A.J. Gary’s extensive career in public service began in 1980 with the Arkansas Air National Guard, and soon after shifted into law enforcement with the Conway Police Department in Conway, Arkansas, where he served 20 years and retired in 2002 at the rank of Major. From there, A.J. went to work for Air Transport International LLC as the Chief Security Administrator where he served on the safety and security committees of the Cargo Airline Association and the National Air Carrier Association through 2006.
A.J. returned to work for the City of Conway in 2007 as Conway Chief of Police, a post he held for eight years before electing to retire again from Conway Police Department with a total of 28 years in law enforcement. In June 2016, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed A.J. as Director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the State Homeland Security Advisor, which is the position A.J. currently holds. State government transformation in July of 2019 aligned the agency under the Department of Public Safety as the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management.