NIMO Portland Biographies

Tom Cable - Incident CommanderTom Cable - Incident Commander

Tom started his career in 1973 on the Shasta Trinity NF in Northern CA as an engine crewman and acting station foreman for his first three fire seasons. He spent the next two fire seasons as a fuels inventory crew and slash disposal crew foreman. In 1978, Tom moved south to the Cleveland NF as an Engine Operator. After six months he became an Engine Captain and detailed as a helitack and as a hand crew foreman. He was active as a RXB2 and Division Supervisor.

In 1987, Tom transferred to the Plumas NF as a District Fire Prevention Officer. He established the forests’ first Volunteers in Prevention program. He was very active as a fire duty officer and prescribed fire leader. While working full time on the Plumas, Tom completed TFM #4 training, LT2 (Learning Today to Lead Tomorrow) at Hayward State University, and attended the University of Nevada to obtain the necessary credits to become a professional forester. In 1992, he became the district fuels specialist and took the RX fire program from 100 acres to over 2000 acres in his first year.

Tom transferred to the Lassen National Forest in 1994 serving as a district fuels officer. The previous RX fire program consisted primarily of burning tractor piles. The first timber underburn RX plan he wrote and implemented was for 5000 acres. He was also the course coordinator for I-420 (Command and General Staff) and RX 300 regional training courses. In 1996, he accepted the Eagle Lake RD Fire Management Officer position. During that period, he detailed as the Regional Fuels Assistant and served as the acting Chief of Fire and Aviation Management for the Forest. In 2003, he was selected as its Chief of FAM.

Late in 2005, Tom accepted a WO Fire Planner position in Boise where he was the Large Fire Subject Matter Expert for the Fire Program Analysis Development Team. Tom has 17 yrs experience on Type 1 Teams as a RESL, SITL, PSC, SOFR, OPBD and has been a DPIC and IC for 7 yrs.

In May of 2008, Tom accepted the Portland NIMO IC position.

Rich Rusk - Logisitics Section ChiefRich Rusk - Logistics Section Chief

Richard “Rich” Rusk began his Forest Service experience in 1974 on the recently combined Uinta-Wasatch-Cache (U-W-C) National Forest. His has experience, in Recreation, Human Resource, (YACC), Minerals, Lands, Non-Recreation Special Uses and Fire Management. As a Forest Service employee, Rich worked with the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command (UOPSC) from April 2001- April 2002 for the Utah Winter Olympics as a Supply Management Specialist. After the Olympics he returned as the North Zone Fire Prevention Officer. His entire 33 year career has been on the U-W-C, until his recent assignment to the Portland NIMO.

Rich’s fire experience began as a firefighter, working on Type II hand crews and engine crews from 1974 to 1983. In 1979, Rich began accepting single resource assignments on larger incidents in Logistics. Rich is red carded as Assistant Area Commander Logistics (ACLC), LSC1 and LSC2. He served on Area Command Team 3 from (2006-2007), and as LSC1 from 1998-2005, on Type 1 IMT’s based out of the Rocky Basin, and as a LSC2 from 1987-1989 in the Great Basin.

He has instructed most levels of incident management. He has served as SME in FACL, LSC and Area Command. In 2004, he instructed Logistics Section Chief, (S-450) for the Government of India (GOI). In 2005, he returned as a coach in a “train the trainer” program with the GOI. In 2007, he went to Victoria, Australia to assist with the Australian wildfires for a one month assignment as an LSC1. He has participated on Interagency Task Groups (Avian Pandemic) and national committees dealing with logistics, incident business, contracting and currently represents Logistics on the Equipment Technology Committee under NWCG.

Rich graduated with a B.S. Degree, in Forest Management, from Utah State University (USU), June, 1980. Pat, his best friend and wife, is an educator who teaches 4th graders at Bluffdale Elementary School in Bluffdale, Utah. She has taught for more than 30 years. They met while attending USU and married in 1977. They have two daughters, a son-in-law and Quincy their 3 year old granddaughter. NIMO requires a lot of travel and Rich loves to travel.

Jack Kirkendall - Operations Section ChiefJack Kirkendall - Operations Section Chief

Jack began his career in wildland fire management in 1972 as a member of the Bitterroot Hot Shot Crew while attending the University of Montana where he received a degree in Forestry in 1973. . He also worked early season detail fire assignments on the Gila and Angeles National Forests during this period. In 1974, after two years with the Hot Shots, he moved into the Missoula smokejumper program. While a smokejumper, he detailed to the Silver City, NM smokejumper operation for 3 seasons, and staffed fires from several aerial delivery fire bases in the west. In late 1979 he accepted a position as the East Zone Helicopter Manager on the Lolo National Forest. In 1981 he transferred to the Island Park Ranger District of the Targhee National Forest as the District Fire Management Officer. This position included duties as a Forest Service Level 4 Law Enforcement Officer. Early in 1987 Jack transferred to the Council Ranger District of the Payette National Forest as District Fire Management Officer. He also had collateral duties as the District Recreation Program Manager, as the District NEPA/Planning Coordinator, and as a Forest Service Level 4 Law Enforcement Officer. In 1992 Jack transferred to the Bitterroot National Forest as the Forest Fire Management Officer. In 1997 Jack transferred into an Emergency Management Specialist position in the Northern Region Air, Fire and Aviation Branch. Since late May of 2008 Jack has served as the Operations Section Chief of the Portland NIMO Team. He has been active in aviation and operations leadership on Type 1 and 2 incident management teams since 1984. Jack is a past recipient of National USFS “Fire Management Officer of the Year Award”, and in 2007 he received the “Paul Gleason, Lead by Example Award”.

