December 9, 2008

Owens Community College Names New Center for Emergency Preparedness Director

Michael Cornell

Michael Cornell

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, OH – Owens Community College has named Michael Cornell as the new Director of the Center for Emergency Preparedness. His responsibilities will include overseeing all activities within the state-of-the-art facility, which serves as a state, regional and national education and resource center for public safety and emergency response training.

In addition, his new position will entail the continued development and implementation of the Center’s educational and training programs for police, fire and emergency services personnel, as well as the military, at the regional, state and national levels. Cornell will also serve as a liaison between the School of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Center for Emergency Preparedness and oversee the development of multiple forms of training delivery, including experiential, in-classroom, web and virtual reality-based instruction.

Additional responsibilities will include fostering partnerships between Owens and emergency preparedness leaders within the surrounding communities, as well as at the state, regional and national levels, helping to support the Center’s education and training efforts throughout the region.

“Michael Cornell brings a distinguished career and extensive background and experiences in emergency response training to Owens Community College, which is invaluable to the continued growth and evolution of the Center for Emergency Preparedness’ specialized and concurrent emergency preparedness training,” said Dr. Michael Bankey, Owens Vice President of Workforce and Community Services. “We welcome Michael to Owens Community College and look forward to his leadership and vision in providing police, fire, emergency services personnel and the military with a superior educational training experience.”

Prior to his new position at Owens, Cornell served as the Director of Emergency Services for the U.S. Army in Stockton, Utah. While serving as Director, he was responsible for the strategic direction and supervision of the paramedic and EMT staff at a chemical munitions depot. His responsibilities also included creating emergency response, interdiction and recovery plans, standard operating procedures and medical protocols/standing written orders for the U.S. Army. Additionally, Cornell oversaw operation of the forward medical aid station and provided support and training for local and state EMS agencies.

Before his involvement with the U.S. Army, Cornell was the Director of Hospital Employee and Community Services for Walter Knox Memorial Hospital for six years, where he managed the Hospital Employee and Community Services Department in such areas as human resources, employee health, education, ergonomics and workmen’s compensation programs. He has also served as an Instructor at the Idaho State University Institute of Emergency Management, a Critical Care Medic for Ada County Emergency Medical Services and a Fire Captain for the Kuna Fire Department.

His professional and community involvement includes affiliation with the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute, the American Highway Safety Institute, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and the Society of Human Resource Managers.

Cornell received associate’s degrees in criminal justice and English from Brigham Young University – Idaho. The Northwood resident also holds certification as an Intensive Care Paramedic and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in homeland security from American Military University. Cornell’s educational background also includes homeland security training through the American College of Forensic Examiners, incident response to terrorist bombing training through New Mexico Tech and medical management of chemical and biological casualties through the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, among other areas.

In 2007, Owens marked a milestone in the academic institution’s history by opening a new $20.5 million Center for Emergency Preparedness. The new Center for Emergency Preparedness fulfills a need for a rather expansive complex within the region that can provide “real-world” training in a safe and controlled environment. Potential training scenarios that can be conducted within the new facility include those related to natural and manmade disasters involving hazardous materials, confined spaces, riots, entrapments and weapons of mass destruction. Currently, there is no higher education facility for multi agencies to conduct concurrent emergency response training in the Midwest. The federal government operates the only other emergency response facilities somewhat similar in stature.

Owens’ 110-acre Center for Emergency Preparedness features full-size, state-of-the-art training props/simulators, including a mobile fire behavior lab, a five-story burn building, tank truck fire simulator, stationary fuel tank fire simulator, collapsed building rescue simulator, confined space rescue simulator, automobile fire simulator, skills/skid pad, dive and rescue pond, rail car rescue simulator, vehicle extrication field and an aircraft rescue simulator. The facility also includes a mock city replicating a community infrastructure such as a gas station, a bank, and residential and search and rescue structures.

Since opening the facility, many police, fire and emergency services personnel, as well as the military, from Ohio and beyond, including the FBI, Ohio National Guard and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, have utilized the facility for either specialized or concurrent emergency preparedness training.

Additionally, Owens is currently in the process of constructing a new 28,790 square-foot Emergency Preparedness Operations Building that will provide first responders with expanded opportunities for real-world, scenario training highlighted by the only indoor simulated burn building in the country. The four-story simulated burn building will feature a state-of-the-art video projection program, which will enable first responders to conduct a variety of structure burn scenarios, such as residential, commercial, processing or electrical equipment fires, using actual water within a controlled virtual fire and smoke environment. The building is also designed for high angle rescue, ground and aerial ladder drills, apparatus placement, high rise hose evolution, and rappel entry and exit training, as well as roof ventilation training exercises through the use of a replaceable roof.

Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit