Our Staff


  B.J. Dvorak (Coordinator)

In April 2022, the Linn County Emergency Management Commission appointed B.J. Dvorak to lead the countywide agency responsible for preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural and man-made disasters. He began his service with the Linn County Emergency Management Agency in July 2019 as the Plans and Exercise Officer. Prior to joining Linn County EMA, Dvorak worked as the Plans Officer with Johnson County Emergency Management Agency and also as the Emergency Management and Security Coordinator with Mercy Hospital Iowa City. 

Dvorak, a graduate of Upper Iowa University (BS- Public Administration), was a Firefighter/EMT with the City of Tiffin for 5 years and was also a Supply Management Officer with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Logistics Response Assistance Team for 10 years that included multiple hurricane deployments. 

Dvorak is the recipient of the FBI-LEEDA trilogy award. He has attended numerous training courses including training from FBI-LEEDA on Supervisor Leadership, Command Leadership and Executive Leadership.

He is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) through the International Association of Emergency Managers and currently serves as a member of IAEM’s Certification Commission.


  Tom Ulrich (Emergency Management Specialist/Operations Officer)

Tom Ulrich joined the Linn County Emergency Management Agency in April 1995 where he serves as the Emergency Management Specialist – Operations and Readiness Officer. He previously worked as a Law Enforcement Officer and Police Chief. Tom is also retired from the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Service after twenty seven years obtaining the ranks of Captain and Assistant Chief.  Tom has been a member of the Linn County Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team since 1990 and has been the Team’s Chief since 1998.  Tom is the Linn County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator and was the Chairperson of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) from 2006 to 2010. Tom received his Associates Degree in Law Enforcement from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. He also is a graduate of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) and is a Certified Iowa Emergency Medical Technician, Hazardous Materials Technician, an Amateur Radio Operator (KD0LMD), and an Iowa Certified Emergency Management Coordinator.

  Dawn Nelson (Administrative Assistant)

Dawn Nelson joined the Linn County Emergency Management Agency in December 2003 where she serves as the Administrative Assistant. She previously worked in law enforcement and emergency services for eight years and in the financial services field for four years.  She has worked with FEMA on securing public assistance following two major flood events in 1999 before joining the agency. She has been the Secretary for the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) since 2003. Dawn attended Kirkwood Community College and was in the Business Administration program.  She is certified as a trainer for the Community Emergency Response Team program, the National Incident Management System, and she is an Iowa Certified Emergency Management Coordinator.

  Brad Ransford (Emergency Management Specialist/Logistics Officer)

Brad Ransford joined the Linn County Emergency Management Agency in November 2016 where he serves as a Emergency Management Specialist – Logistics & Training Officer. Brad currently volunteers as a Captain/EMT with the Hiawatha Fire Department for the past 16 year as well as the Assistant Chief /EMT for the Linn County Hazmat Team for the past 22 years. He retired from the Robins Fire Department as Assistant Fire Chief/EMT after serving 23.5 years with the department. Brad volunteered for Linn County Emergency Management Agency for 7 Years and 11 Months before going full time with Linn County Emergency Management Agency. Brad received a Fire Science Management Certificate and an Entry Level Firefighter Certificate from Kirkwood Community College. Brad is an Iowa Certified Emergency Management Coordinator, he is state certified as a Firefighter 1 & 2, Fire Instructor 1, Fire Officer 1 & 2, Fire Inspector 1, and Driver Operator – Pumper. He is also a Hazardous Materials Technician, State certified Emergency Medical Technician and holds numerous certificates in Hazmat,                                                                      WMD, emergency management, Special Operations and Incident Command.


  Heather Tripp (Emergency Management Specialist/Plans & Exercise Officer)

Heather Tripp joined the Linn County Emergency Management Agency in July 2022 where she serves as an Emergency Management Specialist – Plans and Exercise Officer. Heather previously worked as a 911 Communications Operator for Fire and Law Enforcement agencies in both Arizona and Iowa. As a Communications Operator, Heather served as a Certified Training Officer and was involved in the creation and implementation of new dispatcher training programs. In 2021 Heather graduated from Jacksonville State University with a bachelor’s in Emergency Management and a minor in Public Safety Communications.