Adams EMA director stepping down June 30

Published 12:06am Sunday, March 16, 2014

NATCHEZ — After 32 years of public service, Adams County Emergency Management Agency Director Stan Owens is retiring.

Owens made his retirement public Saturday, 32 years to the day after he started working at the Natchez Fire Department in 1982. Saturday was also six years to the day after Owens took over as emergency management director for Adams County.

With a grandchild arriving this summer, his youngest child soon graduating college and more than 30 years in the state retirement system, Owens said it is a good time to go.

“I’ve been debating it for a couple of years,” he said. “Really, it just seemed like the right time.”

After the death of E911 chairman Bryant Adams, one of Owens’ “biggest cheerleaders,” last year, Owens said the jobs changed for him.

“When he passed, I feel like, honestly, I lost a lot of my drive,” Owens said. “Not that I still don’t have it because I’m still fighting for things, and I’m still hoping Adams County will use me in some type of volunteer position.”

Owens said he plans to remain a volunteer on the Adams County Search and Rescue team and stay actively involved in the community.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said Owens notified the board three or four months ago he was contemplating retirement. Grennell said, though, he found himself “dumbfounded” last week when Owens gave him an official letter of retirement.

“I was, of course, a little upset and concerned,” Grennell said. “But I understood his rationale.”

Grennell said the county’s plan is to hire Owens’ replacement before Owens leaves so that person can be trained under Owens, whose last day will be June 30.

Owens said he is grateful for the continued support from the board of supervisors and says the people he has worked with and for will be the most missed part of his job.

Owens said he is proud of the work he has done and said the teamwork and dedication he saw from Adams County during Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav are moments of which he is most proud.

Grennell said he is thankful for Owens’ dedication to the job and the work he did to implement two programs Grennell wanted for the county.

Owens has kept the weather sirens program for the county going and sought out a grant through which the county received five sirens for the price of one this year, Grennell said. Since implementing the program, the county has added one siren a year to rural parts of the county to keep residents weather aware.

Owens also implemented the CodeRED notification system that calls residents signed up for the free service when severe weather is approaching.

“Stan has been great as an emergency management director, as E911 director, as homeland security director, as chief volunteer fire coordinator,” Grennell said. “He’s a good guy. He’s going to be missed; that’s for sure.”