Campus News

Opal Haley retiring as director of UGA security preparedness office; Steven Harris to be director

Opal Haley retiring as director of UGA security preparedness office; Steven Harris to be interim director

Athens, Ga. – Opal D. Haley, director of the University of Georgia Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness, is retiring with more than 30 years of service to the state of Georgia and 24 years to the university. Steven D. Harris, emergency operations manager in the office, will step in as interim director.

The changes will occur Nov. 1, said George Stafford, associate vice president for auxiliary and administrative services.

UGA created the security preparedness office in 2002 to help the university identify possible security threats and provide faculty, staff and students with information and education on emergencies and security issues.

Haley became director of the office July 1, 2005, after serving as interim director. Under her direction the office expanded, assuming the role of emergency operations in August, 2005. Haley coordinated UGA’s Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and introduced a number of new initiatives to improve emergency operations at UGA including the UGAalert emergency notification system and building safety and security representatives program.

“The university is indebted to Opal Haley for her many years of extraordinary service,” said Stafford. “It’s been my pleasure to work with her for the past two and a half years in her role as director of the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness. The university is much better prepared to deal with emergencies now thanks to the efforts of Ms. Haley and her staff.”

Prior to assuming her current role, Haley was director of the UGA Human Resources Training and Development Department, which she established in the late 1980s and led to national prominence. She directed the department for 18 years, designing and developing hundreds of programs to meet individual and organizational development goals. The Training and Development Center was constructed and expanded twice under her leadership.

Haley holds two UGA degrees, a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in human resources and organizational development.

Harris joined the security preparedness office as emergency operations manager in January, 2006. Previously he worked seven years in the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s (GEMA) Homeland Security office as manager of the State School Safety Unit. He was also an assistant security administrator with the Clarke County School District.

Harris has a bachelor’s degree in history from Georgia Southern University and a master’s in social science education from UGA. He is certified by GEMA as an emergency manager and is certified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as an Internet safety master instructor.

He serves on several advisory councils and technical working groups associated with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education.