 new vehicles. His most recent position was with E-ONE, Inc. as Director of Environmental Health and Safety based out of Ocala, FL. He earned a B.S. in Fire & Safety Engineering Technology specializing in Industrial Risk Management and an M.S. Safety, Security & Emergency Management from Eastern Kentucky University.

He has numerous publications regarding incident investigation, process safety management, benchmarking safety metrics and emergency response. He is an active member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and is a Certified Safety Professional, CSP. In 2011, he published his first book, Safety Performance in a Lean Environment: A Guide to Building Safety into a Process. This book discusses and reviews how occupational safety and environmental programs can harness the power of lean enterprise and manufacturing techniques to help jump start a stalled safety program or enhance existing programs.


Greg Gorbett

Greg Gorbett is an instructor for the online fire degree programs at EKU. He spent 7 years working as a private consultant in the fire, arson, and explosion investigation profession prior to coming to EKU. He holds two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in Fire Science, and the other in Forensic Science. He holds MS degrees in Executive Fire Service Leadership and recently a MS degree in Fire Protection Engineering. He currently serves on the NFPA 1033 Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, as well as a Director for the National Association of Fire Investigators.

Gregory Gorbett Career Highlights:

  • MS, Fire Protection Engineering & MS, Executive Fire Service Leadership
  • Volunteer firefighter for several departments in IN. Most recently, a member of the Angola Volunteer Fire Department as a Paid-On-Call firefighter.
  • Currently an active honorary member of the Carroll County Arson Task Force. Responsible for conducting fire and explosion investigations to determine the origin, cause and responsibility of fires and explosions.
  • Former Fire and Explosion Analyst at John A. Kennedy and Associate, Sarasota, FL
  • Former Fire and Explosion Investigator, Donan Engineering, Evansville, IN
  • 2006 – Received the “John Charles Wilson Scholarship” from the International Association of Arson Investigators
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator – CFEI, CFII, IAAI-CFI, CFPS, CVFI
  • Committee, Member, International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) Validation Committee for IFSTA Fire Investigator Training Manual.
  • Vice Chair, NFPA Fire Science and Technology Educator’s Section – Executive Board, Vice President.

Paul Grant

Paul Grant is an educator with Eastern Kentucky University in the Fire and Safety Engineering Technology department. He also instructs with the University of Phoenix, Colorado State University, and Red Rocks Community College in Denver, Colorado. He facilitates and lectures regularly with students from a variety of fields. His goal is to help students create synergistic explanations to subject specific problems as they relate to the topic at hand. Prior to his current position, he taught fourth grade in the Mesa Public School system in Mesa, AZ. He is also a retired fire chief and worked in the Denver Metro Area for 27 years.

Paul Grant Career Highlights:

  • MA, Elementary Education
  • MA, Organizational Management
  • Former Department Chair at the Red Rocks Community College; Lakewood, Colorado – In the Emergency Services Department
  • Former Chief of Department of the:
    • Red, White and Blue Fire District; Breckenridge, Colorado
    • Mountain View Fire District; Longmont, Colorado
    • Hermosa Cliff Fire Department; Durango, Colorado
  • Former Division Chief/Firefighter, South Metro Fire and Rescue; Englewood, Colorado
  • 2009: Received the “Golding Apple Teaching Award”
  • Member of the Colorado State Fire Training Officers’ Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians

Corey Hanks

Corey Hanks is employed as a Professor in the Safety, Security, and Emergency Management Department at Eastern Kentucky University. Prior to that he served as the Lab Coordinator for the same area. Corey has over fifteen years in the fire service serving various rolls ranging from firefighter, training officer, fire investigator, and captain. He has also served on search and rescue team and a state hazardous materials response team in Southern Illinois. He has completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire & Safety Technology with a concentration in Fire, Arson, and Explosion Investigation. He is currently completing his Masters of Science Degree at Eastern Kentucky University in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management with a focus in both Safety and Emergency Management. Corey enjoys spending any spare time he has with his beautiful wife Robyn and their two kids Landen and Kaelyn.


