Advisory Board

Thomas, Karen

Karen Thomas

Karen Thomas serves as the programs director and board secretary for the Disaster Discovery Center. During her 8 years writing for a software company specializing in infrastructure management, she learned about emergency mitigation from a municipality’s viewpoint.  She is actively involved in her community preparedness efforts and Citizen Corps Council.  As a volunteer, Karen has trained numerous groups on a variety of topics, including reading tutors, parents, educators, Scouts, Scout leaders, and those interested in preparedness.  She currently heads up the Rebound in 72 program, which condenses 400 hours of research into a 90-minute workshop highlighting lifesaving preparedness information.  She has authored 3 additional workshops, which have been taught at the Utah Prepare Conference & Expo:

  • Free and Low-Cost Steps to Preparing
  • Fact or Myth: Understanding Disaster
  • Getting Others to Listen and Prepare

Bela, Muhaedin

Dr. Muhaedin Bela is State advisor for Policy and Planning in Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Republic of Macedonia (RM). He is also a clinical teacher at FON University and International Balkan University and he is closely working with Utah Valley University (UVU), where he was guest lecturer speaking about his PhD thesis “Participation of ARM in Peace support operation and contribution to international peace.”Muhaedin Bela

Through UVU, he has been involved in training and exercising with students in Macedonia, the Protection and Rescue Directorate and firefighters on disaster preparedness techniques following FEMA’s CERT program. He was coordinator of the Conference on Security, Disaster Policy and Education held at IBU-Skopje March 17, 2016. Dr. Bela has worked extensively with units of Army of Republic of Macedonia (ARM), General Staff of ARM and Sectors in MoD. Also he was Liaison officer for the Republic of Macedonia in USCENTCOM, Tampa – Florida 2004-2005, which he considers as “one of the most important experiences in his career.” He is the author of “Lesson learned center in ARM” and author of “Program for adequate and equitable presentation of ethnicities in ARM.” He also was a member of the editorial board for “White Paper on Defense 2012.” He has completed military school’s including the “Turkish Joint Command and Staff College” in 2015. Also he attended “Leadership in homeland security” course in HARVARD Kennedy School on September 2016. In June 2017, he participated in the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security “Faculty Development Workshop” in Monterey, California.   In 2017, he received his PhD from the "Ss. Cyril and Methodius University” in Skopje where he also completed his master’s degree 2009. His work and education have allowed him to work closely with institutions in the USA and NATO. Dr. Bela has also lengthy experience in the publishing, marketing and organization of cultural and humanitarian events (concert’s of classical music/international, domestic character/, exhibition, seminars etc.)

He was decorated with Silver badge by Red Cross of Republic of Macedonia for humanitarian service. 

Recca, Steve

Steve ReccaSteve Recca is Executive Director of the Center for Human Security in the University of Colorado Colorado Springs School of Public Affairs. He concurrently serves as the Co-Director of the University and Agency Partnership Initiative for the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security and as the Humanitarian Assistance Program Advisor with the Pacific Disaster Center. Steve’s previous positions include security policy assignments with the Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, Department of Defense, and in academia. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross, on advisory boards for the University of California – Los Angeles and Marian University, and on the editorial review boards for three peer-reviewed journals: Homeland Security Affairs and Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy, and Journal of Homeland Security Education. 

Maxfield, Jeff

Jeff Maxfield Dr. R. Jeffery (Jeff) Maxfield has consulted for billion dollar corporations and various government agencies throughout North America and Europe. He is a retired Chief Operations Officer/Assistant Chief for a metropolitan fire department, with approximately 25 years of service. Jeff served for four years as Associate Dean over the School of Public Services (Criminal Justice, Emergency Services, Forensic Science, and Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy, and the Institute of Emergency Services and Homeland Security). He currently is enjoying teaching and researching in the disciplines of public leadership and adult education.

Holley, Steve

 Steve HolleySteve K. Holley is an assistant professor in the Emergency Services Department at Utah Valley University with a concentration in Emergency Medical Services.  Prior to coming to UVU, Holley was a full-time faculty member of the Health Science department at Brigham Young University-Idaho for nine years where he mostly taught Paramedic courses. He recently served as the E.M.S. Director of a hospital-based, A.L.S. ambulance service in a rural resort area. Prior to that, he was a Flight Paramedic at a rotor-wing base.  Steve’s fire experience includes a combination of U.S. Navy Damage Control training and then, Paid-call and career service as a paramedic/firefighter for substantially over 20 years. Holley served as a Navy Seabee and is a member of the Navy Reserve. Steve is working on a Doctor of Arts in Political Science, with cognates in Economics and Sociology at Idaho State University.  He holds a Master’s of Pubic Administration degree, with an emphasis in Public Finance and Budgeting from Idaho State University and a Bachelor’s from Idaho State University and Associate of Arts degree from Ricks College, both in Economics.