Joel Thomas, MA

Adjunct Instructor, Senior Fellow

Photo of Joel Thomas


Joel Thomas is the Founder and CEO of SPIN Global, a Maryland-based public benefit company that exists to disrupt disasters from neighborhoods to nations, with niche expertise in emergency management, national-level planning and private-public partnerships. 

Since 2003, Mr. Thomas has supported the design and implementation of local, national and multinational emergency management, humanitarian and faith-based initiatives in 50+ countries and in 56 U.S. States and Territories. He is an internationally recognized public-private partnerships and resilience advisor to governments and Fortune 500 companies supporting engagement and operational integration before, during and after disasters. 

Mr. Thomas is a published resilience researcher and author of foundational national doctrine, guidance, training, and exercises focused on public-private partnerships, and the intersection of emergency management, social and economic development. This includes but is not limited to: 

  • “Building Private-Public Partnerships Guidance”, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 
  • “Whole Community Inclusive Economic Recovery Course”, certified by DHS/FEMA National Training Program. 
  • “Managing Public, Private and NGO Partnerships to Prepare for and Solve Critical Logistics and Supply Chain Challenges During Large Scale Disasters”, a course certified by DHS / FEMA National Training Program.
  • “Barriers to Equitable Disaster Recovery in the United States”, a research brief published by the Center for Equitable Disaster Resilience.


Mr. Thomas has also supported agencies with creation and development of data-driven capabilities to support social and economic impact analysis and decision support before, during and after disasters. These business and economic impact analysis capabilities have been used to support response to 20+ Presidentially declared disasters. Furthermore, his disaster consulting work is rooted in operational experience, as Mr. Thomas served as an urban campus first responder in Washington D.C. at The George Washington University where he responded to hundreds of incidents and has participated in numerous domestic and international response and recovery operations (e.g. COVID19, Hurricane Maria, Thailand/Indonesia Tsunami, Deepwater Horizon, Haiti Earthquake, et al). 

Mr. Thomas has also supported NATO regional security cooperation efforts since 2016. This includes a project led by the Science for Peace and Security Programme, by developing country-level diagnostics and assessments of crisis information management capabilities in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. 

In support of the U.S. Department of Defense Institute for Security Governance (ISG), Mr. Thomas served as Project Lead and SME in support of security cooperation efforts led by EUCOM in cooperation with NATO Allies and Partners and supported national level disaster preparedness assessments. He served as ISG Project Lead in Armenia, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Romania. He served as ISG SME in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Serbia, and Ukraine. 

In his capacity as a NATO Civil Expert, he advises Allies and Partner nations on matters pertaining to national resilience, crisis management, and host nation support. This includes speaking at the NATO Resilience Symposium in Riga, Latvia in 2023 and supporting the design and delivery of the first-ever NATO Civil Protection Group Seminar on Public-Private Partnerships in Stockholm, Sweden in 2024. 

Mr. Thomas is a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor at Tulane University Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, and previously earned a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from The George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business/Non-Profit Management from Trinity International University. 


Key Functional Expertise

NATO Civil Expert

  • Emergency Management
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Resilience 


Public-Private Partnerships

  • Guidance
  • Policy & Planning
  • Training & Exercises



  • Assessments
  • Risk Reduction
  • Capacity Building
  • Economics


Relevant Country Experience 

Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and other NATO Allies and Partner Nations.

Areas of Expertise

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Research
  • Resilience
  • School Social Work


  • Masters in Public Administration from The George Washington University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business/Non-Profit Management from Trinity International University

Community Involvement

  • Global Board Chair, Institute for Diversity & Inclusion in Emergency Management (I-DIEM) 
  • Founding Member, Private Sector Emergency Management Association (PSEMA)