William D. Hicks

William D. Hicks an Assistant Professor for the Department of Safety, Security & Emergency Management. Mr. Hicks has a B.S. in Fire & Safety Engineering Technology and a M.S. in Loss Prevention & Safety from Eastern Kentucky University. He serves as the Assistant chief of the Whitehall Fire Department. He is a NAFI & IAAI Certified Fire, Arson and Explosive Investigator, and a NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist. He is a consultant to industry in several technical areas including fire protection detection and suppression systems, emergency response, emergency management and preparedness.

William Hicks Career Highlights:

  • Executive Fire Officer Program Graduate
  • MS, Loss Prevention & Safety
  • Lead Fire Investigator, Madison County Fire Department
  • Instructor for EKU/OTI, Eastern Kentucky University, OSHA Training Institute
  • Instructor, KCTCS/State Fire Rescue Training
  • Search and Rescue Coordinator and Hazardous Materials responder, Madison County
  • Instructor, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management: Currently teaching HAZMAT & WMD to First Responders
  • Member, Madison County Rescue Squad
  • Assistant Fire Chief & Training Officer, White Hall Volunteer Fire Department
  • Former Training Officer with rank of Lieutenant, Bluegrass Search & Rescue
  • Member of the: Institute of Fire Engineers, International Association of Fire Investigators, International Society of Fire Service Instructors, National Fire Protection Association, Society of Fire Protection Engineers

Michael Shane LaCount

Michael Shane LaCount is an adjunct professor and Program Director in the Fire and Safety Engineering Technology program at Eastern Kentucky University. Shane holds a M.S. in Loss Prevention & Safety from Eastern Kentucky University. He is a Certified Fire, Arson and Explosive Investigation Instructor and Investigator, and former Co-Chair of the Annual EKU Rescue School. Shane is currently an Assistant Chief for the Mooresville, N.C. fire department.

Michael LaCount Career Highlights:

  • MS, Loss Prevention and Safety
  • Firefighter, City of Richmond Fire Department; Richmond, KY
  • Instructor, OSHA Training Institute, EKU Campus; Richmond, KY
  • Owner/Consultant, S & A Fire and Safety Consultants; Richmond, KY
  • Senior Associate, TRACE Fire Protection and Safety Consultants, LTD.; Richmond, KY
  • Engineer/Firefighter, Cherryville Fire Department; Cherryville, NC
  • Former Fire Inspector, Gaston County Fire Marshal; Gastonia, NC
  • Former Fire Fighter/Emergency Medical Technician, Crowder’s Mountain Fire/Rescue; Gastonia, NC
  • Received the “Heroism Award” – Gaston County Fire Department & Cherryville Fire Department
  • Received the “Officer of the Year” – Crowder’s Mountain Fire/Rescue
  • Received the “Fire Fighter of the Year” – Crowder’s Mountain Fire/Rescue
  • Certified Fire, Arson and Explosive Investigation Instructor.
  • Certified Fire, Arson and Explosive Investigator
  • Member of the: National Association of Fire, Arson and Explosive Investigators, National Volunteer Fire Fighter’s Counsel, North Carolina Association of Fire Fighters, North Carolina International Association of Arson Investigators, North Carolina Rescue Association

Tom May, JD

Thomas May earned his J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (2008) and his B.S. from the University of Cincinnati (2004). Thomas R. May provides consulting services to attorneys in matters related to fire and explosion through Fire Litigation Strategies L.L.C.

In 2008-09 he was employed as a Forensic Fire Investigator in Iraq for Task Force SAFE in order to address and mitigate fires that were adversely affecting troops deployed in that arena. Mr. May has previously served for 15 years in the capacity of firefighter/EMT for the City of Cleveland’s Division of Fire.


