Our People

Ron Kunz - Emergency Manager

Ron Kunz

Emergency Manager The Frederick National Laboratory team is all focused on the same goal of improving human health. It doesn’t get better than this.  

It’s no surprise that Ron Kunz is the first person to hold the title of emergency manager for the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research and the National Cancer Institute at Frederick. A common theme throughout his life has been emergency preparedness and response. 

Since Kunz was 14 years old, he’s volunteered on a rescue squad, starting at the bottom and moving up to multiple leadership positions. 

“Even though I have been involved in some heartbreaking responses, I have overwhelmingly enjoyed helping people in their time of need,” said Kunz. “Where else do you get to deliver [14] babies!” 

One of his proudest accomplishments is working to establish an automated external defibrillator (AED) program at the Naval Clinic and Base Fire Department in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1995. At the time, said Kunz, “AEDs were a new concept. Within a month of teaching the AED courses, we had three cardiac arrest patients on the base and we saved all three!” 

Before joining the Frederick National Laboratory as emergency manager, Kunz spent seven years as the first emergency manager at Naval Support Activity Bethesda, where he worked with wounded warriors. Previously, he had a 30-year career in the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, where he was responsible for the medical care of the ship’s 300-plus crewmembers.  

In his first year at the Frederick National Laboratory, he’s brought the AED program up to 100 percent compliance, introduced a bit of instructional training into our routine evacuation drills, and continued to help his teammates with their mission of safety. 

He’s currently working on improving our mass warning and notification systems in case of emergency events, including text messaging and Cisco telephone alerts, as well as improving our Emergency Operations Center by identifying key personnel and their skills. His goal is to ensure employees are informed and knowledgeable regarding emergency response procedures so they can be prepared to respond “calmly and correctly” to emergency events. 

“I work closely with the regional, state, county, and Fort Detrick emergency management personnel to stay on top of current initiatives and develop relationships with those who can help us if the need arises,” said Kunz. 

Outside of work, he just finished a three-year board member position at his local fire department, and he’s working on grants and other fundraising projects in pursuit of his goal of purchasing a new $700,000 rescue squad. 

The rest of our interview with Kunz can be read below:

Public Affairs: How did you become interested in your line of work, and what drew you to the Frederick National Laboratory?

Kunz: After finishing my 30-year career in the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, I was offered the position as the first emergency manager at the Naval Support Activity Bethesda, where I worked for the past seven years. Working for the Wounded Warriors and the politics of inside the beltway were exciting, but when I found out an emergency manager position was opening 15 minutes from my home, well … I now enjoy a wonderful 15-minute commute and save almost three hours a day. Thanks to the Fort Detrick Emergency Manager for telling me about this job.

Public Affairs: What is one thing you enjoy about working at the Frederick National Laboratory?

Kunz: It would have to be the people. I have the best “boss” I have ever had. Period. My co-workers welcomed me in and are extremely supportive of each other. The Frederick National Laboratory team is all focused on the same goal of improving human health. It doesn’t get better than this.  

By Marie White, staff writer; contributed image