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The Virginia Chapter of APCO established the Melinda L. Bramley Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 to honor and recognize selected individuals who have demonstrated the highest levels of commitment and dedication to the field of public safety communications throughout a significant period of their lives. The award is named in honor of longtime APCO member Melinda Bramley, a 40-year employee of the City of Virginia Beach, who began her career with the Virginia Beach 911 Emergency Communications Division in 1969 and ended with her retirement at the end of 2010. She began her career as an offense clerk and has served as dispatcher, operations supervisor, administrative supervisor and communications specialist.

Melinda held the position of Training and Retention Specialist for the division at the time of her retirement and was responsible for the planning, administration, and oversight of the Virginia Beach 911 Emergency Communications Division's training function. Her responsibilities also included creating activities and programs to enhance the selection, hiring and retention of Emergency Communications Division Employees. Melinda possessed an extensive knowledge of the entire operation of the Virginia Beach Communications Division. Melinda holds an Associate's Degree in Police Science and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Resource Administration. She also served as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Instructor and a Department of Criminal Justices General Instructor.


Melinda represented her department/division in a positive manner in both APCO and Region 42. Melinda has been a member of APCO (Association of Public Safety Communications Officials Inc.) since 1982, and served on the Executive Board from 1984 until her retirement. Melinda has honorably served as Virginia APCO's President, Secretary, and Treasurer. She has been awarded Life Membership in the Virginia Chapter of APCO. Melinda served as a member and as Secretary of the Region 42 Committee since its creation in 1988 until her retirement. Melinda was also an active member of NENA.

In recognition of her outstanding lifetime devotion to public safety communications and her overwhelming commitment to the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials' International, Inc., the Chapter also named Melinda Bramley as the first recipient of the Melinda L. Bramley Lifetime Achievement Award. 


The award was announced and presented during the MANAPCO event on November 3 during the 2010 Virginia APCO-NENA-SIEC Conference and Exposition by APCO Chapter President-Elect Steve Souder and President Karen Johnson.

Other Recipients

Phil Heins, the second recipient of the Melinda L. Bramley Lifetime Achievement Award is the retired Director of the Hanover County Emergency Communications Department. A life-long resident of the County, he began his career is public safety in 1969 as a volunteer firefighter. He was hired by the Sheriff's Office in 1976 as a Communications Officer and was promoted to a Shift Supervisor in 1978. After serving in this capacity for several years, he was promoted to Director of Communications in 1983 and has served in that capacity until retirement. Heins was the County's Project Manager for the purchase and installation of the Trunked Radio System and Enhanced 911 System. He also wrote the specifications for the CAD system that is currently in use, and has been very active in the purchase of other various radio and automation equipment.

Heins served on the original committee that developed the Dispatcher Certification Program for the Commonwealth of Virginia and has been a Department of Criminal Services Instructor. He is a Past President of the Virginia Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and a Past President and life member of Virginia APCO. Heins is a lifetime member of the Hanover Courthouse Volunteer Fire Company where he served for 29 years. During his tenure with the fire company he served as Chief, Assistant Chief, Captain, and President. He was also very active in the Hanover County Association of Volunteer Fire Companies, where he held the position of Vice President for a number of years. Through his and his staff's efforts, the Emergency Communications Department grew into an efficient and professional organization that provides the citizens of the County as well as the various user agencies with a very high level of service. Heins is married to the former Rita Acors and they live in the Hanover Courthouse area with their two daughters, Kelley and Ashleigh. He retired June 1, 2011. (Awarded 2011)


Terry Hall, the third recipient of the Melinda L. Bramley Lifetime Achievement Award is the Chief of Emergency Communications for York-Poquoson-Williamsburg Emergency Communications Center. Terry has worked diligently with APCO for over twenty years, getting to know and working with many Chapter members, whether it was on a piece of legislation, serving on a committee, or as an Executive Council member. Terry joined APCO as a commercial vendor for the first five years of his active twenty year membership. For the past fifteen plus years, he has served in the membership as a public safety professional.