Nick Giannettino - Planning Section ChiefNick Giannettino - Planning Section Chief

Nick began his career on the Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana as a Forest Technician 1977 after completing the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in Resources Management from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse, NY. He transferred to the Gunnison NF in Colorado, then moved on to the Angeles NF in Southern California as a forester, and was a member of the Redding Hotshot Detail crew in 1981. He then transferred to the Ochoco NF in Central Oregon where he completed the Silvicultural Institute and served as a certified silviculturist and District Staff Officer. After transferring to the Ashley NF in northeastern Utah, as District Staff responsible for timber, fire, recreation and wilderness, he detailed to the Ashley Supervisor's Office as Forest Staff Officer. Nick then transferred to the Shawnee NF in southern Illinois, serving as District Ranger, Forest Fire Staff, Forest Resource Staff and served as Acting Forest Supervisor as well, prior to being selected for the NIMO assignment. Nick's fire experience during his career include a variety of operations and planning qualifications, and working on IMT's in the Pacific Northwest Region, the Intermountain Region, and on Type 1 and 2 IMT's in the Northern Rockies as Planning Section Chief. Besides wildland fire assignments, Nick has worked on incident management teams managing hurricanes, Rainbow Family gatherings, law enforcement operations and other applications of the National Incident Management System.

Shardul Raval - Finance Section ChiefShardul Raval - Finance Section Chief

Shardul Raval has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Campbell University, a graduate degree in Environmental Management from the University of London and a Master of Forest Conservation degree from the University of Toronto. He is also currently working to pursue a doctoral degree in Fire Management.

Shardul’s began his career with the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources (NCDFR) in 1999. He served as a Fayetteville District service forester working on forest management assistance, prescribed fire, and wildfire suppression and management responsibilities on the district level. He later served as a non-point source pollution specialist for the Division where he worked statewide on Forest Practice Guidelines, Best Management Practices, river basin planning, EPA grants, and land acquisition.

He was promoted to the Forest Protection Section to serve as the fire control & prevention staff forester. In this role he supervised the Division’s Central Operations Center, managed the state’s three Type II Incident Management Teams and National Fire Plan grants, was a State Emergency Response Team member, and was the interagency liaison to the Division cooperators and State Emergency Operations Center. He also co-coordinated the state Firewise program, managed the implementation of Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Community Protection (Steven’s Amendment) and Communities at Risk programs.
Shardul has been active in incident management, serving in command, plans, finance and operation roles on Type III, Type II and Type I Incident Management Teams. He has served as a Finance SME for S-420 and been a S-360 and S-460 instructor. Shardul was a Type I Finance Section Chief of the Southern Area Red Team prior to joining NIMO.

Kris Eriksen - Information OfficerKris Eriksen - Information Officer

Kris began working in fire in college as a summer job, never thinking it would become a career. She has a degree in Organizational Administration and a minor in Journalism with more than 15 years in corporate public relations and 12 years as a reporter. She began her 24 years in fire in 1984.

An “on call” Information Officer, dispatched through the Alaska Division of Forestry, she advanced to Type 1 status in 2004. Kris has been deployed with the Alaska Type 1 Incident Management Team, as well as other National Type 1 and 2 teams, often as the lead Information Officer, on many of the nation’s and Alaska’s largest wildland fires and all-hazard assignments. She was the lead on an Alaska Type 2 Incident Management Team for five years.

She was responsible for creating the first multi-agency Fire Information website in New Mexico during a 3 month detail in2006. She successfully set up and ran a two state, multi-jurisdictional Joint Information Center during the largest fire siege in Georgia/Florida history in 2007.
Prior to her employment with NIMO and the Forest Service, Eriksen worked with the FEMA Region 10 Public Affairs Cadre for six years handling public information & media functions during floods, tornados, earthquakes and hurricanes nationally.

She has extensive experience in public relations for a variety of corporations, worked in hospital marketing, owned her own public relations and graphic design agency and expanded her public relations business to teach fire and emergency response classes. In prior years, she has also been a radio broadcast journalist and a newspaper reporter.

John Prendergast - Safety OfficerJohn Prendergast - Safety Officer

John began his career on the Okanogan National Forest in Washington in 1977, after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Resource Management from West Virginia University. He took a position with Georgia-Pacific Corporation in 1978 as a procurement forester in central Georgia. John moved back West for good in 1979 after accepting a forester position with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the Medford District in Oregon. Between 1979 and 1989, John’s work experience included duties in timber management, silviculture, prescribed fire and wildland fire suppression. In 1989, John transferred to the Applegate Ranger District on the Rogue River National Forest where he served as a silviculture prescription forester and planner. During this time, John completed the Silviculture Institute and became a Forest Service certified silviculturist. He transferred back to the Medford District BLM in 1991, serving as a resource area silviculturist, supervisory forester, multi-resource staff supervisor, and acting field manager until accepting the safety officer position with the Portland NIMO Team in May of 2008. John has completed two extended details in BLM’s Washington, DC office.

John’s fire career began in 1977 when he received his first red card and basic fire training on the Okanogan National Forest. He served for many years on Type 2 handcrews and engines and became single resource boss qualified in 1988. John’s incident management team experience began in 1994 when he became the primary situation unit leader on the ORCA Type 2 IMT. John served on the ORCA Team for 12 years, including 7 years as a division supervisor and two years as the team safety officer. John’s Type 1 experience began in 2006 as a SOF1 trainee on PNW Team 3 and he became a primary SOF1 on PNW Team 2 in 2007. John has been involved with prescribed fire his entire career and is a qualified Type 1 burn boss.

John has been active in the Society of American Foresters his entire career and is a 30 year member. He served as Oregon State Chair for SAF in 2007.

In the Spotlight
photo of wildland fire and operations