A Sikeston native is the new Director of the State Emergency Management Agency.

Paul Parmenter, 61, is a 29-year veteran of the Missouri Highway Patrol and served 11 years as commander of Troop C — serving Metropolitan St. Louis.

Parmenter comes into the post at a time when cleanup is still taking place in southern Missouri, after a major ice storm last month. He says residents there are still faced with many difficulties.

The January leveled thousands of utility poles and trees, knocking out power for some 163 thousand customers. Some went without power for nearly three weeks.

Parmenter says directing SEMA is a big job, but his experience prepares him.

Since retiring from the Patrol in 2002 as a Captain, he’s worked as an investigator for the Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and in top security posts at the Rockwood School District and at DePaul Health Center in St. Louis.

Parmenter says he will have to learn to adapt from being at or near the front lines of a situation, to stepping back and allowing others to do the footwork.

Parmenter is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University (then College) and served in the US Marine Corps before joining the Highway Patrol.

He lives with his wife, Lana, in Mexico, where the Parmenters moved to be closer to their daughter and her family.