Jamie McAllister, PhD

Dr. McAllister graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection Engineering and in 2002 with a Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering. In 2010, she completed her PhD in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in Baltimore. Her master thesis research focused on fire phenomena in residential electrical wiring and connections. Her Ph.D. studies focused on the effects of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide on fire victims. Specifically, she studied the stability of cyanide in post-mortem specimens from fire victims and developed the first hydrogen cyanide inhalation model for use as a secondary tool in fire origin and cause determination. She is a licensed professional engineer, as well as, a NAFI and IAAI certified fire investigator. Dr. McAllister became interested in fire sciences when she joined the volunteer fire service in 1995. She still serves as a firefighter/EMT/Driver Operator in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In the early part of her fire protection engineering career, Dr. McAllister worked as a fire protection design technician responsible for designing retrofit and new sprinkler and fire alarm systems and conducting life safety analyses in residential structures. Presently, Dr. McAllister is a full-time, Senior Engineer at Combustion Science & Engineering. As a Fire Protection Engineer at CSE, her expertise include fire origin and cause investigation, fire victim toxicology, product failure analysis including specialized areas in electrical and combustion device failure, post-fire reconstruction, and building code review. Dr. McAllister has conducted hundreds of fire investigations and served as a consultant on a variety of litigation cases spanning a broad range of both criminal and civil cases involving residential, commercial, and industrial fires.


Sarah Morris

online fire admin professor Sarah Morris

Sarah Morris is an Assistant Professor in the School of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate data analysis and research methods courses, she also serves as the SSEM Research Coordinator. Before coming to EKU, Sarah worked as a statistician in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, collaborating with both faculty and graduate students on research projects covering a variety of nursing and public health topics. She received her B.S. in Mathematics and Statistics, and M.S. in Mathematical Sciences, all from EKU. She also completed an M.S. in Statistics from the University of Kentucky, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Biostatistics and Epidemiology.


James Pharr

With more than 30 years in the fire service, Jim Pharr, professor, retired in 2006 after serving as a fire fighter, investigator, fire chief, fire marshal and emergency management director in North Carolina counties. His teaching experience includes both training and education delivery for more than 30 years with community colleges in NC. He holds an AAS in Fire Science, BS in Fire Safety Engineering, MS in Fire Service Leadership, and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.

James Pharr Career Highlights:

  • MS, Executive Fire Service Leadership
  • Former Adjunct Instructor, National Fire Academy – Presented more than 6,000 hours of classroom and hands-on training.
  • Former Emergency Management Director and Fire Marshal, Gaston County, North Carolina
  • Former Fire Chief, Pinecroft Sedgefield Fire Department – Guilford County, NC
  • Former Fire Investigator, Charlotte, North Carolina Fire Department
  • Certified Fire Investigator – #24-001, International Association of Arson Investigators
  • Certified Fire/Arson Investigator, NC Fire and Rescue Commission

Bobby Ricks, JD

Bobby Ricks

Bobby graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.S. in Police Administration (1981, with Distinction) and the University of Memphis with a J.D. degree (1984). He has earned the designation Certified Protection Professional (CPP) through ASIS International (1986).

His professional career began as a law enforcement specialist with the United States Air Force Security Forces. After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, Bobby worked as a patrolman and then director of Crime Prevention of the Richmond, Kentucky, Police Department. Following law school, Bobby worked as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He transferred to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia where he was a Lead Instructor, Senior Instructor, Branch Chief and Division Chief of the Legal Division. He moved back to Kentucky where he was the Attorney Supervisor at the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training.

Bobby has taught as full time faculty and as adjunct faculty since 1989. In addition to legal coursework, Bobby has taught Investigation, Leadership, Ethics, Management and Supervision, and Quality Management and Program Management. He has co-authored two books on management and problem solving.


Scott Rockwell

Dr. Scott Rockwell

Dr. Rockwell teaches FSE 120 “Fire Behavior and Combustion” and FSE 355 “Fire Dynamics”. He did his graduate work at Worcester Polytechnic institute in Fire Protection Engineering. He joined the faculty at Eastern Kentucky University in the Fire and Science Engineering Technology program in 2012. He has extensive experience designing, building and conducting research in the fire science area. During 2011 he was the lab manager for the WPI combustion lab during which and afterwards he co-advised undergraduate research students, helped design masters level research projects, and build a new experimental platform called a Hybrid Flame Analyzer (HFA) as part of his dissertation work. During his time in graduate school he created a set of fire science demonstration videos for use in teaching college fire dynamics and combustion courses that have been viewed over 250,000 times on YouTube. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Safety Science (IAFSS) educational subcommittee and gave a presentation on the use of demonstration videos at the IAFSS conference in 2011. Dr. Rockwell has redeveloped the online “FSE 355 Fire Dynamics” course at EKU that includes a set of virtual labs available online at www.firesciencetools.com. He is currently working on research involving extinguishing confined class b fires using solidified CO2, developing virtual laboratories for fire science classes, creating active learning techniques for teaching fire science classes, and quantifying thermal impact to structure walls due to compartment fires.


Michael Schumann

Mike Schumann, Ph.D., earned a B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Animal Science from Oregon State University, his J.D. with a concentration in labor and employment law from DePaul University and his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Schumann began his career in the construction business and later worked for more than 12 years in the food manufacturing industry in a variety of positions.

Prior to becoming a co-founder of a Richmond, Kentucky law firm, Dr. Schumann practiced law in Chicago concentrating in labor, employment, safety and workers’ compensation litigation for large corporate and insurance company clients. He was employed by one of the largest workers’ compensation defense firms in the state and also has extensive experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements. He has dealt with the UFCW, Teamsters, IBEW, and Service Employees International Unions.

Michael has extensive experience with both Federal and Kentucky OSHA, involving areas such as safety training, pre-inspection compliance, wall-to wall inspections, citations, administrative reviews and litigation. He is a member of the Board of the Kentucky Safety & Health Network, is an authorized instructor of Federal OSHA’s Training Institute Education Center at EKU, and former chair of the OTIEC construction courses.

At Eastern Kentucky University, Dr. Schumann is a professor and instructor in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. His courses include: ergonomics, safety management, legal aspects of fire protection and safety, hazard identification, principals of occupational safety & health legislation, workers compensation/labor law, and legislation/legal compliance.

Michael has conducted over 50 management training seminars, dealing with issues such as safety management; the Americans With Disabilities Act; the FMLA; workers compensation; and human resource issues for such organizations as: United Airlines, Coca-Cola of Chicago, Jewel Food Stores, The Chicago Bar Association, The Kentucky Bar Association, Kemper Insurance, Borg- Warner, EBI Insurance, Abbott Labs, and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association.

He has published several articles including one with the Chicago Bar Association entitled “The Americans with Disabilities Act and its effect on Workers’ Compensation”. He has also co-authored two books, the first entitled: “Food Safety Law” and the second, “Legal Liabilities for Safety and Loss Prevention Professionals”.

Michael Schumann Career Highlights:

  • BS, Biology with a Genetics concentration, Oregon State University
  • JD, Labor and Employment Law, DePaul University College of Law
  • MS, Animal Science (concentration in Meat Science), minor in Business Management, Oregon State University
  • Ph.D., Studies in Higher Education, Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation, University of Kentucky
  • Attorney/Partner – Schumann & Schneid, PLLC
  • Former General Counsel, KI (USA) Corporation
  • Former Attorney, Wiedner & Mcauliffe, Ltd.
  • Former Director of Industrial Relations (Human Resources) & Director of Quality Control for the American Meat Packing Corporation
  • Former Production Supervisor for Washington Beef Inc.
  • Federal OSHA Outreach Trainer
  • Licensed to practice law In Illinois and Kentucky
  • Member of the American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Illinois Worker’s Compensation Lawyers Association, Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, Kentucky Bar Association, Kentucky Employment Lawyers Association, Richmond Chamber of Commerce

Paul Snodgrass

Online fire degree faculty Snodgrass

Paul Snodgrass serves as adjunct professor and laboratory coordinator at EKU. He is a former fire chief with 20 years of career fire service experience. Snodgrass holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, and a master’s degree in Adult Education and Distance Learning from the University of Phoenix. In previous professional roles, he was an award-winning writer and photographer as a print journalist and magazine editor. He has been writing about, designing and teaching traditional and online courses since 2005. Additionally, he is a Contributing Editor at Firehouse® Magazine.