During this time, he has been honored to serve in the position of President of the Virginia Chapter twice, as Treasurer of the Virginia chapter, and as legislative chair for the past ten years. He served as the Chapter's delegate to the International Executive Council (2008-2009). He has served as an APCO International Board member for the past three years, highlighted by serving as APCO International President for 2012-13.

Highlighting some of the other efforts he has been a part of are:

  • APCO Project Locate for the Commonwealth of Virginia

  • Served as co-chair for PBX MLTS for Virginia

  • Served on APCO International Strategic Planning Committee

  • Chaired the APCO International Homeland Security Committee

  • Chaired APCO International's MAPP Committee

  • Chaired two successful East Coast conferences, served on numerous committees for both APCO International and APCO Virginia

In addition, he has been honored by receiving numerous awards and commendations in recognition of the work that has helped to advance the goals and objectives of both APCO and Public Safety Telecommunications. Among the awards were the Governor's Award for Excellence 2006 and the APCO International Communications Director of the Year in 2006. He has also previously served in appointment capacity from the Governor of Virginia to the E-911 Wireless Services Board.

Currently, he manages a consolidated communications Center in York-Poquoson-Williamsburg. He is a sworn deputy and a member of the Virginia 1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team. A past member of Virginia 2 Urban Search & Rescue, he has had the honor of numerous deployments to hurricanes, including Katrina, Rita, and Gustav. and Terry has made a conscious decision to commit to the mission and goals of APCO and has been active as well as proactive within the organization to be part of creating and applying solutions rather than settling for the status quo. In believing that we can always strive to do better and to be better, Terry has exemplified the public safety professional through the presentation and enacting of new ideas and innovations within our industry not only to the benefit of individual organizations, but public safety as a whole. (Awarded 2014)


Steve Souder, the fourth recipient of the Melinda L. Bramley Lifetime Achievement Award is the retired Director of the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC). Steve has over twenty years of experience in emergency communications and has represented the E-911 industry and public safety more broadly on countless professional committees, national task forces, congressional and FCC hearings. His commanding presence, passion for the job and eloquent style of speaking has inspired an entire generation of E9-1-1 professionals in Virginia and beyond. 

A life member of APCO International, Steve chaired APCO Project RETAINS, a project started in 2001. The results of the project were released in 2005 and include the most extensive in depth research ever conducted on the issues impacting the recruitment, hiring, processing, training and retention of personnel in 911 public safety communications centers. (Awarded 2015)


Bill Agee, the fifth recipient of the award, is retired from the City of Hampton where he served as the Network and Telecommunications Services Manager. He had previously worked in similar positions with Roanoke and Franklin Counties. Bill is also retired as an E7 Master Sergeant from the United States Air Force having served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Most of his years in the Air Force were served in various electronic communications maintenance career fields. His military honors include the National Defense Service Medal with one device, the Air Force Achievement Medal with one device, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 devices and the Kuwait Liberation Medal. 

A member of Virginia NENA since 2005 and the Virginia Chapter of APCO since 1997, Bill is a past president of Virginia APCO and has served on several chapter conference and other committees. He served for 10 years on the Region 42 800 MHz committee, a Virginia E911 Services Board PSAP funding committee and on a committee to help draft the first statewide E911 Strategic Plan. He served for 6 years on the Virginia E911 Services Board’s PSAP Grant Committee representing Virginia APCO and served on the initial committee to establish the founding guidelines for this program. Bill currently serves on APCO International’s Conference and Exhibition Advisory Committee and has served on APCO’s Broadband Committee and on the E9-1-1 Emerging Technologies Committee. Bill was awarded Chapter Life Membership in 2013, International Senior membership in 2014 and APCO International Life Membership in 2015. Bill holds a Master of Arts degree in Management.  (Awarded 2016)


Thomas Hanson, the sixth recipient of the Melinda L. Bramley Lifetime Achievement Award, is the retired Executive Director of the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle County Emergency Communications Center.  (Awarded 2017)

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