From the rolling potato and sugar beet fields of the Red River Valley, Ben Gates has served as the Steele County Emergency Manager since 2016. Like all public servants in small counties, Ben has held many hats throughout his public service tenure. These roles include Highway Department Office Manager, Director of Tax Equalization, and Weight Permit Officer. On his path to become the ‘greatest public servant of all time’ (his words, not ours), Ben graciously accepted the role of Assistant Emergency Manager for Traill County in 2020. Because he felt like he didn’t have enough to do, Ben was appointed to the role of 911 Coordinator for Steele County in April 2021.
Ben started his career in public service like most others, he fell flat on his face into emergency management without a net to break his fall. Ben can be considered ‘one of the best incident command systems (ICS) instructors in the State, nay the world’ (again his words, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried). Ben continues to teach ICS to students across North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, and South Dakota.
As emergency manager, Ben deals with disasters and emergencies of all kinds for both Steele County and Traill County. In recent times, Ben pulled together his years of experience and the great people of both counties and was able to successfully form a Unified Command team to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of the pandemic, Steele County saw a sudden derecho event that plagued the recreational Golden Lake during a beautiful summer evening. Disaster upon disaster, Ben has constantly shown his knowledge and skills during these incidents and events. Additionally, Ben is a fairly decent grant writer earning Steele County over $2 million in Department of Homeland Security funds, Hazard Mitigation funds, and other Federal, State, and local grant funds. Ben’s commitment to emergency management and his community cannot be overstated.
Ben holds many accolades in emergency management from the North Dakota Emergency Management Association, the Naval Postgraduate School and Center for Homeland Defense and Security, and the Emergency Management Institute. Recently, Ben completed the FEMA Advanced Public Information Officer Course. Currently, Ben is furthering his training and education by finishing the National Emergency Management Advanced Academy and the Emergence Program through the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
Last, but certainly not least, Ben is married and lives in Mayville with his wife and their 4 children. In his “off” time, Ben volunteers for his local ambulance service as an EMT, the Mayville City Council as an Alderman, the May-Port Baseball Booster Club as the summer T-ball Director, and the Mayville State University Child Development Programs as the Policy Council Chairperson.