Career Highlights

Rookie of the Year, North River Fire District, Florida

Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management at Hardee County Fire Rescue, Florida

Firesafety Inspector, Sarasota County Fire Department

Firemedic, Sarasota County Fire Department

  • Unit Citation for firefighting
  • Two Phoenix Awards for lifesaving

His academic areas of research include

  • the importance of higher education in the fire service, especially concerning officer development and promotion;
  • fire service organizational cultures; and
  • new technologies to aid emergency response and administration.

Tom Thurman

James T. Thurman, Tom, has worked in the explosives field for over thirty years, first as an Army Bomb Disposal Technician and then as a Special Agent with the FBI. As a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI Laboratory, he forensically examined the exploded remains of hundreds of improvised explosive devices and travel extensively throughout the United States and the world to collect evidence and conduct bombing scene investigations. These investigations have included the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon in 1983 and 1984, the bombing of the Marine Barracks, also in Lebanon in 1983, the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the bombing deaths of a Federal Judge in Alabama and an attorney in Georgia in 1989 and the 1993 Bombing of the World Trade Center in New York. Prior to his retirement from the FBI in 1998, Thurman was the Chief of the FBI Bomb Data Center, whose responsibilities included the training of all public safety bomb disposal technicians in the United States.

Thurman has and continues to lecture and provide training into the methods of bomb scene investigation, terrorism crime scene investigation and explosives avoidance to domestic and international training schools and audiences. He is member of a number of professional organizations, which include the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI), as an advisor, National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI) and the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE). Thurman is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) and Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator (CVFI) under the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI). As a member of various national planning panels, he participated in the preparation of two best practice guides published by the U.S. Department of Justice; Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement and A Guide for Explosion and Bombing Scene Investigation. Additionally, he is the sub-committee chair of the Training and Education sub-committee for the Technical Working Group for Fire and Explosions (TWGFEX) under the National Center for Forensic Science, University of Central Florida. Thurman is the author of Practical Bomb Scene Investigation published by CRC Press in 2006. This book is the first comprehensive work on the subject and includes over 500 pages and 200 photographs and diagrams, in addition to an extensive chapter on the investigative methods employed at the post blast scene, chapters on explosion dynamics, identification of commercial and military explosives, pre and post blast identification of bomb construction components, weapons of mass destruction, military ordnance identification features and the capabilities of the forensic laboratory in the examination of bomb debris and reading the bombers’ signature.

Thurman currently is a Professor at Eastern Kentucky University teaching in a unique academic program, Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation. He holds a B.A from Eastern Kentucky University and a M.S. degree in Forensic Science from George Washington University, Washington, D. C.

Primary Areas of Academic Interest:

Fire and Explosion Investigation and Analysis; Bombing Crime Scene Investigation; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Render Safe Procedures – Bomb Squad; Large Vehicle Improvised Explosive Devices; Suicide Improvised Explosive Devices; Hazardous Materials


Andrew Tinsley

Andrew Tinsley has over seven years experience in the fire service in which he held positions ranging from firefighter, driver, line officer, and training officer. In addition, he has worked in the engineering field as a structural engineer for approximately two years. He teaches FSE 101: Fire Prevention, a core class for both the Fire Protection Engineering Technology and the Fire Administration concentrations, and FSE 201: Building Construction for the Fire Services, a class for both the Fire Protection Engineering Technology and the Fire Administration concentrations.

He also holds an MS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and continues to pursue his Ph.D. from the same institution. Mr. Tinsley has published in several journals and presented at international conferences in the areas of high durability concrete mix development and structural deformations of steel in fires. Originally from Knoxville, TN, he has since relocated to Richmond, KY to pursue his dream of teaching at a major university.

Andrew Tinsley Career Highlights:

  • Administrative Consultant for the Karns Volunteer Fire Department, Knoxville, TN
  • Task Force Volunteer, Knox County Fire Investigation Unit – to assist in Fire Scene Investigations
  • Former Training Officer, Lieutenant, Firefighter/EMT-IV – Karns Volunteer Fire Department, Knoxville, TN
  • Structural Engineer
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator
  • 2005- Received the “Firefighter of the Year” Service, Community, Karns Volunteer Fire Department

Learn More